Posts tagged job

Nightwish Edmonton Show Review


Nightwish - Sold OutWow this took awhile to get around to doing. This past weekend I had the chance to check off the third of my five favourite european metal bands off my “I must see these bands” list. I was truly surprised to find out that Nightwish was coming to Edmonton to play a sold out show at the Starlite room. I was surprised that they were coming, and I was also surprised that they sold out faster than the other two bands I saw: Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius. Maybe it’s the female singer that makes them more attractive to more people. Not sure.

Anyways, Diane and I arrived a bit late to the Starlite room, and already an impressive looking line had formed all the way down the block. So there was nothing for us to do except go to the back of the line and wait for about 35-40 minutes to get in. Such is the state of going to the Starlite, since that has been the way of things in the past. On the plus side, the weather was beautiful so waiting in line wasn’t a big deal.

While in line the opening band started up. It didn’t really look like we were missing anything, and I didn’t even bother to find out who was playing. Then again, it’s really hard to tell since the volume was turned up so loud. *sigh*. The problem with live concerts.

Roadies Setting UpSo Diane and I found our spot on the right side of the venue on the stairs descending to the floor. It was packed in there though, so it took awhile to squirm into a good spot. It took a long time, as usual, for the main band to have all their gear setup and sound tested, but after the long wait Nightwish finally came on stage.

NightwishNightwish has undergone a bit of turmoil in the recent months. They fired their distinctive lead singer after the band decided that they were not on the same page concerning the direction of the band (or something, I’m not really familiar with the situation). This made for some troubling times as the band tried to find someone to replace her. I’m not sure they ever would’ve found someone with quite as deep and powerful a voice as Tarja, but they did find someone who does a pretty darn good job. The new vocalist didn’t sing too many classic Nightwish songs, but the ones that she did do she did pretty well I’d have to say.

Nightwish - Rock out Edmonton!
Here’s the setlist for the night:

  1. Intro + Bye Bye Beautiful
  2. Dark Chest of Wonders
  3. Who ever brings the night
  4. The Siren
  5. Amaranth
  6. Islander
  7. The Poet and the Pendulum
  8. Come Cover Me
  9. While Your Lips are Still Red
  10. Sahara
  11. Nemo
  12. 7 days
  13. Dead to the World
  14. Wish I had an Angel

Nightwish - Waiting for an EncoreAll in all the show was amazing. The various members of the band are quite good at their respective intruments. The keyboardist isn’t as flashy as the one in Stratovarius or Sonata Arctica, but that’s okay. One of the guitarist’s sported a rather epic beard/hair combination.

It’s been a few days since the event, so I don’t remember too many details. Also I wanted to get this post up before I forgot about it entirely. I took some video that I’d like to share, but I need to post process it so I can upload it somewhere useful (I was thinking flickr). That might take a little while.

Anyways, it was a pretty good show, and I was quite happy that I got the chance to go!
Nightwish - EncoreNightwish - Bowing


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!


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!




It’s been quite awhile since my last general update, so I figured I’d give a quick update.

The interview process is still underway. I’m not entirely sure what the status is, but it looks like I might be scheduling a visit for Diane and I over there to check out the office and have a chance to meet people and show off what I can do. It’s a little nerve wracking not knowing whether I’ve got a job or not, but it should be cool to meet some of the people face to face.

Outside of that, the poker group is gearing up its significant resources prepping for the upcoming AAAI poker bot competition. We’ve got a couple new tricks up our sleeves which hopefully will be enough to secure some more first place finishes. We’re also hoping to put together another man-machine challenge. There’s some tentative support here, so it might actually happen, but I don’t really know the details. As soon as I can share details about that, I will. I’m really hoping it happens. In my ideal world, I’d get a nice job offer from FT so I could breathe easy about that. Then the man-machine match would go ahead and we’d play some high profile players in Vegas during the WSOP. Then I’d get a bit of holiday time to honeymoon with Diane before moving to Ireland to start work at FT. It seems plausible to me!

Speaking of honeymooning and wedding stuff, the wedding is getting close to two months away. That’s a bit scary … the time has never gone slow that’s for sure. There’s probably a bazillion little things we should be organizing for the wedding, but it feels like we’ve got most of the important details done. Probably the biggest remaining thing is to arrange a list of volunteers for various tasks at the wedding. We’ll probably be compiling a list of things that need doing and call for volunteers over at

I’ve been pretty busy working, so I haven’t had much time to put into poker. My 200NL experiment went pretty well, although I’m pretty sure I was running hot. I’d like to get a chance to play some more soon, but my evenings seem to be full of too many things. In other poker related news, I’ve been playing in the World Rec.Gambling Poker Tournament (WRGPT). This is a large play-by-email poker tournament that predates online poker. This is the first year I’ve competed in the tournament since I only learned of it last year but I missed the registration that time. I’m doing not too shabby in this tournament, although I’ve gone pretty card dead over the past couple rotations. Then this hand happened. Woohoo flush! I now sit in ~60th or so place of ~180-ish remaining players. I still have a shot!

So that’s a pretty decent update of what I’ve been up to. Lots of stuff going on, not a lot of time to update the blog. Hopefully I can get more regular updates in the next little while.


Interview Stage 2


Well it didn’t go too bad. I think. It’s hard to say.

I … was a little nervous. This was the first real set of interviews I’ve had since I interviewed for a internship between my third and fourth years. I had a couple interviews then – one on the phone with IBM that went disastrously, and one with the math department that went far better, but they didn’t give me the job. To be fair, the IBM interview was after a week of final exams where I had 4 exams, one on each day at 9am.

So yesterday morning I waited for my 9am phone call. Well, even that was complicated. They were calling 4pm their time 9am our time, but with the daylight savings time changed this past weekend I figured they might’ve not remembered we switched time. So I did the “math” … and got it wrong. So I was ready for an 8am phone call that didn’t come. Then half past nine I finally looked it up on the internet and found that it was wrong and that 4pm Dublin time was 10am our time. Well, that was a good start to my interview.

I don’t want to go into tremendous detail about the interview here. I kind of feel like I’m not well-suited to interviews. I have this tendency to guard everything I say with conditionals, even if I’m relatively certain of the answer.

The interview consisted of talking with a total of 5 people. I first was asked questions from one pair of developers, one of whom did his masters on Poker in our research group. Then I talked with another pair for awhile, followed by the head of the IT division. The last part of the interview was the most pleasant, partially because he wasn’t grilling me but partially because it was kind of cool to talk about shared interest in the computing area.

I have mixed feelings about how the interview went. I kind of feel like I didn’t do well, but at the same time I think I didn’t give any wrong answers and not too many blank answers. I stumbled through some questions, and I probably didn’t sound very confident on the other end, but we’ll have to see what they say in the next couple days. Hopefully at the least I’ve managed to earn another interview, if not an offer.

In the meantime, I’ve got a bunch of cool things to work on for work so I have some interesting stuff to occupy my time with in the meantime.


Interview Step One


Well today I was a nervous wreck. For quite some time I’ve been considering applying for a job with pocket kings — the company that writes and manages the software and details behind full tilt poker. A couple of former UofA grads have got prominent positions there and they’ve been making the case that I should go join them.

It took me awhile to come around to their case. It’s an awfully large amount of upheaval to move to a country so far away from home. I sort of feel though that it’s coming to a time in my life where I need to get up and experience the world a little more than I have been. I’ve finally started to admit that I’m too much of a homebody, and I need to get out of my comfort zone a bit.

Ireland has a lot of appeal. It’s situated in a spot where Diane and I could take frequent traveling trips to see Europe. Dublin is a youthful city with a huge amount of IT people flocking to it. The opportunity to head to out and see the world while having an exciting job seems to good to pass up. The downside is I’d have to leave a significant number of family and friends behind, and that might be harder than I am willing to admit just yet.

So, after thinking about this for quite some time, I’ve started phase one of applying. I had my first phone interview today with one of their lead server guys. It went … decently well I think. The topics ranged widely, and I learned a fair amount about the company that I hadn’t managed to glean from my other contacts there. I was asked quite a few questions about several things that he thought was of interest on my resume. I gave the best answers I could — I don’t believe I perform all that well under intense scrutiny like that, but I didn’t do badly. The only question I botched was when he asked me to come up with an example of deadlock. It wasn’t until I had hung up the phone and muttered to myself about it for a moment or two before I came up with the answer. It’s so simple too! For those who aren’t into systems stuff, deadlock is when two processes or threads try and access sections of code that you deem need to be run or used by only one process at a time. So an easy way to create a deadlock situation is to have a process that grabs the lock for resource A and then the lock for resource B, and another process that attempts to acquire locks in the reverse direction. That way, it can happen that the first process acquires the lock for resource A, but blocks because the other process has acquired the lock for resource B which is blocked because the first process already has that lock. Thus … deadlock! *sigh*.

Other than that, the interview went alright. I answered his questions to the best of my ability and only stumbled a few times. It’s interesting trying to pull pieces of my memory out from the last few years of work that I’ve done. As the interview progressed, I began to pull more and more pieces of details that I hadn’t thought about in awhile. My maxflow algorithm implementation, my adding additional functionality to openssh, my building a user registration system for westgrid, and the details of the Trellis file system that I hadn’t thought about in ages.

So I gather I’ll be getting another phone interview sometime in the near future where I get to be “grilled” to find out how knowledgeable I am. I’m super nervous about that one. Anyone have any good interview questions that I can ponder as practice?


Sonata Arctica Show Review

Sonata Arctica

This was a long time coming. I’ve been so busy this last week that I haven’t had a chance to talk about the latest Sonata Arctica concert here in Edmonton.

SA made their second appearance in two years at Edmonton’s Starlite room last week. I was able to get tickets and go, so I continued to support the band’s efforts to increase their North American fanbase. If they keep coming back they should do just that … this show was sold out!

Sonata Arctica - Slow Part

My only real complaint about the show was that it was too short. They got on stage late due to the doors opening at 8:00pm, and two opening bands on the slate. The first opening band “The Order Chaos” was not too bad. They only played three songs, but I might have to look into their music a little more to see if I like it. The second band was called “Sanctity”, and they were … almost as different from Sonata Arctica as you could get and still stay in the same genre of music. Sure they had metal riffs on the guitars, but where Sonata Arctica is classy, melodic, and appealing, Sanctity was rude, crass, and unappealing. I couldn’t wait for them to get off the stage.

Sonata Arctica - Finale

It’s too bad SA couldn’t play a longer set. They totally have the repertoire to play a two hour or longer set, but because of the late start there was no way that was going to happen. Still, they did play a good set, and I enjoyed getting the chance to try and take some band-in-action photography and video with my P&S camera. I think I did a decent job!

Big news as well, Edmonton… Nightwish is coming to town to play the Starlite room! I’ve already bought my tickets (you can get them in a presale from a link off their webpage). So once I see them, then all I’ve got to see is Kamelot and Rhapsody and I’ll have seen my top 5 favourite metal bands! How exciting!


Transition complete


Just a couple of notes to update what I’m doing with the site. I have now removed the old layout and blog content for That address is still valid, but it points to this blog. WordPress does a pretty good job of acting as the main page for a website, so I see no reason to keep wordpress sequestered in a /blog directory. Very little for this webpage has changed.

I hope to spend some time on the template to make it look prettier. Instead of doing it myself this time, I think I’ll probably steal/use one of the free ones from the wordpress templates site and modify it using my own images. Hopefully I get around to that sooner rather than later.




Alexandra, originally uploaded by Heraldk.

I had the pleasure of being one of the few people invited to the recent wedding of my friend and colleague Darse to his Alexandra. I was quite honoured to be there since it was a minimal wedding. I was there to document it through photography, and I think I did a fairly decent job for my first wedding shoot. This photo is Alexandra overlooking the river valley. They had chosen a really beautiful location not far from the royal museum. Hope you like the photos that I’ll upload from their wedding!

Final Vacation Day


Well Diane and I head back to Edmonton tomorrow. It’s been a good trip!

Before I get in to today’s activities, let me first say that I missed a highlight from yesterday. When we hopped on a bus to take us to robson street to have dinner yesterday, we were on the bus and were standing by the back door ready to get off at our stop. But something different happened this time than normal — the doors opened presenting us with a problem in dismounting the bus: a row of three newspaper boxes were perfectly lined up to block our exit. One enterprising individual hopped over the mailboxes, but he was the only one to move fast enough. His buddy waited yelled to have the bus driver move up a bit, but evidently the bus driver didn’t hear. So we were carted up further. To make matters worse for us, no one pulled the wire to say they wanted to get off at the next stop, so we went 4 blocks past our stop before we were let off. Diane and I and 3 or 4 more people got off the bus giggling a little at what had just transpired. Okay, so I thought it was funny.

Anyways, to today! Diane and I got up, and had to furiously pack our things in order for them to be moved. Apparently the B&B we were staying at needed our room for some incoming guests so they were upgrading us to a new room (which is pretty nice, I have to say!). Anyways, after our packing we hurried over for breakfast with minutes to spare (they stop serving breakfast at 9:30am, so we needed to hurry). After yet another lovely breakfast, we waited around and got the keys for our new room but were told we needed to wait for the people to leave before going in. So instead we decided to leave after they offered to install our bags in our room. Our first stop today was the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen classical Chinese garden. Not knowing what we were doing, we walked right in — but apparently the part we entered was the free portion. We wandered for awhile and enjoyed the calm quiet that the garden offered. We met a guy at the entrance that was using a lens to burn designs in some wood. I got a couple of pictures of this feat — it was really rather cool! I was quite impressed with his craft.

Anyways, after wandering around for awhile and taking a look at a nearby giftshop, we discovered the actual entrance to the garden. Hmmm … well Diane figured we’d had a chance to see some of the garden anyways, so we decided to wander off to another destination. *shrug*. We weren’t in a big hurry, but we got some value for no cost so we couldn’t really complain!

So after that, we headed back to Granville Island since the first time we were down there everything was closed. The market is a pretty lively place when it’s open. We walked along admiring the fruit and some of the various merchandise people had to offer. We got some bubble tea from one place, and sat down by the harbour to enjoy the scenery and people/bird watch for awhile. It was strangely calming, despite the frantic movement of people. It felt kind of cool to relax and just observe people moving fast around you.

After awhile, we got up and wandered some more. There’s a lot of neat shops around, but there really wasn’t anything interesting enough for me to actually buy. We did discover a couple of neat things. The first was a guy selling fold out 3d cards. He was making them by hand, and I asked him how long it took him to make each one. His answer was about an hour each, except for rare ones which take up to 3 hours, and he pointed to one of some wisteria. The cards were amazing, and I almost bought one of some staircases that roughly resembled some of Escher’s work. I refrained though because I wasn’t really sure what I’d do with it … It’d probably sit on my shelf for awhile and collect dust. It was really cool though!

The other cool person we saw was a violinist who was playing some cool classical music … the music attracted me over and her sign said that she had just graduated from Juilliard and had been offered a job as a concertmaster somewhere, but that she was raising money for a car for commuting. I don’t know if her story was true … but I was far more inclined to believe her than a guy we met in the Chinese park earlier that day with a story of how he got robbed and needed money to stay at a hostel. Huh. Yeah the girl’s story was far more believable since she obviously had some talent. :P

Anyways, we wandered around for awhile more before deciding to have an early dinner at Bridges which is a restaurant right beside the water on the island. The food was pretty good, though pricier than the meals we’d had earlier in the week. That being said, I’ve been kind of shocked at how cheap the meals have been here, so one more expensive meal certainly wasn’t going to break the bank.

After dinner Diane and I caught a bus back to our fancy B&B room. It’s got a private entrance to a bathroom (shared with one other room), and a fridge, and it is rather big and comfy. I’m quite happy with our upgraded room for the last night of our stay!

Anyways, that’s where we’re at. We’re gonna have to get up a little early to catch some transportation to the airport in the morning (and make sure that we’ve got enough time to eat some wonderful breakfast!), so I think I should head off now! This time tomorrow, I’ll be back in E-town wishing I could still eat fresh seafood. *sigh*.


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