Posts tagged trip

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.


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!


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!


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?


Canmore at night


Canmore at night, originally uploaded by Heraldk.

Taken hand-held with my new Canon 17-55 f/2.8. A couple of friends and I went on a ski trip to Banff recently. This was taken on our way to get some munchies at Sobeys before retiring to our hotel in Canmore.

Distant Mountain


Distant Mountain, originally uploaded by Heraldk.

Taken from the recent CS Department ski trip which hit Jasper for the last weekend of Jasper in January. On Sunday of that weekend, we traditionally do the Maligne Canyon hike which is pretty spectacular. This the view about 1/4 of the way up the hike.

Deep Freeze


Well I was away all weekend for the department ski trip, and returned home to find Edmonton in a serious deep freeze. The temperatures here have dropped to what I consider to be entirely too cold, and the city has found itself in a mayhem situation traffic-wise.

As we drove back from Jasper, I started to wonder what people’s problems were. I was driving along the yellowhead highway on my way back to Edmonton and the roads were not in great shape. There was some places that were pretty clear, but for every kilometer we traveled on clear roads, there was at least 4 or 5 kilometers of icy road with blowing snow across it.

So as I’m driving a good 20km/h below the speed limit of 110km/h, I see a large number of vehicles speeding by me on these dangerous roads. As they do so I start to feel more and more nervous that one of these vehicles is going to lose control and cause us to get in an accident. It sure kept the heart pumping as I continued down the road.

Particular frightful situations occurred when larger vehicles would pass by going the speed limit or more. They’d churn up a large amount of the blowing snow and present it to me a few meters in front of my car enabling me to see even less than I could before. Every time this happened I was forced to slow right down just to be safe if someone was stalled/stopped in my lane for any reason, or some poor wildlife was on the road — because if I continued to go 90 down the highway with zero visibility … well that’s just an accident waiting to happen.

I don’t understand how people think that hurrying down the highway will help them out in any way. The chances of them getting in an accident don’t seem to be worth getting home half an hour earlier to me. When conditions are like they are right now … you SLOW THE HELL DOWN!

Speaking of highway issues – has anyone noticed that a large portion of the cars on the road have no idea how to properly pass someone on the highway? I’m not talking about a simple undivided highway where there is just one lane of traffic going each way (I must admit I’m not all that experienced at passing vehicles in this situation). I’m talking about driving on a divided highway with at least 2 lanes of traffic going in the same direction. I can’t tell you how many cars sped by in the left hand lane and cut in front of me way too early. Why the hell is that a good idea? You’re just pissing me off! By cutting in front of me so fast, you greatly increase the probability you’re going to pick up a stone and hurl it at my poor windshield. Since you’re passing me, why don’t you take a few more seconds to continue on in the left lane until there’s suitable distance in front of me for you to get in front of me without causing me undue stress.

Ugh. I don’t know where people learned to drive, but they really should learn something about how they’re driving their vehicles.




SNOW!, originally uploaded by Heraldk.

I’ve suddenly got a huge backlog of photos to go through and mark for upload, and I still haven’t uploaded all my museum photos I want to.

Last night I returned home from a ski trip to Jasper to find the city in a blizzard. The snow had collected in drifts in front of my condo and it made it impossible to enter or exit from the side door. Woah. I don’t think I’ve seen snow pile up like this in front of a door in a very long time.



Photoshoot, originally uploaded by Heraldk.

This scene was at the Royal Alberta Museum yesterday. Some of my friends and I went there to take some photos. From top to bottom, we have Vadim, Jeff, and Steve. It was a pretty fun trip, and I got some pretty nice shots I’ll be sharing over the next couple of weeks.

Maligne Canyon


Maligne Canyon, originally uploaded by Heraldk.

I continue my backwards trek through my photo collection. This particular one was from back in 2005 on the computer science department ski trip. Each year the department goes to Jasper and spends Saturday skiing (or doing whatever) and Sunday trekking down Maligne canyon. It’s a sight to see in the winter time!

This was taken with my little Canon powershot A10 since I didn’t have my DSLR at the time.

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