Marathon Results

While not as lofty a goal as others I know had set, I made it through today's plan of watching a marathon of Doctor Who stories. My intention was to catch up on the backlogged Doctor Who DVDs sitting on the bookshelf. That entailed going through Web Planet, Hand of Fear and Mark of the Rani, and I survived to tell the tale considering I was not looking forward to two of the three. (Only Hand of Fear was a desirable story to me.) The DVDs took a while considering each had around an hour (or more) of bonus features... not counting the commentaries (to which I didn't listen)... those really add to the time.

Not only did I get through those, during Hand of Fear I had the uncontrollable urge to rewatch School Reunion... so after I finished with Sarah Jane's departure, I had to go back and watch her reappearance from Tennant's tenure. (That's almost rhythmic... I feel like I should be saying "Allons-y, Alonso" here.)

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Happy Birthday!

Today, November 23, marks the anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who in the UK. The show has been a staple of my life for about the past 20 years, and thanks to the resurrection of the series last year I expect it to remain a part of my life for a long time yet. 2006 marks the 43rd anniversary of that initial broadcast, so a fond Happy Birthday to Doctor Who, and here's to another 43 wonderful years!

Warren and Steven from Radio Free Skaro have laid out their plans for celebrating the anniversary in the latest episode of their podcast, and while I've got plans of my own I'll just link to Warren's blog where I've mentioned what I'll do, rather than typing it all again here. Plus, it's a plug for Warren's site and the podcast this way, too.

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Lego Star Wars

I've been playing a load of Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy lately, as it's a very addicting and fun game. Plus, there's the whole draw of going through the original trilogy with the Lego dopplegangers. A small taste of the fun:




Engadget has posted a very detailed technical FAQ list regarding the Wii, answering even the question that was burning most in my mind about how the slot-load mechanism accepted GameCube media. (To quote Jean-Paul, "it just works!")

It's very much worth a read.

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Crib Redux

Today there was the semi-annual inter-branch tournament of the Camrose Legion vs. the Jasper Place Legion. Turnout was decent, with about 50 people or so. I had heard the other day the JP folks were fewer than the Camrose folks, so some of them southerners had to play for us folks from Edmonton.

Things started off on a down note, and ultimately wound up being pretty pathetic overall. Of the 8 games, my partner and I won but one. One of those losses was a skunk (although barely; we were one peg away from saving the skunk). That makes three losses by skunk in the past few days... I'm unimpressed to say the least. Oh well, like the old saying goes, you pays your money and you takes your chances.

After leaving the legion (and dropping dough on my membership for both 2006 and 2007), we (meaning myself and those with whom I traveled to the crib tournament) trundled off to the River Cree casino to kill some time. The others scattered across the slots area whilst I headed for the poker room. It took well over an hour to even get a seat at a table since there was apparently a shortage of dealers working this afternoon. I was not amused, but it's not like it's the first time I've had to wait for a seat in a poker room. (The downside was I spent that time watching one of the 3/6 tables trying to pick up information on the players... and it happened to be the other 3/6 table where I wound up being seated.)

I eventually sat down at the 3/6 table with my usual buy-in of a rack of singles and I couldn't even catch a cold the cards were running so poorly. It's like it was some sort of overflow of bad karma from the crib tournament. After the first orbit I had one hand worth playing... and it wasn't even really worth playing, but I played it nonetheless as it was my big blind so I got a discount to the flop. All tolled I had one hand worth opening the action, a pair of black tens. An ace hit the flop, however the 3 players remaining checked. A 4 hit the turn so I bet, with both people calling. The river brought what seemed to be a blank, an 8, and the player just before me opened the last betting round. After calling, he showed a 5-7 which went nicely with the 6 on the flop and the runners. I was rather pissed off at that since it meant I was too timid on the flop. If I had put a tester bet out there on the flop to see if anyone had an ace, it would have been very likely the 5-7 would fold and I would have won that pot. (Though why the guy called a pre-flop raise from the small blind with 5-7 offsuit I don't know.) The third player in the pot couldn't beat my 10s, and folded after my river call, so I would have been golden. Live and learn.

(The worst part was the player who held 5-7 that hand was playing a bunch of crap and catching huge. He was an internet player who kept betting the wrong amount, had no idea what a kill button was, didn't know if he was allowed to leave the table without forfeiting his seat, etc. Although his money is as good as anyone else's, people like that tick me off and I hate playing against them. Everyone has to learn some time, but why does it have to be at my table? I mean, sheesh, if he's an internet player you'd think he'd at least have some concept of bet amounts in a limit game! It's not rocket surgery here.)

I played for maybe an hour before I had to leave (as my ride was wanting to get out of there). After being stupid on the end and wasting a bit of money chasing, I cashed out with a little over half of my buy-in. That makes me 2 for 2 at River Cree when it comes to not winning, my worst record at any casino.

And yes, there are still some issues with that poker room. Things were a little better this time around, as some kinks appear to have been worked out, but one glaring problem I saw was with consistency when dealing to (temporarily) empty seats. Sometimes the dealer would deal to the seat then kill the hand, sometimes they'd pass over that seat entirely and not deal to it. Multiple dealers did it both ways, so it's not a one-off thing. Since the choice whether or not to deal to an empty seat materially affects the outcome of a hand, there needs to be absolute consistency when it comes to that situation. I'm not bothered which way the house rules fall on this matter, but I definitely want to see the same actions on a consistent basis.

Upshot: they've now got a coffee pot near the poker room so you can get free coffee. Pop is apparently a buck... at least, the one person I saw get a glass of pop gave the waitress a buck. It might have been a dollar for the pop, or it might have been free pop with a dollar tip -- I'm not sure and I didn't ask. Still, the coffee bit is a definite improvement versus opening day.

Oh well, at least I still have a fair amount of dough left in my poker kitty from wins earlier in the year to keep me going for a while before I stop playing with winnings.

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Playstation 3

Today was the North American release for the Playstation 3. My opinion can be summed up in two words: who cares?

$660 for a bare unit that can't even display HD signals properly? That doesn't even come with an HDMI cable despite this being the hardware that's supposed to ignite the HD revolution? Pretty sad in my opinion. Granted, the Wii won't go beyond 480p, but it's not promising to do anything it can't. (I've not formally heard whether or not the Wii will ship with a component cable, but I certainly hope it does. I know prerelease review units did not.)

I'm not even going to bother with links to any of the myriad of stupid people stories out there relative to the PS3 launch. Suffice it to say if you stood in line and got a PS3 then congratulations, and please don't be one of those folks who flips it on eBay.

The one possible positive in all this is the PS3 does represent the cheapest means of obtaining a Blu-Ray player, even after considering the cost for an HDMI cable.

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So I sucked at crib today. On three separate occasions my partner got a 20 hand, but overall we only finished 4 & 4. Two of those losses were skunks. I couldn't remember the last time I was skunked before today, and it happened twice. Feh.

On a happier note, my copy of Lego Star Wars II came today. When I first saw the game I wondered wtf it was about and how it could possibly be fun... but after playing the demo, I couldn't get enough of it (so I had to buy the full version!). I shall report on it later.

Lastly, I got my second-generation iPod Shuffle on Friday last week and I've been taking it for a spin. Expect something more for a review in time, but for now all I can say is wow the thing is tiny. Freakishly so, even.

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John Barrowman Interviewed

An interview itself is hardly newsworthy, but the content of this one made me bust a gut laughing when I watched it last night. Thankfully, as with most things Torchwood, I had a much better copy to watch, but for those who care to see it, here is the interview from this past Friday Night with Jonathan Ross featuring John Barrowman and his sordid life. It's probably not for the feint of heart.

Part one:

Part two:

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Like a lot of sites nowadays, there's an option here for tagging posts. As I've only had this thing going a month or so, I've gone back and slapped tags onto past posts (just for fun).



No Poker

It seems that due to unforeseen circumstances, I'll not be going to the poker game tonight. That sucks as I was sort of looking forward to it, but on the other hand it means my buy-in is safe for now.

Yesterday I popped over to Dave's for a while to play some craps. For the first time, those of us there decided to put a few bucks on the game. We didn't have a lot of people playing (4 the first round, 3 the second), but nonetheless I succeeded in losing my money. I only *just* missed out on getting paid the first time around (I lost by a buck), and the second time around I had a good chance to cash if Paul had rolled the point.

Dough aside, it was still fun. However, the huge-ass cigar I had yesterday when we were on break is still bothering me today... and I didn't even finish the darn thing. Nothing some ibuprofen and vigorous tooth-brushing can't fix.

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USB Snowbot

Jean-Paul also pointed out to me the ThinkGeek USB Snowbot, which looks cool since you can get it to emulate a cylon's "eyes" -- and there's even a nice video of it in action on YouTube!


Hey, wha'haaapen?

So posts of late have been about this and that, frivolous matter after frivolous matter. I figured it was time to get something up about what else is going on. Okay ramblers, let's get rambling.

Not much is really going on with the personal life right now, hence the lack of posts with any substance. I've been lazing around most days and just wasting time following random Wikipedia links, or laughing my ass off on T-Shirt Hell, or seeing what's out there for local events listed on meetup.com. And that's really just been tonight.

I've been keeping current on what little TV I watch, and I've been trying to plow through the backlog of movies (which numbers in the hundreds, alas). I set aside a dozen flicks as a goal for this past weekend (Friday to Sunday) and wound up getting through 7 of them; one of those was a flick I didn't intend to get so it really doesn't count as I didn't watch more than 15 minutes of it.

I'm still waiting for my iPod Shuffle from Futureshop, and it doesn't look like I'll have it in time to christen it at the poker game I've got this coming Sunday. I'd hoped to have it in plenty of time so I could have it charged, loaded with tunes, and get some familiarity with its size and the secret-decoder-ring style light sequences it displays. I guess that's not going to happen since the web store says they're not getting it in until November 10th (this coming Friday); factor in shipping (since you can't pick up online preorders at stores) and there's no way I'll have it for the 12th. Thank goodness I'm getting a discount on it at least.

So, anyway, yeah, there's this poker game I'm going to on Sunday. It's hosted by Hayden, with whom I used to work at Safeway years back. He's also married to the sister of my friend Rob's girlfriend, so that's where the "It's a small world" factor kicks into play. Hayden's a fun guy and the people who organized the last game at his place did a really nice job. There were some issues I had (namely with the blind positioning when players were knocked out; the way they did it was wacky in that they had 3 blinds instead of 2 until the button passed the empty seat), but mostly it was very well-run. I don't doubt I could do better (and have done better in my estimation) but they supplied things I wouldn't, like a nice table top.

Last time at Hayden's there were 17 or so people, and we were split up between two tables. I had been told there were about 25 people expected; there was a third table set up when I arrived, but that was quickly taken down when it was known we didn't have need for it. It was a fun night, filled with mostly n00b players, but there were a few there who had a clue. I enjoyed playing against new blood as sometimes other games I attend get tedious playing with the same people every time. The thing took 5 or so hours overall, but eventually I whittled my way through the field (not that I got very many kills, maybe 1 or 2) and finished in second place overall for a prize of $90. I got lucky a few times, but everyone who wins (or finishes well) in a tournament has to get lucky now and then. My road hand for the night was pocket tens, a hand with which I never lost (and with which I survived one all-in against Ace-Eight; I was a 2 to 1 or better favourite so it was only right I survived there). In the end I got impatient when it was heads up and went all-in with Deuce-Trey offsuit vs the chipleader who had me outchipped 4 or 5 to 1. It took him the better part of 5 minutes to decide, but eventually he called with Ace-Four. The flop gave nothing to either of us, but I turned a Deuce to take the lead, and he spiked a Four on the river to eliminate me. Given I had 2 live cards there, I was about a 3-2 underdog so I had no issues with my play that hand. I went all-in expecting to bluff him, but as the pros say, you can only bluff good players -- so, the tactic backfired slightly.

I also decided last night that I needed some practice for Sunday as I've not played much poker since going to the casino a couple weeks back. I was too lazy to pull out the MacBook Pro and boot into Windows (or run Parallels) and play on Tiger (my usual haunt), so I just went with what I had installed on the iMac, which was the client for Full Tilt. Full Tilt is a very well-respected site and frankly the only one I've come across so far with actual Mac support and a Mac client. (Most suggest running VirtualPC instead of bothering with a Mac client.) I entered a multi-table play money tournament (as I have no real money there yet; I keep wanting to deposit there so I can earn points and maybe one day cash in those points for a Full Tilt hockey jersey)... it was a 90-player tournament with the top 9 places paid. I got very lucky early on and amassed a huge stack, winding up 2nd overall in chips. From there I coasted for the most part until I lost HUGE with Jack-Ten of diamonds (and J-T suited is one of my favourite hands overall) when I flopped top two pair only to have someone else flop a flush (the flop was all hearts). I got lucky the next hand by surviving an all-in thanks to a board straight, and then I climbed back up until I was sitting pretty with chips again. After almost 2 hours of playing the tournament, I was finally knocked out in 5th place.

That was a good feeling, placing as high as I did given play money tournaments are generally very reckless in my experience. Still, not quite getting my fill, I then entered a single table sit & go; 9 players were allowed with the top 3 places paid. I was back and forth in chips for the most part early on, not really caring how I fared as I was playing with winnings. Still, I eventually focused and got to heads up with the person who'd lead in chips for most of the way (though I was chip leader when we got down to two). It took less than 10 hands to take care of them and win the tournament. So, I think I got some decent practice but I'll still play a little more before Sunday nonetheless.

Anyway, the weather is now officially crappy in Edmonton. Apparently there were blizzard (or blizzard-like) conditions tonight, so that may affect the turnout on Sunday. Regardless, I'm going in expecting to do well again. In my estimation, Rob and I amount to ringers at a game like that, which held true when one considers I finished second overall last time and he finished third. I'm curious to see if it continues to hold true this coming game.

Beyond those things, not much is really happening around here. I'm still content to not look for a job despite mounting boredom and too much of the same routine. I'm hoping I can manage to get through the winter without going postal but we'll see what happens. I've been playing a fair bit of NHL 07 on the XBox 360, trying to plod through a season and/or dynasty before I get rid of the game altogether. I bought the 360 to play Tiger Woods 2006 despite the fact it was a rampantly buggy game and there were a lot of things in the game which said they could be accomplished but in reality could not (eg. some of the gamer score achievements, the number of pro shop items, unlocking gold clubs without a cheat code, etc.). I played the game to death and still have a few things to accomplish for the single player mode. I also have Tiger Woods 07 sitting here, still in the shrinkwrap. After the crap EA served customers with Tiger Woods 2006, and the problems I've read about with 07, and the problems I've experienced with NHL 07, I'm quite tempted to take my copy of Tiger Woods 07 back to Futureshop and get my money back -- and boycott EA. There are loads of issues on both the EA and XBox forums about the shoddy nature of the development work and as a consumer I'm not happy with paying $70 for a game that's incomplete and buggy.

I could go on about that for another few pages but it's best to just stop there before I get overly worked up. I think this is about where it's appropriate (too late!) to end this post.

In honour of my friend Jean-Paul who's taking a beginner Spanish class to broaden his horizons, hasta luego!

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Gleaned via Warren, this is probably true to a great degree.



Office Space Redux

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the office, The Stapler is on the loose!




So Sharon has a new callsign on Battlestar Galactica, and the Cylons are in a pickle.

I've just watched the latest episode and wow was it fantastic. The highlight of the season was still two weeks ago, but this week's episode runs a very close second. I really liked some of the after effects of the occupation, namely the split between those who were on New Caprica and those who weren't. It seemed like a very natural progression and circumstance; one would expect that sort of polarity to surface considering both sides had their own struggles and they feel trivialized by the other side who cannot understand their perspective. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Tigh and his statement to Adama after their confrontation.

The whole Baltar/Cylon storyline is also playing out strangely... most of it is to be expected (such as Baltar's drive for self-preservation and doing/saying whatever he needs to in order to survive, such as glossing over the discovery of the 13th Colony's device on the dead Basestar), but a couple things made me stop and think (or cringe). Firstly, the hybrid Cylon... wtf?! She completely reminded me of the controller chick from "Bad Wolf" (Doctor Who; season 27, episode 12). Secondly, the dismissal of the other 5 Cylon models smacked of laziness when it was first mentioned. Laziness on the part of the writers to come up with something better (read: good), that is. I have no doubt in my mind that some or all of the last 5 will get at least explored, if not shown, this season (even if only as a cliffhanger leading us to season 4), but it makes me wonder just how it will be accomplished.

I've purposefully not gone into great details about the episode since I'm too lazy to bother with containing spoilers as I did with my last comments about BSG... so, this is what you get.

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More Nerd Porn

While I await the shipment for my second-generation iPod Shuffle, interested parties may enjoy the disassembly photos for such a unit.



Sens Hockey

Google and the NHL have entered into an agreement to have (past, not live) games available on Google video. They're a few days behind, but something is better than nothing -- especially for folks like me who follow a team rarely available on TV in my area.

So, for the only link which matters, here's where to see Senators games on Google video.



Who Wants To Suck

I would almost feel bad for this guy were it not for the fact he seems to be one of those know-it-all college types you just want to drop kick in the nads.

(Yes, I hate propagating viral videos as much as the next person, but sometimes it needs to be done.)

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Nerd Porn

To borrow (or more likely misquote) a phrase from Bender, "oh baby, you've been a bad computer!"

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Token Halloween Post

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween... I dig the candy but that's about it. I don't enjoy sitting by the door handing things out, and I can't remember the last time I donned a costume.

That being said, someone has come up with a cute way of merging the pagan holiday with Apple technology.

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