New Who

31 March, 2007. Series three of Doctor Who has begun.

Here are a couple (spoiler-free) remarks I made about it on Freyburg's blog a few minutes ago:

I've finished Smith & Jones... in a word, fantastic. Martha looks like she'll make a wonderful companion... already I like her more than Rose (though I never cared much for Rose). This is also, by far, RTD's best opener script. Unfortunately, the bar was set quite low with the dreck that was Rose and New Earth... both of which earned the lowest or next-to-lowest rank in their respective seasons on my list.

I expected to hate it just as I disliked Rose and New earth for series openers, but I definitely liked this one. The Judoon were actually quite cool once you see them in context.



Yep, the casino...

Shaun wanted to go back to the casino tonight. I didn't want to go, but I didn't really put up a fight either. It took only a short time (half an hour, maybe 45 minutes) for my first rack to be whittled down to less than half. Thankfully I took a decent pot not long after that, hitting top pair on the flop with my Queen in the hole (this after getting run down with pocket Queens the hand before, by someone with K-4 offsuit, out of the blinds, with the pot being capped preflop). That took me back over my buy-in amount and I didn't look back.

Before long the game we were at got broken. Shaun moved to 1-2 NL while I moved to the main 3-6 game. The second hand in I chopped a pot and made a few bucks, then two or three hands later I rivered the nut flush to take down a massive ($250ish) pot. At my peak I was up over $160 in winnings, but I kept playing while Shaun sat at the 1-2 NL table. Eventually I got whittled down a fair bit, taking only one meager pot, before I stopped at $159, or up $59.

So, I cashed out, paid Shaun the $100 I borrowed from him last outing, and pocketed the $59 difference. Between what I kicked in to get my previous winnings amount to $200 (which I lost last outing) and the $27 I spent last week at the "freeroll" tournament, I'm now back in the black for poker winnings. I'm up $6. Whee!



Ron Moore Interviewed

An interview with Ron Moore regarding the aftermath of the series 3 finale aired this past weekend. Spoilers abound for those who haven't seen the finale.

Overall it doesn't say too much about what will happen in series 4, but that seems to be chiefly because Moore himself hasn't decided what will happen in series 4.


Daleks Take Manhattan

Today we finally learned the last of the episode titles for series three of Doctor Who. There are some interesting titles in there, such as Evolution of the Daleks, a title which borrows from classic series Dalek story titles -- and is certainly nicer than the near-ripoff of a Muppet movie title for episode 4.

For your perusal, the Outpost Gallifrey article with the titles, as well as the Wikipedia article with the titles.




Tonight marks the third season finale for Battlestar Galactica and what can I say about it but WOW. The latter half of this season has been pretty meh to be honest, especially compared with the first half, but the finale makes you forget all about the drudgery.

I called it -- twice, really -- quite a long time ago about what would happen in the finale. It's honestly not that much of a stretch given what transpired early in the season, but nonetheless I still have a well-deserved sense of smugness now that I know I was right. The reveal at the end of the episode was surprising, and frankly I don't completely buy it as being real, but at least for now we have to look at certain characters in a different light.

One thing I love about teh interwebs is the speed with which information can get out there. Battlestar Galactica finished airing not long ago on the Sci Fi Channel, and already the Wikipedia article on Cylons has information about what went on (note it contains spoilers). So lovely.

Thus ends another season of Battlestar Galactica, and frankly that's a good thing. I'm overly anxious and excited about what next season will deliver, especially since it's going to be the longest season yet (about which I have mixed feelings), but with the slow pace of the latter half of series 3, I think I can handle the wait just because I fear more filler crap in the extended season.

For those who watch the show but haven't yet seen the finale, don't give up on it even when it's slow and lagging early on... stick with it, it's worth it.




Saturday was, of course, St. Patrick's day, otherwise known as "oi-it's-time-to-drink-Guinness" day. I played gooseberry with my cousin Amy, her boyfriend Brennan and some of their friends and we went to O'Byrne's to stand in line. It was such a nice day out there, it was weird not having to wear a jacket (damn winter!). After about half an hour of standing in line we got inside and there was nowhere to sit. There was practically nowhere to stand. I had a pint ($7.25!!! Jaysus!) and before long we all got tired of standing around and such so we amscrayed and went over to Squires. Amazingly enough the place was nearly empty. Perhaps it had just opened or something, who knows. Nonetheless we found a huge table straightaway and claimed it. It took a while for any of us to figure out there was Guinness to be had there (they didn't have it on tap, but they sold the big cans of it for far less than O'Byrne's sold draught), but eventually Amy's friend Garrick noticed they had the cans and us Guinness drinkers were again content (in the mean time I had a couple pints of Trad, as it was the closest thing they had). One bad thing about Squires is the waitress had the audacity to serve me a Guinness with a PLASTIC CUP. Ugh. Amy got a shot of my disgust:

After a few hours, and after a snafu where some of the group left for a bit and weren't allowed back in, we left and proceeded to Subway where we met the stragglers. Amy, Brennan and I grabbed subs while the rest went to Garrick's place across the river. I've had screwed-up feet for about a week now (damn shoes!) and didn't care to walk to Garrick's, so the three of us went back to Amy & Brennan's crib to chow down. After eating, I decided I was too tired and my feet hurt too much to go to Garrick's with Amy & Brennan, who were now going to go there. So, I just headed home. Alas something went awry cosmically and I wound up walking the 9 blocks from their apartment to 109st & Whyte to catch the bus... then when I got to Southgate it was a half hour wait for my bus, so I caught the 17 instead and got off a lot further away (but saving time ultimately versus waiting), so I had a whole lot more walking to do than I anticipated. I ran into my step-nephew Troy at Southgate surprisingly enough, as he was on his way back from the Oilers game (their 10th loss in a row, neener-neener).

Yesterday, I got a call from the city about my email complaint regarding Friday's bus "service" -- apparently the two scheduled departures I was looking at weren't actually scheduled departures. There's apparently a notation on the posted schedule that the bus stops at Heritage then goes straight to the garage afterward and no riders are actually transported. That pretty much floored me because that means between about 9:30 and 11:00 p.m. there's NO bus service around my area from Heritage. On a weeknight. None. I can't fathom how that's possible but it apparently is. What could I do but suck it up, so I placated the lady from the city and just said "okay" every few seconds. Stupid damn bus system.

And finally, last night I tried my hand at a poker tournament at River Cree. It was a so-called "freeroll" in that there was no registration cost (but there was a $7 admin fee). There were the options of two rebuys and one add-on, each at $20. Thankfully, despite not winning a single pot until the last one before the first break, I survived without needing a rebuy. Starting chips were 1500, and with the one pot I scooped I had about 2800 going to the break with blinds coming up to 200/400. I bought the addon of 4000 for $20, giving me more breathing room. Nonetheless, I couldn't catch cards to save my life and eventually I went all in, very short stacked, with 9-4 offsuit in the small blind. Just my luck the big blind had pocket 7s and caught a third on the flop, decidedly ending my evening. Still, I was about 30% to win going to the flop so I had outs. Overall I placed about 22nd or 23rd of 44 players. And the "freeroll" only cost me $27. That was more than I wanted to spend considering I decided beforehand to pay no more than $7 to play, but it is what it is.

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I've recently got back from seeing Zodiac, a film which I'd somewhat been looking forward to seeing. I purposefully read very little about it from reviewers, and read even less about the meat of the story, as I both wanted to learn about the film as it developed as well as I knew I would see the film regardless due to David Fincher being the director.

Well, in a nutshell, the movie was... tedious. Not boring, at least not completely, but just tedious. It really didn't go very far, and when it did go anywhere it really took overly long to get there. This would easily rank among Fincher's less-interesting movies, somewhere around the level of Panic Room (which I rather disliked and found quite pointless and boring). I've got an overwhelming urge to watch Se7en, Fight Club or The Game to cleanse my palette and get some good Fincher stuff at the forefront of my brain.

On a related note, I saw the movie at South Common and had quite possibly the worst experience I've ever had with the so-called public transit system here. The ETS is far from perfect, has an utterly horrible schedule and route selection around where I live, and absolutely does not take you to a lot of places one may want to go. I've found it amusing yet sad the slogan for the ETS is something along the line of "where life takes you" when you can't get to so many places with ETS (airport, anyone? Hello?).

Anyhow, I was on the #74 from South Common to Heritage, having to wait for that bus for a while (as it happens when the route operates on 30-minute intervals), and I got to the Heritage terminal about 10:02 or 10:03 according to the big clock at the station. A quick check of the schedule for the #40 at the terminal showed me the next bus was scheduled to depart at 10:05. I was somewhat elated to have made such a fortuitous connection as taking the bus any time after afternoon peak hours can be a crap shoot for timing and connections. I sauntered over to where the #40 stops and waited. And waited. And waited. No bus ever came, let alone left anywhere near 10:05. I was unimpressed. So, the next one was supposed to depart at 10:35. I waited for that bus too. And waited. And waited. IT NEVER CAME. Two buses in succession, which were supposed to come, never came. By 10:40 I was beyond unimpressed and had moved onto livid. I could not fathom how this could happen. There's a notation on the bus schedule posted inside the terminal which basically says schedule information is subject to change without notice. Fine, I can accept that... things change, and there's the logistical and economical aspects regarding updating every piece of information about it. But there's a world of difference between schedule information changing and two successive buses going walkabout. Ultimately I wound up taking a different route (which did actually show up, on time) at about 11:05.

So, I've fired off a letter of complaint (via email of course) to the city about this situation. Given feedback to governments can so easily fall on deaf ears I really don't expect a reply, but I know I definitely won't get one if I don't bitch.

On a related note, the day started off quite poorly as I went back to the casino and proceeded to drop another $200 at the poker tables. So, I've now eaten through my winnings and I'm going to try to stick to not playing at the casinos any more... and no more real money play online. Just play money stuff online and maybe the occasional home tourney for a few bucks.

So... I dropped a couple "hobo racks" as one friend of mine called $200 today, I saw what was an uninteresting movie, and wasted a bunch of time at the bus station swearing at the city. That was my day. At least the burgers at Wendy's before the movie were damn tasty.

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4 weeks

Sometime right about now, a bit after 2:00 a.m. on March 14, is the 4-week anniversary of my last cigarette. I've behaved myself very well, not smoking in about a month now. I rarely got cravings when I smoked, but nowadays I'm not getting any at all.

I've done some silly stuff (as previously noted) since quitting, like hang out in smoking rooms at the casino, and I did it again in the smoking room at the Camrose Legion when I was there this past weekend for the semi-annual JP/Camrose Legion tourney (I wound up 6 and 4 at the tourney for what it's worth, with 2 losses by skunk, 2 wins by skunk and one double skunk victory). Still, a bit of second hand smoke won't be too bad, right?

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Today I went to see 300, going in having no expectations of liking or caring about it. The sole reason I wanted to see it was for the visual style. The movie was shot in the same manner as Sin City, in that the sets were quite minimal and bluescreen was heavily used to create vistas, landscapes and backdrops.

The story was actually decent, though the writing itself left a little to be desired (case in point, the whole subplot with the queen and the councillor is quite useless and really adds nothing) and the direction was very cool and stylized (the pans, slow motion, angles and so on were quite cool). Overall I'd have to give it a passing grade, though barely... while there was action going on all was well, but as soon as it moved away from that things got very tedious very quickly and frankly got boring. I do think I enjoyed it more than I did Sin City, the film to which it will chiefly be compared.

Check your head at the door, don't worry about knowing too much about the actual Battle of Thermopylae, and just enjoy the thing if you see it. It's mindless at best, sappy and cheesy at the end, but there are some decent bits in the middle.

I had also intended to see either The Number 23 or Zodiac today, but I couldn't convince anyone else to tag along so I saw neither. I do have plans to see Zodiac next week. Mmmm, David Fincher flicks.



...and then there was less

Rob wanted to go to River Cree last night as today is his birthday (happy b-day) so I obliged, seeing as how it's been like a second home for the past week.

I got off to an OK start taking an early pot, and early on I even turned on the kill, but it was pretty much downhill after that. We were there a little over 3 hours by which point I had blown through two racks after facing some tough losses (pocket kings run over twice, flop the nut straight only to be run over by a flush, etc.). Rob, on the other hand, fared better when he began a good roll by flopping quad kings when he went up against someone with aces. It was a beautiful flop, and had an ace hit the board the table would have enjoyed sharing in the bad beat jackpot of over $14,000, but alas no ace came. Overall he finished up over $260. Naturally, I made him buy breakfast.

Alas, in my estimation he tainted pocket kings as he enjoyed his success with that hand before I had them twice. Then again, Shaun had pocket kings run over the night before when he flopped a set only to be outdrawn at the river by someone hitting a straight, and I ran someone else's kings down with pocket 4s that same night when I turned a set.

At any rate, it was a big hit to my poker kitty. I'll be cashing out from Tiger Gaming soon, throwing the remainder of the kitty together with the Tiger proceeds and having one last do-or-die casino session. We'll see what the new number happens to be when all is said and done with the intermediary fees and such.


Happy B-day

Happy birthday to my sister Lindsay who turns 31 today.


Round three.... fight!

Another jaunt to River Cree last night made for a happy Chris, at least mostly.

Shaun wanted another kick at the cat, so we went back for another session at the poker room. We arrived a little after 1am and had to wait for seats, so we ventured onto the floor so Shaun could play some craps. Before long our names were called and while he played more craps I headed to the poker room to buy my chips and take my seat.

Altogether we played for about 4 hours, from about 1:20 to 5:20. Shaun and I swapped positions from last time, with him finishing down about $70 on the night (and going deep into his third rack before making a comeback) and me finishing up on the night. I bought my one rack and never had to rebuy, topping out about $225 (thanks to a sweet kill pot where my rivered flush punted about 3 or 4 straights) before giving some back and finishing at $174. For those keeping score, that's a buck more earned than I lost last session, so that puts me up $10 for the past week. It's better than being down I guess, but not as nice as being up over a couple hundred like Shaun.

Shaun's girlfriend had her doctor's appointment this morning regarding her out of whack back so that appointment will no doubt determine how much more we go to the poker room. I hope she's doing okay.

So, for the new grand total of my poker winnings since I started keeping track last summer when I was going to Palace (no link here due to the strike action, see the sidebar for the worker's support page) a fair bit: $287. That amount represents my kitty (not counting the winnings I have sitting in Tiger Gaming's online room which are currently around $77 USD) for my poker play. Once that amount is gone, if it vanishes, then that's it for me and going to the casino to play poker.

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Factory Girl

I went to see Factory Girl tonight with Fleming. I honestly wasn't looking forward to the movie, if for no other reason than I didn't have any interest in the subject matter. Nonetheless, I've not seen Rob for a bit and it was nice to catch up and see a flick.

As a character sketch of Edie Sedgwick it seemed an alright film, despite the notation on Wikipedia about the events and story being fictionalized (I would use the word "heightened" or perhaps even "exaggerated" rather than "fictionalized" based on the alleged facts in that article). However, while the film worked on that level, because I didn't care about the subject matter I can't say I liked the film as I didn't enjoy it greatly. The acting was quite good though, I will certainly give it praise for that. I did find it interesting that the three leading actors, all portraying Americans, were from outside the US (Sienna Miller essentially being from England, Guy Pearce essentially being from Australia and Hayden Christensen from Canada).



Gambling Redux

I've just gotten home from another session at the casino, a shorter jaunt than last night as we left later and people stopped playing earlier (when we left at 8am yesterday the action was still going; tonight our leaving broke the sole 3/6 table). All tolled, it was about 5 1/2 hours of play, from about 2 to 7:30.

Lady luck was definitely not on my side for this outing, as I blew through half my first rack in under a half hour. It wasn't long before that was gone when I had 6-9 offsuit in the big blind and flopped the nuts only to have someone with pocket 5s turn quads. The second rack lasted longer, but not much.

I've never been patient enough to go deeper than two racks, but I did it tonight. I bought the third rack and after a little while it was about half gone before I started to tread water. Eventually I began to swim, to continue the metaphor, peaking around 7am at $285, down only $15 after all the turmoil from the evening. I considered stopping and cutting my losses there but didn't actually do so. When all was said and done, I finished at $227, down $73 for the night. Not my worst effort, but certainly not my best. I succeeded in taking the kill a few times at least, which is always a good sign.

Shaun, on the other hand, had a few good rushes here and there and was up around $350 late in the game before giving some of it back and cashing out up $300 exactly.

Still, despite the loss of money, I think this was perhaps the most fun I've had in a poker room. As the night wore on, things got lighter and more jovial until it got downright silly. Fun was had by all.

And now to sleep so I can get up at a far from respectable hour and go catch a movie with Fleming.

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Last night I got a message from my fried Shaun who decided he wanted to go hit the casino to play some poker. So, I'm like, okay, let's go.

We wound up going to River Cree, and it was my third visit there. The third time seemed to be the charm as I had a mostly enjoyable experience there (my first one). The kinks were mostly worked out as far as the house rules and adherence to the same are concerned. The only issue I had was one dealer inconsistently dealt to seats with absent players. Sometimes he'd deal them in, sometimes not. Other than that, all was well. I even found the coffee/pop station where us night owls could get free beverages. I'm so glad that's been implemented since opening day when I first went and pop was like 2 bucks or something stupid.

Also, for the first time there, I finished the night up money. I won a grand total of $9, which I proceeded to spend (and then some) at breakfast on the way home.

It was a long night. We got to the casino a little after 1 in the morning and left at (according to the watch of the lady working the cashier cage) 7:57. So, about 7 hours. I crashed a little before 9 and got up about 5pm.

I was quite craving a cigarette, too. I found it tough to be there that long playing poker and not smoke. I behaved myself at least, although there was this one point at about 6:30 where the table shut down for a 5 minute break (the cleaning staff had to vacuum and such) and I went to the smoking room to enjoy the second-hand smoke.

And just now I got an IM from Shaun saying he wants to go back. Perhaps another long night is in store.

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