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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

hasty conclusions

permalink Sunday, 15JAN2006:

after the hijinks of last night, i had been worried that i would need a wake up call to make it to this afternoon's run of the play. groggy with sleep, i managed to hail a cab and made it to the school just in time to chat with the rcmp officer who had responded to the school's alarm. it turns out that someone had begun a tour of the school and had wandered down the 'wrong' hallway.

we had an excellent crowd for the matinee, a first for a part-time players production. the crowd was lively with a few younger (teenage) folk, who seemed to really get into the performances. everything went fine on the tech side, except for one moment where i heard some loud bird sounds and frantically motioned for vinnie to cut the sound level. he shrugged his shoulders with his hands palms up and then pointed towards the bristle-board covered windows and i finally realized that it was the friggin' ravens outside causing the ruckus. ha-ha-hilarious!

my favourite moment of this show was when all of the actors stepped back 'with their peripheral vision' and each looked back up one by one in turn. i was informed afterwards that this had not been rehearsed, but at the time, it was magical to watch.

in the afternoon break before the final performance, i gave greg down in sudbury a call. he had left a message on my voicemail at work and i finally had a chance to track him back down. it seems that the occasional emails that i had sent to him over the last few months had been spam-filtered by his yahoo account (along with ones by a bunch more of his friends) and he had no idea. it was great to catch up with him and shoot the shit like old times.

the evening show was a seriously sedate affair as the audience seemed to be so struck by the story that the humourous moments all seemed to get sucked into a black hole of suffering. the actors felt this and seemed to step back a notch from their afternoon energy levels. however, it seems that the play made quite an impact and word of mouth provided us with a full house for the final show, with people even patiently waiting in line for rush seats as tickets reserved as comps were freed up just before showtime.

strike after the show went insanely well and we were done in just shy of an hour with no lost-time-incidents to speak of. everything packed away in the storage room, ready to be picked up tomorrow, we all headed over to karen's place for the cast / crew party. wine was poured, toasts were made, flowers were presented and cards were pored over. joanne managed to get her video camera hooked up to the t.v. set and we watched charlotte's recording of tonight's show. charlotte had conveniently zoomed in on each actor's face so we could see every bit of emotion and animation until the camera's batteries ran out of juice.

  • link of the day: frequentist vs. bayesian probability (or 'how the mind works'):
    With the correct prior, even a 
    single piece of data can be used to 
    make meaningful Bayesian predictions.  
    By contrast frequentists, though they 
    deal with the same probability 
    distributions as Bayesians, make fewer 
    prior assumptions about the 
    distribution that applies in any 
    particular situation.  Frequentism is 
    thus a more robust approach, but one 
    that is not well suited to making 
    decisions on the basis of limited 
    information  which is something that 
    people have to do all the time.
    
    ...
    
    That might explain the emergence of 
    superstitious behaviour, with an 
    accidental correlation or two being 
    misinterpreted by the brain as causal. 
    A frequentist way of doing things 
    would reduce the risk of that 
    happening.  But by the time the 
    frequentist had enough data to draw a 
    conclusion, he might already be dead.
    
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briefly-restored stasis succumbs to inevitable entropy

permalink Monday, 16JAN2006:

dropped off the barndoors at ibc first thing in the morning so they could set up for their t.v. show later in the day. i then stumbled into my office and again found ways to do mostly mindless tasks until i was more comfortably awake. by then it was lunch time, so i hit the snack to get their special #1, which today turned out to be pork chops slathered in gravy with mashed potatoe and sweet potatoe. i grazed contentedly while gazing out over the frozen bay where snowmobile tracks were starting to criss-cross - evidence that the snow machines were out in full force over the weekend.

after hanging around the office for a couple more hours, bella picked me with the van and we loaded up all of the lighting paraphernalia from the french school. even the ladder managed to fit inside ! we then jaunted about the town, dropping off stuff seemingly willy-nilly as we went, sort of a later-arriving santa. by 16:30, we had returned all of the borrowed goods and i was finally able to call a wrap to my involvement with 'shape of a girl', breathing a huge sigh of relief that everything had gone without a hitch.

after a short lie-down after work, i hit up the nav again for some chow mein and then taxi'd up to bella's for her going-away party (she leaves us on wednesday for the big burgh of t.o.). the house filled up quickly with people, food, wine, conversation and song. a fitting farewell tribute to a fine gal who will be missed.

  • ip idiocy link of the day: canadian sf author cory doctorow writes an op-ed in the toronto star about the bulte copyright controversy:
    The outcome of the American approach 
    that Bulte advocates is nothing less 
    than a war between the entertainment 
    industry and the public.
    
    ...
    
    My biggest problem as an independent 
    artist isn't piracy, it's obscurity. 
    Enlisting my fans as unpaid 
    evangelists makes me money; suing 
    them would ruin me.
    
    The copyright wars are no good for 
    artists.  Musicians want to be 
    remembered as "the guy who wrote the 
    song you lost your virginity to," 
    not "the guy who wrote the song you 
    lost your hard drive to."  Better 
    technologies that let artists reach 
    wider audiences more cheaply are 
    always, always, always good for 
    artists.  They create new 
    opportunities to reach new fans 
    without selling our souls.  There 
    is no answer to an artist's problems 
    that starts with "sue all your fans."
    
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primed for glory

permalink Wednesday, 18JAN2006:

after feeling extremely run-down yesterday, i managed to pick up a bit of steam today and got some stuff done at work. maybe the anticipation of saturday's hold'em tourney at the new arena will keep me stoked for the rest of the week.

iqaluit broomball chronicle

team white: kerry, JF, dan, christian, jacques, martha
team black: yoan, julian, mark, marco, sebastien, me

by most accounts, this was the best game of the season so far. of course, it did help that both teams had a sub waiting on the bench with fresh legs. position play was excellent and both teams generally had to work to get a decent shot on net. julian and dan were the speedsters down the sidelines, martha and sebastien plugged up the holes in the middle, and while i tried to fend off relentless waves of shots from jacques, JF, and kerry on team white, christian was hard pressed to decipher a blizzard of pinpoint passing by yoan, mark and marco on team black.

the bonehead goal of the night was when i was (nominally) playing net and tried to take a shot while my team mates were all deep in the offensive zone. JF slapped the ball out of the air and proceeded to skip right on past me towards my wide open net. my valiant charge from behind knocked the posts astray, but did not prevent the ball from bouncing into the netting. the prettiest goal started with a pass from mark, in the corner behind team white's net, to marco who, with his back to the net, snagged the ball and WITHOUT EVEN TURNING HIS HEAD TO LOOK, backhanded it quickly behind him to beat a defender AND the goalie cleanly.

  • ip idiocy link of the day: it's scary that someone who can't even vote yet can still manage to summarize the bulte situation in an eloquent way that makes very clear what candidate bulte doesn't seem able to grasp:
    Here we have an MP supporting harsh 
    copyright protection legislation and 
    the industries that stand to benefit 
    most from that legislation is giving 
    her money.  Is it legal?  Yes.  Does 
    it raise suspicion, especially in a 
    government that has been brought down 
    by a sponsorship scandal?  Yes.
    
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hurray for blizzard days !

permalink Thursday, 19JAN2006:

woke up this morning to a howling blizzard outside. it was still fairly clear when i looked outside but the building was shaking a bit with the wind. i snoozily listened to joanne on the radio as one office and day care after another announced that they would be closed for the morning until i finally heard my workplace mentioned, with the comment that 'essential staff' were still present. satisfied that i was not included under that umbrella, i gladly snuggled deeper under the covers to get a bit more much-needed shuteye, seeing as i had missed my usual catchup last weekend due to the play.

iqaluit blizzard
around 10-ish (i think - the power had gone out and the clocks were blinking in unison), i got up to take a gander at the now-swirling maelstrom outside. i tried to do a bit of websurfing, but the power kicked off again so i busied myself with my preparing my monthly comic order. the power came back on about 15 minutes later and i went back to the computer, only to have the power shut down again before i had even started up any programs. throwing my hands in the air, i went back to bed. i finally got back up around 4 (this from my computer clock as all the other clocks in the apartment were now hosed) with the skies now clear and the winds slight. geez, i wonder if i was supposed to go to work this afternoon ?

in the evening, i wandered over to the cap suites for a friendly 3-way hold'em tourney with stuart and jean to practice up for the big weekend. jean took an early chip lead and i slowly gathered up a few pots as stuart got a feel for the table. once he was happy with what he had seen, he pounced on my baby flush with a higher pair of suited cards to rake in a massive pot and leave me short-stacked for ages. i quickly tightened up my play but each time i went all-in to double up, no one bit and i was hard-pressed to maintain my patience.

my day-long nap came thru for me, tho, and once jean started to flag, i began to rally. unfortunately, stuart got caught up in that storm and busted out. jean and i then played heads up, where i thought he was playing ultra-tight, but he really just wasn't getting any cards. i slowly whittled him down until he finally went all-in to avoid getting blinded out. unluckily for him, i had a hand and finished off the night in good shape for saturday.

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the poker invasion

permalink Friday, 20JAN2006:

it seems that the impression that the best poker player in iqaluit would be crowned tomorrow night is not quite accurate. tonight, kevin and i played a few more test games against some fellows from kuujuaq who had come up just for the tourney. they had held their own mini-tourney last weekend and the top 6 finishers from a field of 49 won a trip to iqaluit plus the buy-in for this tourney. so, the winner tomorrow night can justly claim to be the best poker player from baffin island / nunavik !

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all in, baby !

permalink Saturday, 21JAN2006:

excitement was in the air as 149 people showed up at the arctic winter games arena in iqaluit this afternoon to participate in a knock-down drag-out battle of attrition to see who could claim to be the best poker player of baffin island / nunavik. half of the proceeds of the tourney were to support the old-timers hockey team's trip to vancouver. i came prepared for the long haul with plenty of bottled water, a foot-long turkey sandwich from subway and outfitted with my mp3 player, an eye-popping poker shirt and a mask to half-hide my eyes.

the tourney was set up in 4 rounds: round1 was 15 tables of 10 with the top 4 continuing to round 2; round2 was 6 tables of 10 with the top 4 continuing to round 3; round3 was 3 tables of 8 with the top 3 continuing on to the final table. i also joined jeff's side bet pool of regular players - 31 of us threw in a contribution, and the person lasting the longest would take down a prize better than the official 5th place finisher. while there were many familiar faces, there were even more that i had never seen before. as mike commented during his opening remarks, it is rare to see anything start on time in the north, but for this tourney, 149 people made a notable exception.

i joined co-worker jordan at the first table along with his father, a former city councillor. in the first round, i folded pocket 5's when someone bet a bit harder and watched in despair as another 5 and a pair came on the board. when pocket 6's came by only a few hands later, i bet strongly, going all in after the river as i had made another full house. i had a follower, so i doubled up. that guy was pretty lucky it turned out. after he was short-stacked by his stunt against me, he only played when he was in for the blinds and turned over pocket queens, pocket queens and then pocket nines on 3 consecutive rounds to stay alive. me, i just shivered in the frigid arena, babysitting the chip lead and letting the rest of the table duke it out to see which 3 would join me in the 2d round out of the 10 starters.

bad beat stories abounded in the foyer while we were waiting for the rest of the tables to finish up. i heard at least 4 people busted out on pocket rockets after they bet all-in, including one fellow on the very first hand of the tourney. he won a cheapo poker kit for his premature passing. me, i settled down to finish half of my sub. of todd's regular table, patrick, j.d. and myself survived to the 2d round, while vinnie and chris busted out early. todd himself was away skiing in europe, spencer was also out of town and becky and karen were volunteer dealers.

in the 2d round, i faced off against some more tough foes, including the premier and the chip leader after the first round, both from pang. i was middle stack at the table, but quickly became short stack after an ill-advised stab that barely got called. after that, i played extremely tight, but it wasn't until i was almost blinded out that i won 2 all-in hands in a row to get a bit more breathing space. it didn't help that i was to the left of darcy who became the table chip leader and started raising every hand. i couldn't catch a decent run of cards and eventually blinded out when i went all-in with an As7s with 2 spades showing up on the flop. alas, no other spade was destined to appear and my A-high was beat by a measly pair, stranding me in 5th place at the table, and the 2d last one out on the 2d round, placing me 26th for the tourney.

that was a respectable result, but i was more amazed to find out that i had outlasted 28 other regular players on jeff's side pool, including all of those from todd's table. coming in 4th in that crowd of 'degenerate gamblers' was much more brag-worthy, even if alex eventually bested george for that prize. of the 4 people who survived my 2d round table, none survived the 3d round to make it to the final, with the premier being the last holdout to finish in 10th place. from my 1st round table, the other 3 who i had bested there found their way into the 3d round, so it seems that i had peaked too soon. of those 3, 1 made it to the final table where he was assisted by a dealer who had no clue what he was doing - the dealer miscounted an all-in bet and gave him a pile of extra undeserved chips, and playing those extra chips allowed the player to outlast the the only woman at the final table to finish 4th.

afterwards, becks dropped a few of us off at the legion where we hung out until last call. a fight broke out at the next table after the lights came on. many of the poker tourney players were out and about, so i arranged a re-match with the kuujuaq folks (including a former mayor), hoping to shake the poker fever out of my system. i played, i lost, and i took my chips home with nothing to show for my evening's efforts but an empty wallet and some fabulous stories. i had a blast and if another city-wide tourney was arranged again, i wouldn't hesitate to throw my name in the ring for another go-round.


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