30 April 2007

Eastern Conference- Devils 0, Senators 2

Tonight the Ottawa Senators took a 2-1 series lead in their Eastern Conference Semifinals by defeating the New Jersey Devils 2-0. The Senators are the other team I'm rooting for to win the Stanley Cup.

In this game there was a lot of up and down action, so it was pretty exciting to watch. The game was scoreless until the third period, when the Senators finally got one past Martin Brodeur. Although I definitely want the Senators to make short work of the Devils in this series, I still wish they could have scored in a different way--a passing Ottawa player nudged Brodeur's right skate, putting Brodeur off balance just as he was trying to get in position to face the shot. I think the referees could have called goalie interference, but I'm assuming they simply didn't see it, because otherwise it was pretty obvious to me.

Normally, I'd have just shrugged and said, "them's the breaks". Calls get missed, the puck takes a weird bounce, whatever, it's all part of the game. I'm of mixed feelings this time because I admire Brodeur and what he's accomplished in his career, and in this game he played great. That was the only shot that made it past Brodeur--the 2nd Ottawa goal was an empty netter. Oh well.

Congratulations, Ottawa. On to game 4 on Wednesday.

28 April 2007

Game 2- Canucks 2, Ducks 1 (2OT)

Yippeeee!!! The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 in the 2nd OT in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the best of seven series now tied 1-1.

Jeff Cowan scored the winning goal in the middle of the 2nd OT, assisted by Trevor Linden after some great fore-checking. I'm not sure how the puck went in--Giguere was pressed right up against the near post, but Cowan's shot slid along the ice right between Giguere's skate and the near post. Wow.

I have to say that after the first game I was extremely disappointed with the Canucks' performance. I wasn't sure whether we were just playing badly, or if the Ducks are just a much better team. After Game 2 I'm glad to see that the Canucks can actually compete with the Ducks, despite being in my opinion the underdogs in this series.

To tell the truth, even if the Canucks had lost this game, putting them down 2-0 in the series and in a big hole, I wouldn't have been too upset. I would have been very disappointed, of course, but overall there's no way I can criticize the effort and intensity the Canucks displayed on the ice. If the Canucks can continue playing this way for the rest of the series I'll be content.

There were only a few minor issues I had. Naslund finally scored a goal, but he also took a few penalties, including one in the 1st OT, though a couple looked kind of weak. Maybe I'm just paying more attention to Luongo than Giguere, but my impression is that the Ducks are bumping into Luongo much more than the Canucks into Giguere. Luongo played much better this game, though he was saved by a couple posts. A couple of Canucks were injured and not dressed for the game, including two of our regular defensemen. If memory serves, we outshot the Ducks, but I think the Ducks had more scoring chances than the Canucks.

I noticed in the previous series, and also in this one, that the Canucks often have difficulty in clearing their zone. This is especially aggravating, and stressful, when they're on the PK--it seems like it's impossible for them to even "ice" the puck (fyi, no icing calls for a team on PK), resulting in several turn-overs in our zone.

Anywhoo, back in Vancouver for Game 3 on Sunday!

23 April 2007

Game 7- Stars 1, Canucks 4

Hurrah! The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 in the 7th game of the Stanley Cup playoffs!!!!!!! The final score doesn't reflect how close the game was. The Canucks scored two empty netters in the final 2 minutes when Dallas pulled Turco.

Trevor Linden scored the game winner--deflecting an Ohlund shot going wide between Turco's legs. Apparently, Linden is the leading goal scorer in Stanley Cup playoff game sevens, among active players. If I recall correctly, Linden scored the winner in game 4, too. So that's two goals, two game winners in this series. Not bad, Mr. Playoff!

Luongo made an amazing save afterwards to stop the Stars from tieing the game. Although, there was a point where Luongo lost his cool and risked putting the Canucks in to a two-man disadvantage. Fortunately, a penalty wasn't called, especially as the referees were calling tons of penalties in the third. Modano almost tied it when he had a wide open net but he hit the crossbar instead.

The Canucks really poured it on in the second period after Henrik Sedin made the score 1-1 on a powerplay.

I was pretty depressed after losing games 5 and 6, but now it's just overwhelming relief. The Canucks move on to the second round on Wednesday in Annaheim against the Ducks.

17 April 2007

Game 4- Canucks 2, Stars 1

Hurrah! Yippee! We won! The Canucks defeat the Stars 2-1 in regulation and take a 3-1 series lead!!!!

Tonight's game between the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars wasn't on television, but I was able to listen to the game via live streaming on the internet at Team 1040AM, which broadcasts Canucks games.

I really wish I could have seen this game, though, instead of just listening to it. The teams played much more evenly, and the Vancouver PK was great, killing off a questionable two-man Stars PP in the first. I especially wanted to see the Canucks' second goal by Trevor Linden. Linden is one of my all-time favourite NHL players, and the way Tom Larscheid described it Linden had a great shift that ended with him scoring the winning goal.

Talk about stressful, though. Scoreless for two and a half periods. The Canucks score first in the middle of the third period, but then the Stars equalize a few minutes later. Linden scores with 6 minutes left, and 3 minutes later the Stars almost equalize once again--muchos kudos to Willie Mitchell for saving one on the goal line. Then for the last minute the Stars pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. Talk about tension!


On to game 5 in Vancouver :o)

15 April 2007

Game 3- Canucks 2, Stars 1

Hurrah! The Canucks defeated the Dallas Stars 2-1 in overtime!

I think the Canucks played much better this game, especially in the third period, and in the overtime, though there were definitely some tense moments in the OT when the Canucks couldn't get it out of their own zone.

Vancouver now leads the series 2-1. :o)

13 April 2007

Game 2--Dallas 2, Canucks 0

I don't get it. This is the Canucks team that topped the Northwest Division?! Watching the Canucks play Game 1 and tonight I would never have guessed it. It's like for 80% of the game they let Dallas take shots at Luongo, and for the remaining 20% they sprinkle in an occasional shot at Turco. Was this their game plan in the regular season?

I was only able to watch one regular season game when the Canucks played the Washington Capitals (Canucks 3, Capitals 2 (SO)). This was before the Christmas break, back when the Canucks were playing a little below (or was it slightly above?) 500 hockey. I think the Canucks played better and had more spark in that regular season game than they have now, in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Depressing.

I can't even give the Canucks the excuse of being exhausted from their 1st game marathon that ran to 4OT--Dallas are in the exact same boat.

Towards the end of the game the Canucks started getting desperate, I guess, but too little too late.

If this worrisome trend continues I don't see the Canucks surviving the first round. :o(

12 April 2007

Dallas at Vancouver

Tonight the Vancouver Canucks played their first quarter final match-up against the Dallas Stars. Hurrah! The Canucks defeated Dallas 5-4 in the fourth over-time period. Wow.

To tell the truth, living on the east coast, I had to go to sleep after the 2nd overtime. I'm not sure how the play went afterwards, but based on the part I did watch, I think the Canucks stole this one. I think we were outplayed.

But on to game 2, with the Canucks leading the series 1-0. :o)

11 April 2007

Annoying comments by commentators

I just have to vent about some commentators on Versus, which deserves much kudos for broadcasting the Stanley Cup playoffs by the way, but I hope they'll clean up their use of the English language.

First, during tonights Ottawa-Pittsburgh game (Ottawa wins 6-3!) I noticed the commentators/announcers like shortening names. For example, "Sens" instead of "Senators". I'm not sure why they do that, maybe it's a stupid attempt at being "hip"? Maybe the extra syllables are two much of an effort to enunciate? Who knows. I just think it's annoying.

The "Sens" was annoying, but not the worst. The host guy on Versus's Hockey Central, when segueing to the Vancouver-Dallas game, referred to the Vancouver Canucks as "Van". Dallas at Van. That's right, "Van".

I still can't get over it. "Van"?!?!?!?! Personally, I think it's not only rude, but insulting. I might be mollified if he was an equal opportunity idiot, but no. "Dallas" remained "Dallas". I hope he doesn't make it a habit.

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2007

Well, it’s finally time for the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs. While I was planning on staying up-to-date on the results, I hadn’t been very optimistic about actually being able to watch any Vancouver CanucksDallas Stars games. To my delight I discovered that Versus (formerly OLN) will be airing three of the first four games!!! If necessary, games 5 – 7 will also be broadcast. Three cheers for Versus!

I’m not sure if I’m sufficiently prepared for the emotional highs and lows that comes hand in hand with watching Canucks playoff hockey. It's been quite a while. Last year the Canucks missed the playoffs, and prior to that televised hockey coverage was inexcusably difficult to find. Since tonight’s game starts at 10pm EST, it looks like I won’t be getting very much sleep.

While I’m a big fan of the Canucks I’m far from an aficionado and my knowledge of other NHL teams very meager. Still, what’s playoff hockey without predictions?

Canucks in six.

Now all I need is a Canucks playoff towel. Towel power lives!

Fyi, Versus has its current NHL broadcast schedule up here. Tonight at 7pm EST it’s an Eastern Conference match-up between No. 4 Ottawa Senators and No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins. I might have to end up watching this series, too. Go Senators!

Canada wins gold

Congratulations to the Canada women's hockey team, who last night in Winnipeg captured their ninth world championship title in ten years by defeating the United States 5-1.

Sweden defeated Finland 1-0 for the bronze medal.

06 April 2007

Blogshares and me--part III

Continuation of Blogshares and me—part II

I was on my computer one evening when I received an IM from my brother informing me that I should log on to Blogshares as soon as possible. A player was currently attacking a fellow Robber Baron’s portfolio. This particular attack involved a single player attempting to forcefully takeover a particular blog.

Taking over a blog in which you initially have no shares generally requires three to four artefact-usages. On average two to three artefact-useages are required to restructure and gain at least 20% of a blog’s shares, at which point another artefact can be used to perform a hostile takeover (HTO) to purchase all the remaining shares.

Artefacts are useful, powerful tools, but each can only be used once or twice (depending on how much karma a player has) in a 24 h period. In addition, only certain artefacts can be used with any particular blog. A player with many artefacts has a high probability of having one that can be used on a particular blog; a player with many artefacts also has a high probability of matching more than one artefact to a blog. However, there’s a limit to how many different artefacts can be used on a specific blog and this in combination with the limited use of artefacts in a 24 h period means that a single artefact-wielding player is at a severe disadvantage when working against a group of artefact-wielders.

If memory serves, this particular attack was limited in scope. The attacking player was acting against only one of our blogs and no public relation disasters were involved—which at this point would have been a waste of artefact-useage, anyway. Our response was measured so the fight was limited to this particular blog. Our tactics were relatively simple: we let the attacker use his/her artefacts to gain 20% of the shares, but before he could HTO us, we’d HTO first. In this manner the attacker used up artefacts at a faster rate. When the current Robber Baron at bat ran out of artefact-useages, the next corporate member would step up to the plate.

The attacker recruited some help and the fight ebbed and flowed over a few days with the Robber Barons having the upper hand, and ultimately hostilities ended.

I found the entire episode fun, and I enjoyed participating in my first Blogshares battle. It both rejuvenated and enhanced my interest in Blogshares. Robber Barons is a congenial group and not opposed to anyone trying to make a profit; at the same time, we’re not going to let anyone abuse the corporation and we’ll make a measured response if provoked. I feel fortunate that I was able to join a corporation that welcomes newbies, providing help, support, tactical and strategic tips. The Robber Barons and Stilyagi memberships are a friendly, active group of players that form a large part of the reason why I probably spend too much time on Blogshares.

Having found the defense of our corporation to be an entirely enjoyable event, I was regretting--and feeling slightly guilty about feeling that regret—the probability that similar events would be few and far between.

Little did I know….

03 April 2007

Blogshares and me-- part II

Continuation of Blogshares and Me, part I

And then something happened....

A player started "attacking" the portfolio of a member of the Robber Barons Corporation, of which I am a member. This eventually resulted in the planning (well, others did the planning--I was just prepared to follow orders) of a strategy to retaliate and dissuade further abuse. This was all taking place within the rules, of course. Blogshares is just a game, after all. Unfortunately, I missed all the action--hey, I'm not on the computer all the time!--but I was able to enjoy our justified retribution vicariously after the fact by reading automated “press releases”. Ultimately we emerged victorious and hostilities were ended.

But this shifted my focus towards a new direction: using my artefacts. Artefacts are useful tools that can have very significant, temporary effects on a blog's share price, among other things, and add a whole new level of strategy to the game. I find using artefacts much more gratifying than searching for blogs, so I began purchasing artefacts and using them to help fellow Robber Barons whenever the opportunity arose.

When I go searching for blogs/shares to purchase, I’m not so much looking to increase my net worth but to increase the value of my portfolio. The combined portfolios of a corporation’s membership contributes to the interest rate that corporation earns. Currently I look for high value blogs but I don’t manipulate share prices of blogs owned by other players before restructuring (the forced sale and purchase of shares at 3x the current price) and taking them over via a hostile takeover (forced sale and purchase of all a blog’s shares at 3x the current price)—both actions require the use of artefacts.

Another powerful use of an artefact is to significantly depress (Public Relations Disaster) the share price of a blog. However, as I said, I have no inclination or desire to PRD blogs willy nilly for no other reason besides increasing my net worth and annoying other players.

I was happily increasing the number of my ::cough:: cheap ::cough:: artefacts when our corporation was once again forced to act in retaliation against another player, and this time I was able to participate….

01 April 2007

Curious minds want to know

Yesterday I was stopped behind a Ford 4x4 that had two large vertical pipes sticking up from behind the cab.

Each pipe seems to be protruding from a metal box you can barely see in the pic. They look like exhaust pipes to me--does this indicate it's an extra-powerful truck for hauling things? I wonder how much extra hp this gives you. Is this a factory option, or after-market mod?

UPDATE: Ooops. I must be blind. As noted in the comment, the truck is a Dodge - as clearly seen in the pic.

HTC s620 update

Late last year I spoiled myself and purchased an HTC s620 Excalibur smartphone to replace my mobile and Palm Zire 72. I was tired of having to carry around two devices. You can read my impressions and review of the s620 in a previous post.

It's been a few months now and I'm still very happy with my purchase. I did purchase Facade, a third-party program that allows the calendar and tasks to be displayed on the home page. I'm happy with this feature as well, though slightly miffed that this feature isn't standard on the Windows Mobile O/S.

It had always been my intention to take a few pictures with the Excalibur's MP camera, but it wasn't until now that I remembered. There's no flash, so in low light conditions it's difficult to take a good picture. Anywhoo, here's a picture I took with the Excalibur:

It's a 1.2MP camera, so I think it's fine for unplanned instances where I just need a quick snap shot.

To Canada, with love

It's slightly delayed, but yesterday I finally managed to mail a couple things to my new niece, Aston, who, apparently, is already being indoctrinated with information on the latest technological gadgets and gizmos (see here for pics). Hopefully my "old school" gifts will catch Aston at an age where she can still appreciate them! :o)

I was originally looking for a stuffed porcine to commemorate the Year of the Hog but the selection at my local Toys R Us was sorely lacking. I went with the rabbit because Easter is approaching and you gotta love the floppy ears. I threw in the roundish furball because when I saw it I just had to buy it.

They're being shipped by USPS, definitely *not* by Fedex (Trouble with Fedex). I tend to feel a little stupid whenever I ship something at the USPS. It's trying to figure out what forms I should fill out before getting into the always long, slow line, and inevitably when my turn comes up discovering I filled out the wrong form(s).

Let's see, first I filled out the wrong customs declaration form. I just filled out the first one I saw but, stupid me, I should have looked for more because there are two. Which one you fill out depends on the weight of your package. Oops.

Second, since address labels are all "scanned" these days I needed to have "Canada" as the bottom line of the address, not "Canada + ZIPCODE" as I normally do. Oops.

Third, I normally put two address labels on boxes, so that from most angles at least one of them is visible. Mistake. I was told that if someone/a machine happens to see the address label with no postage on it... back to the sender it goes. Oops.

Oh well, at least the post office employees were polite and professional. I just hope I remember all this the next time I need to mail a package.

Site visitors in March 2007

With what has become a regular monthly feature, here are the top 5 visitors to this site in March 2007, listed by country:

1) United States,
2) Canada,
3) European Union,
4) Australia,
5) Great Britain.

The full list for March 2007. Data for previous months can be found by following this link.

Steve Jobs introduces the iRack

I saw this great video (a clip from MADtv, I gather), so I thought I'd post a link here: