Friday, November 28, 2008

2008 Home Hardware Bonspiel - Day Four

Day Four had us at the Galt Country Club. Extremely fast ice, with decent curl - about three feet. The ice started fudging down the centre in the fifth end, though, and it was dangerously slippery the whole game. Many times I thought I was going to wipe out when I leaned on the broom to sweep a rock.

First end we had to hit and stick for one, but rolled out to give up a steal of one.

Second end we split the house on the lead's second rock, and played the whole end to take two. We hit and rolled out on the last rock, to only take one.

Third end they piled a bunch of rocks behind cover, and we couldn't get them out. Steal of two.

Fourth end we drew against four, but slipped a few inches too far. Steal of one.

Fifth end produced the best shot I've seen in a couple of years. They were sitting three, with a rock at the top of the button behind lots of guards. Our only chance at not shaking hands right there was a 15 foot 45-degree-angle runback, and we stuck it perfectly for one. Tough way to score a single...

Sixth end they got one to the top of the button, behind cover, and since we had no way to remove it, we decided to guard and hold them to one.

Seventh end we had a draw/tap against four to score a single, but it snapped and wrecked on a guard. Handshakes. Make the final 9-2 for the bad guys.

Us (h) 2 5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Them 1 3 4 6 7

All in all, our best showing ever in this bonspiel. And it felt good making it past the fourth end against these guys - something which another Elmira team failed to do the night before. I'll make sure I rub that in.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Damn you, Blogger!

Comments should work now.

Thanks, Gabriel.

Eight years, where'd they go? Eight years, I don't know [apologies to Bob Seger]

Eight years. Wow. That went fast.

It's funny how similar the girls are to the two of us. My five-year-old is a miniature version of my wife. My eight-year-old is a miniature version of me.

She's a camper.



And a curler too.



She spent her first week in the special care nursery. Here we are getting to know each other. She's come a long way since her first day.



Here she is on her first birthday.



And playing in the leaves with her little sister last fall.



Happy birthday V!

2008 Home Hardware Bonspiel - Day Three

Day Three had us at the Guelph Country Club. Fast ice, right from the start. Decent curl, about two to three feet, except for one path between the centre line and the four foot on one side. We lost a rock to the fall there in the first end, but the other team lost at least six down that path. We just kept forcing them to throw down that path, and it killed them.

First end they were sitting one, and we had a rock fairly well guarded at the back of the four foot. Their skip threw a light tap to bump us back for two. Halfway down the sheet they were all over a guard, but the sweepers pounded it and it fell back just enough to make the shot.

Second end was not too junky. They missed a hit and we drew the open side to lie three. Their skip tried a smoker to get the triple, which I thought was possible - more likely he'd make the double though. He flashed by everything, and we drew for four.

Third end we played our game. Toss one in the house and guard the hell out of it. Our skip was heavy on his first guard and it ended up in the house, on top of the rock we were trying to guard. Their skip got a little tight on his double attempt and wrecked on a guard. We guarded this time, and stole two.

Fourth end we had them in huge trouble, but our last rock slipped a bit too deep, and they drew for one, against four of our rocks.

Fifth end they had us in big trouble, but I somehow papered a guard and made a hit and roll behind cover. We wrecked on a guard on our attempted draw for two, and we settled for one.

Sixth end they got caught in that path where the rock would fall out with any weight, and these guys love to throw the big weight. They were trying a double for one, and ended up peeling one of rocks out. Handshakes. Make the final 8-3 for the good guys.

Them (h) 1 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Us 2 3 5 6


We've never gone this far on the Trophy side of this bonspiel. I just can't believe we've made it this far without even playing eight ends yet.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2008 Home Hardware Bonspiel - Day Two

Day Two had us at the Arthur Curling Club. The ice was super heavy for the first end, then quite quick after that. Nearly as much curl as the Granite club Monday night - about three to four feet.

First end we tried to hit for one, ended up hitting and rolling out to give up a steal of one.

Second end we played by the book and scored two.

Third end had the skips throwing back line weight through an extremely narrow port - I was holding off the sweeping call until the rock had curled past the far rock, but as soon as it was by we had to jump it to keep from wrecking on the next one. Our skip made the shot perfectly twice, their skip made it perfectly once, but rubbed the long guard on his second one and we stole a point.

Fourth end they were forced to take one.

Fifth end was fairly wide open, but we missed a couple of hits early and we had to draw full eight foot against three. No problem, and we took a point.

Sixth end we had them in trouble, with a rock at the back of the eight foot, a rock at the back of the button, and one just outside the house guarding them. Their skip made a nice runback double, but we threw another one in the house, and he was an inch heavy on a draw. Steal of two for us.

Seventh end they tried to get aggressive, and we peeled carefully. Once more on the button for us, behind cover. They had a tough runback to score two, and almost made it, but another steal of one for us. Handshakes. Make the final 7-2 for the good guys.

Them 1 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Us (h) 2 3 5 6 7


Now we're in big trouble. Tonight we play an overly serious team that was on the sheet next to us last night. These guys don't look like they're in this to have a good time. I expect carnage.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Conversation of the day

At the Tim Hortons counter

Me: Large black, please.

Girl behind the counter: [pause, blank stare] Large... blaaaack...?

Me: [pause] Coffee.

Girl behind the counter: Oh! OK!

Then I notice the "In training" badge on her name tag, and all becomes clear. Alright, I'll give you this one, but don't let it happen again.

2008 Home Hardware Bonspiel - Day One

Day One had us at the K-W Granite Club. Decent ice last night - a little faster than we're used to in Elmira. Depending on where you were on the sheet it was swinging between three and five feet. We figured that out before the opposition, who struggled a bit through the game with placing the broom.

First end we tried a split for two, over-curled and ended up tapping for one.

Second end we had a choice between exchanging hits and giving up two, or trying to bury a draw and forcing them to one. The skip shrugged and said, "oh well, it's just a game" and we played the draw. We got about 90% buried, but with the huge swing that wasn't enough, and they tapped us out for three.

Third end we screwed up. The first two guards went into the house. The opponents helped us out by whiffing two hits on those rocks, and we finally got a guard up. They tried to come around, we picked it out. They made a strategic error and peeled off a guard. We hit one of their rocks in the house, and by this point we're lying six. They tried to come around a rock at the top of the eight foot, rubbed off it into the open, and we tapped it out for seven.

Fourth end we threw a bunch of rocks in the house and guarded them. They were left with a draw to the pin for one, which had perfect weight at it approached the house, but the five feet of curl bit them in the ass and they wrecked on a guard. Steal of four for us. The other team was thinking handshakes, seeing that we had just run off the end of the scoreboard... but the pizza wasn't there yet, so they played on.

Fifth end we played fairly wide open. Skip missed a hit on his last one and they drew for two.

Sixth end we had an open hit for one, and made it. Handshakes.

Make the final 13-5 for the good guys.

Them 2 5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Us (h) 1 3 4 6

Friday, November 21, 2008

2008 Home Hardware Bonspiel

The 2008 Home Hardware Bonspiel kicks off Monday, with 100 teams entered in the 41st year of this bonspiel.

The K-W Granite club has the most teams again this year, with 20. We're in second, with 18. Guelph Country has 12, Ayr has 9, Galt Curling has 7, Arthur has 6, Galt Country has 6, Elora has 5, Fergus has 5, little Plattsville has 3 and Westmount brings up the rear with one team. The Guelph Curling club appears to be sadly absent this year.

We have by far the best draw we've ever had. Only one 9:00pm game the whole week, and it's nice and close, in Guelph. We're going with a different team this year - I'll be vicing, so we'll see how that turns out. With the four divisions of play, this event is all about how you seed yourself for success...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Things they must teach in MBA school

1) Talking to the customer is bad. Very bad.

The more knowledge the customer has of how the organization operates, the worse things will be.
Fostering relationships with important customers is a waste of time.
Customer feedback is best left ignored. After all, what do they know?

2) If you're doing it fast, you must be doing it wrong.

Without process, nothing would hold us back.
You can't possibly code a new feature in less than six months.
Creativity must be curtailed.
Control is power.

3) Certain "team players" are the experts.

No matter their track record.
No matter their experience.
No matter their attitude.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Prehistoric technology

Mark Evans wonders if anyone would miss the Yellow Pages if it became extinct.

Last week, my five-year-old daughter saw a phone with a combination Yellow/White Pages book sitting next to it. She yelled to me, "Dad! Look at this huge magazine!"

I had to explain to her that in prehistoric times people actually looked in such a book when they wanted to find someone's telephone number. It just blew her away that I could open the book and show her our address and phone number. She thought I was magic.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Grand Slam - Masters of Curling (Waterloo)

I took my daughter to the quarter-finals of the Masters of Curling today, in Waterloo. She has a crush on Glenn Howard, and was very impressed with his win, on the last shot.

Reid Carruthers and his team were punching a little above their weight, as it were, and gave Howard almost more than he could handle. One bad end for Carruthers was all it took to keep him out of the semi-finals. These guys are good, and I suspect it's only a matter of time before you see them in a Slam final.

Tonight's game was vintage Howard, though, and Stoughton was never in it. Howard got a little lucky on a couple of shots, but he made the most of them.

What a weird game on the other sheet. Gushue had the hammer for the first six ends. Usually after a disastrous game I tell all the non-curlers at work that I had the hammer the whole game, and they're really impressed... This time it worked out well for Koe, with an unbelievable last shot from Blake MacDonald to win the game.

Should be an excellent final tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My five-year-old daughter thinks I have a brain injury

My five-year-old daughter thinks I have a brain injury.

The seven-year-old was telling me about a birthday gift idea for my nephew - a remote control car that can flip on its back and keep going. I said that was a great idea, and the next time she sees an ad on TV for it to let me know, so that I'll know the name of the thing.

From across the room, I hear the five-year-old's eyes rolling, and she says, "Ugh. Daaaad, it's a Remote. Control. Car."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coding style

I had occasion to code in C++ today, albeit briefly. I don't do that often, which is just fine with me. It got me to thinking about what it takes to get "in the zone" in different programming languages.

Coding in C++
A glass of scotch in one hand, cigar in the other. Loaded .45 on the desk beside me.

Coding in Visual Basic
Case of beer under the desk. Bowl of peanuts on the desk beside me.

Coding in C#
Something loud playing in the headphones. Usually Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral), or 90125, from Yes. Helps to have a glass of wine nearby too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There were too many spaces in the line

I've been following a fascinating blog for the last several months. It's made up of transcripts of an English soldier's letters home from the first World War. The letters have been posted exactly 90 years after they were written.

Here's the start of the letters. Give yourself some time to read them all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Elmira Remembrance Day parade

From Remembrance Day 2008


Typical Remembrance Day parade weather yesterday. Alternating between snow and rain. And windy, of course. Gone were the 20 degree sunny days that we had the first three days of the week. I guess the weather fit the sombre mood.

The girls were both marching in the parade this year. We flew from the curling club to the Legion and made it just in time for the start of the parade. The five-year-old was carrying the Sparks flag for part of the way, and she was very pleased to have the honour. Her face was a picture of grim determination.

From Remembrance Day 2008


From Remembrance Day 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air

Apparently we're being audited for something or other. To keep us all on our toes, the Regulatory folks are roaming the halls today, springing process questions on the poor folks who are trying to keep us all employed.

Curiously, there's a roving band of developers doing their best to stay hidden away. I came across several in the stairwell. There are way more people than normal playing ping pong this afternoon, and you wouldn't believe the lineup in the men's room.

This is by far the most fun we've had in months. We should get audited more often.