Monday, March 24, 2008

Oilers: Three Points Out

If you're an Edmonton Oilers fan don't cry in your beer just yet.

In my previous post on the Oilers Playoff hopes, which I considered slim, I noted that the Oilers would probably require 95 points to make the playoffs.

The cutoff of 95 points was a reasonable estimation. Last year the Calgary flames finished in the 8th playoff spot with 96 points. The year before that it was the Edmonton Oilers with 95 points. But this year I'm not sure it will be that high.

As of today the Oilers do not have enough available points left to reach 95 points, and anyway they probably won't win all of their remaining games.

However, they are 3 points back of the final playoff spot with six games remaining. They could finish as high as 93 points, and they could still finish as high as 6th place.

Behold, the standings:

The shaded column is the number of points.

The bottom 3 playoff spots (6,7,8) could be won by any one of the six teams in positions 6 through 11.

But its really really a long shot for the Oilers I think.

If the Oilers did finish in 8th spot they would play the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs.

Detroit fans are probably already becoming incontinent at the thought of playing a high flying team of devil-may-care rookies. Please recommend this post

Samsung Broke My Heart

I bought a Samsung SyncMaster 205BW flat screen monitor. It was well priced and I like everything about it. Good color, brightness, and a digital port.

But there's a bit of a design flaw in it. As you can tell (somewhat) from the bad photograph, the monitor is tilting forward more and more as time goes on. The connection hub that supports the screen does not swivel up and down. All the monitor's weight is pushing down on some small metal rails that appear to be made of of some soft metal like aluminum or an aluminum alloy.

This is the second monitor. I had to return the first one because these metal railings snapped leaving the monitor basically unusable.

Now I know better than to try to bend it back into an upright position. So I'm trying to think of a solution. This problem has been noticed by others and you can find many blog and forum postings.

From what I've read Samsung is not being helpful and wont admit that its a design flaw. Instead they choose to tell consumers that they abused the product. I also had a hard time returning the original monitor to Office Depot because they were hiding behind some warranty technicalities. And then they tried to up sell me which was sort of annoying. In the meantime I was dead in the water because this was my only monitor. (Don't get me started on the Toshiba notebook that died a horrible death.)

It seems to me a good idea for Samsung just to admit that this was just a really bad design. A couple of little pieces of soft metal obviously cannot hold a fairly heavy screen in an upright position. At the very least they could offer some kind of work around. (There is a viagra joke in here just dying to get out.)

Its too bad because I've bought a lot of Samsung products and have never had any problems. I even met one of the Samsung sales reps at Memory Express and he gave me a nice pen. He seemed like a nice man, but right about now I'd like to ball kick him even though I know its not his fault.

I apologize for my messy desk in the photo. Those M&Ms are not mine. Please recommend this post

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Calgary Book Store Closes

My favourite independent bookstore in Calgary is closing. McNally Robinson on 8th avenue, aka Stephen Avenue Mall will be closing within the next few months, citing increasing costs and insufficient sales.

The lack of sales is a mystery to me. Within a few square blocks there are at least 10,000 office workers, many of whom work in technical professions. Additionally they have a separate division that provides hard to find engineering and scientific books.

After 5Pm the corporate people go home and the street is replaced with a different crowd who probably don't place reading high on their priorities.

MR has one of the best selection of technical books of any store, even rivaling Chapters Indigo. But there's probably not good money in these types of books. Books on computer technologies are expensive to produce and sell low volumes. No one will get rich writing, publishing or selling a book detailing the UNIX grep command.

I once saw a complete multi-volume copy of the BC electrical code which amused me no end.

And you could not stump their staff either. I know I tried several times. They always knew the book and how to get it.

They have several other stores, in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and New York. They are opening a new store in Winnipeg this year. So its not like they're going out of business, they're just leaving Calgary.

So whats wrong with Calgary, and Alberta in general? Independent publishers are apparently leaving in droves and the independent books stores are barely hanging on.

This is the third independent book seller in Calgary that I've become addicted to that has had to close its doors after only a few years.

McNally Robinson Website Please recommend this post

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reading Writing

I updated my MySpace profile for the what you read section, which is as far as I can tell mostly underused on MySpace because they're all a bunch of hoodlums selling cannibis. I'm sorry that was uncalled for.

I didn't realize how difficult it was to write a short descriptive blip about what you've read and what you like to read.

Here's the work in progress that I know will be edited about a 100 more times before I stop obsessing about it:

Favorite reading so far: C.S. Lewis Surprised By Joy, Catch 22, Anything by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., especially Slaughterhouse 5, anything by Graham Greene, especially The Quiet American. The Book of Psalms. The Imitation of Christ. The Entire Shakespeare body but especially the cross-dressing comedies (And no i'm not into cross-dressing). Any kind of Poetry, but especially the romantic poets, T.S. Eliot and the War poets of ww1. Canadian Poets: Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton, P.K Page and Anne Michaels. I like Naomi Klein's political writing as well, even when she infuriates me which is what a good writer does. I loved William Buckley Jr's weekly columns even though I never agreed with a single one of his ideas. He was a beautiful gifted writer he was just on the wrong side.

I hate propaganda and things that insult my intelligence so I don't often read newspapers.

I journal a lot, stuff that no one will ever read. Its neurotic I know. I write on two blogs, one about technology and the other mostly about nonsense. I sometimes mix up the updates and confuse the readers. I write a lot of web content and technical docs for work but I enjoy it a lot so it doesn't seem like work.

By necessity I read a lot about technology, especially about software development. Fortunately there are a lot of good authors out there so its not as boring or dry as you might think.

I admit to being a geek. Guilty as charged.

I'd like to find a girlfriend who might read Shakespeare or some nice poetry to me while I lay (lie?) my head upon her lap. Not to much to ask is it?

Its only a start. Please recommend this post

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Who Has Felt The Wind

I went out for a bike ride today, for the first time since December. It was warm and sunny out but there was this stiff cold wind coming from the east. It made a huge sucking noise. I hate the wind. I take it personally. It's worse when you're on the bike path beside the Bow River because the Bow is glacier fed and throws off a cold draft even in the height of summer.

I took a picture of the bow river as the sun was starting to go down over Pump Hill...

Then I slipped on a piece of ice and fell on my butt.

Election tomorrow. Get out and vote! History shows that apathy comes with a price. Please recommend this post

Childe Hassam Rocks

I was wandering around the mall on friday night and aside from finding one of those pot belly ceramic stoves that are pretty cool I went into an art shop and found one of my all time favourite paintings. This is called Boston Common by an American artist named Frederick Childe Hassam. He painted around the turn of the century and most of his paintings are outdoors scenes around Boston and New England. He is generally considered an impressionist. I'm an unimpressionist.

I don't really know why I like this painting so much, but its probably the ethereal light. On winter days when the sun goes down around 4 or 5 you get the most beautiful colors and sunsets.

All of my memories growing up in Edmonton are centered around winter and being outdoors doing things.

The sales girl was yummy really helpful and I saw a few good black enamel frames that would go well with this painting. A nice frame with glass, plus the poster will cost about $350.00 which I think is quite reasonable.

The only problem is I can't really afford this right now, even though I want it badly.

And then I read this Globe and Mail article about how more and more single women are buying homes and at an earlier age. I think this is the result of our economy doing well and the sisters doing it for themselves. Wasn't that a Pointer Sisters line?

Anyway, it occurred to me that there should be at least one single woman out there who likes me enough to forgo the purchase of the house for a bit and buy this painting for me. In exchange, I would be willing to let you hang it in your new house for a few months later on.

Don't rule it out right away. Lets go back and forth a bit. I'm sure we can work something out.

God loves a cheerful giver. Please recommend this post