Saturday, February 28, 2009

Go (Ukrainian) Army

This is at least a couple of years old, but it's new to me. Pretty ridiculous ad for the Ukrainian military.

1. Join Ukrainian Army
2. ???

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Sloppy Chess Game

I recently played a game of online chess against a guy in the Netherlands that I thought was interesting despite a good deal of sloppiness. I managed to screw up less often and was able to finish with a sneak attack that actually worked. Anyway, here are the highlights of the game. I'm Black, and he's White.

The game started off fairly in a standard fashion until I messed up my position after move 9, which led my opponent to make a strong move... 10. Bxf7+. The Crafty engine approves of this move and I'm pretty much entering into a world of hurt. Crafty says I should have just taken the bishop (resulting in +1.95) as my line was inferior (resulting in +2.96). Either way, I'm in a bit of trouble.

Now, he makes a large mistake by moving his Queen. This allows me to take the bishop, and things are looking a bit better for me. However, I'm still in a bad spot. After some exchanges, we wind up in the following position, which according to the engine isn't so bad (+0.70).

I then manage to screw up with 15. ... Be6, which leads to an interesting spot where he forces a material imbalance at move 17. There's no decision here, and we proceed with a Queen + Rook + 6 Pawns vs 2 Rooks + Bishop + Knight + 4 Pawns. Such an imbalance usually makes for an interesting game.

We end up trading off rooks, and I am presented with the following position where I can even the game out. Too bad I suck, and fail to make the right move (21. ... d5 -- the engine puts us at +0.00 following that correct move). I remember I wasn't super worried about the pawn forking my pieces, because I figured I could threaten his Queen with my Knight. But, I overlooked the fact that if he proceeded to fork me and take my Bishop, it would also put me in check giving his Queen an escape. Lucky for me, my opponent didn't take advantage of this.

After a bit more play, I am able to pull the wool over his eyes and pull out a victory. He started to advance his h-pawn, and I was able to trick my opponent by making a move that looked like I was working on stopping it. But, what I had actually done was threatened to mate him on the next move. He fell for it; it's a mistake that only a human could make. Had I not gotten lucky, I think the game ends in a draw, but who knows.

Here's the game and all of its sloppiness in its entirety.

[Event "Challenge"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2009.02.21"]
[EndDate "2009.02.24"]
[White "Some Dutch Player"]
[Black "BruteForce"]
[WhiteRating "1420"]
[BlackRating "1616"]
[WhiteELO "1420"]
[BlackELO "1616"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Ng1f3 Nb8c6 4. Bf1c4 d6 5. O-O Bc8g4 6. Nb1c3 Ng8f6 7. d4 a6 8. Bc1xf4 Bf8e7 9. e5 Nf6d7 10. Bc4xf7 Ke8f8 11. Qd1d3 Kf8xf7 12. exd6 cxd6 13. Nf3g5 Be7xg5 14. Bf4xg5 Nd7f6 15. Nc3d5 Bg4e6 16. Nd5xf6 gxf6 17. Bg5xf6 Qd8xf6 18. Rf1xf6 Kf7xf6 19. Ra1f1 Kf6e7 20. Rf1e1 Ke7d7 21. a3 Ra8e8 22. Qd3d2 Be6d5 23. Re1xe8 Rh8xe8 24. b3 Re8e4 25. Qd2g5 Re4xd4 26. Qg5g7 Kd7c8 27. Qg7xh7 Kc8b8 28. h4 Nc6e5 29. h5 Kb8a7 30. h6 Ne5g4 31. Qh7g7 Rd4d1 0-1

Monday, February 23, 2009


So, a high school friend of mine sent me Religulous last week. It's a documentary written by and starring Bill Maher. I found some time to watch it over the weekend, and I must say that I found it highly amusing and really funny yet there are parts that are somewhat scary. I guess that's what one would expect from a documentary that takes on religion.

There was one interview with this Catholic priest, Father Reginald Foster, who said a lot of things that I wouldn't expect of someone in his position. If all the super-religious types were to take on his stance on things, maybe religion wouldn't be as unpalatable.

Anyway, I'd recommend this for anyone, especially for those who are intelligent and rational, religious or not. It'll make you laugh out loud a few times, I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Ugh, another brutal day in the market. This link really shows how negative everything was... S&P Heat Map. Pretty gross. Anyway, haven't got much to say other than Boo.

Monday, February 09, 2009


It's been a while since I've watched a Best Picture Winner for my quest, but I finally did not long ago... Cavalcade.

I'll just keep this short and sweet. I didn't find it all that entertaining, and it was more like a movie that patched together historically significant events and replayed them through the eyes of two different families (one that was well-off, and another that was struggling).

However, the movie did not attempt to show how different these views were really. Like, it wasn't as if there were any large differences between the two. The film is titled appropriately... overall, the movie just wanted to show some U.S. history from 1900 to 1933.

I probably didn't appreciate it the way that I should have, but seriously, it just wasn't all that entertaining. If you want to enjoy a historical cavalcade put into a 'entertaining' movie, I suggest you just watch Forrest Gump instead.

Quick Update

Picked up a small piece of Nam Tai Electronics (NTE) today at $4.75 after its large drop following its earnings report. I might be catching a falling knife here, but I've been tracking it for some time now and I'm finally taking a bite. It is trading below net cash (one of the reasons it was on the watch list was its near-cash valuation), but it's good to be aware that the company has lost some of its cash over the past year due to weakness in its business. They have also suspended their dividend in an effort to preserve their cash reserves.

It's definitely not a sure thing, but I'm in for a small piece and looking to get out on any reasonable advance. Not willing to hold it to $0, but I don't see that happening soon... I just don't foresee management burning through their cash that fast.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

End of Sports Betting Experiment

Well, it was fun and somewhat educational while it lasted, but my sports betting experiment is over as of today. The meta-system suffered a bad streak going a miserable 25-39-0. The final tally is that I'm up 0.9 units, and sides/totals won at an unprofitable 51.2%.

Now, I'm confident that the idea of a meta-system that effectively weights 'winning' sports bettors has merit. However, the problem is an obvious one... figuring out which sports bettors are winners is probably just as difficult as handicapping the games.

I will probably give it another go in the future, but for now I'm going to stop, as it started taking up a bit too much of my time. At least I got to make use of the TV a lot more, heh. Another thing is that if I do give it another go, I will probably go tighten up my criteria so as not to put on so many plays each day. I think I was averaging 6 plays a day. Also, it seems that playing only the absolutely best rated plays and flat betting them would have been superior (in hindsight) seeing as there was still a little bit of profit even with only 51.2% win rate.

Anyway, that's all for now.

Earnings Day

So far, after a few short days the Electronic Arts (ERTS) position is underwater about 8%. They release their earnings today after the bell. For the most part, analysts share a pessimistic view and feel the quarter will be disappointing. The company had already warned that the quarter would be weak back in December. I was hoping that much of the negativity had been priced in at the time of purchase with shares trading roughly where they were after their initial warning.

Hoping for the best here, but if the afternoon report is a disaster, I'll try to get out as best I can. With all their cash, I would think that the company has limited downside, but I've been wrong plenty before.

*** Edit ***

Looks like it is going to be brutal. The numbers are pretty bad. I guess I'll be losing some money here real soon. Shares halted... not a good sign.

*** Edit #2 ***

Shows what I know... shares have resumed trading in the afterhours market, and surprisingly, they are trading UP! I figured low expectations were built in, but the numbers were well off what I thought would be palatable by the street. I'm going to be getting out of this thing.... at the very least I'm going to unload at least half of it before the conference call.

*** Edit #3 ***

Unloaded just over half at the same price as I purchased ($16.15). Will hold the rest of it for a little and see how things unfold. I still plan on dumping the rest of it soon... if not tonight, then certainly later this week.

*** Edit #4 ***

Closing the books on this one... dumped the rest of it ~40% at 16.43. I obviously had the Street's expectations pegged wrong (fortunately), and I must really not understand something, but I can't say I like much of what was announced in the earnings release. More or less break-even given the size of the trade. Up enough for a nice meal, but nothing more.

I'll continue to follow the company. Even if it goes up from here, I'm not going to kick myself, because when that report first came out, it scared the crap out of me.