Sunday, October 30, 2011

Game Recap

I was in Oakland most of the day and night and only shuffled back in through my front door to watch a recording of the Islander's game at 2:30 or so.  Needless to say, I was in no condition to sit through a 2.5 hour hockey game.  But in the first three minutes I watched, they won face-offs, earned a powerplay, scored on that powerplay, and killed a penalty, so I am going to infer that the Sharks opened a Costco-sized can of whoop-ass on the Islanders and ran away with the game to a 5-0 victory, perfect on special teams.  Good job, Boys!  Keep it there!  Only one more win to make this a perfect* roadtrip!  I'm so proud.

Sharks now 5-3-1. (W-L-T*)

*Fuck the shoot out.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Texas Rangers Lose Second Consecutive World Series

Did anybody catch the game, tonight?  It was amazing!  Another brilliant display of skill and determination between two ferocious competitors.  The level of play has been so elevated in the games between these two clubs that it saddens me to even think that one of them might be moved to the Eastern Conference next year.  Yes, the Sharks and the Red Wings have become a must-watch match-up for anyone in love with the sport of ice hockey.  They have looked to each other as measuring sticks for the past several years and are coming off of the most closely competed Stanley Cup Playoff series in history.  Tonight's game did not disappoint.  Sharks won 4-2, including an empty-net goal.  I eagerly await the Red Wings' first visit to San Jose this season, November 17.

Also: Somewhere in the World, baseball was played.  And Texas was eliminated in the final round for the second year in a row!  I know this because they lost to the Giants last year.  It's too bad that they didn't lose at home again so I could watch Sad George Bush's sad reaction shots.  I guess there's always next year...

In real news: The Sharks are on a roll!  The first four games of this road trip are done and won.  The Sharks came back in the third period to tie the Devils (then win the shootout).  They earned a 2-0 lead over the defending-champion Bruins and, when it evaporated in a moment, responded with poise and a game-winning goal.  They did a similar feat against the Nashville Predators, regaining the lead only a minute after surrendering it.  Now they've defeated the Red Wings in another hard-fought, high-tempo game of the caliber we've come to expect (and demand) from this rivalry.  The second back-to-back game is on Long Island tomorrow and it's up to the Sharks to not overlook the Islanders, who have sucked for some years now.  The Sharks have a history for playing down to less successful teams even as much as they play up to perennial powerhouses like Detroit.  But I don't think they will.  I'm sure they've been looking forward to facing Evgeni Nabokov, whether he ends up playing in that game or not.

A couple things overlooked in all this:
- Martin Havlat is a fucking boss and possibly our lord savior in disguise.  This win-streak began with his first game as a Shark and he has assists in all four wins.
- The Sharks have been losing face-offs.  I seriously can't remember when the last time was the Sharks were under 50% on face-offs.  It's not something worth worrying about, as long as we're winning, but that was a real shock to me.

The Sharks are now 4-3-1. (W-L-T)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Uncanny Valley

Have you ever wanted a robot friend?  One that could talk to you and empathize with you and give you hugs and do your work and possibly have sex with you?  How 'bout one that just chats with you on the internet about how nice bunnies are?  Well, is home to just that!  The latter, I mean.  It's the product of Man's desire to bridge "the uncanny valley," that point at which artificial humanoids become life-like enough to be creepy, before they become indistinguishable from the real thing.  Cleverbot is a robot designed to have natural-sounding, human conversations.  It mimics humans by generating responses from previous conversations it has had with other people, so it supposedly "learns" from people, like the Terminator.  It just fooled 59% of a test group into thinking it was human. (Source)

The tested version runs 42 searches of its databases before it answers.  The free, online version makes considerably less of an effort.  Here's what people are saying about it, from the Cleverbot website:

"CleverBot is freaking amazing! I believe it knows the secrets of the universe. I had an entire conversation in Japanese with CleverBot. It is awesome. Not to mention that it is a great role-player and knows all the spells used in Harry Potter. Lol. Best app ever!"
   12th July 2011
"The app is amazing. And she/he (Cleverbot) is more fun to text to than my actual living friends. Haha."
   25th June 2011
"Cleverbot has earned a whole new level of respect from me- mostly because she knows the lyrics to David Bowies songs."
   24th June 2011

Naturally, I was intrigued.  I had to meet and interview this robot, probe its knowledge-base and find out what makes it tick.  Or at least try to chat hockey with it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Games 2 & 3: Back-to-Backes

Last night's loss to the Blues comes after the 1-0 road loss to the Ducks.  It's no big deal.  It was the first of three instances of back-to-back games the Sharks have in three weeks.

I was at the ducks game, at least the second two periods.  Greiss looked good in that game, but the Sharks' coordination, especially on the powerplay, looked really bad.  There were many passes to no one and even more directly to or through ducks players.  Brent Burns, in particular, seemed to be struggling to coordinate with the others.  He will get it together, I have faith, but it looks like it may be a much slower process than I had anticipated.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Game 1: "We Want Tacos!"

I don't want tacos.  Fuck Jack-in-the-Box tacos!  We've all eaten them, sure, in our weaker moments, at two o'clock in the morning.  We're desperate--but that's just it!  Jack-in-the-Box tacos are sold two-for-$0.99 and are only charitably called tacos in the first place.

Meet the new Sharks food promotion: The Jack-in-the-Box Taco Minute!

If the Sharks score in the second period's final minute, fans in attendance have the opportunity to text in a code for a coupon for two free Jack-in-the-Box tacos.