Plans for the Dreamblade Championship (at Gen Con) firming up

Jessi is officially on the Dreamblade Championship invitation list with 1177 points and being ranked #321 in the world.

Wizards will in fact be flying me out there to judge, and will be paying for my half of our hotel room. I’ll be working on Thursday (Aug. 16) at the Last Chance Qualifiers, and Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 18–20) on the main event. I have Friday (Aug. 17) free to go see Gen Con. I’m not quite sure what to do that day, since there seem to be a bazillion things going on there.

July Judging Schedule

My current plans for judging in July:

August brings another PTQ, weekly Tuesday Summer of Magic draft, weekly Friday Night Magic, a couple more NAC Qualifiers, and Gen Con where I’m judging the Dreamblade Championship.

Computerized routing differences

I live in Charlton, Massachusetts. One interesting aspect of Charlton is that the Massachusetts Turnpike goes directly through it, and even has a rest area in it, but there’s no actual access to get on or off the pike in Charlton. (That’s the mixed blessing of limited-access highways after all, that there are few intersections to slow things down, but that means there’s never an intersection quite where you want one.)

So, for pretty much all of my driving life (taking on the habits of people driving me before I could drive, very likely), if I wanted to go westbound, I would take Route 20 West to get on the pike in Sturbridge, and if I wanted to go eastbound, I would take Route 20 East to Route 12 North to get on the pike in Auburn. Quite logical, and doesn’t involve any backtracking really.

Up until recently, routing from online mapping services confirmed these paths as being optimal.

Today, I plugged in an address by Boston (for a PTQ that I’ll be judging there on Saturday), and Google Maps suggests that I backtrack to Sturbridge (admittedly, not really that far) to get on the pike to then take eastbound to my destination. I’m pretty sure this is a change from its prior behavior.

This made me check other mapping services, and both “Live Search” and Yahoo maps continue to suggest getting on in Auburn.

Interestingly, for the return trip, Google suggests getting off the pike in Auburn.

So, maybe I’m just close enough that it doesn’t really matter. But looking at Google’s route, it just might in fact be quicker on the way there and not on the way back.

Interesting Lottery Deal

So, the Massachusetts State Lottery tried an interesting new product over the last couple months, which was more of a raffle format than the format the lottery usually uses. Tickets cost $20 and were available over the past couple months, and the winning ticket numbers will be chosen tomorrow. There’s a $20 million prize, as well as ten $1 million prizes and forty (40) $250,000 prizes. They were planning on selling 4 million tickets. However, they’ve only sold 32% of that amount so far, and are still planning on giving out the same prize distribution.

I think that means that the expected value of a ticket purchase is actually positive, or pretty close. It’s almost tempting me to buy one. I may run some numbers later this evening.