Monday, February 20, 2006

Call Me Diamond Jon?

In my continuing quest to achieve "elite" status with Hilton, I finally made it to diamond level. This has a few advantages over my previous gold level. I get a 50% bonus on points (as opposed to 25%), better treatment at European Hiltons (so I hear), and perhaps most importantly, no blackout dates on award stays.

Hilton recently implemented a "rolling" qualification method for their elite levels. It boils down to a requirement of posting 60 or more nights in 13 months. A key here is the word "posting." If you stay on the last day of a month, your stay won't post until the following month. But because Hilton gives you 13 months instead of 12, you can't really complain to them.

I ended up posting 60 nights between February 2005 and this month. I added it up, and that comes from 19 nights in the UK, 14 nights in San Diego, 10 nights in Minnesota, 6 nights in Paris, 6 nights in San Juan, 2 nights in South Carolina, and one night each in Louisiana, New York, and Maryland.

Maryland? Yes, Maryland. I knew I needed one last night to qualify for Diamond, so last weekend, Ben, Martin and I braved the snowstorm for an evening of gaming at the Embassy Suites BWI. A week later, the stay posted, and voila, I was diamond.

I don't expect to see much difference in upcoming stays -- the 50% point bonus will be nice, but right now I've got Hilton points coming out of my ears. The lack of blackout dates will be very handy when Christina and I plan our next vacation -- I will just need to secure free plane tickets, and then away we go. And I'm looking forward to seeing if the new status scores me some upgrades when I go to Europe in April.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Go: January in Review

To pace myself on my Go updates, and because the rating graphs naturally break into month, I'm switching to monthly updates of my Go ranking. I started January in the low 22 kyu range, briefly dropped to 25 kyu, before bouncing back to low 23 kyu. Actually, that bounceback happened on Feb. 1, so I'm not sure how this graph is drawn. Not counting that last win, I was 8-12 in rated games in January, which accounted for the rating drop. My best two wins were a very close win on an even game versus a French 21-kyu player, and a 9-handicap game versus an American 13-kyu player. The 13-kyu player actually resigned the game after making a mistake, but suggested I was playing much better than my rank. Of course, that would not explain my worst loss, an even game versus a Belgian 25-kyu.

I'm 0-3 in the Dragon Tourney, which is unfortunate. I hope not to get completely shut out, which I think would be good, given that I am the lowest ranked player in my pool.

All in all, the drop of a kyu or so in January wasn't too bad. I had climbed fairly rapidly at the end of last year, and I'm happy to see I'm still hanging out in the low twenties. My goal is to maintain this and make a push for the teens (aka DDK). Once that happens, I get to change my description for "beginner" to "advanced beginner".

I have a bunch of Go books to read right now that look really helpful. I've discovered, however, that when I'm casting about for something to read, it's easier to pick up a science fiction book than one of the Go books, which are almost like textbooks. So I'll probably slow down on the science fiction and turn more to the Go books.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Well, a couple of weeks after I turned off comments on new posts, I received my first comment in quite some time. This has inspired me to return comments, at least for now. I have the comments set up as moderated, so I shouldn't have the problems I had before with spam or obscenities.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Live from Del Mar

Christina has a new post describing our trip-in-progress.