I was entering this weekend with the intention of using the time to help me make an important decision. I guess subconsciously I didn’t want to make the decision since I didn’t do anything thinking about it until late Sunday night.

Instead, I went out to dinner on Friday night with Patrick and Jeff. We went to Sushi Aoki, which I wrote about in an earlier post. It was a outing with good conversation. Patrick is wise beyond his 26 years. Some may call him “grandpa” but I think it’s term he should wear with pride.

On Saturday, hockey finally got back into its former glory. Everyone who went on holiday had returned and the turnout was impressive even though not all the regulars were there. I believe we were playing 6 on 5 at one point. It was so crowded we had to move the nets out and re-configure our playing surface. There was a ton of room out there and it also meant more running. I appreciated extra required effort since I’m trying to lose some holiday weight. Afterwards, more than one person exclaimed this was one of the best hockey outings in several months.

After hockey, the plan called for Adam, Tyson, and I to have a low-key dinner at Cactus Club. They were going to pick me up at my place. I arrived at the corner outside my apartment at the appointed time and waited. They were late by ten minutes and I began to wonder what the hell was going on. They eventually arrived and when I went to get in the back seat, Adam told me to get comfy. There were two other people in the back seat. One of them was even a girl! Joel and Kathleen were going to join us. I was pleasantly surprised that for at least this night, the sausage train was not going to leave the station.

The snow was coming down pretty good at this point so we decided to stay closer to campus and wound up at Swiss Chalet. Mmmmm… that’s good eatin’!!! We waited a long time to get a table because of some miscommunication. I will say one thing, if you have a lawyer and a computer scientist in your party, don’t send Urkel to handle the talking to the hostess… right Adam?

Anyways, when we eventually got our table and food everything was alright. Kathleen got introduced to the Canadian icon that is the quarter-chicken dinner. She’s from California, so it was a new experience for her. Someone in our party also got a new nickname of Clear Coat, but I won’t go any further than that.

So you’re probably wondering what the hell this decision is. Alright, so this is my last semester of school. I need two more classes to graduate. I’ve already decided on one, a software testing class. I’m struggling to pick the other one. I’ve narrowed it down to two. One is a machine learning course. Apparently, one of the new challenges in video games now is to develop what’s called emergent learning, games that learn to produce new behaviours. This machine learning course might be useful in that respect. I say might because there’s no guarantee that if I take this course it will help me get a job at EA. Often, only a very narrow subset of what you learn in CS and EE is directly applicable to video games. Also, the software for video games isn’t geared towards experimental techniques that are usually found at the graduate level. Game software usually uses methods which have matured for a while. Machine learning is still relatively new. Another reason this course is scaring me is that it looks really, really hard. It uses mathematics which I have forgotten or have never seen before. The guy teaching the class is a genius. I don’t want to stumble and fail the last class I needed to graduate.

The other alternative is a physical interfaces course. It’s a project course where I get to build things that interface people with computers, like joysticks. This class is less applicable to my career (I think), but most certainly easier. With my mechanical engineering background, I’ll be able to hit the ground running. It is the only CS grad course where you actually get to build something with your hands.

I am currently leaning towards taking the physical interfaces course because I don’t want to screw up my last term. I really want to finish my degree this term. There’s nothing to stop me from reading about machine learning on my own. I also know some machine learning techniques because of the neural networks course last term, so it’s not like I’ll leave UBC with no AI knowledge. I’ll need to make my final decision soon.

Sometimes, you have to take a chance and ask the pretty lady for her phone number. Other times, it’s better to finish your drink, settle your tab, and go home.


When I woke up around 11am this morning, I went to check on the bottle of water. I had put approximately 250 ml of water in the bottle. A significant portion of that had remained unfrozen despite the promised -8 degrees Celsius overnight temperature.

It is possible some of the water had become unfrozen in the morning, but I am not sure. What water that did freeze turned into crystal clear ice, not the cloudy type of ice you usually see in your household freezers. That means the water froze slowly. My friend Bryan told me that.

Here’s what the bottle looked like this morning:


It’s pretty cold outside. It’s going to get even colder as we go farther into the night. This got me thinking because, hey, I’m curious as a cat. Will it be cold enough to freeze a partially filled water bottle? This ain’t no myth, but I love experimenting. This is what university is for isn’t it?

I’m going to hang the water bottle on a piece of string outside my window. I’ll check it in a few hours. I can feel the excitement already, or that just might be diarrhea.


Borat is still touring America!

“Introduced as Boraq Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan, he was said to be an immigrant touring America. A film crew was with him, doing some sort of documentary. And he wanted to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ to show his appreciation, the announcer told the crowd.

Speaking in broken English, the mysterious man first told the decidedly pro-American crowd – it was a rodeo, of all things, in Salem, of all places – that he supported the war on terrorism.

‘I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down to the lizards,’ he said, according to Brett Sharp of Star Country WSLC, who was also on stage that night as a media sponsor of the rodeo.”


If you haven’t seen it before, I suggest you watch an episode of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters. The show has quickly become appointment television for me. Mythbusters’ two main hosts are Adam and Jamie, who were in the special effects industry before they started working on the show. Adam is goofy by nature, which plays well against straight-laced Jamie. Fans often point towards their relationship as one of the most appealing parts of the show.

Another thing great about the show is that they always mix one part science with one part entertainment when they investigate the myths. The guys will take the myth to the next step if necessary, often just to see if they can make something blow up. That’s part of the appeal. Some of the questions they’ve answered are pretty cool. Can you kill someone with a bullet made of ice? Can jumping at the last second save you in a runaway elevator? Can you make a cannon out of a tree? Can you kill yourself urinating on an electrified rail?

You can view some clips here on-line. Mythbusters is on almost everyday of the week, so check the program guide for the times. Alternatively, you may download episodes using Bittorrent, but don’t tell anyone I said so. If you’re rich, the best way would be to purchase the DVDs.

Your favourite myth might be on next!


In my opinion, if you don’t have to drive in the stuff, snow can pretty-up almost any landscape. It’s quite beautiful on campus now. Everything looks white and pristine. I took a walk around campus this evening and I love how the snow reflects back nearly every photon of light. It’s as if the number of streetlights has doubled and everything is bathed in light.

I am sure that anyone that has to commute to campus isn’t enjoying the snow as much. The parking lot next to my apartment is usually full on school days, but it’s been nearly empty in the last 48 hours.

I’ll be sure to enjoy the snow while it lasts, because in Vancouver, snow only stays on the ground for a little while before the rain comes back and washes it away.


It has been several months since I’ve seen Da Ali G Show on Showcase. I wish they’d keep airing the episodes, even if they were repeats.

If you liked the show, you can temporarily slake your thirst for Borat by clicking his picture above. In this episode, Borat shows the people of Kazakhstan a small slice of American politics. Borat goes on the campaign trail with James Broadwater, who at the time, was trying to win the Republican nomination for Congress in his district. Queried about his various positions on issues, Broadwater made the implication that if you were not a Christian, you’d go to Hell (capital ‘H’ because that’s the way Broadwater woulda wanted it). I’ll let you guess his stance on abortion. After the interview aired, Broadwater issued a statement where he tried to salvage his image and blamed the “liberal, anti-God media”.

Surprisingly, despite saying all the seemingly right things to get you elected in the US these days, Broadwater did not win his district’s nomination.