ZOMBIES

For many years now, I’ve had an interest in zombies. I think this stems from living on-campus. While UBC is a bustling mini-city during the day, it gets pretty deserted during the evenings and early morning. As a person who stays up late on a consistent basis, I’ve been around campus when it truly feels like you’re the last person on the planet.

When I lived at SJC, I’d visit the vending machine quite a bit during the late hours. As I lived on the first floor, I’d have to briefly exit one wing before entering another to get to the machine. For those few seconds I was outside in the darkness, I’d always wonder, “What if there’s a zombie waiting for me out here?”

Of course there never is, but you know what? For some reason, I feel pretty confident I could survive a zombie attack. Perhaps it because I’ve watched a few zombie movies in my time or I’ve played a few zombie based video games as well. It certainly isn’t because I’ve read any zombie survival books. It’s just a gut feeling.

There are, however, certain conditions on this confidence. The list is as follows. First, I definitely need a weapon. I doubt that anyone could survive for any length of time without having some way of defending themselves against the living dead. I’d prefer a long range weapon, not necessarily a gun, perhaps even a crossbow. Of course, I’d also want a decent supply of ammo to go with that weapon (if applicable).

Second, I’d need to be in a fortified building. Several buildings on-campus would be ok for this, some better than others. I’m pretty sure you’d have to surrender the ground floor in some cases, but as long as you can hold them off in the staircases, you’d be fine. Of course, this means you’d be essentially stuck in that building, but maybe that’s what you want. As example, I think if you were in SJC, you’d definitely have to surrender the whole first floor. Way too many windows and access points on the first floor. Let ’em have the pianos.

Third, you’d need food and water. While zombies can traditionally get away with eating just brains, we need bottles of Dassani and bars of Oh Henry. This is especially important if you’re going to hole up somewhere.

Fourth, and this is a biggy, the zombies have to be old school zombies. This means they just want to eat your brains and can only move a fraction of the speed of the living. None of this 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead 2004 stuff. Those zombies can run at full speed. Combine that with their superior numbers and you’d be in serious trouble. I suppose though if you manage to hole up somewhere, their speed wouldn’t matter. It only matters if you were out in the open with them.

If the dead began walking the earth, where would you go and what would you take with you? Before I finish, I leave you with the zombie infection simulator.

LOSER HAIR

I hate my hair right now. It’s like a bird’s nest. I actually think there’s a bird in there. I tried to book an appointment with my hair-shortening person this week. She was all booked up. The earliest appointment I got was next Thursday. Lame hair until then.

TAKING HER EASY

I have just returned from McDonald’s after having a post-midterm meal with my classmate Diamond Dave. We each had a McChicken meal as a reward for all our hard work. Ha. The midterm itself was alright. I was pretty scared at the beginning. There eight questions, the first seven were worth five marks and the last one worth fifteen, for a total of fifty marks.

As I started writing, it was clear the prof was being nice to us. I finished the first seven questions in about 20 minutes. The last question was kind of tricky, but I did the best I could. When I was done, there was till 25 minutes left in the exam. I checked over my paper and handed it in. I went back to my stuff, collecting my things and went to leave. As I passed by my prof, he had already marked the first page of my exam. He gave me full marks for the first three questions. I gave him a thumbs-up (hi Adam and Bryan!) and left. Dave later joked it would be funny if those were the only marks I got on the exam.

I saw my neighbour Chris outside my apartment as I was coming home. He was having a smoke. We had a nice neighbourly chat about school and post-school related things. He even offered to give me a few names of people that worked at EA. Nice.

I am going to take it easy for the rest of the evening. I have an assignment to mark for tomorrow. Otherwise, I am free to spend my evening as I wish. What a rarity. I guess I should use some of the time to think about our room crawl theme.

TIDBITS

I write my second to last (that’s penultimate for you dictionary nerds) midterm tomorrow. It’s also the first midterm of the year for me. Being a grad student does have its perks somtimes. After that, it’s one more midterm to go and no more for the rest of my degree.

In other news, my parents bought a new TV. I think my sister said it was a 32″ one. I know my parents don’t have that kind of money. My parents have never been good at saving. I think part of the reason they had kids was that they could just let us take care of them. I should try the same thing with my kids.

There’s a room crawl scheduled for Friday at SJC. I’ve teamed up with Joel to host the first floor kitchen. We’re trying to come up with a theme for our drinks. Joel and I came up with the idea of the “toilet bowl”. In clear plastic cups, we’d put in a length of an “Oh Henry” chocolate bar and a splash of vodka. Bottoms up! I don’t think we’re really going to have that as our drinks. Yet, any other ideas escape us. Suggestions?

MARRIAGE AND WEB SERVERS

The guy that re-starts my web and mail server everytime it goes down is getting married. Stephen is his name. I’ve known Stephen since 1994, when we were both living in Hamber House over at Place Vanier. Back then, I was a frazzled second year engineering student, he was just a young pup in first year engineering.

Stephen also holds the distinction of the only guy to have ever travelled to Las Vegas with me. I’ve been to Vegas once, back in November 1999. We went on business to Comdex. We did not manage to ride the .com boom to countless millions (as evidenced by the Big Extra I had for dinner tonight). We also did not manage to have much fun in Vegas. Can you believe I did not have a single drink in Vegas that time? Criminal.

Anyways, Stephen has invited me to a little wedding reception he’s having in town in mid-March. He’s actually getting married in Hawaii and I even got invited to that, but I have to get my own airfare… and accomodation. The shindig here is for all his local friends and acquaintances, and that includes Jason. Who’s Jason? He’s the guy that actually owns the web and mail server I use.

I am quivering in anticipation of this meeting. This will be my opportunity to propose a plan to upgrade prometheus so that my site and e-mail will become many times more reliable. I will offer to pay for some of the upgrades. At that time, I will also ask for a few things I want tweaked on the server. Things like new rims, some fuzzy dice, and a new spoiler.

I can’t wait. Oh, and I’ll congratulate Stephen on getting married too.

HOTLINKING

Ever since search engines started offering searches not just for web pages, but also for images, the occurrences of something called “hotlinking” has risen dramatically.

For some of you who host images on your web site, you might already know what this is. Hotlinking is essentially the act of linking to images on another person’s web site. You can do this linking on a web page or even a post on a bulletin board. For example, let’s say a teenage girl just made her very own first web page on Geocities. Say this girl also likes Will Ferrell. Said girl searches the Internet for pictures of Mr. Ferrell and finds one on erwintang.com. She then directly links the image from her page to my site. So whenever anyone views her web page, my server passes along the image to the browser.

This bandwidth theft, since most web hosting plans are charged by the amount of traffic the server must handle. Web site owners wind up footing the bill for other people’s web pages.

There are many things a web site owner can do to prevent hotlinking. The first is simply to rename the image file, but then you also have to change all the .html files on your own server which refer to that image file. There are also some changes to server config files you can make, but that’s all boring.

The fun thing to do is to switch the existing image file with another image file that the hotlinker never expected. You can put anything in place of the original file. Because of this, you can get that person in lots of trouble but most web site owners are nice.

As an example, take a look at what someone hotlinked to on a bulletin board devoted to the soap opera Passions. Below you’ll see that he used a picture of Will Sasso as Kenny Rogers as his signature. That image resides on my server.

To have some fun, I switched the image to something else, though I could have been way more naughty.

I’ve currently have the old switcheroo going on three sites right now. Usually people see what I’ve done and then take down the link. If they don’t I might just rename the file and that’ll be the end of it. If I’m feeling really bored, I might change the picture to something risque.

Who knew having a web site would be so fun?

AS HEARD ON CONAN

“Star Trek fans have planned a protest outside Paramount Studios because they’ve decided to cancel the series Enterprise. Police say if the protesters get unruly, they’ll use tear gas…. or release a woman into the crowd.”