After what I experienced today, if you’re one of those people blessed with the ability to gracefully go through life, deal with people in a fair manner, and generally be an asset to society, be thankful for who you are. Then there are those who must be absolutely miserable in their lives as they suck the life from people around them. Stay away from those poopy people.

No wait, I’ll say it for you:


I teach about 45 students in my tutorial, twice a week, two hours each time. They do assignments in the tutorials in groups of four to five. As a consequence, I get to know my students well and the students in the groups get to know each other as well.

Last week, one of the groups (two guys and two girls) invited me to “high tea” at one of the group members place at T-Bird. They invited the whole class and they decided they wanted me to come along as well. I was flattered by their invitation, but I knew immediately I could not take them up on their offer. I told them it was very nice of them but I was not allowed to partake in such an event. I also told them that if I were to go, I’d be breaking some fundamental rules for TA-student relationships. I had read these rules months ago in the TA handbook for computer science. I was forced to use the Com Sci handbook because Mech is so lame ass, they don’t even have one for their TAs. Anyways, I remember reading some well laid out rules governing TA conduct. One of them was like not meeting students outside of the teaching environment. There was a specific mention of not meeting students in a private setting. I recited the rule about the private setting to my students. They seemed really interested in these rules. “Tell us more!” they said.

I think I mentioned something about maintaining a professional relationship at all times and meeting only on-campus in a TA’s office with the door open. Then I remember the whole long part about romantic relationships with your students, that is, you’re not supposed to have those. It also listed what you should do when a student makes sexual advances towards you. I decided at that point, my students would hear no more. I told them I couldn’t remember the rest of the rules off-hand. “Can you bring the whole list of rules to class next time?!?! We want to read them!” said one of the ladies. I was like, um, sure.

Over the weekend, I noticed I didn’t have the booklet handy and that it was probably underneath a pile of other papers in who-knows-where in my apartment. I then came to the conclusion that even if I did have the rules handy, it’d probably be a bad idea to give these rules out. My students probably would never break these rules in the first place, but I don’t think it helps by putting the idea in their head.

Just between you and I, there was this Econ TA I used to know. He was TAing this first year Econ course. One of his female students missed a tutorial once, so she sent him an e-mail. The gist of her message was, sorry for missing the tutorial, maybe I could “come over to your place with a bottle of wine and I can catch up?”. At the time, he was involved in a relationship with a super-fine lady, so he just ignored her. Boy, was his girlfriend not pleased at his student though.

I’m going to make something to eat.


I have just returned from medical clinic at the Village. I’ve never been there before until today. I sauntered in, was asked for my CareCard, filled out a small form and was shown to an examining room.

This being a private clinic, the decor was less clinical than the hospital setting that student health works from. The walls were more colourful and the artwork was a bit more refined. After a wait of a few minutes, in walked a Dr. Russenes. We exchanged pleasantries and I went on to describe why I thought I had whooping cough. He listened intently made notes and then told me he’d be right back. When he returned he had a few plastic bags with him. He told me to test for whooping cough, he’d have to take a swab and that it would be straight out unpleasant.

Great. Well, I told him to do what he had to do and get it over with. He had me lie down on the examining table. In one hand he had a tongue depressor and the other he held what look liked the head of a Q-tip on a really thin and long wire. He held my tongue down with the depressor and swabbed the back of my throat with the Q-tip thingy. He was right, it was unpleasant.

As I sat back up, he inserted the swab into a container and then began filling out the lab form. He was almost done when he realized he had to take another swab. Again? He told me this time he had to go through my nose. Nice. I initially thought this would be better than the throat swab, but I was wrong. He had me look up slightly and then he started to insert another Q-tip thingy into my left nostril. At first it was ok, but then he started to go way beyond where any finger had gone before. The pain started to bloom and it felt like a fire had started inside my nasal cavity. As he went further in, I started to see bright flashes of colour which totally obscurred my vision. I was finally forced to close my eyes. Having gone far enough, he pulled the swab out of my nose, leaving me to wonder if in fact he had somehow touched my brain.

I was told that it would take several days for the lab to come back with the results. In the meantime, he gave me an inhaler that contains some sorta steroid which will help with the coughing. He also gave me a prescription for some antibiotics just in case to prevent pneumonia.

As for being contagious, he said that I shouldn’t isolate myself at this stage of the game, but that I should avoid coughing directly on people. I’ll try to avoid that in the future. So, I’ll wait to see the results of the test.

In the meantime, if you have Flash installed, you should check this out, it’s pretty cool.


There is a strong possibility that I have the whooping cough. Based on the information I’ve gleaned from the Internet and from the newly discovered fact that a classmate of mine had the whooping cough just a few weeks ago, it is looking more and more like this is what I have.

The sometimes violent and body-shaking coughing episodes fit directly with the descriptions of the illness I have read. The odd thing is, I know for a fact I was immunized for whooping cough when I was a child. It is unclear if I had a booster since then. I guess the point is moot now.

Whooping cough is supposed to very contagious for two weeks from the onset of the cough. I’ve blown by the two week period sometime last week, so I suppose that’s one hurdle that I’ve crossed. Nonetheless, I’ve decided not to go to an Easter dinner I was invited to on Monday night. Just another social event added to a long list of social events I’ve missed in the last while.

I’ll be into my third week of coughing in a day or two. Recovery apparently starts anywhere from the fourth to sixth week. So, I’m either really close or just half way. The recovery process can be slow with symptoms gradually going away over a period of possibly months for young children.

Whooping cough is most dangerous for infants and elderly people, where most of the fatalities from the illness occur. Boy, it sure feels good to know I have something that will be guaranteed to kill people this year.

Had I caught this early and I’m not really sure how I could have, taking antibiotics apparently shortens the recovery significantly. Since whooping cough initially starts out like a common cold, I doubt most people can take advantage of this. Antibiotics are still recommended even beyond onset of symptoms to ensure that I cannot spread this to other people. Tomorrow, I am going to the medical clinic in the Village to a get prescription for the antibiotics.

I have a feeling this is going to get worse before it gets better.


If you’ve seen me the last couple of days, you no doubt have realized I have continued to be hampered by a nagging, sometimes violent cough. The cough is worse at night, though it can be bad at any time of the day. When it gets body-shaking, I just have to let it run its course until my body settles down. This of course, points towards another visit to the doctor, and in fact, I did want to go as early as Thursday night. We are of course in the middle of a four-day weekend, so the on-campus clinic is closed. Much as I dislike self-diagnosing my own medical problems, I am without another option, short of visiting the emergency room (which I am not prepared to do).

Using my razor sharp mind, I noticed that many of my symptoms are shared by allergic reactions to pollen and dust. In fact, in the last two years, I have developed allergies to things I have never had problems with before. So, my thinking is that my cold has actually gone away, but my recurring symptoms, cough and slight nasal congestion, have been brought about by allergies due to some unfortunate timing.

Going on this assumption, I went to the drug store today to buy a package of Aerius, an antihistamine which just recently switched over from a prescription-only drug to over-the-counter. On the package itself, one of the symptoms it purports to treat is coughs due to allergies. It’s a one-a-day pill, and I’ve just taken mine for the day.

I’m hoping this will offer some relief to my coughing because it’s really affected my day to day life. No matter what happens, I think it would be wise for me to see the doctor again on Tuesday. Hey, I just noticed something… these pills are blue and small… just like Viagra.


The Internets have been a great place to look for cheap entertainment. Here are a few movies I’ve found on the Web that I thought were entertaining.


This is a short, computer-generated film made by film students using Lego-style characters. Now, before you take pass on this, let me list who they got to do the voicework: Adam West as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, Dick Van Dyke as Commissioner Gordon, and Courtney Thorne-Smith as Catwoman. Believe me, it’s not everyday you get such a diverse set of performers to do your student film. It’s a quality short film that’s worth a look. View the film here.

Rise of the Empire

Another Lego-inspired short film, this piece was done entirely in the traditional method of stop motion animation. This is one fan’s guess at what the trailer to the third Star Wars prequel would look like. Done years before the title Revenge of the Sith came out, the creator entitled his trailer Rise of the Empire. This is worth a look only if to see a very pregnant Padme Amidala. Download the film here (14 Mb, be patient!).

The Clone Wars: Volume II

Last year’s wildly popular Clone Wars cartoons, which were shown on the Cartoon Network, have returned with a second volume of chapters. These new chapters feature an extended running time, allowing for more in-depth stories this time around. The story arc will fill viewers in with details right up to the start of Episode III. Though people can view the new cartoons here, you might want to look for torrents which feature higher resolution versions.


On Thursday, this site turns five years old. That’s half a decade of Well, not really since it took me a few months to get the site running. So technically, I’ve owned this domain for five years now. Still, that’s a long time on the Internets.

It’s been a lot of fun which has led to a rewarding five years. I do a lot of work on this site mainly because of you, the readers. If you’re having fun, that means I’m having fun. Thanks for staying with me this long.

Every birthday needs a celebration and this one is no different. I’ve framed my celebration around a contest. Go take a look… enter… win stuff!


Early this morning, I awoke because of a sharp pain in my left cheek. It felt like there was a lot of pressure in the area and it was very unpleasant. I was sure that something was trying to get my cheek to explode. I surmised it was a sinus infection, but that thought did not help the pain go away.

I tossed and turned, hoping to get back to sleep, but it was no use. After several minutes, I somehow got my head in a particular position that caused the problematic sinus to drain partially. It was sorta like a balloon with a slow leak in it. The pressure gradually decreased until a point where the sharp pain was reduced to a dull ache. It was then I was able to fall asleep.

When I awoke again, my sinus remained achy. Just opening my jaw caused the pain to flare up again. I was thoroughly unimpressed with my bad luck. Having no other choice, I had to get on with my day even though I was feel pretty crappy.

Luckily, the students in my tutorial finished their assignments early and I was able to steal away to UBC Student Health before they closed. I was just planning on making an appointment for the next day, but they were able to schedule me in 15 minutes before close. After her examination, the doctor confirmed that I did indeed have a sinus infection. Though she was concerned about the severity of the initial pain, she said it was a good sign it had drained partially on its own. She offered to give me a prescription for antibiotics, but told me it was my choice since the infection could clear up by itself. I decided to hold off on the antibiotics since I try to stay clear of the stuff unless absolutely forced to take it. The doctor did recommend that I use steam and a decongestant to aid in clearing up my sinuses.

With that, I thanked the doctor for her help and I was off. When I returned home, I took a long, steamy shower. After emerging from bathroom, I immediately noticed my cheek was less achy. I decided to take a nap before dinner. In the process of lying down, my sinuses drained even more.

I feel much better now and can only hope this will be the last thing to bother me from this horrible cold.