MORE LATER

I have returned from my parents’ place where I spent post-graduation. I left my degree with them. I have some stuff to do here right now but I’ll be back later.

POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE

Today, I officially get my M.Eng degree conferred upon me at the 1:30pm graduation ceremony at the Chan Centre. The event will bring to a close my latest academic adventure.

Since I also received my undergrad degree from UBC, I don’t feel quite as excited about this ceremony as I did for my first degree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite satisfied with my accomplishment, but I’m more acutely aware of the lengthy speeches this time around. Nonetheless, the whole thing shouldn’t take any more than an hour and half from the time I sit my ass down.

If you’re interested, the hood of my degree is fully lined in scarlet with a dark blue cord. The undergrads get a single, thin cord of colour, but I’ll be pimped out today. Of course, nothing can top the regalia of a PhD student with bright colours that distinctively say, “I kicked all your asses.”

While only my family will be there live to witness this grand ceremony, I invite you to watch if I trip while I walk across the stage through UBC’s webcast of the event. The video stream starts at 1:15pm but you can join in anytime. My guess is that they’ll start calling out names around 2:30pm. I’ll be among the first to be called. Turn it on and leave it running in the background, it’ll give us something to talk about when we see each other next.

Well, I’ll be back when I get in my hands the most expensive piece of paper I’ve ever paid for.

STAR WARS CELEBRATION

The month before before Revenge of the Sith came out in theatres, the largest Star Wars convention in at least three years took place in Indiana. Called Celebration III, it was a dream gathering for any Star Wars fan. Even the plaid-shirted one himself, George Lucas attended.

I was going through the endless online photo galleries that fans have posted. There are lots of very cool pictures. Here’s an interesting one: a collection of fans in “slave girl” Princess Leia outfits.

This next picture is amazing. The guy below is in fact not Hayden Christensen though the resemblance is super uncanny. I’ve included a still photo of Christensen himself for comparison.

Seeing all the photos of the props and toys made me wish I could have gone. If you’re interested, here are some more photos from the convention.

COME CELEBRATE WITH ME

Current and former SJC residents, I invite you to join me at the spring graduation reception today at the Fairmont Social Lounge at 5pm. You were supposed to RSVP, but I’m sure no one will notice if you slip in a few minutes after it has started.

There will be refreshments, alcoholic ones as well. A rumour also exists that they might be serving shrimp dumplings too.

In any case, be there as I transition gracefully from grad student to an unemployed bum with an advanced degree.

KEVIN SMITH'S BLOG

I am sure at least some of you are familiar with Kevin Smith, director of movies like Clerks, Mallrats, and Dogma. I like his work and from what I’ve seen and heard, he seems like a cool, down-to-earth type of guy.

He’s had a website for a while now where he would occasionally make a post on a messageboard telling his fans what he was up to. Smith has finally made the leap to a more formal blog and it’s been a treat to read. He’s an interesting subject to begin with, but he posts so frequently, it’s hard not to get hooked.

While his life would be blog-worthy normally, the blog has recently taken on a local Vancouver flavour. Smith is in town shooting Catch and Release, in a rare take as an actor instead of a director. He drove his entire family up from California for the shoot and most of his blog for the month of May is about working in good old Van-city. You may not know it, but Smith actually lived in Vancouver for six months many years ago as a student at VFS. In one blog entry, he drives his wife around the old neighbourhood showing her where he used to hang out.

From reading his blog, you get the feeling Smith is still a regular dude. He writes about going to Safeway to pick up peanut butter and London Drugs to buy a fan. Could you imagine Jennifer Lopez doing that? No way. In one entry, he writes about taking his daughter Harley to Denny’s for the first time. Which Denny’s? The one on Broadway near the Toy’R’Us. I think it’s pretty cool that Smith isn’t above just being a regular dad taking his kid for greasy breakfast.

I think Smith is still in town for a few days yet, but he strangely hasn’t posted to his blog for a few days now. If you think you’ve seen Kevin Smith in town, that very well maybe him. His posts in Vancouver start here. Have a read.

BEHIND THE SCENES

From what I see on the server logs, there’s a fair amount of visitors who come to this site daily, looking for whatever string of words I’ve managed to bash out on the keyboard. Because of the frequency of visits from some readers, I do my best to post at least once a day. Though some of you out there have your own blogs, have you ever wondered how a post comes to be? Well, in this very special installment of erwintang.com I’ll take you on a never seen before behind the scenes tour!

After arriving at the glass and steel adorned headquarters of erwintang.com, I usually spend the first hour of my day reading my e-mail. I then spend an hour and a bit in a meeting with the various department heads of the site. We discuss possible post ideas and flesh out the more viable ones or ones that have caught my attention. I then leave the staff to firm up one or two ideas so that they’ll be in postable form by the afternoon. By then, it’s time for my daily fried chicken break…

Actually, that’s not how the process goes at all, but wouldn’t it be cool if it was like that? In reality, ideas for posts can come from anywhere and at anytime. Over the years, I’ve realized my posts can be more or less put into several categories. The first is the “life” post which is common among most bloggers. This is simply a post about what happened to the blog author that day or in between the last post and the current one. Usually, the event or events I describe I hope will be of some entertainment value to my readers. It could be humourous, but it could also be something which causes me to vent plasma frustration. For example, the first time Woba and I checked out a suspicious car is a “life” post. It is these types of posts that keep most of my readers up to date on my life, so much so that friends of mine who I haven’t spoke to in weeks will have no questions to ask me when we finally talk in person.

The second type of posts I have are what I called “set” posts. This type of entry have no reliance on current events nor do they necessarily have to involve me personally. Most often, I am presenting an opinion on something. These set pieces might have been drifting in the back of my mind for days, weeks, or even months. For whatever reason I’ll feel the need to solidify my ideas in the form of a post on my blog. These entries are rarer than the previous types of posts. An example would be when I confessed I was a noob at pumping my own gas.

The third type of post I have is something I call “what I had for lunch” posts. Though I literally post what I had for lunch sometimes in a short one or two sentence entry, this type of post has expanded in meaning over the years. Any short post that really has no substantial meaning falls under this category. Examples include a single picture with a caption, a short tirade about being tired and/or hungry, a link to a news story (usually involving wang flies), a link to a funny video, or a link to another web site. When all else fails, I rely on this type of post to inject at least something onto the blog for people to read. At least for me, my philosophy about blogs is that frequency of posting is a hair more important than quality.

Well, there you have it, a small peek at how we do things here at erwintang.com. I hope you enjoyed it. I must take my leave of you now as I’ve arranged for the entire staff to see Revenge of the Sith later this afternoon. Bye!

HMMMM…

I’ve lost Internet connectivity at my apartment for some reason. I’ve been forced to trek over two minutes to the CS labs to write this.

The issue appears to be network-wide for a large majority, if not all Resnet users. I hope everything will be back to normal some time in the morning.

THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE

I saw Revenge of the Sith today. You know a movie has made an impact when you and the people you went with can only sit in silence for minutes as the credits roll. That can indicate either a good thing or a bad thing. Today, it was a positive sign.

For some of us, we’ve waited nearly two decades to see the events unfold on screen as we did today. I was ten years old when I read about the near-legendary battle between Anakin and Obi-wan on a lava filled planet. Master and former apprentice facing off in a climatic battle. Former friends forced to fight each other. How did it come to this? What exactly happened? Why did Obi-wan leave a horribly scarred Anakin to seemingly die? These were the questions I’ve asked myself since I was a child. Today, those questions were answered.

For almost the same amount of time, I’ve also wondered how Luke and Leia’s mother died. What tragedy had befallen her? What prevented her from from raising her twin babies? Again, we found our answers today.

The movie was satisfying to a great extent because so much information was provided. Information that we’ve only guessed about for so many years. Closure is such a good thing.

So why did we sit silently as the film ended? For me, I was struck by the tragic and sad details that Lucas finally provided us. I doubt if there were any of us who didn’t know the general ending of the movie. The original three films spelled out the story in broad strokes for us. It was seeing the fine details that made it emotional. I’ve known for twenty years that Anakin was burned by lava, but to see and hear him immolated by fire was shocking. I’ve also known that Luke and Leia were split up to be raised on separate planets, but to see the babies actually delivered to their surrogate parents tugged at the heartstrings. Though I didn’t see grown men reduced to tears as one reviewer witnessed, I certainly could understand why.

Yeah, the special effects kicked ass, but I was most impressed with the darker tone of the movie. If you don’t think it’s dark, go see it and we’ll talk about the younglings afterwards. I’ve read how Lucas has described the Star Wars saga as a tragic and sad tale, but today I fully understand what he meant by that.

Sith is easily the best of the prequels and better than Jedi. It doesn’t quite surpass Empire, but only time will tell how I compare it with A New Hope.