As some of you know, I’m not a big fan of reality TV. I don’t like Survivor. When the first finale of the US version was on, my entire testing team went to the TV room to watch it. I stayed at my desk along with Peter Dodson to continue testing NHL 2001. I don’t really care for The Amazing Race, The Apprentice, The Contender, Temptation Island, Super Nanny, Trading Spouses, and the list goes on and on.

If there was a reality TV show that I do enjoy watching, it’d be Cops. Oh man do I like watching Cops. There’s something about watching bad guys getting caught that is so entertaining. Do not call me if they have a special edition episode on car chases.

Anyways, you can add one more reality TV show to list that I watch regularly. The show is called Beauty and the Geek and it’s on the WB network. The show’s premise is essentially this: get seven geeks together with seven babes and just film the carnage that will undoubtedly will ensue. Actually, there’s more to it than that. Each geek teams up with a beauty. The goal throughout the show is for each pairing to learn something from each other’s lives. For example, the babes chosen apparently aren’t too book smart. In the first episode, the geeks had to teach them grade five geography. In return, the beauties have to teach the geeks pop culture things like pop music and how to dance. At the end of each episode, the teams compete against each other in an “elimination challenge”. A team is eliminated at the end of each show.

Being somewhat of a geek myself, I could sympathize with a lot of the guys on the show. Let’s see, there’s a med student, computer programmer, at least one virgin, and one hilarious guy who’s never kissed a girl. He’s funny not because of the kissing thing, but because he’s just a character.

The beauties are for sure extremely attractive. The casting people however, chose really stereotypical good looking women though. A lot of them purport to be not really interested in school or books or even caring about being educated. I’ve met several women in my life who are just as attractive as these ladies but were highly intelligent. I guess the show wouldn’t work if they had gotten those ladies instead.

Here are a few screenshots from the first episode:

I must mention one thing, the show is being exec produced by Ashton Kutcher, so there remains a possibility the public might be getting Punk’d. Regardless, after just one episode, I think I’m hooked on the show. I can’t wait for the next episode.

If you want more, here’s a 2.5 minute clip from the first show:

beauty_and_the_geek_101_clip.avi – 25 Mb

The show isn’t on local Vancouver cable as far as I know, but I was able to find it using Bittorrent. Contact me if you want the first show!


The SJC softball team played their first game today. Though I have captained the team the last two years, Adam is now running the show. It just makes sense that the captain of the SJC team should actually be living at SJC. I am, however, still part of the squad. To use a completely incorrect analogy, I’m Linden coming back to the Canucks with Nazzy as captain.

Anyways, this year’s team has a radically different look compared to last year’s. For the first time in recent memory, we have more ladies on our team than guys. Unless something drastic happens, we will probably never have to worry about a shortage of women come game time. More than 50% of the team doesn’t even live at SJC, though many of that group are ex-SJC residents.

Something that hasn’t changed is a few of our players are playing softball for the very first time. It also wouldn’t be a SJC softball team if we didn’t have at least one former cricket player with us. Those guys and their crazy, gloveless fielding.

When the other team showed up, I thought we might be in a spot of trouble today. Most of their team had gloves while several of players had none. We also only had one bat, the other team had a fine selection of bats to choose from.

As the game progressed however, my fears were allayed as we stayed quite close to the other team for the first few innings. There was a scary moment when one of the opposing players got hit with the ball trying to catch an infield fly. She took it right in the mouth and just from the sound of it, it looked awfully painful to me. She went down for like a minute but she was a trooper and trotted off to get some ice with another teammate.

Our fielding and hitting was actually quite decent for an SJC team. As Joel will tell you, however, I didn’t play shortstop too well today. I missed a few balls when diving should have been the strategy, but I hesitated. I think I only could have been charged one error today but I hope I improve the next time out.

Speaking of Joel, boy did he put on a show today. Because of his busted hand, he couldn’t play today but instead, graciously took over the role of manager, base coach, cheerleader, and statistician. When we were up to bat, he was calling out the lineups and telling our baserunners when to run. He offered encouragement to all our players when we were both hitting and fielding. He negotiated and discussed the rules of the game with the other team, at times asking for actual demonstrations of the rule in question. True to his professional conduct as a lawyer, Joel was vocal and effective.

Even before the game was over, Adam and I were wondering how we were even able to function the last two summers without Joel. All the little tasks he took care of were traditionally handled by the captain and his or her co-captain. We both thought that Joel was an indispensable tool out there. He even was entertaining to the other team, so much so that I think the girl in black with the knee high socks was checking him out.

Ok, I think I’ve inflated Joel’s ego enough now. By the way, we won the game by one run! Yay us!

With me starting work next week, it’ll be tough for me to join the team for the rest of the season, but I’m hoping to hammer some sort of deal with the company. Maybe I can start work earlier on Tuesdays and still make the games.

In any case, good job out there team!


Frequently rated as one of the top burger joints in the Lower Mainland, Vera’s Burger Shack is opening up a new location at the UBC Village. After running some errands today at the Village, I noticed Amigos, which was previously Country Style, had closed up. The windows were all papered up, but there in black letters was the announcement that Vera and her burgers would be arriving soon.

I think it’s about time that another high profile tenant move into the Village. The Village is ok, but the arrival of a gourmet burger joint is certainly welcome news to me. We’ll finally have another dining option other than sushi and McDonald’s.


As part of being a responsible web site owner, I look through my visitor logs every once in a while to see if anyone is doing things they shouldn’t be. These things include hotlinking which is essentially directly linking to files off my web server without showing the page or context from which I originally intended the files to be presented from. What’s worse is when someone directly embeds my files into their web page without citation. I wind up having to provide the bandwidth for someone else’s web page.

The worst offenders come from these crappy on-line communities like myspace and xanga. These sites are supposed to offer young people a one-stop shop to set up their little sites complete with blogs and photo albums. In reality, these people rarely make use of the blog aspect but instead concentrate on seeing how many images of Orlando Bloom they can hotlink from their site.

I find these sites pathetic. Not because they like Orlando Bloom or whatever celebrity, but because they leech off other web sites to provide the images for own little site. Some of these kids just go overboard with it, cramming upwards to 50 images of whatever into their site. Each image of course, coming from servers they don’t own.

So, I found just such a leecher while combing through my access logs. A xanga user named “spazzypatti” had been directly embedding a link to an 8 Mb Star Wars mp3 file from my server. This meant that anytime anyone visited her xanga site, my server had to transfer over the 8 Mb file so that her visitors could have something to listen to while they perused her site.

No way, not on my watch Betty. I ain’t footing the bandwidth bill for you and your friends. She had a form on her site that allowed me to e-mail her. I politely wrote that I noticed she had linked to one of my files. I also told her she was welcome to download the file to her own computer and then host the file on her server somewhere else. I finally explained to her why hotlinking is bad and why I carry the burden of her actions.

I had actually sent out an identical message to another xanga user who had done the same thing to me with the same mp3 file. Within a day, he had removed the link to my site. Thinking that I could also reason with “spazzypatti”, I let have a whole 24 hours to remove the link. After a day had passed, I checked my logs again. Nope, she hadn’t removed the link. I was still getting requests for that file from her site.

This is where it got interesting for me. I went back to her site to see if she had wrote on her blog that I had e-mailed her. She hadn’t but I nonetheless did see an eye-opening post. Turns out she’s a teenage Republican party supporter and not a fan of Michael Moore. Read the third comment for the post though, my man Zach lays the smackdown. Anyways, I was thinking, not a Michael Moore supporter huh? Yes… yes… I could do something good here.

I quickly found an mp3 file which remixed Moore’s 2003 Oscar acceptance speech as a anti-Bush song. I uploaded the song to my web server and changed the name so it matched the file name that “spazzypatti” had linked to off her site. Now, when anyone went to her site, it would play this anti-Bush song. Perfect! I also made sure to change the links from my other pages so that the original mp3 file could be still found by people who legitimately clicked on it from my web site.

It took her less than half a day to realize what happened. I will give her credit for revisiting my web site and relinking to the newly renamed mp3 file. When I woke up the next morning she had it back to the Star Wars song. I recognized that we could theoretically go around in circles with renaming and relinking so I thought I needed to end it immediately.

I changed the server settings so that there could be no more hotlinking of mp3 files from my server. Though this option was available to me from day one, I thought a polite note was more useful. Then when I found out she was a right-wing hack, I decided to have a little more fun.

I will leave you with two interesting items. The first is that our intrepid Republican appears to be a big Star Wars fan and also a fan of the latest movie. In the latest film, one of the most prominent sub-plots involves the deterioration of rights and freedoms as a leader gains more and more power, supposedly to help wage war more effectively. Ah the irony.

Second, “spazzypatti” appears to have discovered the dangers of writing a blog about her own life. Here’s an excerpt from one of her posts:

“ok so i wont be updating for a while because xanga is pretty stupid and my mom has been reading some of the stuff i/you guys have been writing and she doesnt like the idea of opening my life to every random person on the internet…”

“say i write something about someone and that someone reads what i wrote, then they say something i say something not nice back which cause a huge fight over something purposeless”

They grow up so fast don’t they? Hey, why do you think I write about what I had for lunch so often? It’s a safe thing to post and no one gets offended.

Until she finds something else to write about, I think “spazzypatti” will have to archive that site for a while.


My time is short tonight, so I’ll cop out by linking to someone else’s blog. In his latest post, Frank tells us he ate some partially raw BBQ chicken for dinner. I did some reading and yes, some Japanese dishes do include chicken which is only partially cooked.

I’ll eat pieces of salmon and tuna sashimi until they close the restaurant but I’d never willingly eat a piece of raw chicken, even if it’s “supposed” to be that way.


I learned something today. Here is how the lesson went. Before I had lunch today, I went to the bank to deposit some money into my account. The funds were in an envelope. After reaching the bank machine and punching in the right keys for a deposit, I transferred the money from my own envelope to the CIBC deposit envelope. I’ve done this more times than I can remember. I’ve never had a problem with it before.

Here’s where things went wrong. For some reason, I did not notice that I left behind a single $20 bill in my original envelope. The deposit envelope by now had been swallowed up by the machine. The actual amount of cash deposited was $20 less than what I had keyed in. I looked to see if the bank staff could help me. The line-up was huge and every bank employee seemed busy.

I decided I would go home and phone the CIBC call centre as they rarely are busy and maybe they could access the system on their end. I called and explained the situation to a real, live person. I was put on hold for a few minutes. This is what I was told. The representative couldn’t really do anything for me right now. He placed a message in the system which stated I had called about the problem. More alarmingly, he also told me that once the discrepancy was noticed, my bank card would most likely be put in a restrictive state and I wouldn’t be able to use it. I was warned that I should probably get some cash out of my account to last the next few days since I might suddenly find my card would be useless. Great. I asked if he could predict when it might be put on hold. He said it could be anywhere from tomorrow to the next seven days. Great.

If and when my card is disabled, I am supposed to call them back to remove the hold. The only positive is that I can call back everyday to check if the hold has been put in place. Yay.

So like some crazy game, I might not have access to my money anytime from like tomorrow or the next seven days.

Let this be a lesson to you, check the damn envelope before you seal it to ensure all the cash is in there.


So back it up a few months when I was looking at the calendar. The university had just come out with the dates of the congregation ceremonies. I read the date of my own ceremony… May 30. I thought to myself, “Hmmm… so when I’m sitting in the audience waiting for my turn on stage, I’ll already know how the last Star Wars movie turns out.”

Well, that turned out to be true. As I sat there in the Chan Centre on Monday I remember thinking yep I was right. The whole event turned out to be speedy and efficient. Before I knew it, I back at my apartment with entire family eating chicken yakisoba. Of course, I had returned with my degree in tow.

I will admit the granting of my Master’s degree seems less monumental compared to my undergrad degree. I think part of the reason is because my first degree was a huge, life-changing undertaking. I learned a lot about engineering, university life, and just being an adult in general in those five long years. Getting that undergrad degree was tough. There were a lot of rough patches along the way. Juggling seven courses a semester nearly the entire way through basically made me stressed out from the second week on. I’ve also realized that when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I just didn’t have a lot of tools to handle life like I do now.

Upon reflection, at least for now, obtaining my undergrad degree still remains my greatest accomplishment of my life.

Back then, I just wanted to survive, to finish my degree. I didn’t really think about life after UBC. The goal was just to get it done.

This time around, things were a little bit different. I knew from the start I wanted to get a Master’s degree to help me get a specific job in a specific industry. So, in that respect, Monday was just a part of a larger plan. If I may borrow a baseball analogy, it was the seventh inning stretch in a game that would at least go nine innings.

Things were also easier with this degree because of familiarity. Sure the academic material is at a higher level, but a textbook is still a textbook, exams are still exams, and homework is still a pain in the ass. In short, the game was being played at a higher level, but I already knew the rules.

I will close by making one more comment. If by some strange twist of fate, I never work a day as a software engineer in the video game industry, I will honestly not look back at my degree as a waste of time or money. Why? Because I got to live at St. John’s College. I’m not sure if I express in words what that place means to me, or more specifically what the people that I met mean to me.

I am sure if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know that I’ve befriended some great people at my time at SJC. I had a lot of fun there, more fun than I’ve ever had in my life. I would count my two years there as the two best years of my life thanks to my dear friends.

So maybe it’s the popcorn talking but if you had to make me choose between what was more important and valuable to my life, my Master’s degree or my time at SJC, I think I’d have to take SJC.

I first started thinking about completing a Master’s degree in the late summer of 2001. Here we are in May of 2005. I did it. I’m not sure what else I have to say about that.

For reading this far, here’s a picture of the hood (with me wearing it) that signifies my M.Eng. degree (scarlet with deep blue cord).