The drive home from UBC to Port Moody took 36 minutes tonight, delivering me back shortly before midnight. It’s a new record, besting my old one of 40 minutes. Here’s to light traffic and a tiny bit of speeding.
I’ve taken the bus to work from Port Moody three straight days in a row now. It’s not bad in the mornings when it takes me about 60 minutes to get to work. That’s not bad considering where I live and where Backbone is.
The crappy part is going home. I’ve yet to go home on time all this week, so I don’t know what the commute is like around 6pm. For the last three days, I’ve been heading out of the office around 8:10pm and arriving home at about 9:25pm. It’s harder to make connections in the evenings when the buses run less frequently.
I’m going to drive for the rest of the week. Tonight was a prime example of why sometimes, it’s a lot better to have your own car. I get on the #160 downtown for the ride back out to suburban hell. I make my way to the back of the bus where I take my seat. A few seats away, some dude sits down. His friend, some girl, sits down across the aisle from him where they face each other.
For the next 35 minutes or so, he starts talking to her at an obnoxiously loud level. Unfortunately, this guy isn’t the most gifted orator in the world. So not only can most of the bus hear him babble on about crap, he proceeds to dish out nearly every detail of his life. From one conversation here’s what I now know about this guy:
– 23 years old
– works in construction
– makes $29/hr. apparently (mentioned several times)
– father owns some wrecking yards in Abbotsford
– father is involved with the Hell’s Angels in illegal activities that makes him lots of money
– got a girl pregnant after meeting her two weeks previously in a bar
– once owned a house valued at $500 000 in Surrey
– had the courts take away said house to give to the pregnant girl
– his baby is now four months old
– it’s a girl
– apparently a big fan of Penticton
– once did cocaine in jail
– once knew some Chinese guy that went to UBC
– once spent $700 in a weekend on alcohol
– is a big fan of the expletives
There’s more but I don’t want to think about it just in case it gets burned into my long term memory. I’m horrified that some of this crap will stay in my brain and push out some critical piece of information that I might have gleaned in grad school.
All my life, I’ve tried not to stereotype construction workers, but I think this was the last straw. I’ve observed enough of them now that yes, you can shine a turd all you want, but all you’ll get is a shit stained cloth with which you decided to use to shine that construction worker.
Enough of this, tomorrow, I’m driving to work.
I wish I could say that I’ve found a new place to live but that would be lying. No, I’m being moved at work. Since day one, I’ve been sitting the designers/scripters area. The rest of the software engineers are in the cubicles by the windows. There just wasn’t enough room for me there when I started.
Last week, they hired another scripter for the team. Our office so cramped because we’ve grown so fast, they can’t accomodate the new guy without moving me. I’m being moved into Karen’s old space. She left about two months ago to work at Microsoft.
The move will be bittersweet. All summer I complained about facing a wall when the other engineers had a window to the hot girls walking along W. Broadway. I also didn’t like how I had much less lighting being away from the windows. On the other hand, where my desk is right now isn’t too bad. Despite the open air concept, not a single person faces my desk directly, meaning no one can see me goof off out the corner of their eye. Also, I sit next to Dave which is a real treat. When he found out I was moving, he said he was sad and that he was going to miss me. He’s already decided the new guy won’t even be half as cool as I am… his words, not mine. I’ll miss Dave too. It’ll be tough to walk the 15 feet to visit Dave, but damn, I’m going to make the time.
One more thing, I’m actually going to be sharing a cubicle with another engineer, Greg. In a normal office, the cubicle would probably be for one person but since we’ve so tight on space, we’re cramming two in. When I stand up now, my desk chair can barely roll back 6 inches before it hits the wall.
Well, at least I have window now… after the summer has ended.
My three year adventure as a grad student ended Sunday when I handed in the keys to my apartment on campus. I was in that apartment 9 days short of a full calendar year. A year is a long time but it felt like I moved into that place just yesterday.
Overall, it’s still very weird to think that I’m no longer a student. For the last three years, I was a grad student every day of my life. For me, I wasn’t just a grad student when I was in class or doing schoolwork, it was a lifestyle. I enjoyed nearly every minute of it.
I vaguely remember when I made the decision to go back to school sometime in the summer of 2001. I was working as a tester at EA making $12.50 an hour. I was thinking that I could do better than this. After making up my mind, I set out to accomplish three broad goals for grad school: get a Master’s degree, allow my education to get me a job as a software engineer making games, and have fun the entire time. In a rare display of things lining up in my life, I managed to somehow tick off every single one of those goals.
Though the having fun part might seem pretty superflous as a goal, I was pretty serious about that one. I kinda missed out on a lot of undergrad fun. You know how a lot of people use undergrad to goof off? I barely did any of that unfortunately. A few years after I graduated, I told a friend once that I felt like I perhaps had missed out on all of that. I was feeling some regret and wondered if that chance was forever gone. She told me that I there was no going back.
I am happy to say, sometimes, you can certainly go back, I did. During the last three years, I’ve had more fun and adventures than I could have ever anticipated. I’ve met a lot of quality people and suprisingly only a few not so quality people. Living a fulfilling life leads to contented soul. Someone wrote that once, I think it was me, like in the last sentence. Anyways, my point is I wiped away whatever regret I had about lost opportunities.
One thing that I do feel especially lucky about is the fact that I blogged the entire time I was in grad school. I had a four month warm-up period before September of 2002 in which I wrote about 10 posts that 2 people read. Good posts or bad, it’s all there though on the right-hand side of this page. The archives are for me as much as they are for you. A few days ago, I was reading the first couple of posts just after I moved into SJC. I instantly remembered what my room looked like then, who I knew, who I didn’t know, and what I was thinking at the time. If I ever need to know what I was doing during a certain week of grad school, I’ll be able to find it. For me at least, it’s interesting reading things like when I sliced my thumb open, had major oral surgery, had food poisoining for a week, went on a cruise with my family, got drunk in New Orleans with a fur salesman, and list goes on. I know for sure there were things I didn’t blog. Perhaps, I should retro blog those events. I have one evening in mind that thanks to the passage of time, might be suitable for public consumption now.
In any event, I’m not sure how one post or my literary skills could sum up the last years of my life. It was the best time of my life. I accomplished everything I wanted to do. I had the pleasure of meeting so many good people from around the world. No matter how old I get, I will always think that being a university student is one of the greatest things you can be.
I’ll close up with some thanks. I’d like to thank everyone I’ve met for making my life better. SJC residents make up the bulk of these people but there are others. My academic supervisor Dr. Croft was a kind and understanding soul the entire three years I muddled around in her lab. I have to thank every single one of my classmates who aided me in my studies. Good luck to them in their own academic pursuits. And last but not least (just like in an Oscar speech), I’d like to thank my family for putting up with me for the last three years while I basically I took a hiatus from being a “real world adult”. Their generous financial support was the only reason why I could continue being a student for so long.
So ends this wonderful chapter of my life and I’m hoping the next few will be even half as fun as the last.
I’m moving out of my on campus apartment this week. Though I didn’t get kicked out, I figure it won’t be long before UBC figures out I’m not enrolled in any classes. Technically, on the other hand, I am still registered as an unclassified student. I wonder if I should try to get a U-Pass.
Anyways, the question is, where I am moving to? Well, as I like to put it, I’ve decided to rent out a room with an older couple out in Port Moody. Another way to put it is that I’m staying with my parents for a little while. Man, I almost wanted to vomit writing that. So why in the world would I descend into a living hell? There’s only one reason: economics. I’m in debt $13 000. Grad school wasn’t cheap. It cost a lot to finance the three year fantasy life I had.
Actually in early August, I applied for and received an offer to move into a studio apartment near W. 7th and Laurel, right by the Rugby Beach Club Grille. It was a nice building with a friendly building manager. They were going to redo the floors and bathroom before I moved in. The apartment building was also next to a park that fronted the waters of False Creek. Beautiful.
I then realized that the rent was $750 a month and I still had to pay off my loans. I was thinking maybe I could do this, so I looked at my finances since I had started working. In the two months or so I had started worked, I had managed to save about $100 a month. My rent at UBC was $841 a month but that included things like utilities, cable, and internet. The other place was $750 without those things. So in the end, I’d have about $100 a month to pay off my loans. If I had taken the apartment, it would have taken ten years to pay off my loans (and that’s without interest). Mind you that’d be at my current salary, which I hope to hell won’t stay the same over the next ten years.
So the question is, how long do I stay there? The timing is about right because the game I’m working on is entering a critical stage. I’ll be working lots of OT in the next two months, so it matters less where I’ll be living since I’ll be at work anyways. I’m going to take it month by month and see how it goes. The longer I stay, the faster my loans will be paid off. I expect to put about $800-1000 a month towards my debt. If I can’t stand it anymore, I leave anytime I want. I’m firm on not staying more than 12 months, in fact, I can’t even see myself being there that long. I’m almost certain I’d go nuts by then.
The strange thing is, my sister made the same decision almost a year ago. She came back to live with my parents when she took a pay cut for a job she liked better. I talked at length with my sister about her decision and it helped me a lot to see the reality of what faced me. Sure, it’s gonna suck donkey balls but in the long run, I’ll be in better shape.
I’m not sure if this a good or bad thing, but my situation is strangely not uncommon. The term “boomerang kid” has been given to people like me who return to the nest. There are articles all over the damn Internet about the phenomenona.
Well, regardless of how many people are in the same boat, I’m not looking forward to this at all. There’s going to be some rough patches for sure, but I’ve got to do the right thing for now. I just wish I could be a stripper or something to pay off my debts just like young women can.
Anyways, my phone number will change by Monday. I’ll send out an e-mail soon with my new number. If you don’t get it and want to get a hold of me, send me a message.
To finish off this post, here’s the best Dick Cheney video I’ve ever seen.
Tonight was the first Pit night of the school year and I, along with some other grad students, attempted to be the oldest patrons of the pub. Unfortunately, the lineup was way too long for our patience, so we had to go to Koerner’s. The bad news did not stop there, as Koerner’s was about as jumping as an old folks home.
Sadly, the highlight of the night was looking into the windows of the new Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and seeing the automated retrieval and storage system for books. There were stacks 100 feet high and probably as long. A sight to behold.
Chat with God now.
Tomorrow (or today if you’re reading this in the morning) is the first day of classes for Winter Session 2005 at UBC. For the first time in three years, I will not be a grad student as a new fall term commences. It’s such a weird feeling. It’s almost like I’ve known nothing more than the grad student lifestyle until now.
After a peaceful summer, the campus will be buzzing with activity tomorrow and for many days to come. Even before I’m awake in the morning, there will be students at 8am lectures. When I make my way to the bus loop to go to work, I’m probably going to encounter lots of students going the other way.
I think part of the weirdness stems from the fact I’m still living on campus while all this is happening. I’m not a student anymore yet still immersed in the whole student culture, which to be honest, is fine with me right now.
So while thousands of students get back into the academic life tomorrow, it’ll be just another day at work for me. Like I mentioned before, it’ll be a bit weird. Will school actually continue on without me there?
Hey, for all of you students still living the high life at UBC, you might want to read this news release from Translink. There is now even more frequent bus service to and from UBC. Good news for commuters and on campus residents alike.
I hope everyone has a great day tomorrow, no matter what you’re doing.
First of all, I’m aware that commenting is non-functional right now. As always, the problem is out of my control and again, thanks for your patience.
Today is the first day that UBC Housing residences are accepting residents for the new school year. After the usual quiet and peaceful summer on campus, all of UBC is a huge hub of activity. The campus is crawling with parents, n00bs, and their belongings. When I stepped out of my apartment today to run some errands, the parking lot next door was filled. Virtually every vehicle in the lot had a “Opening Day” parking pass which allows parents to park for free this weekend while they move in their younglings. There are also UBC Housing staff to direct vehicles to the right lots.
As I left the lot, I began seeing many, many groups of students decked out in blue and white t-shirts. They seem to be part of some orientation activity. I counted no less than ten of these groups all over UBC. When I got to the bank in the Village I saw two parents and their first-year meeting a banking associate to open a bank account. I overheard them discussing things like chequing fees and online banking. I have yet to go into the CIBC in September and not see something like this.
You know back in my undergrad days, I had nothing like this. Free parking for parents for move in? You’ve got to be kidding me. My parents had to illegally park the car when we moved my stuff. In fact, I think my Dad found great pride in trying to park as close to a fire hydrant as possible. And UBC Housing staff outside on the street to direct traffic and answer questions? In my day, there was one guy inside who handed out keys and he liked to send out a mailer (props to anyone who got that). There also no orientation back then. I had to ask some guy named “Booger” where I could pick up my meal card.
Well, that’s it for now.
I have a friend from undergrad named Dave. He went through UBC Med and is now a doctor, living in Ontario with his lovely wife (also a doctor). This morning, I check my e-mail and there’s a message from Dave.
He’s back in town for a couple of weeks and wants to know if I have time to get together for a drink or something. He also informs me that he’s sending the message from his father’s computer. Dave’s dad is also a doctor. While going through his Dad’s bookmarks on the browser, he finds my blog.
That’s a total surprise. I had no clue Dr. Shu was reading my blog. I’m guessing he must have Googled his name and found a few pages from Dave’s wedding that mentioned him. It’s possible that’s how he stumbled upon my blog. I wonder if he just bookmarked it and never read it again. I hope he reads it on a regular basis. I’m quite fond of my regular visitors.
Now, I’m not saying this because he might read it, but Dr. Shu is one of the coolest parents you’ll ever meet. When we used to have these big parties at his parents’ house, Dr. Shu would have a throng of 20somethings in rapt attention as he was telling a humourous anecdote. I’ve never seen that before in any other parent I know. A cool dude indeed.
Sir, if you’re reading this, thanks for stopping by and visiting.