It’s time again for my Valentine’s Day post. Last year, I wrote how I was going to spend the evening making a nice meal for myself, watching some TV, masturbating until exhaustion, and then playing video games for the rest of the night. The year before that, I declined to make a post. And before that, I showed you how to make your own Valentine candy.

This year, just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’d like to point out that I made it into the first annual Lunch at the Village awards, brought to you by Greg Williams. I didn’t actually win an award but there’s an actual category for me: most amusing reference to Erwin Tang. Go see for yourself!


Sorry, it’s been a long night, so I have no literary gems for you tonight. Instead, I encourage you to read a short biography of Admiral Ackbar, who led the Rebel fleet in its triumphant battle against Imperial forces above the forest moon of Endor. The Rebels were victorious despite Ackbar’s frequent calls for retreat in the face of even the most minor setbacks.


Panhandlers are abundant in the city of Vancouver. If I were to give spare change to every one that I saw, I’d have to panhandle myself. I also rarely have spare change on me, so it’s not like I have any other option other than keep on walking.

Let’s go back to sometime in November one Sunday around 5pm. I’ve finished some shopping downtown and heading to catch a bus back to Tatooine. I’m around the area of Hornby and Pender. As I’m walking, some guy stops me on the corner. I give him a once over. He’s probably late 30s to early 40s. He’s swearing a rain jacket, jeans, and sneakers. His clothes are clean and he doesn’t look homeless. A pair of glasses frame his face. He starts to speak.

“Listen, I swear to God I’m not homeless, I’m not a bum. I live in Vancouver over on 43rd Avenue. I’ve just finished work and I forgot my bus pass. My bank card doesn’t work for some reason. I need some bus fare. I feel really bad about this. I just need to get home. Can ya help me out?”

I need to catch my bus, so I don’t have a lot of time to assess his story. I make a snap judgement based on his overall cleanliness and believe his story. I root around in my pocket and fish out a twoonie. I hand it over. He’s extremely grateful. The light is about to change so I cross the street, leaving him behind.

Fast forward to about three weeks ago. It’s a Friday night just after midnight. After spending the evening having a few drinks with co-workers, I’m on my way home. I’m again near Hornby and Pender. I’m crossing westbound on Pender. The light is about to change as I cross. Some dude is stopped in the middle of the crosswalk, facing a stopped car. He’s gesturing to the occupants of the car. They look uneasy.

As I get closer to the guy, I recognize him. It’s the dude that I provided a one time endowment to a few months ago. As I go by him, his attention is off the car and now onto me. He spins around to follow me to the corner.

“Hey, listen… can ya help me out…”

A flurry of thoughts go through my head. The same guy is in almost the same clothes on the same corner, it can’t be a coincidence. Asking for help again? It smells like scam. I decide if he asks me for money, he’ll get none of mine this time.

The light has turned going in the perpendicular direction and I need to go that way to get to the bus. He’s a few steps behind me. I want to hear what he has to say this time.

“Walk with me… walk with me… let’s hear your story…”

“Hey, I swear to God I’m not a bum. I live in Vancouver. I ran out of gas for my car. I just need a few bucks to get some gas and go home. You can have my umbrella if you want.”

I look down and he is indeed holding a collapsible umbrella in his hand. I have no need for an additional umbrella and even if I believed him, I wouldn’t take his umbrella.

I tell him I have no money on me and that I couldn’t help him. This was in fact true since I had no cash and I certainly wasn’t going to the bank machine for this guy. I kept on walking and he turned to go back to the other corner where I first met up with him.

So was there a chance he was telling the truth both times I met up with him? Yeah, of course, but there’s also a small chance I’ll poop diamonds too. His story seems fishy because most people have access to their money via ATMs. He seemed like a guy that wasn’t homeless and would have a bank account.

My theory is that he indeed is not homeless and probably does have money. I think he gets off somehow in making people give him money. I think he likes to play the role of the normal guy who is forced to panhandle because of extenuating circumstances.

Anyways, if I see him again, I’m gonna call him on his schtick. Hell, I might even ask him for money. If you see him, tell I said hi.


I’ve found that American TV execs usually borrow ideas from the UK more often than the other way around. Hot on the heels of American Beauty and the Geek, however, comes British Beauty and the Geek.

Starting on Tuesday night, channel E4 will bring to the airwaves the English take on the “social experiment”. For better or worse, they’ve tinkered with the concept slightly. Instead of a mansion, there’s a Scottish castle. At least one of the beauties has a university degree, unlike any of the previous beauties in the American version.

The Sun, London’s finest daily publication, has an exclusive first look at the contestants on the show. Click here for more pictures and an article on the new show. If you ask me, and most people do, I don’t think the geeks look geeky enough.

If this winds up on the torrents, I might give the first show a look. I just hope they provide subtitles.


So I paid off my BC Student Loan tonight. Heh, just kidding… I wish.

There’s a lot going on at work right now. I wish I could write about it but I don’t want to wind up like one of those people who gets fired for blogging about work. Now you’re all probably wondering what’s going on. Sorry about that. Maybe ask me in person sometime.

My co-worker Dave drove me downtown to my bus stop today. That was so nice of him. Because I got there so early, I got one of those single person seats on the bus to Port Moody. There are only two of those per bus and I was in one of them! That allowed me to nod off before we even left the DT east side.

So I’ll leave you with an extremely geeky link. I try not to post these too often since I don’t want to alienate part of my audience but this site is just too cool. It’s a site that allows you to play old Commodore 64 games using just your browser! You need to have Java installed but most computers have that already. The games look identical to the originals. Play classics like Ghostbusters, Commando II, and Outrun. Click here to be transported back to your junior high days.


I got paid today so I decided to pay off some bills tonight. In one transaction, I paid off all my credit card debt. As of today, I owe nothing to CIBC Visa.

I applied for my first credit card after getting my first “real” job in 1997. It had a $1500 credit limit. I used it sparingly for the first months and when I did, I made sure I never carried a balance from month to month.

Over the course of the next few years, that changed for some reason. I started carrying a balance. It started off small so the interest charged wasn’t that bad. Some time between me working at EA and starting grad school, that’s when things got worse.

I think at one point, my balance was up to $3000. I remember during one Christmas break from grad school, I was looking at my statements and saw that I was making payments that were barely over what I was being charged as interest.

I should have done something then, but I’m kinda dumb at times. Then I told a friend of mine about my little credit card problem. She suggested that I transfer over all my credit card debit into a line of credit, to escape the high interest rates. It made sense at the time, but I didn’t heed her advice until the summer of 2005.

With a reduced interest rate, I was able to make significant payments on my line of credit. Now, my balance stands at zero.

Unfortunately, I now need to turn my attention to the my provincial and federal student loans. There will be a day in future when my net worth will be not negative, but it will not be this day… why did that last line sound familiar?