HERE AND THERE

I’ve discovered that doing things downtown after work suits my schedule the best. The long bus ride back to Tatooine always departs from downtown, so if I’m already downtown when I’m done doing whatever, it’s a lot more convenient for me. Case in point, this evening where a co-worker and I had dinner at this pho joint. After we were finished eating, I walked to my bus stop and jumped on a bus to Port Moody. Simple and easy with a spill-proof opening.

In other news, the et.com t-shirts are slowly making their way to the corners of the globe. I sent off Phil’s tonight. The post office said it would take two business days to get there. Jonathan is coming by my office to pick up his tomorrow. Now that I have the shirts, people who didn’t request one in the first place are asking for one. Where were you people earlier? I do appreciate the interest and that gives me incentive to make batch number two.

As I lay awake last night trying to fall asleep, I thought of an idea for an entertaining post. I remember thinking, “Wow, that would be really funny.” Too bad that’s all I remember about that. I should keep a notepad with me at all times to write this crap down.

Despite my best efforts to resist, I go to Starbucks nearly every day now. I usually get a venti green tea which costs me $1.60. It’s just not the beverage that makes me go. It’s just that I look forward to a break around 3pm. I always go with a few co-workers, which is nice since we get to go outside and talk about “stuff”. The Starbucks near the entrance to the Island is also a great location. If you click here, you’ll find a great article about how Starbucks has changed the American culture. Here’s a bit of trivia, there are only 13 Starbucks in the entire state of Arkansas. There are probably more than 13 locations in just Kitsilano here in Vancouver.

Last but not least, here are my thoughts on the local weather. I think it has been too cloudy and too cold for my liking. We’re days away from June and in my opinion, a sunny day is a rarity this spring. Sure today was nice but the forecast is for clouds and showers for well into the weekend. And that’s what grinds my gears.

THEY'RE HERE!

The first batch of official erwintang.com t-shirts arrived in the mail today. I am pleased that I went with the navy colour. Personally, I think the navy looks great and it’s a safer colour that will help encourage you to even possibly wear the shirt out in public! Ha!

I actually took a chance and ordered a single t-shirt in kelly green for myself. I have another green t-shirt that looks good and I thought I could recreate the magic. Sadly, I was very, very wrong. You won’t see the green one on me very often. I am convinced though that red or scarlet will be the next colour. It would look awesome!

Ok, so now to the important part for my readers who wanted a shirt. I’ve decided for those who live in the Lower Mainland, I will deliver the shirts personally to you. It’s cheaper for me and it’ll give me an excuse to see my readers in person. For the three of you working at EA, you’ll get your shirts together either through Garrett or Chris. The dinner club group will get yours together as well. The Toronto/Ottawa contingent may have to wait until Adam arrives in Vancouver next month. If he agrees, he’ll pass the Ottawa shirts off to Kristina so that Nic can get his. Jonathan, you live in Vancouver, so we’ll meet up for yours.

The only ones that I’ll need to mail out for sure are Suzanne and Phil. Phil I got your address, so your shirt will be in the mail shortly. Suzanne, I’ll need your mailing address.

To everyone who requested a t-shirt, thanks for showing interest and visiting my site. Enjoy the shirts and it’d be really cool if you could get photographed with your shirt on in various places around the world. Send me the photos and if you want, I can start a gallery!

ARE YOU LIKE, POPULAR?

Do you ever wonder how popular a web site is? The truth is, there is not a single source where you can find completely accurate traffic rankings for web sites. Each web site can have very detailed traffic logs but no one releases this information to a third party for analysis.

So, people have to guess how popular a web site is in comparison to another. One way is to track stats for people who have a certain toolbar installed. The Alexa toolbar for example has such functionality. The people at Alexa then analyze the stats sent back by all the Alexa toolbar users to generate traffic rankings. As you might imagine, there is nothing statistically relevant about the results. The results only represent what web sites Alexa toolbar users visiting. The sample size is probably too low to fairly represent what the rest of the surfing world is doing.

Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how web sites stack up against each other, even if it’s within this small sample of users. For example, this web site is the 4 046 746th most popular web site among Alexa toolbar users (at least at the time of this post). I’ve dropped about 606 000 spots over the last three months, meaning at one time, I had the 3 400 000th most popular web site. Damn, time to put more nudity on the site!

Of course, these stats should all be taken with a large grain of salt. Feel free to see how popular some of your own favourite sites are.

MACSABER

I have to admit, those guys and gals over at Apple sure put some neat things into their products. For example, they installed motion sensors into their laptops. It didn’t take very long before someone wrote an application that played different lightsaber sound effects based on the input to the motion sensor.

The MacSaber application allows nearly any Apple laptop owner to turn their pretty, yet non-lethal computer, into an elegant weapon of a more civilized time. Now, people across the globe are dueling with their Macs as evidenced by the video below:

Oh you lucky Mac owners you!

PLANNING

On a normal day, no one calls my cell phone. I average about maybe two calls a week. Today, three people called me. One call was from my dentist, the other two were from financial advisors/planners.

The first money dude was at my office on Tuesday to give employees a presentation. The company I work for had arranged for two financial advisors to come in and talk to interested parties about strategies for saving for the future. Their talk was engaging and we were given a chance to leave contact info for more information. I left my number and he called me today to see if I’d like to meet some time in future and go over my financial situation. I told him I’d call him back to book a meeting in the near future.

The second money dude was a guy I’ve known for a few years now. I met him through the legendary Adrian Behennah. Let’s call him Vanson. We’ve been discussing getting me some financial advice for several months now but were waiting until I paid off all my loans. Well, now that I’m finished with that, it’s time for me to start building my financial empire. I’m going to meet Vanson on Monday and we’ll be discussing money matters.

The whole financial planning presentation really got me thinking about far behind I am in planning for the future. Take a typical 22 year-old university graduate who gets a job after graduation. Assuming a reasonable income over the next ten years factoring in even modest raises, with a good plan for the future by the time that person is 32 years old, they should have an impressive net worth.

I recently turned 32 and all I have to show for it is the fact that I owe no one any money. Mind you, I don’t have any money for myself either. How did I get here? Where did the time go? Well, let’s take a look then. I graduated at 23 and not 22 unlike most people because I participated in co-op in school. I actually don’t regret that. Instead of jumping into a job, I took a year off to relax and travel. Putting New York, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Calgary behind me, I was 24. At that early age, I got a job working for Cypress Solutions which will hopefully go down as the worst 11 months of my life. I quit when I was 25 and took a year off to recover, mostly thanks to the Canadian government who subsidized my time to a tune of nearly a grand a month. At 26, I began employment at Electronic Arts Canada as a games tester at a starting wage of $10.50 an hour. I did that for nearly two years, somehow achieving a final wage of $12.50 an hour. At 28, I quit the testing biz to start grad school so I could become a software engineer. Grad school took a bit longer to complete and it finally clocked in at two years and eight months. It was one hell of a time I gotta say. At 31, I was employed less than a month after graduation. So, here I am, a software engineer working on video games.

For the first time, I actually feel like I have a career rather than a series of jobs but it took a decade to get here. That is a long time. I would be so much farther ahead if I had gotten it right the first time around. I wonder what my life would be like now if that had happened?

Well, until I learn how to cross parallel universes, this is the situation I’m stuck with. Maybe we can talk about penny stocks on Monday.

GRANVILLE

I used to ride the bus along Granville Street twice a day going to and from work. Because of the construction for the new rapid transit line, virtually all vehicle traffic has been diverted off Granville.

The #50 bus actually turns onto Granville for two short blocks on the south end but other than that, you can’t really ride down Granville anymore. The timing is usually wrong for me but I was able to catch the #50 this morning into work. When we were on Granville I realized how little of the street I’d seen since the end of April. It appeared that a new restaurant was about to open and there were a few new shops to open as well.

I can see why some of the local businesses along Granville were worried when the buses stopped running. I should take a stroll down Granville sometime soon, starting from the Cecil (you know, ’cause it’s a good place to start) right on down to Waterfront station.

RAMBLINGS

I got nothing cohesive tonight since I sent all my good material to the Economist. Instead, you’ll ramblings which probably won’t make a lot of sense.

First, if you absolutely have to eat fast food, I recommend eating Wendy’s. Their burgers are never greasy and if you pick the chili or a salad for a side, you’ll never have to eat fatty fries again. Just make sure you don’t pick a fat-laden salad dressing.

Over the weekend, a 12 year-old girl went missing from the downtown eastside. She was visiting Vancouver with her dad. They were staying at a hotel near Main and Hastings. Who books a downtown eastside hotel and thinks that’s a great place for a child to stay? The girl was found unharmed but seriously, that dad needs a hotel guide or something.

I played baseball on Sunday and I caught an infield fly ball for an out. It felt satisfying. Tyson, I even wore the shirt you got for me from Vegas.

What’s with the stupid construction along Broadway near Main? On Sunday, they closed it down to one lane, with east- and west-bound traffic having to alternate using that single lane. Broadway is a major traffic artery… you can’t do that on a long weekend.

It’s been four days since I’ve been at work, I wish we could go for five.

I owe $0.08 to the federal government for my remaining student loan. I guess you can say I don’t owe anyone anything anymore. If only you could farm money like you can farm gold in WoW.

I wanted to make a grill cheese sandwich today but apparently the cheese had to be thrown out since it had become mouldy.

By the time you read this, a box of et.com t-shirts will be making their way west from Ontario.

Seacrest out.

REALITY TV

I’m not exactly sure why but more and more TV shows and movies have plots that bear a remarkable resemblance to my own life. The latest comes from the Fox Network which is prepping a new comedy for its fall season. The show is called The Winner and stars Rob Corddry of The Daily Show fame. It is a comedy or my own life (except the part about being 43 and rich)? Here’s a description of the show from the official Fox web site:

THE WINNER (mid-season)
A 43-and-a-half-year-old narrator, who is incredibly rich and successful, looks way back to 1994, when he lost his innocence and started to become a man – at the tender age of 32. In 1994, Glen Abbott (Rob Corddry, “The Daily Show”), still living with his parents, finally steps out into the world and tries to make something of himself when the only girl he’d ever kissed, the radiant Alison Miller (Erinn Hayes, “Everwood,” “Kitchen Confidential”), returns to town.

Driven by the desire to become a success and win Alison’s heart, Glen goes through his “wonder years” a mere 20 years older than, well, most everyone. But it’s not in vain, as this unlikely underdog will eventually transform from fear-riddled underachiever to the richest man in Buffalo in a mere five years.

Luckily, Glen doesn’t have to go though this awkward period alone. He becomes best friends with the only person he can truly relate to: Alison’s 13-year-old son Josh (Keir Gilchrist, “A Lobster Tale”). Josh is a fellow hypochondriac, and they help each other survive “puberty.” Glen also receives parental guidance from his absurdly enabling mother Irene (Julie Hagerty, “Girlfriends,” “Malcolm in the Middle”) and his supportive but quasi-rage-aholic dad Ron (Lenny Clarke, “Rescue Me,” “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”).

T-SHIRT UPDATE

The shirts will be shipping out on May 23rd. If things go well, I should get them Friday but most likely on the Monday afterwards. Distribution will begin after that. For those who live outside the Lower Mainland, I’ll need mailing addresses. I’m excited!

WOBA SIGHTING

After two substandard lunches in a row, my faith in food returned when I visited Connie’s today for our midday meal. I had the sweet and sour pork with rice. It was fantastic.

As I sat facing the window after our meals were done, I saw two unlikely characters stroll by. It was none other than two ex-SJCers, Eddy Lee and Woba himself, Patrick Oabel. I bolted out of my seat, leaving my two co-workers to wonder what had caught my attention. Upon exiting the restaurant, I nearly ran over a Lululemon clad lady on the street.

When I caught up to the boys, they were both very surprised to see me. Eddy asked me if I had just ran out of Connie’s. He thought that was funny. Eddy called Woba to grab some lunch. A Woba sighting outdoors is a rare thing these days.

We chatted for a few minutes before I let them go on their way for some food. Woba promised me that we’d find some trouble in the near future.

Alright, that’s all I got for today.