All posts by Erwin

LIKE A KICK IN THE GROIN

As I grow older, that’s what waking up early feels more and more like… a kick in the groin.

By my count, I need to be up in about five and a half hours, which is two hours short of what is comfortable. I’m glad I stayed up this late to find out I don’t know how to do my assignment.

Happily, my life isn’t all school work right now. The lure of Ebay has brought me back in search of the Band of Brothers DVD set. Being poor, I don’t want to pay full price. While the North American sellers can save me perhaps $10-$15, I’m considering buying these “other” sets from Asia.

Here’s a listing for a BoB set from a guy in China. His feedback seems positive, except one guy that accused him of selling pirated discs.

I’d hate to plop down good money for a pirated set with crappy image quality. What do you think?

I SOAKED UP PHILLY LIKE A SPONGE

So how many of you out there use file-trading programs? Probably quite a few I bet. I use WinMX because it contains no spyware and interestingly enough, it’s developed in Canada.

Anyways, I use it mainly to get mp3s, music for the most part. Someone told me it’s pretty good at getting porn too, but I’ll have to take their word for it.

Lately though, I’ve been branching out in my mp3 tastes. I’ve been downloading comedy bits. On Friday night, I downloaded Dennis Miller’s Off-White CD. It’s a bit dated, but the material is still funny. I still think he was the funniest guy ever to anchor the Weekend Update desk on SNL.

Last night, I got some of Jimmy Fallon’s material. He’s pretty funny too. Perhaps not as good Miller, but his stuff skews a bit towards the younger crowd.

Two of his tracks especially hit home. Jimmy has some interesting comments about dorm life at university. If you’ve ever lived at a university dorm, these two tracks will certainly be quite funny. I especially like the one about the midget fridge (I actually own one right now!).

Jimmy Fallon – Dorm Shower Baskets and the Walk of Shame.mp3 – 2.4 Mb

Jimmy Fallon – Hot Plates Four Digit Numbers & The Little Fridge.mp3 – 2.6 Mb

I WAS KIDNAPPED

Having three midterms in one week can really make your life suck. Technically, it’s Saturday now, but it’s still today for me, and today I wrote my last midterm. It didn’t go so well. I studied all week for it too, which meant that time all went to waste.

So, what went wrong? Well, for one, it was as long as hell. I was writing right up to the last second. Afterwards, one of my classmates was asking me how did one question. He was explaining how he did this and then he did that. It dawned on me I had no clue what he was talking about. Why? Then I figured it out… oh yeah, that was the question I skipped and was planning to get back to but never did. Eleven percent of the exam was right there. Gone. The prof can’t even give me part marks because well… you can’t give part marks for a blank answer. That much I know.

Second, the exam was difficult and I got flustered in parts which doesn’t add up to a good result. So, on the questions I did answer, I was going on sheer panic responses rather than calm reasoning. I fault myself for that because I’ve been around the block once already and I should know better.

Afterwards, I came back home and borrowed an iron from Nic and Marcia. We had a nice chat about my midterm. They let me swear up a fucking storm in their place. I felt a bit better afterwards.

I was genuinely angry afterwards because I’d set aside a major project in another class to study for this midterm. Now this project is due next Friday and I’ll be spending everyday from now on trying to get it done. So while this is technically the weekend, I won’t be able to relax a bit until next Saturday.

While several people tried to tell me it was going to be ok, I didn’t really feel much better until I was on the bus tonight. I was sitting there in my seat when a former classmate from first term got on… good old Reid Holmes. I asked him what he got in discrete math. Fifty-seven percent was his reply.

That made me feel better. In my opinion, Reid is no dummy and if he got 57%, well then maybe there’s a slight chance in hell I’ll be alright too.

So, why was I on the bus? Several SJC residents were going out to Granville Island for dinner on the occasion of three birthdays. I figured it would be a great way to forget my midterm troubles.

Some people headed off to Theatresports afterwards, but I followed some others back home. I came back at 10pm and I briefly debated whether or not I should do some work tonight. Well, it’s almost 3am now and I’ve done nothing all night.

So, if anyone was wondering where I went, now you know.

Holy crap, I’m watching Jimmy Kimmel right now, and some guy is letting people throw darts into his ass!

JOIN US

It was about a year ago that I heard Justin Trudeau had left his teaching position at a private school in Vancouver. After being thrust into the spotlight after his father’s passing, I was somewhat expecting this might be the signal that he was giving to the world of politics. Would he try to follow in his father’s daunting footsteps?

I heard nothing else about him until I was sitting in a waiting room at the health clinic last week. As I sat, I grabbed a Maclean’s from the table. There on the front of the December 2002 issue was a picture of Justin Trudeau himself. Inside was a lengthy cover story about him. As I read through it, I got to an interesting part… “decisions that may or may not be made once he finishes the engineering degree he’s pursuing at the Universite de Montreal“…

I stopped and read that again. What? The man already holds several degrees in English Lit and Education. I wondered why he would go back again. Later on in the story, he says he went back to “explore the scientific side“. Wow, I thought, that’s quite admirable.

The story didn’t go any further into his studies, but just today, there was another article about him on the Internet. In this one, he stated he wouldn’t be getting into politics for at least another four years since he wanted to finish his engineering degree.

When I read that, I got the feeling he was serious about this engineering thing. Because he mentioned the four years, I knew he was starting from scratch, from the first year. Here is the son of probably the greatest politician to have ever lived in Canada, sitting in classes with 18 year olds, at 31 years of age, working on his third undergraduate degree.

Then I began to wonder which discipline he would choose. I only know his public persona, but if I had to guess, I’d say he’d choose mechanical. I’m not sure why. If not mechanical, then I think he might choose electrical or civil. Again, I’m not sure why.

I worry though about the strain an engineering academic career can put on a person. Justin leads a very dynamic life and at times, you just have to be hermit to get through critical times in the academic year. I’m curious to see how he will handle that.

In the end, I hope he does accomplish his goal and finish his degree. We have nothing in common right now (other than the fact he studied at UBC once), but it’s weird to think four years from now, he and I might share the common bond of the ring.

Now, I must go study for my last, and toughest midterm.

BACK TO WORK

As a welcome back to school from the break, I wrote a midterm this morning. I didn’t ace it, but I’m pretty sure I passed it. In years past, I probably would have dwelled on this, but hey, there’s nothing I can do about it now.

I’m probably motivated to move on because I have two other midterms this week. The one I have on Friday is going to be a doozy. I hate discrete math and proofs.

In other news, I found out something very interesting a few days ago. Lhakdor, the resident translator for the His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, is staying at St. John’s College. He’s been here for almost a month. At first, I just noticed a man in the traditional robes of a Buddhist monk at the dining hall. We get a lot of international visitors so I thought he was just visiting the campus, and he just happened to be a monk. It was only a few days ago that someone told me not only was he a Buddhist monk, but that he is the only resident translator for the Dalai Lama.

Apparently, the only reason he’s away from His Holiness is because the Dalai Lama is in meditation and is not travelling. I’ve had only limited contact with Lhakdor, but people tell me he has a playful spirit. Everyone is quite interested in talking with him.

Marcia, another resident here at SJC, was trying to convince him to give a short talk at the College. He said Saturday was a good night, but then he checked his daytimer and realized he had to go to dinner at “Goldie’s”. Thinking it was a restaurant, Marcia said where is Goldie’s? Lhakdor replied it was not a restaurant, but in fact Goldie Hawn’s house here in Vancouver. He was going to have dinner with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Wow.

The talk instead went on last night, but unfortunately, I had to study. People told me it was an excellent presentation.

Well, I have to get back to the grind. Later.

BLEAH

I’m not feeling so well right now. Those hives still haven’t gone away. The last time I had a food allergy reaction, it lasted about a week as well. Except, it completely laid me out last time. I got the hives and was exhausted.

This time around, I’m tired and kinda lethargic, but I’m still able to do my daily activities. Hmmm… I think I’ll go follow-up with the doc tomorrow. Remind me never to eat eggplant ever again!

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been using a new stat tracking tool on my site. For the first time, I’ve been able to see how people are getting to my site. For some of you, you’re just using your bookmarks or typing it in. In the data, that just shows up as people directly visiting the site. However, some people are getting to my site via search engines and that does show up in the data. Specifically, I can see which search engine they’re using and what they typed in. It’s really quite cool.

By far, I have the largest amount of referrals from google.com and its various incarnations. About 200 people a month stumble upon this site via their google searches. What are they looking for? Here’s a list of things they type in:

bootleg dvds – Suprisingly, my site is fourth on the list if you type that in

Markus Naslund pictures – I have two pictures total of him on my site, yet my site comes up as third on the list?!?!

E3 2002 booth babes – I almost crack the first page, but I’m relegated to the top of the second

why widescreen is better – not bad for a few pages I did on a really boring weekend

ewok song – wow, fourth on the list for something I’m kinda embarassed about now

So, what does this tell you? That my site is important wealth of info on the above subjects? Hell no! It should tell you that even though google is a really good search engine, you can still fool it.

Also, I’ve noticed that these random surfers very rarely poke around elsewhere on my site. They kinda look through what they were looking for, but usually they don’t go looking for other stuff. For example, a lot of people looking the E3 2002 pictures don’t realize I have E3 2001 pictures as well.

I’m going to do some other stuff now. I can’t believe reading week is almost over!

THAT’S AWFUL!

While I didn’t think my gum procedure was that bad to begin with, I certainly don’t think it’s anything at all anymore.

Click here and listen to Brendan Morrison describe the injuries he suffered to his mouth last night during the Canucks unbelievable comeback win in Detroit.

He lost a bridge, broke two teeth, got a nerve removed, lost a chunk of his gums, and had a tooth penetrate his cheek. And he still came back and set-up the Malik’s winner.

That’s one tough dude. I use the word “dude” way too much.

$900 FOR WHAT?

Today, or I guess yesterday technically, I went out to Burnaby in the early morning to see my gum specialist. This in itself is interesting because up until yesterday, I didn’t have a gum specialist.

That’s because on Monday, I woke up early to see my regular dentist. He said I have a problem with periodontal pockets, so he booked me with the specialist. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned for my break.

Anyways, my regular dentist also said something weird. He said, “Erwin, I think you should get some blood work done. There’s a really small chance it might be diabetes.”

Had he said anything else other than diabetes, I would have been really worried, but I wasn’t. That’s because I’m hypoglycemic, which is like the exact opposite of diabetes. I’m well aware of the symptoms of diabetes, and I know I don’t have any of those.

Then my dentist made an odd comment. “Oh, by the way, it’s not anything serious like leukemia if you were worried about that”.

Leukemia? I just came for a check-up. Who goes to their dentist thinking they might have leukemia? Geez.

So, I’m getting the blood work done anyways just to appease him. After I saw him, I went to the clinic to a get form for the lab. The doctor asked, “So, wait, tell me again what your dentist said?”.

I told him and then the doc gave me the standard diabetes questions. Pee lots? Tired more? Nope. Nope. He gave me the form afterwards, but I could see the skepticism in his face.

So anyways back to the gum specialist. He said I needed this procedure done on one of my teeth. It’s where they peel away the gum, clean up the root of the tooth, and re-suture the gum back together. Grand total for this hour of fun? $900. I checked my UBC dental plan and I’m covered for half of that. Wow, I might get two done then.

Dude said, “Have a nice meal beforehand, ’cause you’ll be on soft foods for a while”. Nice.

Tomorrow, I am going to wake up and not see any dentists or have anyone shove anything in my mouth and tell me I need to pay them lots of money.

And I will end with pictures of a Valentine’s Day Party.

BE BACK IN A MINUTE

This is supposed to be reading week, where I had planned on getting lots of sleep and studying done. This is not turning out to be the case.

I gotta bus my ass out to Burnaby tomorrow morning. Really early. I’ll fill ya in when I get back.

CRIME BLOTTER

Well, I hadn’t planned on posting right now, but the damn freaking cable service at UBC just went crazy about 25 minutes ago. One minute I’m flipping back and forth between the lovely Jennifer Garner on Saturday Night Live and some sex ed show, then I’m seeing and hearing static.

I’m sitting there in my underwear wondering what’s going on. I check all the cables and everything is as tight as a drum. I re-start the TV app and still static. I get dressed and head on up to the TV room. Some dude is flipping through static as well. He tells me it went out about the same time mine did.

Back down I go, and I get on Messenger to see if anyone is on that lives on campus. Jonathan is on and he lives over at Gage. He tells me he’s getting static too.

So, I could either do work, or something else. Here we are doing something else.

I’d like to share a new link with you. I’ve been reading the on-line press releases from the Los Angeles Police Department for about two years now. These releases detail all serious incidents that the LAPD are involved in on a monthly basis.

Reading through them is fascinating. I know LA is a big city with lots of crime, but the details of each incident just highlight how dangerous it can be to live there. In each month, enough people are murdered to equal maybe half a year’s worth of Vancouver’s homicides. It’s almost unbelievable how many times LAPD officers are involved in firefights in the average month. It’s no surprise they were one of the first departments on the continent to switch their regulation sidearms to semi-automatics.

The LAPD press releases can be found here. When you look through them, take note of the phrase Officer Involved Shooting, usually those are the most interesting. Click here for one of my favourite incidents in years past.