All posts by Erwin

AND SO IT IS AGAIN

Much to my surprise, I’m playing ball hockey again with UBC Intramurals.

Max decided to form a men’s team this term for St. John’s College. The next thing I knew Arash was asking me if I wanted to join. I said yes instinctively.

Over the next few days, I just realized what I said yes to. Most of the people here at SJC aren’t from North America. I’m not even sure if some of my teammates have played hockey before. Now, I’m not saying I want only to play on a team full of superstars, but I’m concerned about the welfare of my teammates. I’ve played intramural ball hockey before, and it can get really chippy out there. Especially, if we’ll be playing frat teams.

I have no hesitation in saying that frat teams are the worst. For some reason, they take every opportunity to cast aside good sportsmanship and common sense. They play dirty and they play without regard for the other team. I absolutely hate playing frat teams in intramurals. Every time I think this might be the one time I play a frat team that displays good conduct, I am sadly disappointed. Is it a wonder the only time I was involved in a bench-clearing brawl, it was against a frat team?

So, I was hoping to avoid playing frat teams entirely, when I found out what pool I was playing in. To my dismay, there are three frat teams in our pool. Not only that, two of those teams are from Fiji. A renowned frat for being total jerks in just about everything they do.

I’m hoping somehow, it’ll all be good clean fun, but I’m concerned about how “green” our team will be. I sure as hell don’t want anyone to take advantage of us. If need be, I’ve already promised two guys I’d jump in if they got into any trouble, which is ridiculous since I’m usually the smallest guy out there.

Oh by the way, someone named our team, “Les Boys”. Please, please, please, pray for our safety.

A BORING MONDAY AND A FREE (ALMOST) HAIRCUT

So we’re into week two of the term. I realized today I haven’t figured out how to fit my life into my schedule. By that I mean, I haven’t figured out when I should sleep, when I should eat lunch, and when I should be working. Last week, I totally had it wrong. I have these classes which are sprinkled throughout the day, which means I have to sandwich lunch in there somewhere (no pun intended). I didn’t do that really well last week, so I was hungry a lot during the day.

My Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are very similar, and I think I’ve worked out how to make those days productive. The other days are more flexible, so I can kinda go with the flow on those days.

It’s important to get on a familiar routine when you’re doing school, so it doesn’t seem like you’re fighting to get things done.

Well, enough of that rambling. Hey, I’m giving away a prize here on erwintang.com. Here’s the story: My sister went to get her haircut at one of the Axis Salons downtown. The dude that cut her hair gave her two 50% off haircut coupons. She said the guy did a great job on her hair. Unfortunately, my sister lives in Victoria and can’t use the coupons. Neither can I since I get my hair cut by a different person. So, I’m giving away these coupons. This is a great deal. My sister said the guy is only a junior stylist, so a cut won’t set you back any more than $30. With the coupon, that’s $15 if my math is right. That might seem a lot if you go to Tragic Cuts or Choppy’s, but let me enumerate the benefits of going to Axis. They have a beautifully appointed salon with nice decor. When you’re waiting, I can assure you, you won’t be sitting next to snot-nosed kids and grandmas, reading a year-old issue of Hillbilly Living. You’ll be offered tea, coffee, or water, and the latest issue of Maxim. When you sit in the chair, you’ll be given a fabulous scalp massage. If you’ve never had one of these, then this is worth the price of admission alone. After that, they’ll shampoo your hair and they’ll actually listen to what you want done to your tresses. After the construction work is done, they’ll rinse you out. Then, they’ll dry your hair and style it using their own line of products. Last, but not least, there’s some serious eye candy that work at Axis, so if that strikes your fancy, it’s another reason to go.

The coupons expire at the end of January, so you have to act quick. It’s first come, first serve, the first two people that e-mail me here get the coupons. By forewarned, I’m not personally delivering these tickets to your door. Either you come and pick them up from me, or at the very best I can mail them to you.

Good luck!

A TRIP TO THE GHETTO

The plan was to wake up early today to work on a lab assignment before I joined Nic for a trip out to Metrotown to meet Kristina. We were going to see The Two Towers. I was also going to look at Lindsay’s laptop which is having some problems.

Well, I woke up at noon which wasn’t a good start. After lounging around for an hour watching tv and eating breakfast, I played video games for an hour. I then went to the Village to get some lunch and the next thing I knew we were going to have to leave for Burnaby.

I got no work done, nor did I look at Lindsay’s laptop. I hate not sticking to plans that I make for myself. Makes me angry really. People always say they procrastinate, but does that make it any better? No. I think it’s a sign of weakness.

When Nic and I got off the Skytrain, I was again reminded by how ghetto Metrotown and parts of Burnaby are. It’s this faux-ghetto though, not really distinct, but some sort of wanna-be ghetto. I swear Metrotown is populated mainly by no-good teenagers. It makes you want to take a shower after visiting.

Anyways, I enjoyed watching the film. It wasn’t as good as the Fellowship but any middle installment of a trilogy has inherent difficulties to deal with. Not having a true beginning nor end can make for a weaker film. Then again, Empire was the middle installment, and I rate it higher than A New Hope and Jedi, so go figure.

Overall, I think it did a good job of advancing the story since I’m looking forward to seeing The Return of the King.

Tonight, I read Premiere Magazine’s cover story for their January 2003 issue. The story is on Viggo Mortensen. The writer gathered material for it while driving with Viggo and his son to Idaho. A most interesting moment is described when the trio arrives in Libby, Montana (pop. 2700) for a rest stop. The three are standing outside of a Subway sandwich shop, when I guess what constitutes most of the teenage population of Libby drive by in pick-up trucks. They yell out, “Fuck you, you motherfucking pansyass queers!”

I find it ironic that these teenagers have decided to call the man who so ably played Aragorn, Isildur’s heir, and the man would be King, a “pansyass queer”. Well, that certainly makes me want to visit Libby, Montana. In hindsight, those teenagers would probably fit in really well at Metrotown.

FRIDAY FOLLIES

I’ve been around the world and back today… well, not really, but it sure feels like it.

My day ended at 2pm and I needed to go back to my parents’ place to get some text books and a few other items. Using public transit, I managed to get back to Port Moody by 4pm. I managed to find everything I needed. My father was going to meet my mom after work, so I caught a ride with him down to Chinatown.

We all met up at Pho Van, my favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Vancouver. I’m tempted to call it the best pho joint in the city, but Nate Wawruck swears the best place is on 21st and Main. So until I try that place out, I can only say Pho Van is my favourite. And oh man, is it good at Pho Van. Of all the pho I’ve tried in my entire life, I have not sampled a better bowl than the ones they serve at Pho Van. The broth is so aromatic, it borders on being intoxicating. When you finally sip a tiny bit of it from your spoon, the richness of it nearly overwhelms you. The goodness doesn’t end there. Pho van uses only the finest cuts of beef for their pho. Their bowls of pho tai are world-class. The beef almost melts in your mouth. All their other dishes are just as good. To top it off, they have a big screen TV in the dining area and they play DVD movies all the time. A movie and some pho, how could you go wrong? So, if you’re ever in the neighbourhood of 633 Main St., look for Pho Van on the second floor!

Well, after having a bowl of pho tai, I was content to just sit there, but I had to take leave of my parents and headed downtown. While there, I purchased some school supplies. After I was done, I got on a #4 bus to UBC. As I got on, the driver said, “Don’t put your money in, the machine’s broken, just get on…”

Sweet, two dollars saved! This is how millionaires start their fortunes. After an uneventful ride home, here I am.

From UBC to Port Moody, to dowtown, and back to UBC, all in half a day.

Now, I’ll leave you with a link to try. Over the holidays, I was bored one night and wound up at the Nokia web site. I found their ring tones section which is weird since my phone can’t even load new tones. I spent almost an hour listening to all the various tones. I just had to know what Ghostbusters sounded like on a cell phone. Go take a listen for yourself (Real Player required).

ARRESTING PHOTOS

UPDATE: It appears they’ve taken a whole bunch of their old photos off the Internet. Sorry. It happened just shortly after I wrote this post. Coincidence, or not?

Are you ever bored surfing the Internet? Looking for something new? Sure you are. I got this link off of Paul Katcher, but I thought I’d share it with you.

It’s the web site for a company called Spirit World Productions. They organize themed parties in Las Vegas and other areas. Some of their previous parties include The Rubber Rodeo, The Naughty Schoolgirl, and Sorority Sex Kittens. The above photo was taken from one of their Halloween parties.

They must have a genius in their marketing department because they take a million photos from each of their parties, and they have the savvy to put them on the Internet. I assure you, going through these photos is worth your time. A slight warning, for the most part there is no nudity, but I think I may have seen half a nipple in one photo… lol. Oh, and on the main page, there’s a loud and annoying background music track that plays which essentially betrays you to your co-workers, signaling that yes, indeed, you are not working. But who cares, it’s pictures of hot chicks at parties, what else are you going to do at work?

RUN-INS

Part of the problem of returning to school after many years is that you don’t know anyone on campus anymore, well at least you think you don’t.

Today, I was had pleasant surprise of running into two people I knew. First up was Sean Walsh. I had just finished up my discrete math class when in comes Sean for his database class. I knew Sean was at UBC, but the place is so big, I think we’ve only seen each other twice on campus all year. Sean and I also worked in the QA department at EA. We talked shop for a while, discussing the various classes we were taking. It was nice seeing a friendly face.

From there, I was on my way to the Com Sci building when I ran into King-Wei Hor. That was a total surprise. I didn’t even think he was in school anymore. King is the only person I know who holds two Bachelor’s degrees. He did his first one in Science (pharmacology I think… or biology… whatever) and his second was in Electrical Engineering. He started his engineering degree only four months after he finished his first degree. He was at UBC for eight straight years. King finally left UBC last spring. I did not expect to see him on campus. King has decided to come back as an unclassified student to do some grad courses in Electrical Engineering. He can’t just stay away from this place! King said he’s thinking about coming back for a Master’s degree. Of all the people I know, I’m certain King would be an ideal grad student, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve met.

We talked at length about computer science and electrical engineering courses, returning to school, and how we were both approaching 30 and still at school. I hadn’t seen King since Dave Shu’s stag. I’m looking forward to seeing King on campus this term.

So, for sure I don’t run into someone I recognize every 100 m on campus like I did before, but it’s reassuring to know there are still a few friendly faces at UBC.

THIS SLEEP THING

It’s only Tuesday! Holy crap this week is dragging on. I can’t wait until I get back into a routine and the days start flying by.

So, I got up at 8am today. Yesterday, it was 9am. Tomorrow it’ll be 9am again. I’m missing my unbounded bedtimes from last term. I’m a nocturnal person by nature and this new schedule is not agreeing with me. It’s ok now because I have no work to do, but I’m expecting more difficulties later.

Hey, in other news, did anyone watch that Joe Millionaire show on Fox? I could only watch half of it before I couldn’t stand it any more. I think I’ll watch the last episode. I bet the girl says she’ll stay with him irregardless of his wealth, but once the cameras are off, she’ll split as soon as she can.

By the way, if you think that Evan guy is only capable of doing construction work, you’re wrong. As first discovered by The Smoking Gun and reported by Entertainment Weekly, Evan Marriott has previously done some modelling… of men’s thong underwear. “Joe Millionaire” it seems did some photo work for a company called California Muscle which sells men’s “fantasy and body wear”. Our faux-millionaire can be seen modelling exciting items such as the Arabian Boxer and the battle-inspired Gladiator Brief. Warning, there’s no nudity, but if there’s even a sliver of homophobia in you, you probably won’t want to click on those links. Ha ha ha…

Ok, I’m tired as hell, so I’m going to nap.

A NEW TERM

With great sadness, my holidays ended today when I had to get up at 9am to go to my first class.

I had about 26 days off for my Christmas holiday. It was my longest holiday ever in my entire life. When you’re in kindergarten to grade 12, you get maybe two weeks usually. When I was in undergrad, I had a million courses, so my exams were usually spread over the entire month of December. Most of the time, I’d be left with less than two weeks. This year, however, I had 26 long days.

What did I do with this time? I mainly pissed it away. I managed to see only two movies. I watched two DVDs, both of which were for movies I had already seen (though the bonus material was pretty cool). I think I saw some of my friends about three or four times. I did manage to squeeze in 8-9 weeks of four TV shows into three days. I finished one video game and started another. What I did most was staying up really late, sleeping in, and eating.

I wish I had done a little more with my time, after all, it was 26 days! At least I’m rested now.

I am now appreciating how great my last semester was in terms of scheduling. On Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I could go to be as late as I wanted to. Also, I only had one lab and no tutorials to attend. This term, I can only sleep in for one day of the week, and I have to be up by 9am on most days. In addition, I have two labs and three tutorials this term. I’m taking the same number of courses this term, but I’m certainly in class a lot more now.

I finally got my mark back for my fuzzy logic control course. Remember how I predicted doom and gloom for my mark? I’m not sure how it happened, but I managed to eek out a 81% or an A- in that class. I’m surprised as hell. I did the calculations and I received a mark of 80% on my final project, which was worth 50% of the mark. How did that happen? I thought my project was crap. It was four days of what I thought was sub-standard work. Now, that I think about it, that course was kinda cool. Ha ha ha… the prof was gone for the equivalent of a month, we didn’t do any work until the end, we didn’t have any assignments to hand in, there were no labs or tutorials, he marked the mid-term very leniently, and I got an A- for basically doing four days of work (over an entire term!). It wouldn’t be that bad if all my courses were like that. I bet, though, I wouldn’t be saying that if I didn’t get an A-.

Let’s hope this new term will be as good as the last!

I SEE THE LIGHT

It’s probably a sign I’m getting old, but this post is going to be about a light bulb.

Over the holiday, I bought a new floor lamp for my place at UBC. The SJC supplied one was more of a reading lamp that pointed down rather up towards the ceiling. Plus, the max. wattage on it was way too low.

Unfortunately, I was still stuck with a lamp that used incandescent light bulbs. Since halogen bulbs were released, I’ve been impressed with how white and pure their light is. Compared to an incandescent bulb, I’d take halogen any day. However, halogen floor lamps seem to have fallen out of favour with designers, since I couldn’t find any in stores.

I was almost resigned to using a normal incandescent bulb when I discovered a special bulb from General Electric. It’s called the Reveal bulb. Apparently, GE coats the surface of this bulb with a layer of Neodymium. This filters out the “yellowness” of regular incandescent bulbs, resulting in a purer, whiter light.

When I turned on my new lamp with the Reveal bulb, it was amazing. The light was as white and pure as a halogen lamp. My room is much brighter and the colours are no longer bathed in that yellowish hue.

If I had a bigger place with more lamps, I’d be putting these bulbs into all of them. They don’t cost much more than an average bulb. Go find one today at your local hardware store! 🙂

THE COLLEEN SITUATION

I debated for quite a while whether or not I should post this, but in the end, I decided what the hell, I want some opinions on this.

So, this all started at a Halloween party I attended. If you read my web site regularly, you’ll probably know which party I’m talking about.

Anyways, during the course of the evening, I meet this attractive, young lady named Colleen. We talk sporadically during the evening. We converse about her job, my studies, Halloween costumes, etc. My perception about what women are thinking is virtually nil, but I’m getting no vibes that she wants me to go away, so we continue to talk.

Some time during the evening, they start playing slow songs. It surprises most people at the party. It’s at this moment I come up with this gem of line, “Boy, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a slow dance…”

“Oh, do you want to dance?”, Colleen asks me. I laugh and accept. Jokingly, we adopt this seventh grade couple dance formation for a while. Our arms are totally outstretched and you could drive a train in the space between us. “I feel like we’re in elementary school,” I say.

We draw in closer for the rest of the Bryan Adams ballad that is playing. I’m a bit nervous, but then I realize it’s because I find her beautiful.

The song ends and we talk some more. Pretty soon, the party is over and the lights are coming back on. Her friends want to leave now. With the courage of three beers behind me, I decide to ask Colleen for her phone number. To my delight, she finds a scrap piece of parchment and scribbles her number down.

I take it from her and in the immediate moment, it is my most prized possession. I tell her I’ll call her and we say good-bye.

Two days later, I call her on a Sunday night. I’m nervous as hell. I take a deep breath and call her number. I’m half expecting to get a 7-11 somewhere. It rings… and rings… no one is home. I get her voicemail, and I’m totally not ready to leave a message. I manage to string together some words where I leave my number and a promise to call her again.

Monday evening rolls around and I’m in my room all night. The only time I leave is to get my laundry and I’m gone for maybe five minutes. 2am rolls around and I have to go to bed, and she hasn’t called me back, well, that’s at least what I think. Before I crawl into bed, I check my voicemail. There is a message. It’s from Colleen. She called during the one five-minute period where I had left my room. She tells me she’ll be home the next evening. I go to sleep happy.

The next evening, I phone Colleen again. We talk for an hour. We discuss job, school, sports, and I forget what else, but I discover she has a very positive personality. It appeals to me. Near the end of the hour, I broach the subject of meeting for coffee. She agrees to meet me the following Saturday, but we can’t figure out where to go. Colleen says she’ll probably be at work, so I decide to make it easier on her and I would find a place near her work. I think we traded e-mail addresses at this point, and we say good-bye.

During the week, my friend Trevor recommends an eccletic tea house down in Yaletown, very close to where Colleen works. It sound great, so I phone Colleen to tell her about my choice. She agrees and I give her the address so that she can check it out and give me final approval.

It’s all good and Saturday rolls around. We had agreed to meet at 2pm and like a good little boy, I’m early by five minutes. I wait outside the place and suddenly appears Colleen. I can distinctly remember that she wore a lovely cream-coloured three-quarter length coat and I was pleased at her sense of style.

We greet each other and I open the door to let her go in first. We order a pot of green tea. As we sit down, I notice she’s more attractive than I had remembered. We proceed to converse for about two hours. Strangely, there are no awkward pauses. We talked about many things, among them: parents, siblings, movies, relationships, nothing that I thought was taboo for a first date. I was nervous, so my sense of humour didn’t come through as strongly as it usually does. Regardless, I didn’t sense any boredom or desire to flee from her. Around 4pm I thought I’d let her go no matter how well the date was going. I mentioned something about how she probably had to go back to work or to attend some other social function. I also mentioned I was kind of getting hungry since I was too nervous to eat lunch. To my surprise, she said she was also too nervous to lunch. I took a chance, but I asked her if she wanted to join me for dinner. She accepted!

We decided to go to Capone’s, also in Yaletown. On the walk there, she ran into a co-worker. She introduced us and I said hello to her. I still wonder if I made a good impression on her.

Anyways, we got to Capone’s and I let her look at the menu before we went inside, just in case she didn’t like the fare there. Colleen is a vegetarian, so I wanted to keep that in mind. She said it looked good, so we went in.

So, we had dinner at Capone’s. During the course of the meal, I asked her if she discussed her relationships with her parents. She said most of the time, and she said might even mention our little date when she would see her parents the next day. With the smoothness of Screech on Saved By The Bell, I asked her, “So, let’s say you do mention our date, and your mother asks you how the date went, what would you tell her?”

“I would say it went pretty well,” Colleen replied.

“And what if your mom asked you if you would see this gentleman again?” I continued.

“I think I probably would,” she said.

I laughed and left it at that, but I took that as being a good sign. We left Capone’s at around 5:30pm and she said she was quite pleased we had eaten there. I offered to walk her to her car and she happily agreed. On the way, I mentioned how I never did get around to shopping for shoes as I had intended. I was only joking, but Colleen asked me if I wanted to hit some stores on Robson. I said no, that would be too kind, but she said it was alright. I said ok, and we took a little detour to Robson. Nonetheless, I only went into two stores just to keep it brief. I didn’t buy anything in the end.

When we finally got to her car, I should have just left her there, but somehow, she convinced me to let her drive me to the bus stop. Bad move. Her last impression of me should not have been, wow, this guy has no car and relies on the bus… nice… Anyways, she stops off at the corner and I tell her I had a nice time tonight and I’d like to see her again. We did not kiss or hug, but I think first dates should be pretty innocent anyways, so I wasn’t displeased.

I called her the next day and we talked for about 40 minutes or so, and it seemed she liked how the evening went. I didn’t ask about a second date because I knew we were both busy for the next few weeks and I didn’t want to seem like I was moving things too fast.

We traded e-mails during the week and she even called me the next Sunday to talk. I think it was then that we decided we should go for tea/coffee again for the next Sunday.

Again, we e-mailed back and forth, and then the day before our second meeting, she said she couldn’t meet because work was crazy for her. She apologized and said it wouldn’t be hectic for much longer.

I replied and said I understood. Then I think I left two messages on her voicemail, plus I sent her another e-mail. I received no communication/replies from her. The last time I got any communication was November 16th. Then my school stuff got totally crazy and worked my butt off till the 9th of December. By then, a lot of time had passed.

I’m still wondering, why didn’t Collen return any of my messages all of a sudden? What the hell happened?

I understand that first dates are as plentiful as Chinese people in Richmond, and invariably, some people just don’t click. I’m fine with that, but I do believe we need to be mature enough to tell the other person that. If Colleen did in fact, did not want to see me again, why did she bother being nice to me afterwards and then agree for another date?

I expect common and courtesy no matter what she thought of our first date. I would be completely comfortable if she had at least phone or e-mailed and said, “You seem like a really nice guy but I just don’t think it’s going to work out” or “Dear Lord, I wouldn’t go out with you again if I was given a million dollars and a little toy bird that drinks water”. At least in that case, I’d know for sure, yes, Colleen probably isn’t the girl for me.

However, she just stopped replying to my messages. What kind of way is that to tell someone you don’t want anything to do with them again? It seems really out of character from what little I know about her. In any case, it’s poor behaviour on her part.

My question to everyone is, why do people do this? Why can’t everyone be held accountable to some level of decency and politeness? I’m still wondering what the hell happened. Do you think I should call her or e-mail her again?

Some people have told me to move on and her silence should speak volumes, but a part of me can’t let this mystery die. I want to know why she stopped contacting me!!! What do you think I should do?

Longest… post… ever…