All posts by Erwin

YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?

Around 5pm yesterday, I’m watching Clones in my room… again. As Jango’s seismic charges reverberate through my room, I hear someone slip something underneath my door. I wait for the scene to end before I go pick it up.

It turns out to be an annoucement for a lecture given by the Educational Studies department here at UBC. Specifically, it’s being given by a Dr. Richard Townsend, a visiting professor from Toronto. He’s not just visiting, he lives here at SJC with me. I’ve had some pleasant conversations with Richard. He’s a hell of a nice guy. At the top of the announcement, he’s written if I’d be interested in coming to this lecture.

I continue to read the whole thing, and it turns out the lecture is about the weblog phenomenon, and how it might pertain to educational studies. It seems to be a talk for beginners new to weblogging. Now I’m wondering. I already have a blog, so this isn’t new to me. Two questions come to mind: why would I come to this, and how does Richard know about my blog? I’m suddenly a bit embarassed that he might be reading my blog… lol.

Later, I go to the dining hall to get dinner. Low and behold, Richard is there. We sit together for dinner. I tell him I got the announcement. I ask him how he found out about my blog. He tells me Nic told him earlier in the day. We talk briefly about weblogs. It turns out he actually hasn’t seen mine, but he wants to. He asks me for the address of my site. I am reluctant to give him the key to this little dog and pony show. He might not talk to me after seeing the weirdness here. I write down the address for him, but I also give him a caveat, “It’s not pretty… if you don’t talk to me again… I understand.”

I also find out that he’s looking for an actual blog writer to be at his lecture. I see why he wants me to go now. If anyone has any blog specific questions, I can answer them. Also, he can bring my site up during the talk as an example to show everyone. Hmmm… now I’m apprehensive. I’ve always viewed this little site as a small, hidden away, community cable tv show that goes on at 4am in the morning. Now Richard wants to show it to an audience of academics. I begin to wonder if E3 babes are what educators should be looking at. The chances of me being embarassed are high.

As we part ways, I tell Richard to check out my site first before he’s so sure he wants to invite me as the “star” of his lecture. He agrees. Silently, I do a quick run-through in my head and check if there’s any porn accessible on my site. I come up with none.

A few hours later, I check my logs and I see someone from the Education department has gone through my site. Then I get an e-mail from Richard. He loves the site. He likes my writing and most of the content on the site. I doubt I’ve ever had a Ph.D make a critique on my site. This is a first. He says it would be really, really nice if I could attend the lecture, but only if I was comfortable.

Right now, I’m leaning towards going. I doubt he’s going to go through my site during the entire lecture, and he’s making sound like no one is going to come anyways. I figure this might be a way to get some exposure. Plus, if it goes horribly wrong and I get totally embarassed, I’ll have more stuff to write about in my blog. Ironic isn’t it?

Well, sometimes, you just have to run with the opportunities you’ve been given.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME

Ok, I’ve just spend the last hour doing one question from a practice midterm. Actually, “doing” implies I understood how to do it… more like spending the last hour reading the solution for this one question.

The question was deceptively simple… sketch out two functions. Usually, the prof makes it so that the functions are really simple to sketch out since the focus is not on sketching the functions but what those functions mean. Previously, the sketches usually take like less than a minute (and about one line) to figure out, requiring no calculations.

So, here I am thinking, alright, let’s get this thing done. I ask myself, “Ok, so what’s the damn function?”. I now realize I don’t know what the function is. Again, previously, the prof had made it easy to figure out, since this isn’t a course about sketching functions on paper.

I’m started to getting worried now, so I dig out the solution and look at it. What followed was me going over five pages of mathematics that really had no bearing on what the problem was about, but was a total exercise on calculus. The whole five pages was just math… barely relating to the topic of the question.

It wasn’t even easy math either, he got into partial derivatives! No one uses partial derivatives anymore… we’re in grad school, that’s stuff we learn in 2nd year and never use again. Then somewhere along the way he pulls out a Lagrange multiplier, which at one time I think I knew what that was.

It goes on and on, and I’m feeling stupider by each line of confusing math. Then near the end, he writes this gem, “It is intuitively clear that…” Yeah, intuitively clear if you have a Ph.D, but for idiots like me, it’s intuitively clear I’m going to have some serious problems on the midterm next week.

It gets better… he allocated only 20% of the marks for those five pages of work, which was a total ripoff. The previous question (which somehow I understood) took me only a page to do and it was worth 35% of the marks. What a huge discrepancy. I can’t believe he actually subjected some students to this exam!

Despair! Despair!

TIRED

I got four hours of sleep last night. I just couldn’t fall asleep until 4am. It was staying up all weekend that did me in. The timing was perfect of course, since I had to be up at 8am. Tuesdays are my busiest days.

I had a few morning meetings to go to. I got back home at 10:30am. I managed to nap for about 20 min. before I had to go to class. My class ended around 1pm and my last one didn’t start until 3:30pm. Plenty of time for a long nap, right? Well, not really… today was the day Episode II : Attack of the Clones came out on DVD. So I hopped on a bus and rode it all the way to the Future Shop on Broadway. I was back on campus by 2pm.

I watched about 30 min. of the movie, before I crawled into bed for a 40 min. nap. Afterwards, I had to get up for my last class. Man, what a doozy that class was. I swear no one, not a single person in that class knew what the hell was going on from the second the prof started talking. Considering I know there are a few Ph.D candidates in my class, that’s not a good sign.

An hour and half later, the class ended, leaving us all wondering what the hell that was all about. Our prof then informed us that next week’s exam was going to be two questions (two?), open-book, and an hour and a half long. Great, open-book, which means he’s gonna roll us next week. Open-book exams in my mind are always harder than closed-book because the prof needs to make up the fact that all the info is accessible. Remember, most of us in the class don’t have a clue what’s going on even with our notes. How’s this gonna help us next week? I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m gonna cry like baby after the exam is over.

Well, with those pleasants thoughts in mind, I came back home, and washed a pile of dishes I had in my sink. It was around 5:30pm when I done, still too early for dinner, so I took another nap (number three for the day). Forty-five minutes later I woke up to go dinner. Dinner sucked, which was too bad since I hadn’t had a lot to eat all day.

I spent most of the evening watching the rest of Clones and doing housework. I didn’t start studying until 12am, but here I am writing… lol.

I should really go to bed, but I feel like that would be a cop out. So, off I go to study…

Wow, I just read what I wrote here… man, remind me never to post when I’m exhausted. 🙂

HALLOWEEN PICS

I finally scanned in all my Halloween pics. Again, I tried to get everything done as quickly as possible, so I just whipped it all together.

Click here to take a look.

RANDOM LONG WEEKEND RAMBINGS

When you’re in school long weekends are a gift from heaven. It’s a time to catch your breath, get some sleep, do some domestic chores, and most importantly, get some work done.

I cleaned my bathroom and did laundry on Friday. Saturday was a bit of a write-off, but for very good reasons. I actually didn’t get any substantial amounts of work done until Sunday. I also had a visit from my parents on Sunday too. They came to give some supplies from Costco. They were nice enough to even take me out to dinner. My mommy brought pictures from her most recent trip to China. She went some place call the Stone Forest. It looked like a forest of stone monoliths. Kinda creepy.

Anyways, they also told me they’re going to Hong Kong for about a week. This is like the 700th time they’ve gone to Hong Kong in the last five years. My mom says she can’t go anywhere else because it’s too expensive. I guess so.

It was nice seeing my parents. Honestly, parents can be pleasant to be around in small doses. Oh before we left for dinner, I introduced my parents to Nic and Marcia. They were really excited to meet my parents. That’s funny. Marcia wanted to try her Cantonese out on my mom, but she was too nervous to try. Next time!

In other news, I’ve decided that if I get only one gift for the holidays, I would love to get the Band of Brothers DVD set. Sure it’s been on TV, but we’re talking six discs of 1.78:1 widescreen goodness, combined with both DD and DTS 5.1 audio options. Nevermind the excellent set of supplements and it’s all packaged in a neat tin case. 🙂

Holy crap, it’s almost four am, time to go to bed!

SWEET EATING

I’ve needed groceries for about a week now. The only food I’ve made myself lately is bacon and eggs. Even that ran out last night.

Today I went to Safeway with Lindsay and Francois. It was much needed. We picked up a whole bunch of crap. I came home with a roasted chicken, soup, hot chocolate, crackers, margarine, an apple pie, and some other stuff.

Even though I had dinner at 5pm, I ate some of the chicken at 8pm and even had myself a slice of pie. I didn’t have lunch today since I had no food. Man, did that chicken taste good!

You know, people only get this desperate for food when they’re students. Well, I suppose poor and homeless people get desperate too. However, it’s only students who have enough money to spend thousands on tuition but can’t buy a decent amount of food to eat.

I NEED SHOES

Yes, that’s right, I need new footwear. I’ve decided the pair of brown oxfords I’ve been wearing from Roots for about two years is no longer acceptable. I should have decided this long ago.

Both shoes have soles which have split and cracked. Thus, everytime I step into a puddle, the water gets absorbed into the shoe, and my socks get wet. Believe or not, this happened a year ago, and I still wore them in this Vancouver weather.

However, it is clear this is no way to live. Everyone should have dry feet, no matter what the weather.

A few weeks ago, I went to the Roots store downtown. They told me my particular pair of shoes wasn’t available this season. In fact, there were no brown shoes available at all. What the hell is that all about? How do you not sell brown shoes for an entire season?

I didn’t think about going to any other stores, because I didn’t know where to go and I was out of time. Today, though, I’ve realized I have to get new shoes. Where though? Where, I ask you? Where?

RANDOM STUFF

Today was a bit of a weird one. Stupidly, I stayed up way too late last night. I think I went to bed around 4am. I got up at 10am to go meet with my project group.

Luckily, when I woke up, I found out that the meeting had been delayed an hour. As soon as I woke up, I felt really gross. It was an odd feeling. I didn’t feel tired, but I sure as hell didn’t feel right. I felt off, or gross I guess is the best term. I don’t think I’ve experienced that particular feeling before.

For about half an hour, I kinda just rested on my bed before I went to the meeting.

The meeting ended at around 1pm, and then I came back to my room. I still wasn’t feeling tired, but that gross feeling was lingering. I crawled into bed, though it didn’t feel like I was going to fall asleep. Ten minutes later I was fast asleep.

I woke up around 2:30pm. Wow. I guess the whole week had left me run down. I was fine after my nap.

All day I was wondering if the Aramark people were going to call me. They did not.

The long weekend is coming up. I going to do everything possible to get lots of work done. Though, I’ve been given lots of reasons not to. My parents are taking me out to dinner on Sunday. They’re also bring me supplies from Costco. Yay!

Well, I better go and do something else… productive or not.

BOO

I got my Halloween pictures back tonight. I only had time to scan in one of them. More to come. Here’s a preview:

It’s me, Lindsay, and Francois. I’m actually in costume and so is Francois if you can believe it.