All posts by Erwin

A NOTE BEFORE BED

I should be in bed right now, but I’ll write this quick post.

If you haven’t seen them already the NY Islanders unveiled their new third jerseys yesterday. It’s a… whole lot of orange.

If you’re wondering, that’s model Carol Alt next to Alexei Yashin. If you ask me, and most people do, they make an unlikely couple. He just doesn’t seem “with it”.

Oh well, I have a busy day tomorrow, so I’ll write more then.

VENDING MACHINE UPDATE

As some of you might recall, during an earlier episode of erwintang.com, I told a tale of the St. John’s College pop machine accepting my money, but refusing to give me product.

I am happy to announce that the situation has been resolved with a happy conclusion, well at least on my end. Earlier last week, the Aramark Corporation mailed my $1.75. It was sent as a loonie and three quarters, all taped to a standard Aramark “We’re sorry our machine took your money and then gave you nothing” apology card.

This is further reinforcement that a consumer using firm, yet polite communication can make big companies to listen. I have no thoughts on where I’ll be spending the $1.75, but I am looking at property in Monte Carlo.

26

That is how many consecutive hours I spent in my room this weekend. I came home from a meeting at 4pm on Saturday and I didn’t leave my room until 6pm on Sunday.

I didn’t realize it until I was at dinner tonight. Twenty-six straight hours. That’s not right. It’s actually quite disturbing. I really shouldn’t be working so much. However, I have no choice. There are too many assignments to finish, too many presentations to prepare, too many projects to finish, and even one project to start.

On a positive note, I did eat a lot of chicken this weekend!

I’M ON MY WAY TO WENDY’S RIGHT NOW

I saw this on Maxim Online where they interviewed actress Ali Larter.

Here’s what she said about men…

“I hate pretty-looking boys. I’d rather have a guy with a potbelly than one who’s in the gym all the time and watches what he eats.”

Why can’t more women be like Ali Larter? Specifically, why can’t more super hot women like Ali Larter be like this?

I knew eating at Wendy’s was going to lead to something good!

Check out the rest of her interview here.

A POOR, POOR SHOWING

I am less than twenty-minutes removed from a midterm I just wrote. As a summary, I can tell you it did not go well.

Here are a few random thoughts I have now:

– it was not necessary for me to have studied all week for this exam, nothing about it tested us on any knowledge that we acquired in class

– the whole exam was mostly mathematical proofs; the last time I checked, I was registered in mechanical engineering, where practical applications of science and technology are the thrust of why we do the things we do, not dicking around with proofs

– a math major probably could have written this exam cold and scored higher than any one of us who attended every lecture of the term

– when it comes to my intellectual strengths, mathematical proofs are my Achilles’ heel

– the last part of the exam was worth 25% of the marks, and I stared at the question for ten minutes without having a clue where to start

– I will be lucky to get 5 marks out of the last question

– as I walked home, I suddenly realized how to do the last question

– I want to blow shit up for the rest of the evening

ONE MORE THING

I’d like to say hi to the men and women of the United States Air Force who seem to be visiting my site in droves from air force bases from around the world. From Mildenhall UK to Pusan, Korea, the USAF appears to have a great interest in my little place on the Internet.

I have no idea how they’re getting to erwintang.com, what they’re looking for, or what they intend to do to me.

If I go missing one day, tell my family I love them.

RANDOM STUFF

I’ve only been able to fall asleep at 5am lately. This has got to stop. It leaves me as a very unproductive person during the day, and I crave for naps.

Anyways, Richard gave his blog talk today at the Educational Studies department. It was a good overview of the blog world and phenomenon. There were lots of people at the lecture, way more than I thought there would be. At the end, he brought up my web site, but strangely, they didn’t click on the link for my blog. So there were about 20 people just staring at my main page. Boy, am I glad I took off that picture of adult film actress Tawny Roberts. There was no nudity in the picture, some would even call it tasteful, but you don’t wanna come off as some sorta porn afficianado in front of highly educated people. So, in its place, I put up a one sheet from The Matrix Reloaded. Even then, some woman asked me about it. Geez, imagine if I left the porno queen up!

The term is slowly but surely coming to an end. Today, I had the last lab in my 310 class. Wow, time sure flew since September! If Ken, my TA in the lab is reading this, thanks for running an enjoyable lab section. Princeton guys are alright.

So tomorrow is my last midterm of the term. It promises to be quite a doozy! I’m mostly likely going to be taking it up the ass tomorrow, but there’s nothing I can do about it. The way the material has been laid out, studying really can’t help you. That sounds crazy, but refer to my last post for more explanation.

Well, I have to go, I am wearing the last pair of clean underwear today, so I need to do laundry.

EXAMS! EXAMS!

I’m not sure how you can call an exam a “midterm” when it’s scheduled for two weeks before the end of term. Unfortunately, in my case, I have two of these “midterms” to write this week.

Actually, I wrote one of these “midterms” today. It was fairly straightforward and a fair exam. I applaud my professor for testing us on material that we were taught. Often, I find that professors take great pride on assembling exams that question students on material that was not covered in class. I’ve also seen professors base a lot of their exams on material they’ve taught poorly. I remember in one case in undergrad, when a prof ran out of time at the end, and had to teach the last component in two days. A sane and understanding educator would have shown restraint during the exam and would have not emphasized the rushed material. Yet, when the final exam came, he decided to make 20% of the marks based on questions from the last component. The funny thing is, I don’t attribute this outrage to him being a mean person. I think he was showing signs of dementia in all honesty.

So, I have another exam on Thursday and I can assure you it will not go as well as today’s exam. The professor in that class hasn’t made any sense to us for about a month now. He slaps on transparency after transparency, full of puzzling equations and formulas, most of which he glosses over, as if we were discussing thing like, “the sky is blue” or “it gets cold in the winter”. We don’t even have enough time to copy any of it down, since he appears to be keeping to a rhythm of sorts. To top it off, we don’t have copies of the transparencies, so no one has any record of what he’s been saying. I have my suspicions that had I skipped the last four weeks of class, I’d be no further behind in my understanding than I am now.

Knowing how things work and how university practices go, I bet he’ll base the majority of the exam on the material covered in the last month. I haven’t failed a midterm since first year, but this looks like a good candidate for a repeat.

Which brings me to a larger question. Shouldn’t the biggest obstacle to learning just be the material itself? That is, the only thing standing in your way of mastering the material, should be just understanding the concepts being presented. Yet I find there are a host of different problems students face in learning. Beyond just the material, it’s the professors themselves that are obstacles. At times, it appears they’ve analyzed the most efficient way to teach a concept and then done the complete opposite.

Many a time, after struggling to understand something, and finally reaching the summit of that concept, I’ve realized there were numerous, better ways to have taught that. Inherently, some profs are better researchers than educators, that much is clear. I’m beginning to think that faculties should be divided into two groups: those who have exceptional teaching skills and those who should be left alone in their labs.

Wow, this has been a long post! Now, if you’ve been reading all of this, you deserve a prize. Click here for the best type of bikinis on this planet (WARNING : Not work safe! Copy the link and look at it at home!)

MORE INTERNET CINEMA GOODNESS

It’s been out a few weeks already, but the next installment in the series of BMWfilms is a great one. Joining Clive Owen this time are Don Cheadle and F. Murray Abraham. The Ticker is another action-packed piece of short cinema directed by new-comer Joe Carnahan. If you watch closely near the end, you’ll see uncredited cameos by Robert Patrick of X-Files fame and Dennis Haysbert from Fox’s 24.

In two days, the next installment, Beat the Devil will be out. This one stars, of all people, Gary Oldman and James Brown. Be sure to check out the trailer.

As always, if you can, download the large format version of the film!

While I’m posting, I’d like to say hi to Ryan Allan and Ryan Nordman, no relation. 🙂

GIDDY AS A SCHOOLGIRL!

As the owner and proprietor of erwintang.com, I’m curious as to who’s visiting my site. It’s neat when my friends visit, sure it’s even neat when someone from the US Office of Naval Research takes a look at my site. Today, however, I had a visit from an organization that far exceeds any others in importance (at least in my mind).

Just half an hour ago, I was sifting through the visitor logs for my site, looking at the IP addresses for all the visitors for today. Using commonly available tools, I’m able to trace back where visitors are coming from, generally to what city or what company (ie. Compaq, Texas Instruments).

Well, I picked one particular IP and entered it into the reverse DNS and traceroute tools. What came back stunned me. I’ve included a screenshot of what I saw below.

I’ve blurred out the last two digits of the IP for privacy, but we can all see where this visitor originated from. Yep, you’re reading it right… I had a visitor from LUCASFILM!!!

I just sat there, not knowing what to think. I was excited, humbled, suprised, all those things at once. According to my logs, the visitor from Lucasfilm only went to the pages where I analyzed the musical endings to Return of the Jedi. They downloaded one MP3 and that’s all they saw.

Then my mind began to think of fantastical situations. What if… what if this visitor, was THE MAN himself? No, no it couldn’t be I thought. Why would I be blessed with that honour? What if it was though? A simple guy like me, just trying to make his way through the universe, having his site visited by the creator of Star Wars.

Too crazy I thought. What if it was Rick McCallum visiting or even Ben Burtt? Any one of those and it would still be a great honour. In reality, I know it could be anyone at Lucasfilm. It could have been a lowly production assistant or someone like that.

Still, someone at the Ranch, someone who works for the company that makes Star Wars(!) decided to take a look at my site! Cool!