FALSE ALARM

After many months of living at SJC, we had our very first genuine fire alarm go off today. These were a dime a dozen in undergrad, but quite rare now.

I can tell fire prevention technology has come a long way. In our decades old undergrad residences we had an clangy bell that would go off in the hallway. It was actually quite easy to ignore. SJC is about five years old and we have these individual alarms in each of our rooms that screech out this deafening banshee wail. It makes you not want to be in there.

So, when the damn thing went off, I was still in my PJs and hair unkempt. Damn, I thought, I don’t need this. I was going to ignore it, but over the screech of the alarm, I heard people outside the hall. Ah well, better go outside. So, I got dressed and made sure I didn’t look like a total idiot and went outside.

We were herded into the rear parking lot, apparently that’s the rally point during a fire. Anyways, no one was believing this was the real thing. Some one said, “If I see smoke and flames, I’m running back in there to get my computer.”

About a third or less of the College were in the parking lot. Some were dressed appropriately, some were not. One guy had a blanket around him and he wasn’t wearing shoes. Another guy had a 3.5″ diskette with him. I’m guessing that was holding some important files, but seriously, how much porn can you hold on 1.4 Mb?

Max comes out and he’s holding an empty laundry basket and an empty Tupperware container. People were saying that’s an odd set of things to take with you.

“He must really like those things.”

“Hey, if the place burns down and they give us food, he can save it for later.”

“I bet those hold his empty dreams… bittersweet dreams.”

“You people shut up, I was doing laundry.”

Since we were all in the back, we didn’t even get to see the fire trucks and the firemen. After about 10 more minutes of standing around, we get the all clear. On the way back in, I hear that someone was cooking with butter and it set off the alarm. Honest mistake I guess.

On the way back in, I found a ball hockey ball, so it was totally worth the inconvenience.

Sunday is completely over yet, but I get the feeling that’ll be the most exciting thing to happen to me today.

A BIG DINNER AND HOCKEY

Tonight St. John’s College held their International Dinner. Residents were encouraged to dress up in traditional garb from different nations. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t your own home country. More women than men dressed up, but that was alright. There were a lot of kimonos, at least one sari, and a few other national costumes. Nic, who’s from New Zealand, wore his rugby clothes. Mark, who’s from Ontario, wore his Leafs jersey. People hassled him. He did not receive any pity from me.

I really like these SJC dinners. The food is great and I like the formality of the events. There’s usually an hour of chit-chat at the reception where people get liquored up on wine and eat tasty finger foods. Then there’s the actual dinner.

I took lots of photos from the event, but I swear, every photo I’m in, I think I closed my eyes. I’m going to develop them tomorrow. I still haven’t scanned in my photos from Chinese New Year. I feel shame.

Well, after the dinner I had finished about four glasses of wine. Plus, I had a huge meal. The food was awesome. I have a new respect for Thai beef.

The ball hockey team had a game right at 9:30pm. I thought was in the clear since I didn’t have my jersey to wear today. Well, someone handed me a shirt at the last minute and before long, I was stumbling off to Osborne.

When we got there, I saw that the other team had two girls playing! Whoa, I thought, we’re gonna lose to girls this time.

I was totally bagged before we even started. Heavy from food and drink, I could not help but dog it for first few minutes. Then I started noticing this asshole from the other team, #15. He was going around and doing stupid shit with his stick. He’d go and slap our sticks when the play was totally away. I can understand if two guys were getting into it and there was some stickwork involved, but this was out of nowhere. And this guy didn’t even know the rules. We had ball possession several times where we’re allowed to run the ball in or pass it after the ref blows the whistle. Also, they have to give us 6 feet of space. We’re given 5 seconds to move it after which the other team can check us. Well, one time I was going to start the play, and buddy here was standing almost next to me. For some reason the ref blows whistle when he shouldn’t have and #15 takes the ball from the circle. Everyone’s standing around looking at this idiot run towards the goal. The ref is yelling at him to bring it back and he turns around and goes, “What? You blew the whistle!”.

The ref goes over to him and explains the rules to him. Not a minute later, the play is ruled dead again and we get possession. The ref blows the whistle and Aseem is about to pass when #15 rushes him right away. The ref blows the play dead again and again, he goes over to #15 and reminds him about the rules. What a moron.

Steve was our goalie for this game and he was getting some unlucky bounces. He’d make the initial save, but the ball would take a crazy bounce over his head or something and land on the goal line. The other team would just tap it in. There scored a few garbage goals like that. No biggie. Just a game. Then after one such goal, Steve said, “Ah… they’re getting a lot of garbage goals tonight…”, which was a fair assessment. Well, #15 heard this and said, “Well, you’re letting a lot of garbage in…”

Steve and I were like, “What the fuck are you talking about??!?!”. Garbage goals aren’t a reflection on how good or bad a team is, it’s just a statement of their luck. Some of their guys were actually pretty good.

As #15 and I were lining up for the faceoff, I asked him, “What the fuck is your problem? Where’d that come from?”

“Ask your ‘tender,” he said.

Now I’m usually a calm guy when it comes to hockey. We’ve been beat 15-3 and 16-1, and it’s no big deal, but I don’t like assholes. So we lined up again and as soon as the ref blew the whistle I cross-checked him in the chest. Apparently, I didn’t do it hard enough since he didn’t go down.

“What the fuck ref!” was his reply.

“Oops sorry,” I said.

“What, you want to fight?” he countered.

“Whatever buddy, keep playing…”, I suggested.

Meanwhile, Steve is witnessing this from our crease and he’s laughing his ass off. I turn around and start laughing too because the play is continuing on a blantant cross-check. There’s no way the ref missed it because I did on the faceoff. I guess he thought he deserved it.

Anyways, I’m keeping my eye on #15 now. I’d expect any guy to give it back to me, but strangely, he doesn’t. I’m not sure if I should be impressed or disappointed. Did he take the high road or is he a shit-disturber that shies away from the rough stuff? Let me point out that this guy had about 6″ inches on me, so it’s not like I was intimidating him.

The game goes on and I keep it clean, but Steve won’t stop heckling #15. It’s a shame Steve wasn’t playing out, ’cause I know he would have drilled that guy good.

So, the game ends and we lost of course, but the kicker is that Steve and I are dying to shake #15’s hand. It’s just a game is our philosophy. Anyways, we get to the end of the line, and #15 is nowhere to be seen.

Steve says, “Where’s your big tall guy? #15? Is he off crying somewhere? Let’s shake!”

One of their girls replied, “Oh I think he said he was hurt.”

Oh well. Part of me doesn’t think he was hurt. He seemed like the type to raise shit in the game and not be man enough to look you in the eye afterwards and shake. Though, if I indeed hurt him, well that might teach him to play with a little more honour next time.

When I got back I nearly threw up three times in half an hour, but I re-hydrated myself and here I am typing. Final assessment: fun game. I got to cross-check a guy that deserved it.

Whoops, I have class in about seven and a half hours, I gotta put this post and myself to bed.

Before I leave, I’d like to announce my next interview here on erwintang.com is mere days away, possibly on Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned!

IN THE GHETTO…

For some reason, I’ve been listening to Elvis songs recently. I downloaded a whole bunch of his tracks tonight. The quality of the King’s music can vary wildly and I’m not talking about the mp3 themselves. Some of his live stuff was poorly recorded.

In any case, I think Elvis’ music certainly transcends the passage of time. Some of his work is just as good today as it was when it was first released. I must admit there is a certain undeniable appeal to his tunes. When I was younger, I used to lump Elvis into everything that was the 70s. To be truthful, I didn’t and still don’t think the 70s were that great of a decade.

However, while Elvis certainly had some of his most interesting years in the 70s (the banana-butter sandwiches… the jumpsuits), he also should be judged by his work from the previous decades as well. In that case, he had quite a prolific career.

So, here’s to the King. A man whose interest in jumpsuits and sequins these days would pale in comparison to baby dangling and false noses.

Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds.mp3 – 3.2 Mb

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.

I was told the name of the movie would not appear on the hotel bill