Hey, corned beef from a can is already cooked right? ‘Cause if it isn’t, this is gonna be one of my last posts for a while.

Anyways, today I actually felt like I got some work done. First time since I started school. I got up at 11am, and studied for my midterm until basically 3pm. I think if I stopped studying now, I’d pass the exam. Yay! Except I’d like to more than pass.

I just realized though, if I was as dilligent as I was today in the past, my November would be a lot easier. As it stands, November is going to be a tough month. I have two major projects to complete, several assignments, two midterms, and two presentations. I could have finished one of the assignments and one of the presentations by now, but my slacking prevented that. If I work harder now, it’ll ease the workload I have in November.

I had another interesting thing happen today. Have you ever gone through a really familiar place like a hundred times, and thought you knew everything about that place? I had that feeling about the main floor of the Student Union Building here on campus. I’ve been through that place countless times and I thought I knew every nook and cranny. However, today I acquired a new perspective. After my only class of the day, I walked to the SUB with a classmate of mine, Michael. We went to Pie ‘R Squared and grabbed a slice of pizza. Mike said, “I’m gonna eat this at the Film Society, we got couches, wanna come?”

I said ok, I’ve never been there before, so why not? Mike lead me to this door at the end of the main floor of the SUB. I went into this darkened room and here was the space for the Film Society. There were couches, a widescreen TV, a 5.1 sound setup, and a movie playing. This room was literally right next to the loud, busy, and crowded main floor of the SUB. Yet, here, the room was quiet and tranquil. Several people were watching the Helen Hunt snorer (ha ha ha), “As Good As It Gets”. I never knew that room ever existed, and it was weird knowing you could find some peace there.

Sometimes, you can find new experiences without really going anywhere new.


I have this weird situation in one of my classes right now… well, technically it’s two. Anyways, for my undergrad class, there’s this guy and he’s my TA for the lab. However, for one of my grad classes, this guy is in the same class, so he’s my classmate in that particular situation. I’m sure he’s realized that I’m in his class, but at the same time, he knows I’m in the lab section he runs. He’s been cool about it so far, and he hasn’t even said, “Hey, you’re in one of my grad classes”.

Here’s where it gets a little weirder. I got a little curious about my classmates in my grad class, so I tried to see if they had web pages on the CS server. Most CS grads do. Lo and behold, my TA does. I find out that this guy is just a kid! He’s at most 23 years old, but probably only 22. He graduated high school a year after I graduated from university! When I was battling away during my hellish 2nd year of mechanical, this guy was celebrating his graduation from middle school. Now this guy is marking my labs.

This made me feel really old. I also felt like I was snooping on this guy’s life. Though, I guess if he didn’t want anyone to know about something, he shouldn’t have put it on his site.

Which brings up an interesting point, should I censor what I say here just because I know someone will read it? One issue that’s come up is that by using my @erwintang.com e-mail address, people automatically are curious about the crap I have here. I think I’ve mentioned this before.

So let’s say I’m in this really small grad class where we fill out an info sheet with our names and e-mail address on it. Then let’s say, there’s some super hot chick in that class. Yeah, unlikely in CS and MECH classes, but bear with me. Then assume this info sheet gets passed along to said super hot chick, and she sees my address. Then, assume I go home and write here, “Oh my God, there’s this smoking hot chick in my CPSC XXX class, I’m gonna spank it tonight thinking about her naked!” Then she visits my site, sees what I’ve read, and now I’m in deep trouble.

Ok, extreme example, but it does illustrate my point. I’d hate to think I would not write about something interesting just because there’s a chance someone might read about themselves. I wonder if I’ll have to make a secret blog where I put all the juicy stuff in there. Mmmm… highly doubtful since my life isn’t all that interesting, but you never know!


I’ve been wanting to do some really exciting things (well, at least to me) with my site lately, but the demands of school have been preventing that. I still think I go about work in the most inefficient manner, so I need to improve on that.

One thing that has occupied my time lately is a proposal I’m writing for a project in my fuzzy logic control course. Fuzzy logic can be used to implement a control system with artificial intelligence (AI). That AI term is used in the wrong context usually, hell, I think I used it incorrectly in my last sentence. Anyways, for my project, I’m proposing to control the behaviour of a video game hockey player using fuzzy logic. I’ve totally simplified it. First, I’m only controlling the defenseman. Second, I’m restricting my control output to the position of the defenseman. Third, I’m constraining the freedom of the defenseman to a single degree (lengthwise along the ice). I know it sounds totally hokey (or is it hockey?) but I think I’ve narrowed the scope of the project for it to be feasible, yet be non-trivial. The interesting part will be implementing the rule base for my control system. I’ll have to come up with crazy rules like, “IF puck is held by opposition AND puck is moving towards own goal THEN move back into defensive zone”. I think I may have to come up with at least 30 rules based on the parameters I have.

I’m also studying for a midterm I have on Monday. I’m kinda nervous about it, not so much for the material, but for the fact it will be my first midterm exam in over five years. Damn, I thought I was done with those things, but here we are. By my fifth year, I was a pro at writing those things. They were so damn easy. I had all the (legal) techniques down for getting a good grade on an exam. I think the last time a midterm kicked my ass was in third year. Fast forward to now… I wonder if I still have it in me. I wonder if this is how Lemieux felt right before he stepped on the ice to end his retirement. Of course, I’m not making the comparison that I’m the Mario Lemieux of exam taking… that guy would be Chris Dumaresq!!! Ha ha ha!

So in closing, I’d like to say I have some neat things in store for my site, I just need some time to fit them all in. Stay tuned!


Sorry, for not posting in a while, I was really busy when I got back to UBC.

Anyways, today I was reminded of how damn lucky I am to be living at St. John’s College on campus. I had a meeting at 9am, so I woke up at 8am. I stumbled out of bed, got decent, boiled some water, and had a nice breakfast. I went to my meeting and was back in my warm room by 10:15am. I got back into my PJs, checked my mail and checked if the sniper had killed anyone new, and then crawled into bed for a nap.

You can’t beat that convenience! The naps, the comfort of your own place right on campus, your own food, the warmth of your fuzzy slipppers… these are things a commuter can’t have during the day. Today after lunch, I watched a taped episode of Friends. Now, I’m going to go to my last class of the day. Truly, I live a charmed life compared to those who have to drive or bus it to school. I thank the stars I made into residence.


So I’m at my parents’ place for the long weekend. Less than 10 minutes after arriving, my Dad passes a message off to me.

“Mark, from the Internet phoned,” he says.

“Oh, Mark from the Internet phoned? I didn’t know the Internet had a phone number,” I replied.

My Dad then passed me a phone number along. Turns out it was my old ISP calling. I wonder what they wanted.

Anyways, my point is, it’s always interesting when I come home from school.


Here’s a newsflash: higher education does not come cheap, it’s nowhere close to the definition of the word “free”.

To help the situation, I’ve come up with three options: get a part time job on campus, spend less money on things, or start betting on hockey games.

Obviously, the third choice consumes the least amount of effort and time. Plus, the payoff can be bigger. My venue for betting? Sports Action BC my friend. Nothing like provincial government sanctioned betting.

I feel I’m fairly informed as a hockey fan, but I’d like to know who you’d pick on certain days. Here are a small selection of games over the next two days. My pick to win is in bold. What do you think?


Nashville at Washington

Boston at Minnesota


Minnesota at St. Louis

Detroit at LA


Ever enter your name into a search engine? Yeah, sure you have. Who hasn’t wondered if those naked pics of you have wound up on the Internet?

Anyways, last night I wondered how many sites have started linking to mine. Sadly, the results were not that fruitful. However, I did find one messageboard that had a link to my site. I took a screenshot for you all to see. By the way, though it says, “Star Wars nerds”, it does not specifically refer to me as such, though they wouldn’t be wrong either… ha ha ha. By the way, don’t bother with that link you see, I’ve moved the file.


So today I’m walking to CICSR to go and sign out a book. On the way there, I cut through a parking lot. At the ticket dispenser, I see this guy. He looks a lot like a guy I used to work with. His name is Doug Smith, and we both used to work at this place called Cypress Solutions. While it was supposed to be a product development firm, it actually was a faithful recreation of the fiery depths of hell.

Anyways, I’m not too sure if it’s Doug. During the summer, I went hiking and I saw this guy who looked a lot like Doug, and I gave him a long, hard look. It turned out it wasn’t Doug, and I just looked stupid. However, this time, this guy is looking at me like he knows me too. I get closer, and I’m sure it’s him. He’s the first one to speak.



We quickly get up to speed on our present situations. He’s working for a small medical products firm. I tell him my story. We don’t mention Cypress. Just as well I suppose. He tells me he’s here to meet with some people over at the Metals and Materials building. I leave him to his meeting, but before I do so, I pass along my e-mail address. He says it’ll be hard to forget an address like mine.

Doug was a good guy when I worked with him. I hope he contacts me. Geez, what if he’s reading this now? Doug, e-mail me.


On the weekend, I was made aware of the Queen’s visit to UBC. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to see her.

She was scheduled to visit the campus during the only class I had on Monday, right at 3pm. So, 3pm Monday rollls around. As I walk to class, I notice, the ceremony is literally right next to the building where my class is. I’m thinking it would be a shame to be this close to the Queen and have to miss it because of some stupid lecture that I’ll forget tonight.

I get to class and I sit down with my 310 buddies. Jonathan and Curtis seem lukewarm about seeing the Queen. Chris goes, “Any reason to skip class is a good reason”. The class starts and George, our professor, says, “Let’s leave early to see the Queen”. A good sign.

Half an hour goes by. People are leaving now to rush outside. I see cops outside the window. There are motorcycle cops which probably means a motorcade. Chris and I get antsy. “We’re missing everything!” I say. One girl rushes back into the classroom. Even though I’m at the top row of a huge lecture room, I see her mouth to her friend, “Oh my God I saw the Queen!”.

Chris has had enough. He packs up and leaves, with me closely behind. Outside, it’s a zoo. People are everywhere. Cops are too. One barks at us to get off the road. We do.

We approach this fenced area which I later found out was where Her Majesty had gotten out of her car. Had we been there 15 minutes earlier, we would have been just a couple feet away from her. Now, I’m not sure if she’s still there. Chris is taller than me, and he spots the podium in front of Koerner Library. “Dude, there she is” he says.

I crane my neck to get a better view. And there she is, distant though distinguishable, the Queen of England is in my sight. There are speeches by Dr. Martha Piper (the president of UBC) and our illustrious Premier, Gordon Campbell. Don’t tell anyone, but I think people dislike that guy.

Then the Queen gets up to unveil some plaque or something. Soon after she gets up and I can’t see her anymore. And that was it.

Curtis and Jonathan join us later, but she’s gone by now.

I can now say I’ve seen the Queen of England with my own eyes. Now if I can only say I have all my reading done.

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