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.


It’s 2:30am and I’ve just finished stir-frying some noodles. I eat it and now I’m thirsty. I’ve got bottled water, but I want something with sugar in it. The vending machine down the hall has Five-Alive. It’s not the best, but I don’t want Coke as this time of the night.

I get to the machine and I put in $1.50. Yeah, it’s outrageous how much it costs for a can of Five-Alive. I push the button for it. Nothing. Strange, the light wasn’t out, so it appears it’s got some more. I ponder the situation. Again, I push the button, increasingly feeling like some Pavlovian subject. Nothing again. Press, press, press, press, press…. nothing.

The soft drinks costs $1.75 so I put in an extra quarter. Now I start pressing the soft drink buttons. Nothing. More pushing, now randomly… nothing. Now I’m peeved. The electronic display mocks me now by showing how much money I’ve given it… for nothing…. $1.75 it flashes.

I try the refund button. Nothing. I swear that button isn’t even hooked up. What company would ever want to give you back your money once it has it?

Now I’m standing there feeling like an idiot, an idiot who’s still thirsty. I look at the top of the machine. A sticker proudly announces this machine is serviced by the Aramark Corporation. There’s even a phone number, 540-7677. I burn it into my memory.

I do the angry walk back to my room. I am no longer Erwin the grad student, I am Erwin the peeved consumer. Once back, I grab the phone. I fully expect to get a machine where I can leave a stern, yet effective message to the fine folks at the Aramark Corporation, a multi-national giant of a company. To my surprise, a woman answers.

“Hello, one of your machines gladly accepted my money but did not give me my frosty, cold beverage,” I say.

“Oh, whereabouts are you located?” she replies.

“St. John’s College at UBC,” I say.

“And our machine did not provide you with a product?” she continues.

“No, it took my money, which I believe is now part of a dividend being dispersed among your shareholders,” I offer.

She mentions something about scheduling a service call. She asks for my name. I give it. She asks me to spell my last name. This is good.

“T-A-N-G, like the drink, like a drink I wanted to get just now, but couldn’t, ha ha ha,” I say.

She doesn’t see the humour in the situation. My phone number is next. She tells me that someone will call me. I thank her and hang up.

I can tell you one thing, Aramark better call me… and offer restitution. I’m not a stupid consumer. All my life I’ve watched my dad go about complaining to companies in the wrong way. I’ve learned what to do and what not to do.

For example, a Swiss Chalet closed down near my house a few years ago. I complained to Swiss Chalet that I had to drive far now to get my chicken. They gave me two free dinners. That was nice. I’ve also received free gift certificates from White Spot because I wrote a letter to them stating their noodles weren’t ethnic enough. True story.

I’m not a scam artist, and if I’m writing or phoning to make a comment, you can be sure something was wrong.

I’m interested in seeing how this is gonna all play out. I’ll definitely keep you posted.


I had a nice conversation on the phone tonight. Afterwards, I wanted to start some work, but I felt really hungry. I contemplated going to get some pizza, but I didn’t want to go outside.

I looked in my fridge and I realized I had some bacon and eggs. I hadn’t had that in a while. I gathered everything I needed and went up to the kitchen to cook it all up.

Ten minutes later, I had some great smelling bacon and egss in my room. Bacon and eggs do taste good don’t they?

I remember one time in undergrad, I bought a dozen eggs and a pound of bacon. I ate that for breakfast and lunch for five days straight. It was so good and so bad at the same time.

You know I haven’t done anything stupid in a while, but today I made up for it. I was using the online student service centre thingy for UBC today. I was moving some courses around and I intended to temporarily drop one course in term two. I mixed up the classes and I dropped a class from this term by accident. I didn’t realize it until I saw this big, fat W next to the course listing. My mouth dropped wide open and I made this sound like when Doc Brown did in Back to the Future when the curtains catch on fire. Anyways, I tried adding it again, but it said I was already registered in it (which wasn’t true anymore!). Apparently, you can’t drop a course, and then try to re-add it.

Well, it’s going to be fun trying to explain this one to the Registar’s Office tomorrow.


In my 310 class, George gave us our midterms back. George is the only prof I know who insists his undergrads call him by his first name. It’s one of the things I like about him.

Anyways, we’re sitting at the back of the class and he puts all the midterms up front. It’s like a feeding frenzy. I was hesistant to go get mine because I didn’t have a good feeling. I remember being quite stunned when the midterm was over.

One of the piles of midterms had thinned out with people. Curtis came back with his exam. He said that pile was S-Z. That was me. As I walked down the steps of the lecture hall, I remember thinking, I’ve done this walk many times. I’ve picked up countless midterms, always with apprehension. Some turned out to be good, some not so good. What would this be?

As I got to the pile, I didn’t see mine right away. Then, I saw my mine sitting there. Wow, it’s a marked midterm with my name on it. It’s been years since I’ve seen one of those.

I look at the mark… 39… out of 50. Hmmm… it could have been worse. As I walk back to my seat, I’m relieved that I passed, but then I realized I missed an “A” by one mark. Now I’m slightly miffed. I look through the exam and they’ve marked really leniently. Lucky for me. I see also that I missed one of the true/false questions. I had a 50-50 chance on that one and I got it wrong. There, there was the one mark I needed to get an “A”. Damn.

I don’t know if I’m just being greedy. I would have been happy to just pass coming out of the exam, but now I’m thinking I should have an “A”!!! What a strange turn of events.


We had a formal dinner on Oct. 24, 2002. I took some pictures and finally got them scanned in tonight. I just slapped it all together. It’s pretty crappy, but I have to go do work.

Take a look here.


I love getting visitors to my site from all different places around the world. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been getting visits from Yugoslavia… wink, wink.

Do I know you? Would I know who you are? I hear the mechanical engineers in Yugoslavia are very talented… wink, wink.


When I was planning my return to school there were a few things I promised myself I’d do when I got back. One of them was to visit the Swiss Chalet on Broadway on a regular basis. If you know me well, you know I love eating at Swiss Chalet.

I thought I’d break that promise in the first few weeks of school. For one, it didn’t seem I was going to make that many new friends and I didn’t want to go alone. As the weeks passed, I somehow managed to make some friends here at SJC. Great, I thought, I can bring these people to Swiss Chalet!

One day, I turned to Nicholas Clarke and Marcia George, and asked them about Swiss Chalet. Marcia, who grew up in Canada, seemed lukewarm. Nicholas, who’s from New Zealand, had never been. However, Nic and Marcia, are engaged, and if Marcia didn’t want to go, it was likely Nic couldn’t go either. Bummer.

Then I asked Kristina Deczky about Swiss Chalet. She’s from Ontario, and there’s a good chance she’s had it before. “Ewwww…”, was her response. Great.

One early Friday evening, I had nothing planned for dinner. Nothing. No one to have dinner with. “That’s it!”, I thought. I marched over to Nic and Marcia’s and gave them a proposal. I told them I was going to Swiss Chalet for dinner, they could come with me, and the meal would be on me.

Apparently, this was the right approach. We wound up at Swiss Chalet. I had the double-leg dinner and Marcia had the ribs. Nic doesn’t eat chicken with bones in it, so he had a messy chicken sandwich. The weird thing was we had another friend join us, so I didn’t have to pay for everyone. That was nice of Nic and Marcia to let me off the hook.

Afterwards, the assessment wasn’t that great. Marcia and Nic didn’t seem too keen on going back again, even though Marcia loved the ribs. Poopy.

The next week, I tried another approach. Instead of trying people who know of Swiss Chalet, I’d ask people who didn’t know what it was. I tried asking Lindsay Allen about going with me. Lindsay is from Kentucky, and there’s no way she knows of the Chalet. I told her it was a great chicken and ribs place. My sell worked, because she agreed. Yay!

Along the way, we also recruited Arash Farzaneh, who vaguely remembered having the Chalet a few years ago, but was willing to try it again. We got to the Chalet, and I ordered a quarter-chicken dinner, Lindsay got the same, and Arash had a chicken sandwich.

The critical moment came when I asked Lindsay to try the (in)famous dipping sauce. It’s been my experience that people either love or hate the sauce immediately. There’s no middle ground, nor do people migrate from one position to the either. I’ve never seen such a polarizing effect from a single item of food. For the record, I love the sauce. Anyways, I watched nervously, as Lindsay tried the sauce. Her assessment… thumbs down.

Arash didn’t like it either. Would this be another failed attempt to convert more people over to Swiss Chalet? On a good note, Lindsay gave Swiss Chalet an overall positive assessment. She said that it reminded her of good old, country style cooking from the South. We then had a discussion about the merits of white gravy, country-fried steak, and biscuits.

That dinner was about three weeks ago, and I’ve been wondering when we would go back. Just yesterday, Lindsay asked me when we were going back to Swiss Chalet! Yes! I might have a Swiss Chalet buddy!

I’m hoping we can go soon since everyone is going to get really busy and it’d be nice to have that sweet, over-roasted, savoury chicken again.

Swiss Chalet!!!


I had more visitors in my room today that I’ve had in a long time. My room was a mess. Three girls came in to use my microwave. I was not pleased about the state of my room. After they left, I vacuumed, cleaned the sink a bit, and moved some stuff around.

It’s a bit better, but there’s still some work to be done. I think inherently, I like a bit of clutter in my life. That is all.


As the days and nights get colder, I’ve discovered a problem here in my room. As you might expect, this place isn’t centrally heated. Each room has one of those baseboard heater thingys. It’s located underneath the window. Unfortunately, my desk is also located near the window. When I turn on the heat, it travels up underneath the bottom of my desk, along the bottom, and then up into my face.

As you can imagine, having a face full of hot air isn’t making studying very comfortable. I have a problem with dry skin too, so my legs get as dry your mouth gets when you eat like 10 crackers in a row with no water.

However, it gets cold when you turn off the heat (boy, I can see the Nobel committee getting my award ready with revelations like these). I figure I have to move my desk away from the window a few more inches, so the heat travels through the gap between the desk and the wall. Which essentially makes my room smaller if you think about it.

I’m probably going to start adding moisture to the air in my room soon as well. I learned a neat trick from Cory, one of my old roomates from Fairview. He told me to keep a kettle boiling continually in a closed room, adding water every few minutes. I tried it and it worked like a charm! My room was like a tropical rainforest after a while and it was so good for my skin.

Well, I have to get some more work done. I’ve accomplished nothing tonight thus far, except for finishing a really bad essay and baking a batch of cookies. See ya.


I must say time has just flown by here in the last two months. I think it’s done that because I like where I live, the people I live with, and what I’m studying.

As I look ahead to the month of November, I’m marvelling at how quickly things have gone. Essentially one more month and the term will be over. I have only one final and its on the first day of the exam period.

November, however, will not be a cakewalk. I have two heavy duty projects due at the end of the month (right when I should be studying for my final). I also have that stupid presentation that I should have completed by now. My friends, the last two weeks of November should be a lot of fun.

Now this is gonna sound stupid, but I’ll also have some distractions from the entertainment world too. Attack of the Clones comes out on DVD on November 12, the new Bond flick comes out at the end of November, and Medal of Honor : Spearhead gets released on November 18. The smart thing to do is to wait until the month of December, when I have nothing to do, and then partake in some fun. But the smart thing isn’t always the most fun thing isn’t it?