Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain

As part of my plan to spend money I don’t have I bought the movie Amelie on DVD a few days ago. I was able to watch the movie tonight. My first thought was, “How is it that the same man who directed Amelie, also brought us Alien Resurrection?” Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet crafted a wonderfully made film in Amelie. A well written and superbly acted piece of cinema, it’s a movie that develops a quirky personality to it, much like the title character herself. I thought Audrey Tautou was amazing playing Amelie, an introverted but imaginative young woman. The movie details her attempt to bring happiness to others while facing her own pursuit of love. And don’t get me started about Amelie’s haircut. I loved that little bob cut she had. Cute as a button she was!

Another thing Jeunet managed to pull off was to showcase Paris as city that I would actually want to return to. In all the movies I’ve seen before that had scenes in Paris, none of them really made me want to go there again. Jeunet’s Paris in Amelie had a small town feel to it. There was almost a warmth or comfort to it, which is surprising since we’re talking about French people here. Heh heh.

Overall, Amelie was an inspiring movie with a fascinating main character. With so many mainstream choices on the rental shelf today, it makes Amelie a clear winner.

AN IMPULSE BUY

So last night, I’m tired but I’m also wide awake since I drank a whole can of Vanilla Coke, leaving me in this odd mental state. I know I should be asleep, but I don’t feel like it.

Anyways, I’m meandering around the Internet, and somehow, I wind up at one of these domain registration web pages. On a whim, I try and see if a few domain names are available. Most of the ones I tried were already taken, but then I notice erwin.ca is free. Hmmm…. I wonder… The registration is quite cheap, about the cost of a DVD, but the other services are quite costly. You can register for just a couple bucks, but it just sits there. To do some with your domain, you have buy the other services which is when the costs really start mounting.

I almost gave up, but I started looking at other domain registration sites. I found one that offered free domain redirection and e-mail forwarding. That’s a savings of about $50 USD compared to other sites. So, at around 3am in the morning I registered for erwin.ca

I can tell you, registration is a lot faster these days. Only two years ago, it took me days to get the keys to erwintang.com. A mere hours after I registered for erwin.ca everything was up and running.

Go ahead, try visiting www.erwin.ca. You can also try e-mailing me at erwin@erwin.ca.

I really didn’t need this domain, but it’s kinda cool to have a Canadian presence now!

Ok, I promise no more impulse buys for the rest of the summer.

KIDS ASK THE DARNDEST THINGS

Taken from FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY KIDS TO THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE

11. Can you send me a sample bullet?

No, we are sorry that we cannot send you a sample bullet. The Secret Service feels very strongly about gun safety, and that includes being accountable for all of our ammunition. In addition, we encourage kids who might come across a gun to follow these rules:

1. Stop and do not touch the gun

2. Leave the area

3. Tell an adult what you have found

A POST-IT NOTE ™ MORE THAN A POST REALLY

Hey there, I just need to post this somewhere on the Internet just in case I need access to a course list and I’m without my notes. Disregard, this isn’t really interesting, then again, not many of my posts are.

TERM 1

MECH 523 Intelligent Control T Th 15:30

CPSC 352 Introduction To Software Engineering MWF 15:00

MECH 520 Control Sensors and Actuators T Th 10:00

CPSC 544 Human Computer Interaction T 11:30 F 10:30

TERM 2

MECH 563 Robotics T Th 8:30 (damn that’s early)

EECE 596 Human Interface Technologies

CPSC 522 Artificial Intelligence M W 11:30

CPSC 319 Software Engineering Project T 12:30

CPSC 544 Topics in Human Computer Interaction T Th 11:00

I’M FREAKING OUT!!!

Yes, it’s not pretty but I am. At this moment I’m composing e-mails to several professors where I’m trying to convince them to let me in their courses. The courses aren’t full, it’s just that I don’t have the exact prerequisites or I need they explicit permission before I can register. These are important courses, no one is making me take these courses, I truly want to take them. I won’t be happy with a list of courses that will sorta make me happy, it’s all or nothing.

In the many months of planning to return to school, this is the most important moment to date. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

UM, I CAN TIE MY OWN SHOES

Think you’ve done almost nothing with your life thus far? Well, you’re right… click here to confirm your worst fears.

HAIRCUT BLOG CONTINUED…

When I showed up at my very first appointment at Axis, I had no clue what to expect. When I walked in the door, I immediately realized almost everyone in there was beautiful. A far cry from what I knew back at my old “salon”. I walked up to the reception desk and I announced my arrival. The cute girl behind the desk gave me a form to fill out. The form asked me questions like what movies I liked, what music I listened to, my interests, etc. It was clear that this was a little ice-breaker so that my stylist would know what to talk about during the hour. Sure, it was a little contrived, but I played along.

After I answered the form, I was escorted to the changing area, where I changed into a smock. This in itself was a new thing for me. Next, I sat back down in the waiting area to wait for Mary-Anne. A few minutes later, Mary-Anne arrived to greet me. She was young, fit, and, attractive. All qualities that I couldn’t really attribute to any of my previous hair cutters. She led me into the main area of the salon and upstairs, where she directed me to sit down in a chair. This being my first time, she led me through the whole process. The first step was the scalp massage. I was given two small bottles to sample their fragrances. I chose the one called “Energizing”. Mary-Anne then asked me to close my eyes as she applied the oil to my scalp. She then proceeded with my first ever scalp massage. Oh man, if you’ve never had one, you do not know what you’re missing. It felt so good, and it totally put me at ease.

Next, after peeling me from the chair, I was led to hair washing station where Mary-Anne washed my hair. I got to sit down next to these two absolutely hot chicks who were getting their hair washed too. So far, the whole experience was turning out better that I expected. After getting my hair washed, I was led down to Mary-Anne’s station. As I sat there, she asked me what I wanted to do with my hair today. Having come in with conservative helmet hair, I told her I wanted something really different. We settled on giving my hair a bit of a messy look with a lot of texture in it. When the cutting started, the small talk proceeded as well, and I could tell she had read the form I filled out. It was an alright way to start, but it got really interesting when we found out we both lived in Coquitlam. I didn’t expect anyone at Axis to live out in the boonies, but she did. It turned out that she even went to my high school, though she was about a year younger than I was. I even found that her fiancee knew a few people that I know.

It was quite easy to talk with Mary-Anne after that. When she finished with my hair, she led me back upstairs to rinse my hair out, and I got changed after that. Afterwards came the final style before I was done. As I looked into the mirror as she put on the finishing touches, I thought, “Wow… finally… a decent haircut… and I only waited 25 years”. The whole thing cost me about $34, but man, it was the best $34 I ever spent on my hair. All the stylists were super hot and it was refreshing not to see senior citizens in the waiting area.

That was three years ago, and I’ve gotten my hair cut by Mary-Anne ever since. We talk about our families, movies, career aspirations, and life in general. It’s like having a friend at the salon. LOL. It doesn’t seem like three years, but it really has been that long.

Now this story would end here, but it doesn’t. Mary-Anne moved salons about two weeks ago. She told me well in advance, but it did bring to life a dilemna that I had thought about. If Mary-Anne moved, would I move with her or stay with the salon? It was really a moot point, but about two years ago when I first thought about it, it did seem like an interesting question.

So, three days ago, I had my hair cut at Mary-Anne’s new salon. It’s a better working environment for her and it’s better pay. The new salon is smaller and it has a more intimate feel. It doesn’t feel as busy compared to Axis.

And that is my long-winded, boring journey from horrendous bowl cuts to a somewhat decent head of hair.

IT’S A HAIRCUT BLOG

Some people with blogs actively try not to write what are called haircut blogs, but this particular entry is interesting… I think… I hope.

Anyways, you might not realize this but I was blessed with Asian hair. It’s thick, coarse, straight and about as manageable as straw. I’ve been told even for Asian hair, my hair is really hard to cut and style. I never had a decent hair cut as child. When I was young, my mom would cut my hair and my sister’s as well. She’d line the bathtub with newspaper and then put a small stool down. We’d take turns sitting in the tub and get our hair cut. My mom would use a half-sharpened pair of utility scissors to cut our hair. She never had any experience in cutting hair, so invariably I’d wind up getting something that resembled a bowl cut. As a kid, it doesn’t really matter, so it was alright. The only reason she stopped cutting our hair was because one time she almost cut my off ear off. I was sitting there and she was cutting around my ear. One snip later and my mom started to be quite concerned. I asked her what was wrong and she said she had cut my ear with the scissors. I hadn’t felt a thing, but by that time my mom was already pressing the wound with some tissues. A few bloodstained tissues later and my mom’s haircutting days were over. She never cut my hair again.

My dad took me to a few places after that. These were your normal family joints. I bounced around a few of these, but again, as a kid, you never really cared that much about your hair. It was around grade eight that I settled on one establishment. It was called Fantastic Sam’s. The owner of place, a silver-hair gentlemen named Brooks starting cutting my hair. He was trained as a barber, but he had turned into businessman, and owning Fantastic Sam’s was one of his investments. He had done quite well for himself, but he still cut hair. Brooks cut my hair for about 10 years. All through junior high, high school, and part of university. Wow, that was a long time. He gave me the same haircut every time. He cut it as short as he could without the hair sticking all up. My hair grows really fast and that was the only way to make the cuts last. My hair didn’t really change style between the ages of 13-23.

Shortly before or after university, Brooks went on vacation and I had to get my haircut by another person at the salon (which by that time had changed name to Prism Hair Design). On that fateful day, I was assigned to a stylist named Mary-Ann. She was in her thirties, and she had pictures of her kids and husband at her station. She was your average mom with small kids. Mary-Ann was also an extremely nice person. Her haircuts weren’t really that different from Brooks, but there was an almost imperceptible variation in her method. It was enough that the next time I decided to get my haircut, I booked with Mary-Ann. I thought briefly about what Brooks would think, but I shook it off. After all, it wasn’t like he was depending on me to feed his kids… or grandkids. He owned the damn salon and several other businesses. However, when you change stylists at the same salon, it’s like breaking up with your girlfriend and then she sees you the next evening with your new girlfriend. Happily, when Brooks saw me the next time with Mary-Ann, he didn’t seem mad at all. He still said hi and to be honest, he didn’t have much of a rapport with me to begin with.

Mary-Ann cut my hair for about a year or so, but I became restless. I hadn’t never really gotten a haircut that I thought was “cool” or “stylish”. My cuts were basically utilitarian and functional. My hair wound up looking like a helmet more than anything. I don’t fault Mary-Ann or Brooks for it because hey, it was a damn suburban hair salon in Coquitlam. What else should I expect? The salon was frequented by families with kids, senior citizens, and blue collar workers. It never advertised itself as a trendy salon. From a realistic point of view, people went there mainly to get their hair shortened, not styled.

Well, it was 1999, and my life had turned into a mess. I was working for Cypress Solutions, and I absolutely hated it. For those who knew me back then, I was going crazy. I thought to myself, “I need to make some major changes”. So, I quit my job. It was at that time that Mary-Ann told me she was quitting the salon. It seemed like a good time for me to make a break there as well. For years I had always thought what it would be like to go to a trendy salon and get an actual decent fashionable haircut. When I was out at UBC, my family would sometimes go out to this Chinese seafood restaurant at Broadway and Heather. This place had huge windows that faced this salon across the street. They had huge windows as well, and I could see the people inside. They were all young and they all looked like they belong in a fashion magazine. There were no kids, no senior citizens, and no blue-collar suburbanites in that salon.

So, about a month after I quit my job, I said, “Screw it, I’m tired of getting the same haircut”. I pulled out the phonebook and I called the Axis Salon on Heather Street. I didn’t know who the hell they’d give me but I didn’t care. In a strange twist of fate, the phone girl booked me an appointment with a stylist named… Mary-Anne. Really! As odd as that was, I thought at least I was getting away from Coquitlam haircutters… little did I know that wasn’t completely true…

TO BE CONTINUED…