YOU ARE FOCUSSING ON THE NEGATIVE ANAKIN, BE MINDFUL OF YOUR THOUGHTS

Today, I had a much needed meeting with Dr. Karon MacLean from the UBC Department of Computer Science. She is co-supervising my thesis along with Dr. Elizabeth Croft of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

As you may have perceived from my latest online ramblings, I’ve been quite down about on how things have been progressing with my thesis and the lack of funding. The last time I met with Dr. MacLean she told me to brainstorm some ideas up. I tried, but I thought my ideas were horrible and she would be probably be disappointed with them.

At the start of today’s meeting I told her not to expect anything great today. She reminded me that good brainstorming is without criticism. I had forgotten that. It’s true. Early criticism can deflate potentially great ideas. Hey, I learned that in my product design class! Anyways, so I rambled off my five ideas to her, hoping she wouldn’t wince at each one. To my surprise she actually thought three of my ideas were very interesting and the other two might work as well. I also listed a few companies that might be interested in funding my ideas. Dr. MacLean was impressed with the research I had done. Wow, that’s a surprise since I thought I hadn’t done enough work yet.

I then expressed to her how depressed I was about my lack of progress with the thesis topic and funding. Dr. MacLean informed me that I was actually way ahead of schedule compared to other students when it came to picking a topic. She said that at least in Com Sci, students actually take a few classes and don’t decide until the spring. They don’t even have a supervisor when they start. So, in that respect, I guess I’m doing alright. The one caveat I had was that I’m officially in the Dept. of Mech. Engineering, so their timetable might be different. Time to talk to Dr. Croft now.

Now as for funding, Dr. MacLean was very sympathetic about that. I was concerned that I would be the first graduate student ever to pay for their entire education. She thought that would be very unlikely, as at least to her knowledge, no one has ever had to do that. The worst-case scenario as she described it, would be that I would have to pay maybe for the first eight months. Funding somehow would come from somewhere, it always does.

Furthermore, she warned me not to mix up choosing the thesis with the funding. I had fallen into the trap of thinking about topics which would be attractive to companies that might want to fund my research. Dr. MacLean said to always think about why I decided to go back to school and what I wanted to learn while I was in school. Sometimes, she said, you just have to let go of the money issue and concentrate on studying what will make you happy. If you have to get a student loan, then that’s just the way it has to be.

Her final suggestion was to not to dwell on the negative amd not get depressed. I should keep on working towards getting more ideas and refining the good ones I have already.

The meeting did much to bring up my spirits. My attitude now is, I will continue to work on ideas and investigate funding opportunities, even if it takes all summer. If school starts and I still don’t have the money, then that’s ok. The money will come from somewhere and that my research is what matters the most.

Of course, now that I have this attitude, I immediately thought, “Great, I can start buying DVDs again”. Silly me.

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SHAW CABLE SUCKS MAJOR WANG

So today I had scheduled a visit by Shaw Cable to install two additional outlets in my place. I was told by Shaw Cable to be at home between 12pm and 5pm. So, I sat at home all day, leaving my errands to fall by the wayside.

Lo and behold, 4:45pm rolls around and still no cable guy. I call Shaw and some guy on the other end assures me that someone’s is still coming to install my outlets… today. Right. A few hours pass and it’s 7:30pm. No cable guy… big surprise. I call Shaw again and a different person tells me that my installation call got “bumped”. Well, thanks for freaking telling me about it! I sat at home all Tuesday and Shaw knew sometime during the day there weren’t coming and neglected to call me. That’s what I call total lack of customer service. Typical Shaw.

The sad thing is, Shaw can get away with this crap all the time. Who else are you going to patronize to get your cable service? Shaw has a virtual monopoly on the Lower Mainland cable television industry.

By comparison, Telus did a great job when they installed my phone and ADSL service. Each time they came, they called 10 minutes before they arrived to make sure I was home and ready for them. After each visit, a representative from Telus called to make sure I was happy with the service I received. I doubt you’ll ever see that kind of service from Shaw.

Anyways, I was furious at Shaw, so I called their “Customer Service” line and talked to another representative. They fed me some standard crap line about installations taking longer than expected and having unexpected delays. I told them someone else used the word “bumped” but they were adamant that was a poor choice of words. I wanted to say to regardless of how you wanted to phrase it, I got screwed today. I asked them why they couldn’t simply phone me if they knew my installation was going to be delayed. The woman on the other end apologized and she said that some Shaw technicians call and others don’t. Apparently, it’s not a policy for Shaw to be polite and courteous. Furthermore, the woman admitted that with recent Shaw technician hirings, they lowered their standards for employment. According to her, the latest batch of technicians are of lower quality than what they’d like. She also said that they’re using complaint calls like mine as a way to weed out the poorer performing technicians. Gee, thanks for letting me be a part of Shaw HR.

I asked her who was going to re-imburse me for my time, and the best she could do was a lousy $20 credit on my account. $20? How many people make only $20 a day? That’s not even worth one month’s cable service.

So now, I have to clear another day out of my schedule to wait for these knobs to come again.

If I could get cable TV service from Telus, I’d do it a second.

Shaw Cable you get my suck wang award for this month.

MISCELLANEOUS MONDAY

I had rather boring Monday. I didn’t wake up until 11am. Spent the first hour just surfing for news. I read my mail, electronic and otherwise. Then I got down to the nitty-gritty and began looking up local high-tech companies. I think I must have been weak from hunger because I neglected to write down a few of the companies which I found interesting. There are several companies that might fit the bill, but I am a long way from where I need to be. First, I need to find a project that might interest said company. This in itself is where I’m stuck. Second, I then need this company to want to fund my research. In these hard economic times, this is a tall order.

I ate lunch which consisted of left-over lobster and noodles. I then had to assemble some furniture for my mom. This only took an hour fortunately. I started my research again, only to have some slight panic set in on my progress. During my distress, I sent an e-mail to my thesis supervisor Dr. Croft, requesting a meeting. It is my hope she’ll calm me down and give me reassurance. Either that, or a thesis topic with funding. Ha ha ha… graduate humour.

After I calmed down, I remembered I still had to watch Run, Lola, Run before it had to go back to the store. I discovered there are two versions of Run, Lola, Run on DVD. One is widescreen with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and the other is pan and scan with only a Dolby Surround track. Guess which one I had. Yep. It was shame because the movie had a great soundtrack and my sub remained virtually silent the whole time. Nonetheless, it was a pretty good movie. I’m sure actress Franka Potente got a good workout during the filming.

After dinner, around 9pm I intended to return the DVD, with a pitstop at the local pho joint and also Safeway. Deciding to go eat pho first, I pull into the parking lot only to see the place dark and with a closed sign out front. What the hell was up with that? They usually close at 11pm or 12am.

Having my pho hopes dashed, I decided to return the DVD first and then I went to Safeway. On the way home, I stopped by my favourite Panago outlet and picked up some wings and a salad. The young woman behind the counter informed me that they no longer put cheese in their garden salads. This irked me, since the cheese was an integral part of the Panago garden salad.

I ate the wings and salad, and now I’m typing this. Yay, what a day. Now, you can be glad you don’t have my life. Thanks for reading.

IKEA AND WENDY’S

Today, I went to Ikea with my mom to help her buy furniture. There’s always hot women at Ikea. I also like Ikea’s contemporary furnishings. Hot women and nice looking furniture, it makes for a great afternoon. I wish I could meet a girl at Ikea, that way, I’d be assured she’d be hot and have good taste at the same time.

After I dropped my mom and the furniture off at home, I went to Staples by myself. I went to buy some pens and I also went and looked at electronics (it’s for my thesis). Anyways, after I left Staples, I noticed that I was around a Wendy’s restaurant. It was 4:30pm, and I knew I had a Father’s Day dinner with my parents at 6:30pm. What the hell I said, and I ordered a Classic Single Combo. It was good too. I think out of all the fast food chains, Wendy’s is the best. Their food looks and tastes most like homemade items. I only wish they had more locations, if so, I wouldn’t be visiting McDonald’s so often.

Anyways, so as you might have expected, when dinner time rolled around, I wasn’t hungry at all. Which was alright, since my parents brought home the extra lobster. Oh well.

Hey, Greg Williams, if you’re reading this, it was nice seeing you at the A&B on Friday.