The miracle of modern transportation is that you wake up one day in one locale and the next day wake up in a totally different one. This was the situation that I found myself in this morning.

No longer in the French Quarter, I was woke up on campus. I got dressed, ate some breakfast, and headed out to run some errands. Almost immediately as I left SJC I could tell the campus was much more alive. There were people everywhere, mostly it seemed, first-year students. They crowded the sidewalks, they got in my way, and they were loud. It got worse as I approached the Student Union Building. The calm which had been my pleasant summer on campus had been disturbed by the influx of younger students.

The SUB was jam-packed with newbies and their entourages, ie. their parents or other newbies. The line-up for pizza at Pie ‘R Squared was out the door by a mile. I had to go the SUB to send off a mail before I got on the bus to do some off-campus stuff. I had to use one of the public terminals.

These computers are really close together. I sent my mail and I know I shouldn’t have done this, but I kinda stealthily peered over to the screen to my left. The dude to my left was young looking, probably not more than 18 years old. He was sending mail using AOL webmail. That should have been my first sign this guy was trouble. I quickly scanned some sentences in his text box. Here’s what I read:

“Well, here I am in ‘beautiful’ Vancouver. Everyone keeps calling it ‘beautiful’.”

“Overall Canada is pretty shitty”

“I already miss the Chicago skyline”

When I read that, I wanted to turn to him and say, “Look, I don’t know who the hell is forcing you to be here, but if you don’t like it here, get the fuck out of my country. Go back to Chicago and your fucking ‘beautiful’ skyline.”

Of course, I didn’t say that. Why? Because he’s young, he probably hasn’t even been at UBC for more than a week, classes haven’t started, and he doesn’t know a damn thing about university life. He’s probably homesick and misses familiarity, even though this is most likely the greatest adventure he’ll go on for quite a long time. I thought it was quite Canadian of me to keep my comments to myself.

His comments though, embody what I dislike about first-year (and some undergrads) the most. They’re immature, quick to judge, tempestous, impatient, and egotistical. The idea is though, that university will change these people into smarter, more mature, and more thoughtful individuals.

A year from now, I’d like to see where Mr. Chicago is. What will he think of UBC then? I sincerely hope he will have found the year to be a superb learning experience. If he still thinks Canada is “shitty”, he’ll find someway to make it back to his beloved Chicago, and maybe my wait for pizza will be one less person.


Yeah, I’m back at UBC now. My flight got delayed… twice! Once going to Dallas and then my flight going to Vancouver from Dallas got delayed.

I didn’t get back on campus until nearly 1am. My room is a mess. Not only have I unpacked my crap from the trip, my father stocked up on Cosco stuff while I was gone. He brought it to the airport. So along with a half million Mardi Gras beads, I have cases of water and Coke lying about my place.

I need a shower in a really bad way and I’m getting hungry. I have nothing to eat though but Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Fear not, I will recap my trip is installments, but I really need to take care of some things right now.


Sorry about not posting in a while. I got caught up in a whole combination of things: my last day at work, deciding on this new TA offer, organizing a farewell dinner, finalizing a stag, saying goodbye to some departing SJC people, and packing for New Orleans.

Friday was my last day at work. I haven’t had a “last day” at work since March of 2002. This most recent last day was fairly easy-going at first. I generally did some housekeeping things and tied up loose ends. Then near the end, there was a flurry of activities as I raced to finish some tasks.

The three women I worked with gave me two cards and some chocolate. It was a nice touch. It didn’t really dawn on me that I was leaving until I was out the door of the building. I started June 16th and finished August 22nd. It went by in a flash. I am really thankful for having the job. I’m not sure what I would have done without it. Now I can pay for tuition in September.

As for the TA offer, I’m still not sure what the hell I’ll do. I’m almost inperceptibly leaning towards taking it because it’s the difference between not having tuition next term and having it. I’ve talked to some people about it and they’ve both said they think I can do it and not kill myself. It’s essentially an extra three hours of supervising a lab a week. However, there’s also time to be taken for marking and preparing for the lab. I hope I find some time on the plane to find a resolution.

In other news, the summer has definitely signalled its end. As if almost on cue, the weather has turned colder. Even in the sun now, I don’t feel as warm. The cloud cover this weekend only punctuates the point. Another sign that summer will soon end are the increased throngs of people on campus. Last week, I was at the bookstore. Already, there were eager first-years with parents in tow, buying up books for their classes. I’m pretty sure some of them even bought their books for the entire year. They will soon learn buying textbooks from the bookstore is a last resort and should be only done for the semester that is coming up next.

After I went to the bookstore, I went to the CIBC in the Village. As I stepped up to the ATM machines, I saw a bank employee helping a guy activate his bank card. Standing faithfully next to him was his mother. I gather this was his first “university bank account”. I could almost see the Mom beam with pride. That was me a long, long time ago.

I’ve been talking with some other grad students, we are lamenting the start of the school year. All the undergrads come back and clog up the campus. They’re everywhere, lining for this, lining up for that, it’s almost impossible to get lunch on campus in a decent amount of time the first two weeks of September. The funny thing is, the crowds always seem to dissipate somehow. By October, the lines won’t be gone totally, but it’s somewhat bearable.

I can now see why summer time is the best time for a grad student. The campus is deserted and the weather is nice. I was told in May that it’s really nice at SJC in the summer. It’s easy-going, light, and carefree (well, for the most part). They were right.

Alright, that’s it for now. I’ll be back with at least one more post before I take off for New Orleans.


I’m going to New Orleans on Monday. Yeah, I’m pretty surprised myself. It kinda just happened in less than a day.

I’ve got a million things to do before I leave. It got complicated today when I got offered another TA position. It’s good money, but I need to make sure it won’t conflict with my current TA duties plus the courses I’m taking myself. The problem is I haven’t decided on the final course I’m taking this semester. This offer has made me decide early but to make that decision, I have to talk to three professors.

On top of trying to finish things at work, I’m really quite stressed right now. Also, a few people here at SJC are leaving and so I’m having to say goodbye. It’s a maelstrom of activity and my life would be somewhat easier if I didn’t go on vacation. Ah well, when is the next time I’ll get to go to New Orleans?


The last time I was at my parents’ place, I dug out my old yearbooks and took them back to my place. I’ve only had time to flip through them, but I saw a really interesting photo of me from my grade eight yearbook.

I can’t believe I joined the computer club. Not only did I join the computer club, I was willing to get myself photographed so there would be evidence that I was in the computer club… forever.

I can barely remember what the hell we did in the computer club. We basically met after school and played around on the computer. We had these slow and underpowered Apples in the lab. Monochrome Apple IIs I think. Anyways, I vaguely remember some Choplifter-type game, but we had to pick up letters or some sorta crap. Edu-tainment I believe is the word they use these days now. Our first “frags” were still many years away.

I’m not sure why the hell we had a sponsor. I think she was there just to make sure we didn’t goof off and take the computers home with us.

I’ve lost touch with most people in that photo, but I guarantee you, with the exception of myself and possibly one other guy there (I’ll let you guess), everyone is pulling in six figures right now. And you if asked them how they did it, they’ll answer… it was the computer club.


This story must be read.

The report mentions that a hospital employee was trapped for 20 minutes inside the elevator. Any guesses on what else was trapped with her for those 20 minutes? That’s something she won’t forget for the rest of her life.


Holy crap it’s hot in my room right now. It’s a far cry from when I was at Staples two hours ago with a cool drink. Speaking of Staples, yeah, it’s open now on campus. It’s actually pretty big which is surprising since it looks small from the outside. They’ve got everything in there. Lots of toys.

It’ll be nice to have an alternative to the bookstore for office supplies. That place is such a rip-off sometimes.

Geez, I need A/C in here.


It was such a nice day today, so I decided to take my new digital camera out for a spin. My plan was to walk around the campus and just take photos when I saw something noteworthy. I took some campus shots, but I really wanted some pics of the water, so I made my way down to the beach. I avoided Wreck because I knew it was going to be a madhouse there. Instead, I went to Tower Beach which is equally beautiful, but less crowded.

As I made my way down to the trail, the trees cleared to reveal the stunning blue water and sky. There were just a handful of people there, and even though it is a clothing optional beach, the people that were there were all clothed. So, I proceed to step on top of a log to take my first great picture of the water. I take it and I kinda notice some people are looking my way, a little longer than they should be. Now, I know that cameras are kinda frowned upon usually on clothing option beaches, but it’s really based on how naked the beach is at the time.

I was like, what? What the hell are you looking at me for? Everyone here is clothed. I go closer to the water to take some more photos. I look to my right and I see this naked guy tanning himself in this hollow part of the log. He’s partially hidden. Alright, so there’s one naked guy, but I was taking pictures in front of him, and not towards him. I’m thinking everyone needs to relax. I finish taking my photos, and I sit on the logs to enjoy the view.

After a while, I come home and check the photos I’ve taken. I immediately notice that the first beach picture contains something I hadn’t seen earlier. There’s the naked guy in the lower left hand corner of the photo. I was so concentrated on the water, I had failed to see him lying on the rocks. He must have moved to the log after I approached the water. Whoops.

Anyways, here are my photos from today, including the naked guy, but with all identifying marks removed.


This planning for my vacation is driving me nuts. I’m having to juggle several different parameters and they all have to fit together before I can go anywhere.

First and foremost is the American Airlines Advantage Miles I’m redeeming from my mother. This is where my free ticket is coming from. Unfortunately, because it’s the summer, I’m booking so late, and since AA makes no money off my ticket, there are a mountain of restrictions on where I can go. For example, I cannot fly to San Francisco anytime soon. Nor is Hawaii or Las Vegas available.

Second, even if I can get a flight somewhere, I then need a hotel with openings for my travel date. On top of that, the hotel has to be reasonably price, which leads me to my third parameter.

Third, I’m fucking dirt poor. I’ve been working all summer just to make tuition for first term. First term! I have no clue how I’ll pay for tuition in January. So let’s look at this. After subtracting tuition from my current bank balances plus my last paycheque, I’ll have about $700 in cash. Yeah, that seems like a lot for a vacation, but keep in mind these things. I can’t come home penniless for the start of the school year. I need $$$ to pay for things like, I don’t know, oh books, pizza, groceries, the telephone bill, and all of sorts random shit you need. Let’s not also forget that I have a Visa balance that totals in the thousands. Oh, and my periodontist wants a full workup on my gums… cost? $200.

Yeah, I hear you saying, “Erwin, you’ll be a teaching assistant in September!” Ok, that is true, but remember that’s barely $500 a month, and I think it’ll be two weeks into September before I see any of that.

Part of me is thinking I should screw the vacation and just stay home. Get lots of sleep which I haven’t been getting all summer. Go to movies during the day. Go out for dinner and drinks at night. Buy stuff with the power of my Canadian dollar. Be a tourist in my own city.

I bought a lottery ticket today, hoping to solve all my problems. It wasn’t the solution. I hate travelling when you’re poor. It’s a wonder that I had a bank account balance with five digits just a year ago. Geez, I’m watching Farley play Matt Foley on TV right now. I’ll be damned if I don’t wind up in a van by a river when I’m 35.