‘TIS THE SEASON
Hey, it’s getting to be that holiday time of the year.
‘TIS THE SEASON
Hey, it’s getting to be that holiday time of the year.
Um, only a few people out there can do this for me, but I’d like to ask anyways.
Can someone show me around EAX? I just want to see what it’s like. It can be after hours, doesn’t have to be during the day. If it’s easier during the day, then that’s ok too.
If you’d like to do this, can you send me an e-mail or give me a call? Thanks.
All term I’ve been working on this project for relational database course. My partner and I have implemented a DB for a car rental agency. It’s pretty neat, you can reserve, rent, and return cars. You give it a date and location and it’ll give you what cars are available.
Anyways, as part of our evaluation, we have to demonstrate our system to the TA. There was a sign-up form going around class to fill out. My partner and I thought we had filled in Thursday, 3pm. Oddly, even though the form came around twice on different days, neither of us wrote our time down.
So, today we agree to meet at 2:50pm to get ready for our presentation. I get to the lab a little early around 2:45pm. The TA immediately gets up and walks over to my workstation.
“Hey, are you Erwin Tang?”
“Why yes I am, you must have seen my web site erwintang.com… what item of yours do you want me to sign?”
“Yes, I am.”
“You and your partner were supposed to be here at 2:30pm.”
He shows me the sheet. Well, I’ll be darned, he’s right.
“It’s ok, we still have fifteen minutes, I think that’ll be ok.”
I enter into a slight panic. My partner is no where to be seen and he has the script of events we were going to run.
I get the login incorrect because I’m so flustered. I finally login and start our application. I run through several events from memory. The TA seems somewhat impressed. I don’t even get through half of what I intended to do. He stops me.
“Looks like you get full marks.”
Um, ok. He gets up and leaves. I logoff and wait for my partner in the hallway.
He arrives five minutes later.
“Ok partner, let’s get this demo done so I can go home.”
“Not so fast cowboy.”
I explain it to him. He’s grateful I was there. We both thank each other for the good work we put into the project. The project is now over.
I’m so glad I went early.
This post is going to make no sense, but I have to get it off my chest. It will only make sense to one person in the entire world, and I have no idea if he even reads my blog or even knows about my site. I don’t care, so here goes…
I have gathered information from e-mails and phone calls. You do not realize I know about your goal. My knowing will not impact you. I believe it is an admirable goal. I’d be really happy if you were able to reach it. Though I cannot say anything, I silently cheer you on.
What you do not realize, what is so critical now, is that you are not alone in attempting to reach this goal. You have an adversary, a competitor that is right under your nose. It is my belief that both of you are blindly unaware that each of you are striving towards the same goal. Sadly, both of you cannot share this goal. It can only go to one of you.
It is important that you realize that your opponent is formidable. They have an impressive set of skills from which to draw upon. The power they yield is stunning. It cannot be discounted.
I tell you this, not to scare you or to discourage you, but to make you realize the challenge ahead of you is great. Though great, it is not impossible. You must make every effort to gain an advantage over your rival. Any misstep will cost you dearly. I guarantee your opponent will not misstep. So careful and great are they.
I have observed (by many means) that you have recently taken steps backwards. This setback is completely your fault. You cannot afford to hurt your chances at this point. These mistakes were preventable, it is in you to catch yourself, and stop them from happening. Think back to when you were doing so good with that. Learn from previous mistakes. Do not forget the lessons of the past.
I would not say time is of the essence, but certainly making the right steps in the next little while is of the utmost importance. This is going to sound hokey, but reach out with your senses. Try to detect your opponent. They too can detect you, so it might be wise to find them first. A small possibility exists they already know about you.
Many obstacles (time and space among them) prevent me from talking to you directly about this. I fear I will not be able to give you any more help on this. I can only now sit back and hope for your success.
Perhaps someday I will be able to openly communicate with you about your struggle. I hope it will be under good circumstances.
Ok, so that’s the end of that. I know I usually post about wang flies and stuff, but my blog audience is so wide (relatively), this was the only medium I could use to possibly get my message through. I assure you, we will return to your regularly scheduled programming next post.
MIKE MYERS RULES
Click here and then click on Big Show Highlight on the lower right.
COVER ME – THE SEQUEL
It’s Sunday night. I’m starving. I’ve had a piece of pizza and dinner to eat all day. I skipped breakfast and lunch. My body knows this and doesn’t let me forget it.
I managed to resist my hunger pains until around 12:45am. I knock on Patrick’s door. We decided to go McDonald’s.
On the way there, we pass by L-Lot in front of SJC. We notice that there’s a car in the lot with the ignition and lights on, ready to leave. It’s a little late for L-Lot traffic, but whatever.
We go to McDonald’s, eat, and walk back. It’s about 1:40am or so now. We pass by L-Lot on the way back. The same car is still there with its lights and ignition on. There’s a dude in the driver seat, but it’s kinda hard to see much else. The car is about 25 – 30 feet from us. Patrick and I both think this is strange. It’s a long time to be idling in the lot.
“Erwin, let’s check it out.”
“Why do we always find strange cars in parking lots?”
We walk down the path a bit so that we’re behind the car. It is odd that the car hasn’t moved since we left. Patrick says we should approach the car. I tell him I think that’s a bad idea.
We decide to go back to SJC and grab our standard car inspecting equipment. Minutes later, we’re back in front of SJC, me with a tennis racquet and flashlight, and Patrick with an aluminum hockey stick.
Patrick wants to approach the car, but I want to take a more cautious approach. We decide to circle the car using the paths on either side of L-Lot. It gives us plenty of separation between the car and us, but allowing us to see into the car.
Patrick and I do the circle. I can’t see anything, the windows seem tinted. Patrick says he thinks he sees the driver moving his head once in a while, but other than that, he’s motionless.
This is getting weirder by the minute. I decide this is probably better left for Campus Security. We retreat back to SJC. Patrick doesn’t want to call. I ask him why.
“Because I don’t want to give away my name. They’ll steal my identity.”
I tell Patrick that I’ll deal with him later. We go back to my room and I call security. I describe the situation to them. They tell me they don’t deal with vehicular issues. I’m instantly transferred to the RCMP on campus. Whoa.
I give them my report and they ask me for my name, address, and phone number. Patrick is freaking out in the corner because I’ve given away all my info. He starts looking for aluminum foil to deflect the signals from the spy satellites overhead.
The dispatcher tells me they’ll send a car out.
Patrick and I race to the second floor kitchen. It faces L-Lot and a has great vantage point from which to see it play out.
We get to the kitchen. The lights are out. We keep it that way. I make my way to the window. It’s a spectacular bay window that affords us a great view of the lot. I feel like I’m on the bridge of some ship.
The car is still there. Lights and ignition on. We hop onto an adjacent table and wait. And wait. Five minutes go by and no car. Where the hell are they?
Then I see the lights of a car coming down the road next to L-Lot. It’s an RCMP cruiser! Instead of going into L-Lot though, it cruises right by it and stops at the entrance of the Fraser Parkade, which is also in front of SJC.
“No, no, no!!”
I feel like John McClane in Diehard when he’s watching the fire trucks turn back.
The cruiser is just stopped.
“We should go down there and tell him.”
“I ain’t going down there. Those are the cops.”
I run downstairs to the front entrance and dash across the street to the cruiser. I go up to the driver side window.
“Oh hey, were you the one that made the call?”
“Yes, it’s over there, right there.”
“The silver sedan?”
“Ok, I’ll take a look.”
I run back to SJC and back up into the kitchen. Patrick joins me.
“Um, I was right behind you buddy.”
From the window I see the cruiser slowly pull into L-Lot. He slowly goes behind the car, then pulls into a spot parallel with the car several feet away. He then pulls out and turns his cruiser so that it’s now pointing directly at the side of the silver sedan.
Suddenly, the driver of the silver sedan hops out. So he wasn’t dead. He comes around his car towards the cruiser. He looks ok. The constable gets out of his vehicle as well.
They both are standing and talking. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t this.
The talking goes on for a minute longer. Then the silver sedan guy goes back into his car. The car goes no where. The constable gets back into his cruiser and drives off.
And that was it.
Patrick is amazed.
“What? That’s it? What the hell was that?”
I remember all the work I have to do.
“Oh well… I gotta get back to my work.”
What a bit of a letdown. I go back to my room and I get in my PJs. Ten minutes later, my phone rings.
“Hello, Erwin, are you the one that met me outside?”
“This is Cory from the RCMP. I just want to tell you what happened. The driver was ok, he wasn’t drunk or in need of medical assistance. He was just waiting for his brother and wanted to get some sleep. I want you to know that you did the right thing and that if you see anything else suspicious like that, please don’t hesitate to call us again.”
“Ok, thank you Cory. Goodnight.”
So, all that excitement for a dude waiting for his brother. This is why it pays to stay up late and go to McDonald’s. Take that early risers.
It took me from 8pm to 2am to read and take notes for nine pages from my AI text book. That’s just unacceptable. It should have taken me an hour… tops. While I was “studying”, I managed to watch an episode of Punk’d, talked to Rhonda on the phone, had Sarah come over for a chat about on-line purchases, made the post you see below, watched Letterman in the background, and surfed nearly continuously on the Web.
When I was done at 2am, I went upstairs to clear my head. Miriam was still in the study room. I went in to see how she was doing. She’s handing in her thesis soon and is busy making last second corrections. We chatted about how stressed she is. I tried to convince her everything would be alright. I’m not sure if I succeeded. What I did take away from our conversation is how much dicking around I’m doing. Miriam is finishing up her M.A. thesis and I can’t even read nine pages from a text book in an hour.
I have a big assignment due on Friday, a project demo on Thursday, and a final exam nine days from now. I know it’s go time, but I can’t seem to step up to the challenge. Maybe I need more food.
Hey, I found something interesting while wasting time tonight. Click here, I swear it’s pretty cool and work-safe.
Some of you know that I have a basic tracking tool that keeps stats for the more popular pages on my web site. I look at it once in a blue moon. Tonight was one of those rare moments. I took a screenshot from the tracking tool. It’s shown below. Look who visited!
There were eleven hits in total from Pixar. They were looking at my Return of the Jedi page. It appears someone linked to it from an internal Pixar messaging system. Wow!
To think that some of the people that were responsible for Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Toy Story, and A Bug’s Life have seen my web site is really cool.
This is up there when some people at Lucasfilm came by.
IT’S A BAD THREE
On Friday night, I was deep into a project that is due on Monday. There was a Family Guy beer garden at the SUB, but I could not go. Many people from SJC did.
From about 7pm to 11pm, I wrote code for my database project. I was in the zone. I thought I’d have a boring, yet productive night.
A little after 11pm, I get a call from my friend Rhonda. She offers me a deal. If I give her some butter, she’ll give me half the grilled-cheese sandwich she wants to make. This is perfect since I’m feeling a little peckish anyways. I have a large stash of butter to give away.
We meet in the upstairs kitchen five minutes later. As Rhonda makes the sandwich, I ask her how her evening went. Sarah spies us from the hallway. She comes in and tells us they’ve just returned from the Family Guy beer garden. Everyone is having drinks in Bryan’s room. She invites us to join them. She especially wants Rhonda to come to add some estrogen into the mix.
We tell her we’ll show up after we’re done eating. Sarah leaves. A few minutes later, Dana wanders into the kitchen. It’s a parade of stars tonight. We talk with Dana as we eat the yummy grilled-cheese sandwich. While we’re chatting with Dana, Sarah runs back into the kitchen.
“Who’s a medic here? I think Jan broke his arm! He was reaching for some alcohol in his room and I think he fell.”
“Where is he now?”
“He’s in Bryan’s room.”
We all make our way down to Bryan’s room. Before we go in, Sarah offers us this tidbit.
“Oh by the way, they’re all drunk in there.”
We open the door. I see Adam, Frank, Bryan, and Jan. Jan is sitting on an armchair. He has a goofy smile on his face. I look at his arm. It has a slight raised bump on it. Rhonda goes to inspect it. It doesn’t look broken. Some ice is produced and Jan applies it to his arm. The decision is made to not bring Jan to the emergency room.
“Jan on a scale of 1 to 10, how much does it hurt?”
“It feels like a bad three.”
Bryan, who is an excellent bartender, continues to serve drinks. Jan gets the next one. He looks pretty sauced up to me. I believe that he would be probably complaining a lot more if he was sober. Everyone settles down and is given a drink. I decide on a rum and Coke. My little break in the kitchen is probably going to be a lot longer that I had anticipated.
For some reason, German music is being played in the background. Jan and Frank (both German), start to sing along in German. Adam and I can only offer the word, “Scheisse”.
I have a good conversation with Adam with women. We talk about everything we know about them. It is a ten second conversation.
Jan by now is being a real character. His behaviour turns “sassy”. I won’t say anything more about that.
I decide to leave at this point to get back to my code. About two hours later, I’m coming back from the vending machine. I see Jan coming back to his room. We stop at his door. He’s got an armful of bottles of alcohol. One of them is an open beer bottle. He bends over at the waist to put them down. The beer pours copiously out and onto the hallway carpet. I swear it takes him five full seconds to realize he’s pouring beer out of the bottle.
“Whoa there cowboy.”
I say goodnight to him. I haven’t seen Jan all day. I have a feeling that arm of his hurts a lot more now that it did last night.
PEOPLE, LET’S GET EXCITED
We’re into the last two weeks of term. I’m getting a bit stressed. I have a project due on Monday and another big assignment is due next Friday. Five days later, I have my first final exam.
No one else here at SJC seems to be feeling the stress. The problem is that most of my friends here are in their second year or later of their graduate degrees. That means their coursework is all done, and December is just another month in their research or thesis-writing.
To me, December is crunch month, just like it was in undergrad. That’s what I get for enrolling in a pure coursework based graduate degree.
So while people are chilling out, watching movies, and relaxing at night, I have to remember I need to go full-out in the next couple of weeks before I can take it easy.
My last exam is on the 11th of December. The SJC Holiday dinner is on the 10th. I always have luck like this. One day more and I could have really enjoyed the dinner. There’s no question that I’ll go to the dinner, but I’ll probably have to excuse myself from the post-dinner festivities.
Off-topic, but if you’re interested in reading about the video game industry in Canada (with a focus in Vancouver), click here.