www.erwintang.com RELOADED

Sometime after the night of the 28th, the machine that handles my web site and e-mail stopped working. It just slowed to a crawl and died. With it being the holidays, it took me several days to contact the right person to get the machine re-started.

For those two days, I had no access to my e-mail nor could I access or change my site. That also meant that no one else could visit my site either. Some of you might have noticed this.

While this was going on, I decided that I’m going to do what blogger does. They maintain a separate server, purely for updating people on the status of the main blogger service. So when the main blogger servers go down, the status server still is running to tell people what’s going on and how long it’ll be before everything is back to normal.

I decided to go the quick and easy route and used a geocities server. So, if you ever come here and things are screwy, go to www.geocities.com/erwintangdotcom/ to find out what’s up.


The only reason I stayed at my parents’ place today was to be near a Silvercity Theatre so I could watch The Return of the King.

I even deliberately cut back on my (hot) water consumption so that I didn’t need to run off to the washroom somewhere around the three hour mark. You know you’re partaking in an event movie when you arrive at the theatre around 2pm and don’t leave it until 6:30pm.

So what can I say about Return of the King that hasn’t been said or written already? Yes, it is a grand epic of a movie. It stands as a brilliant conclusion to what maybe the greatest movie trilogy in cinematic history. As I reflect upon what Peter Jackson has done, I cannot help but gaze wistfully as what Mr. Lucas has done with his prequels thus far. You could argue that Jackson already had excellent material to begin with, but there were many, many places he could have faltered. His successful marriage of CGI and story should be applauded. I wonder if George sometimes sits back the Ranch and thinks to himself, “…that’s what I wanted to do…

I’ve read a lot of complaints about the many ending to Return of the King, but I can’t say I agree with them. With such a large ensemble cast, I think we were owed more than just a hasty end. In fact, I would have liked to have seen more of what happened to Aragorn, Arwen, Gimli, and Legolas. At least I can refer to the literature for this.

So, with the movie done, I was all ready to return to SJC and get some stuff done. I feel really lethargic when I’m at my parents’ place, like time is passing me by and I’m wasting it. Well, my parents bought a whole bunch of Costco stuff and I need a car to move that stuff. My parents were going out for the evening, so I was just going to drive everything back myself, drop the car off, and take the bus back to UBC. Yeah, a pain in the ass, but at least I’d be there for all day Sunday.

I get ready to leave, and I look in the garage. My parents have taken the car with all the Costco stuff in the trunk! So I was stuck here tonight with nothing to do but watch the Canucks stink up the joint. So my return will have to wait an extra night.


I am finally home at my parents’ place for the next few days. I got a ride into Port Moody from fellow SJC resident Chris. Another resident, Michelle, lives in Coquitlam, and she was having a small Christmas party last night. We went to the party before Chris dropped me off.

Michelle’s parents live in a very nice house, right by where my friend Trevor used to live. In fact, I’ve driven by Michelle’s place many times without knowing who lived there. Anyways, it was quite a fun party. It was attended by SJC people, Michelle’s med classmates, and Michelle’s high school friends. It turns out that a lot of people there went to Centennial, my old high school.

There was also a fabulous spread to feast upon. Chris was impressed. There was food covering the entire length of a huge island in their kitchen. Some Krispy Kreme doughnuts even made an appearance.

The most memorable event of the evening happened as I was reaching for some smoked salmon. There was this large marble dining table in the kitchen and several people had gathered around it to converse. I heard this large crash and smash and when I looked over, it appeared a large section of the table had just collapsed. It missed hitting one dude by inches and everyone just jumped away. A three by two foot slap of marble had fallen to the ground. That was a heavy piece of marble.

Luckily, everyone was alright and the people at the table moved into the living room. Some people knew I was a mechanical engineer, so they asked me what happened. I told them, “There was too much food on the table.”

Michelle’s mom said that she didn’t like that table anyways and she’d be happy to get something new.

Near the end of the party, I sat down with a few of Michelle’s high school friends. It’s interesting to see what type of people have as friends from way back. All of them were very nice ladies. One of them, and I won’t say who, was really drunk. She was a hoot to talk to.

Chris had to drive back to UBC, so we left around 1am. I got dropped off at my parents’ place and hoped that my directions to Chris would get him back safely.

I spent the day here doing errrand, but between you and me… I’m really bored already.


Yep, it’s almost Christmas Eve and I’m still here at UBC. I ran a few errands today, including picking up Miriam’s dry cleaning. She moved out of SJC on Sunday and the dry cleaning place is closed on the weekends. As the perennial nice guy, I volunteered to pick up her clothes.

I thought she was going to have a couple of shirts and/or sweaters, but was I in for a surprise when I got to the place. The lady gave me Miriam’s four items, two of which were dresses. One was this orangy, long one and the other was a purple number with spaghetti straps. I was thinking, man, I gotta walk home with this? The total for two dresses and two blouses was $57. That place is a rip-off of enormous proportions. Do not go to the on-campus dry cleaners.

While I was in the Village, I also open up a membership at the video store. They have this one-time membership “activation fee” of $4. What the hell is that? Most video places these days have free memberships. Anyways, one of the things I wanted to do this holiday was to catch up on movies. I rented Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machines. Compared to T2, it wasn’t an epic movie by any stretch of the imagination. I found T3 to be a tight, compact action movie that didn’t seem long at all. Was it bad? No, but I enjoyed the previous movie much better. I did enjoy the end though, where for once, I was pleased that I was left with more questions than answers.

In other news, I’m really enjoying these Christmas lights that I bought. How can you not get into the holiday spirit with them? Along the entire southwestern side of SJC, I am the only resident to have Christmas lights in my window. This side also faces Southwest Marine Dr., so there’s a steady stream of traffic that sees my lights. This portion of the road is practically unlit, so my lights are the only thing they see for quite a distance.

I have a few more things to do before bedtime, so I’ll end this post here.


Every year, UBC publishes a report on the various offences that students commit and the resulting discipline. It’s always an interesting read. I linked to it last year and this year’s report has been released. Here’s the most interesting entry from the last academic year:

4. A graduate requested to have his/her degree, which was conferred many years earlier, rescinded by the University, due to an academic misconduct he/she committed. In particular, as a student he/she submitted someone else’s essay as his/her own material in a course.

Discipline: A mark of zero in the course, with transcript being amended accordingly, and a suspension of the degree until the course, or an equivalent, is successfully completed.

Wow, they got away with this, received their degree, yet decided to come clean, years later. I guess they wanted to have a clean conscience. Notice that the university will reinstate their degree once they honestly complete the course in question.

The rest of the report can be found here. Thanks goes out to Kirsten for reminding me of the report.


I admit it was weird having everyone leave the College, but I’m enjoying the quiet time. Miriam was in a mad rush to pack today because she’s leaving tomorrow. We had lunch and a nice conversation. She was the only person that I saw until around 5pm.

I also bought some Christmas lights from the on-campus dollar store. There were five bucks for a string of 50 lights. They can stay on steady or blink. Quite a nice deal. I put them on blinking and hung them in my window. You can see it below.

I was planning on going home on Monday, but I think Tuesday is more likely option. I’m enjoying just having the time to myself to clean, organize, and get some things done. I think people get stressed out about the holidays because they’re too rushed to get too many things in: buying presents, seeing friends, seeing family, and various other commitments. A holiday should be restful and that involves having time for yourself.

Well, it’s the Best of Will Ferrell, Vol. 2 on SNL tonight, and I need to go find a tape for that. I’ll see you guys later.


Around 4:30pm or so, I headed downtown to do some holiday shopping. First though, I stopped off in Chinatown for a bowl of pho tai at Pho Van on Main. Some of you know my addiction to good pho, and again I suckled at its sweet teat once more. I tell you, it’s the broth that does me in everytime. So rich… so sweet… so aromatic.

Satiated with my pho, I proceeded downtown to get my Mom her gift and to scout out my Dad’s gift. I braved myself for the crowds, but to be honest, it wasn’t bad at all. It didn’t seem any busier than a regular Friday night. That allowed to me look in a lot of different places.

I managed to buy a pair of shoes for myself, which is big, since I usually buy shoes every 9 months or so. I tried on three different pairs of shoes, with two different sizes per pair. I felt awful since I know I’d hate to wait on someone like that. I did manage to find a pair I liked and it did fit, so the dude got his commission.

I also picked out my Mom’s gift. It cost substantially less compared to gifts of previous years, since I’m dirt poor now. I hope she likes it. I checked out my Dad’s gift, but I have to confer with my sister before purchasing it.

I took the bus home and realized two more people were leaving the College for the holidays. Dana is flying out on Saturday and Miriam is going on Sunday. I said my goodbye to Dana and he gave me his extra set of Christmas lights. That was very nice of him. I’ll be putting those up tomorrow. I also stopped in to see Miriam, she gave me a jar of pickles and her leftover dinner. I like it when people give me food.

On my way back to my room, I ran into Chris who wanted to go McDonald’s for some ice cream. I agreed to go with him and he drove us to the on-campus McDonald’s. That place is convenient, but after dark it gets a bit weird. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone there and something is broken. It’s usually two things: either the ice cream machine or the debit machine, but never both at the same time. I swear there must be some common part that goes into both machines and they only have one of them, so they alternate between having no ice cream or no debit machine.

Well, tonight, it was time for no ice cream, so Chris was out of luck. He had a craving for ice cream, so he got the next best thing… a cafe americano from Starbucks.

Alright, I have to go watch some TV now.