In a bit of random surfing, I managed to find a web site which purported to tell me how popular my name is in the US, in all variations: whole name, first, and last. Not surprisingly, not a lot of parents name their kids “Erwin”.

While I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the data, it sure did reveal some interesting items. The screenshot you see above is how “popular” my first name is in the US. I’m a bit peeved that “Smith” came ahead of my name. Who would rather use a common last name as a first name than a real bonerfide first name like mine? Are there parents out there naming their kids “Smith John”?

In a big win, my name came out ahead of “Roosevelt” which perhaps signals to the world that names relating to wartime US presidents are finally on the decline in popularity. I’m also ahead of “Nordbert” which is a name I assume just means you want your kid to get his ass kicked in school everyday. Surprisingly, my name is more popular than “Gus” which I would have never guessed.

Go look up your own name and see what you find.


As expected, with more than a week off from work, my sleeping habits have gone back to their natural rhythms, meaning I go to bed in the early morning and don’t wake up until the early afternoon. At one point I was waking up at around 2pm each day and I realized that going to easily slide into 3pm. As such, I drawn a line at noon and I sorta force myself to get up at that time no matter when I go to bed.

I’m probably going to be a mess on the first day back at work.


I was fortunate enough to receive several Christmas cards this holiday season. They came from all over the world from Canada to Australia. I want to thank everyone who sent me a card, it was nice of you to include me in your joyous correspondence. I especially enjoyed the cards where people wrote a lengthy message to update me on the recent news in their lives. I appreciate the extra time and effort that went into that.

I sheepishly admit that I did not send out my own cards this year, nor have I ever really. I don’t really send out paper correspondence any more as I find electronic correspondence to be much easier, timely, and cheaper. That said, I didn’t really send out Christmas e-mails to everyone either. I guess I just suck at sending out Christmas greetings. Then again, how many single dudes do you know who send Christmas cards? I can’t think of any.


The fire alarm in my building went off today at 11am as I was still asleep. It’s done this before and usually, it goes off for about two minutes and then it stops. I just assume it’s a false alarm since no real fire situation would resolve itself in such a short amount of time.

As I was still in bed, I just hoped this morning’s alarm was the just another false one. Five minutes went by and it still hadn’t stopped. I still refused to get out of bed. Then another five minutes passed and the alarm was still going. By now I was fully awake so I just decided to get up. As I stumbled around in my PJs, I tried to determine if there was indeed a real fire in my building. Then I heard the wail of sirens from fire engines nearby, which made me think this was perhaps serious. Resigned to leaving my apartment before even having breakfast, I had one sock on when the alarm suddenly stopped. I could no longer hear the fire engines. I guess it was a false alarm after all.

I admit that in the interest of being safe, I should have left the building during the first five minutes of the alarm. Since I live near the top of the building, I have less time that those below me should an actual fire be present. That said, we have way too many false alarms and I think that makes me and everyone else complacent. Also, and this is probably the most important thing, the fire alarm isn’t annoying nor loud enough. I’ve lived in other buildings where the fire alarm is near deafening. The volume is so loud that it’s actually painful to stay in your place, no matter what room you go in. The alarm in this place is just a loud but not painful ring-ring. So not only is it not loud, it isn’t even a continuous shriek which would be annoying.

Ok, I promise to leave a bit sooner next time.


Welcome to the seventh part of our series that features what we here at ET.com found to be entertaining stuff on the Internet.

During the summer, popular humour web site The Onion announced it had been sold off to a Chinese company. Specifically, it had been sold to Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries and Polymer Injection Group. The web site for the company listed it’s phone number as 1-877-YU-IS-FISH, which if you speak Cantonese is fairly amusing.

What followed on the Onion web site was a slew of humourous articles and videos that suddenly either dealt with the faltering of the United States as a nation or the emerging strength of China as a superpower.

Consider the video below entitled “Police Still Searching For Missing Productive, Obedient Woman”.


If that wasn’t entertaining enough for you, why don’t you have a listen to the Chinese Andy Rooney? If articles are your thing, we recommend “Potato-Faced Youngster Lauded For Memorizing Primitive 26-Character Alphabet“. A direct quote from the article is:

“Christopher Pierson, a glassy-eyed, slothful lump of a child who still watches cartoons despite being tall enough to reach a polymer-injection molding station, was endlessly praised Monday for recalling the scant 26 letters in the American alphabet.”

We here at ET.com were thoroughly entertained by the entire list of China-themed Onion offerings.

Stay tuned for part eight as we countdown the best of the Internet for 2009!


Technically today was day one of my holiday though I already had the weekend as a head start. I wish I could say I’ve done some constructive things with my time but I can’t. So far, I’ve done nothing but sleep lots, relax, eat lots of food that’s not good for me, play video games, and make an even bigger mess of my apartment.

I’m really enjoying my time off. It’s hard to believe I was thinking about working until Thursday. My enthusiasm for these days off is slightly tempered by the fact that there appears to be a fairly significant amount of people on my team who opted to work until Thursday. I checked my e-mail today and there was a surprising amount of chatter going on. I got a few bugs assigned to me. I’m going to have to keep an eye on what’s happening at work, until at least Christmas Eve, where I hope everyone will take a few days off. What keeners!


I think I’m going take next week off. Our paid winter holiday starts on the 24th. I have the option of working until then but I can also take three vacation days and just begin relaxing Friday afternoon. I kinda have an aversion to taking vacation days but I have over 21 of them saved up, so maybe it’s ok to use a few of them.

An odd circumstance is that even though the paid holiday doesn’t start until Thursday, all studio services are shutting down after Friday. I know at least one person who doesn’t have any holiday left so they’re forced to work next week but there will be no cafeteria to feed them nor any other support services to help them. I believe our team has arranged for a catered lunch for those days so it won’t be that bad. Maybe I should go in one of those days just to see what the lunch is.

Anyways, with me skipping the annual Vegas trip this year, I’ll be looking forward to some sleep and rest.


If you were to ask the fine people at Travelers, my apartment reached its one year anniversary yesterday. In their eyes, my home is one year old now. The previous owner was given the keys to my place on December 15, 2008. Of course, because of the various details, you could measure the age of my apartment in different ways. First, because the previous owner never moved in and no one actually lived in my apartment until me, you could argue the apartment didn’t start “aging” until I took possession on February 6th. Alternatively, you could say things didn’t really start until I moved in completely which would have been late spring.

Depending on how you squint at it, my apartment is either one year old, almost a year old, or barely six months old. I prefer to go with the six months assessment but I’m biased of course.


Once in a while, I allow myself to try something new at the supermarket. Usually, it’s a product that I think will taste good but might have no guarantees in that respect. I’d been seeing this President’s Choice Chicago-style deep dish frozen pizza for a few weeks. I was hesitant for a few reasons, first I wasn’t sure how deep dish would taste from a frozen state. Second, it was about $9 and since I’m cheap, that’s a pretty expensive single item from the supermarket.

A few weeks ago, I just decided to give it try since I wanted something different for dinner. As you can see above, it looks pretty damn good the box. Once I got it out of the box, this is what I saw below:

It was sealed up nice and fresh with a plastic wrap. There would be no freezer burn here. I wasn’t expecting it to come in cast-iron pan so I guess the aluminum pan was reasonable. I then removed the plastic wrap to reveal:

Hmmm… my pie didn’t have a lot of cheese on top. The picture showed a bit more cheese that I was expected. Still, it didn’t look too bad at all. Overall, it was a hefty pizza. I had no doubt it probably did weigh about 2 lbs. The next step was to put in the oven and just the required 40-45 minutes for it to cook. When it was baked to my liking, I took it out of the oven and this is what I saw:

The crust was a golden brown and I took it out before it had a chance to start to burn. Without a lot of cheese, the top was just this baked layer of tomato sauce. I didn’t really know what to expect. Tentatively, I cut my self a slice and placed it on a plate:

By this time, I was fairly hungry, so I devoured the slice in short order. I was pleasantly surprised. I was apprehensive that the crust would be too greasy or oily but that was not the case. It was almost crispy and reminded me a bit like a pastry crust. It wasn’t doughy either. While the toppings weren’t overflowing with meat, I can honestly say there was a good amount of pepperoni and sausage distributed to each slice. It sure felt like a slice of deep dish to me.

For better or worse, I happily ate the whole pizza over the course of three days. I would probably buy it again but probably not every week.