When I showed up at my very first appointment at Axis, I had no clue what to expect. When I walked in the door, I immediately realized almost everyone in there was beautiful. A far cry from what I knew back at my old “salon”. I walked up to the reception desk and I announced my arrival. The cute girl behind the desk gave me a form to fill out. The form asked me questions like what movies I liked, what music I listened to, my interests, etc. It was clear that this was a little ice-breaker so that my stylist would know what to talk about during the hour. Sure, it was a little contrived, but I played along.

After I answered the form, I was escorted to the changing area, where I changed into a smock. This in itself was a new thing for me. Next, I sat back down in the waiting area to wait for Mary-Anne. A few minutes later, Mary-Anne arrived to greet me. She was young, fit, and, attractive. All qualities that I couldn’t really attribute to any of my previous hair cutters. She led me into the main area of the salon and upstairs, where she directed me to sit down in a chair. This being my first time, she led me through the whole process. The first step was the scalp massage. I was given two small bottles to sample their fragrances. I chose the one called “Energizing”. Mary-Anne then asked me to close my eyes as she applied the oil to my scalp. She then proceeded with my first ever scalp massage. Oh man, if you’ve never had one, you do not know what you’re missing. It felt so good, and it totally put me at ease.

Next, after peeling me from the chair, I was led to hair washing station where Mary-Anne washed my hair. I got to sit down next to these two absolutely hot chicks who were getting their hair washed too. So far, the whole experience was turning out better that I expected. After getting my hair washed, I was led down to Mary-Anne’s station. As I sat there, she asked me what I wanted to do with my hair today. Having come in with conservative helmet hair, I told her I wanted something really different. We settled on giving my hair a bit of a messy look with a lot of texture in it. When the cutting started, the small talk proceeded as well, and I could tell she had read the form I filled out. It was an alright way to start, but it got really interesting when we found out we both lived in Coquitlam. I didn’t expect anyone at Axis to live out in the boonies, but she did. It turned out that she even went to my high school, though she was about a year younger than I was. I even found that her fiancee knew a few people that I know.

It was quite easy to talk with Mary-Anne after that. When she finished with my hair, she led me back upstairs to rinse my hair out, and I got changed after that. Afterwards came the final style before I was done. As I looked into the mirror as she put on the finishing touches, I thought, “Wow… finally… a decent haircut… and I only waited 25 years”. The whole thing cost me about $34, but man, it was the best $34 I ever spent on my hair. All the stylists were super hot and it was refreshing not to see senior citizens in the waiting area.

That was three years ago, and I’ve gotten my hair cut by Mary-Anne ever since. We talk about our families, movies, career aspirations, and life in general. It’s like having a friend at the salon. LOL. It doesn’t seem like three years, but it really has been that long.

Now this story would end here, but it doesn’t. Mary-Anne moved salons about two weeks ago. She told me well in advance, but it did bring to life a dilemna that I had thought about. If Mary-Anne moved, would I move with her or stay with the salon? It was really a moot point, but about two years ago when I first thought about it, it did seem like an interesting question.

So, three days ago, I had my hair cut at Mary-Anne’s new salon. It’s a better working environment for her and it’s better pay. The new salon is smaller and it has a more intimate feel. It doesn’t feel as busy compared to Axis.

And that is my long-winded, boring journey from horrendous bowl cuts to a somewhat decent head of hair.


Some people with blogs actively try not to write what are called haircut blogs, but this particular entry is interesting… I think… I hope.

Anyways, you might not realize this but I was blessed with Asian hair. It’s thick, coarse, straight and about as manageable as straw. I’ve been told even for Asian hair, my hair is really hard to cut and style. I never had a decent hair cut as child. When I was young, my mom would cut my hair and my sister’s as well. She’d line the bathtub with newspaper and then put a small stool down. We’d take turns sitting in the tub and get our hair cut. My mom would use a half-sharpened pair of utility scissors to cut our hair. She never had any experience in cutting hair, so invariably I’d wind up getting something that resembled a bowl cut. As a kid, it doesn’t really matter, so it was alright. The only reason she stopped cutting our hair was because one time she almost cut my off ear off. I was sitting there and she was cutting around my ear. One snip later and my mom started to be quite concerned. I asked her what was wrong and she said she had cut my ear with the scissors. I hadn’t felt a thing, but by that time my mom was already pressing the wound with some tissues. A few bloodstained tissues later and my mom’s haircutting days were over. She never cut my hair again.

My dad took me to a few places after that. These were your normal family joints. I bounced around a few of these, but again, as a kid, you never really cared that much about your hair. It was around grade eight that I settled on one establishment. It was called Fantastic Sam’s. The owner of place, a silver-hair gentlemen named Brooks starting cutting my hair. He was trained as a barber, but he had turned into businessman, and owning Fantastic Sam’s was one of his investments. He had done quite well for himself, but he still cut hair. Brooks cut my hair for about 10 years. All through junior high, high school, and part of university. Wow, that was a long time. He gave me the same haircut every time. He cut it as short as he could without the hair sticking all up. My hair grows really fast and that was the only way to make the cuts last. My hair didn’t really change style between the ages of 13-23.

Shortly before or after university, Brooks went on vacation and I had to get my haircut by another person at the salon (which by that time had changed name to Prism Hair Design). On that fateful day, I was assigned to a stylist named Mary-Ann. She was in her thirties, and she had pictures of her kids and husband at her station. She was your average mom with small kids. Mary-Ann was also an extremely nice person. Her haircuts weren’t really that different from Brooks, but there was an almost imperceptible variation in her method. It was enough that the next time I decided to get my haircut, I booked with Mary-Ann. I thought briefly about what Brooks would think, but I shook it off. After all, it wasn’t like he was depending on me to feed his kids… or grandkids. He owned the damn salon and several other businesses. However, when you change stylists at the same salon, it’s like breaking up with your girlfriend and then she sees you the next evening with your new girlfriend. Happily, when Brooks saw me the next time with Mary-Ann, he didn’t seem mad at all. He still said hi and to be honest, he didn’t have much of a rapport with me to begin with.

Mary-Ann cut my hair for about a year or so, but I became restless. I hadn’t never really gotten a haircut that I thought was “cool” or “stylish”. My cuts were basically utilitarian and functional. My hair wound up looking like a helmet more than anything. I don’t fault Mary-Ann or Brooks for it because hey, it was a damn suburban hair salon in Coquitlam. What else should I expect? The salon was frequented by families with kids, senior citizens, and blue collar workers. It never advertised itself as a trendy salon. From a realistic point of view, people went there mainly to get their hair shortened, not styled.

Well, it was 1999, and my life had turned into a mess. I was working for Cypress Solutions, and I absolutely hated it. For those who knew me back then, I was going crazy. I thought to myself, “I need to make some major changes”. So, I quit my job. It was at that time that Mary-Ann told me she was quitting the salon. It seemed like a good time for me to make a break there as well. For years I had always thought what it would be like to go to a trendy salon and get an actual decent fashionable haircut. When I was out at UBC, my family would sometimes go out to this Chinese seafood restaurant at Broadway and Heather. This place had huge windows that faced this salon across the street. They had huge windows as well, and I could see the people inside. They were all young and they all looked like they belong in a fashion magazine. There were no kids, no senior citizens, and no blue-collar suburbanites in that salon.

So, about a month after I quit my job, I said, “Screw it, I’m tired of getting the same haircut”. I pulled out the phonebook and I called the Axis Salon on Heather Street. I didn’t know who the hell they’d give me but I didn’t care. In a strange twist of fate, the phone girl booked me an appointment with a stylist named… Mary-Anne. Really! As odd as that was, I thought at least I was getting away from Coquitlam haircutters… little did I know that wasn’t completely true…



This was taken from

Hollywood beauty Kate Hudson won’t be winning prizes for patriotism anytime soon – she’s sick of Americans. After three months filming Le Divorce in France, Kate admits she has developed a dislike for her countryfolk after running into Americans in Paris and London. She explains, “Sometimes I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll hear some American and I’ll just go, ‘Of course they hate us, of course they can’t stand us. We’re the most annoying, boisterous creatures in the world.’ I mean we come in and we eat mounds of food, and we’re like, ‘Where’s the ketchup for our French fries.’ I’m like, ‘Shut up.'”


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.


See the link below this paragraph? Click it! You can now leave comments on my posts! We’re getting interactive baby!


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.