Vincent Cheung

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Indoor Challenge

Wasn't too sore today from all that stuff yesterday, but I definitely felt it in my quads, calves, feet, hamstrings, butt, triceps, forearms, shoulders, and upper back muscles (trapezius, lats, deltoids).  I was able to walk up stairs with minimal pain, so that was good.

Had a lot of fun at the indoor challenge (soccer, basketball, dodgeball, and volleyball).  Always kinda questionable how it'll be with a bunch of randoms thrown together.  Funny, I knew more people on the Skule and Grad House teams than mine and even recognized a bunch from other teams, but everyone on mine was a complete unknown prior to this.

Good group a people (4 guys, 4 girls).  We sucked, winning only a single game of dodgeball - I was the last man standing!  My strategy was to just jump over any ball that came in my direction.  Worked great b/c it left very little space for them to hit me - basically they could only get me if the ball was at the height of my torso b/c head shots weren't allowed and I jumped over anything below the waist, plus they had to get me when I wasn't dodging laterally :p

We were there just to have fun.  We say that only b/c we kept losing.  But, what do you expect anyways from a bunch of masters and phd students :p.  As a group, we're generally not athletes, we're nerds :p.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

12 hours of physical activity today.... so pooped

8 hour volleyball tournament. 9 - 5. 6 games. Narrowly lost in the semi-finals. Serious sugar low at the end of that game.

4 hour curling bonspiel. 6 - 10. Lawrence & Don Valley, coming from Kipling & Lakeshore, i.e. complete opposite side of the city. Damn Patrick kept throwing light and made me sweep like crazy! I was inspired by Mark Nichols (my curling hero). Everything was like Mark Nichols would have hit the guard and did a triple take out and lie 3 in the house.

Undefeated through 2 matches. Won Kinder surpises! Every curling bonspiel I've been to, I've won a prize! (Not always because of merit)

Kevin and I are thinking of forming a curling team next year. We're aiming for the 2010 or 2014 Olympics. Team Gushue (Canadian gold medal winners) is mostly just a year older than us, so we have our work cut out for us to catch up to them by the time we're their age.

Gonna be so sore tomorrow, and what's worse is that I have this "indoor challenge" thing tomorrow - volleyball, basketball, dodgeball, and soccer. 7 hours :s. Crazy stuff. Maybe it's good that I missed skiing on Friday.

Then there's volleyball Mon, Tues, and Thurs and snowboarding Fri. Hope my body lasts...

Friday, February 24, 2006

FFFUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKK......

It's just after 10, I just got up.  The bus left for Blue Mountain at 7.

Serves me right for going to bed at friggin' 1:30 am....

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sexy looking board

Finally got all the parts and assembled my board! Bought the board, bindings, bag, lock, and leash from SportMart.ca. Buying online was the only way to get a good deal on a decent board in my size (151 cm) - saved $110 and got free shipping! Got the boots from Sport Chek at the end of season sale. Not much selection, I just got what they had in my size. I picked up the maple leaf stomp pad from Blue Mountain, though I also saw it at SportsMart and it was cheaper there, but it was too late and I didn't feel like returning the one I already bought to save a buck or two.

All the online stuff came pretty quick - just over a week after I ordered. I actually got 3 packages as the stuff came from 3 different stores. The only problem was that the bindings didn't fit my boots! I figured a medium would be fine as it says that medium can be used with a size 8 boot, but my boot just wouldn't fit!

I called up the nearest Sport Mart to see if they had a large that I could exchange with. I then made the hour long trek there (only half hour back after lucking out on taking a shorter bus route). Why are Sport Mart's always out in the boonies, but Sport Chek's are subway accessible?

After being bamboozled why the large binding in the store was WAY too big for my boot (I brought one of my boots to try), I realized that the one they shipped me was actually a youth one! Right box, wrong product. Argh! The store didn't have any mediums in my binding or alternatives at the same price. I opted for the higher model in women's medium (hey, it fit, whatever, and bindings all look and work the same) and put down the extra $20 + tax.

Up until the unexpected extra cost of the bindings, the whole package was almost exactly the same price as my jacket :p.

Mountain was my bitch

I totally pwned the mountain
(picture stolen from BlueMountain.ca)


Amazing day of skiing. I literally went down every run on the mountain! Ok, well, except for the bunny slopes, glades, terrain park, and Calamity Lane (the double black that alluded me last year, but was closed today probably due to lack of snow).

I hit the North side hard, fast, and often since I was there during the day and it is closed for night skiing (which is all we get on the usual Friday trips). Started off doing all the blues and single black diamonds to get warmed up and to remember how to ski. It was afterall, only my 5th time skiing, and my 4th time was the first ski & snowboard club trip, in which I was skiing in the rain and only on easy runs to humour Mimi.

Last year, I tried doing Calamity Lane, a double black diamond. It was really icy and after doing like one turn, one of my skis fell off and slid all the way down, leaving me to just roll down the hill. Not the best of my moments. I wouldn't have been able to do it anyways, I just wasn't ready for it.

I finally built up the courage to do my second ever attempt at a double black diamond and this time I killed it! I did like two slow turns to get out of the worst of the icy areas and to get the courage to ski properly, then I was like, ok, let's do this! I faced right down the slope (as opposed to sideways) and carved my way to victory! I later went on to do all the double blacks that the mountain had to offer.

The mountain was totally my bitch today.

My skiing actually improved significantly today after working on the single and double black diamonds. I'm skiing much faster with more confidence with nicer, tighter turns and more control. I wanted to try moguls, but "Mogul Alley" didn't have any moguls! And I wasn't stupid enough to try the moguls on the double blacks. The skis felt quite good. 155 cm skis. Gotta remember that.

My other accomplishment today was more properly doing cross country skiing. I was totally inspired after watching Chandra Crawford win gold in the cross country sprint for Canada!!! Waking up 2 hours early wasn't for naught afterall :). Watching her motor along as if her skis were rollerblades was awesome. My perception of cross country skiing was tainted by grade 8 winter camp where we were put in tracks and had to like double pole or akwardly single pole while in the tracks and not move anywhere. Skiing like they do in the sprints is so much more fun :). Chandra's my new Olympic hero. 22 years old. First Olympics and completely unproven. Announcers didn't give her a hope in hell. She killed the field. Smiling all the way. Amazing!

 

Fuckin' kids have no consideration for others

You would think that me waiting for the bus at 7am, two hours early, would be the worst thing that happened to me today. Well, you'd be wrong.

This girl, Marsha, comes onto the bus and I'm like fuck, I CAN'T STAND HER!!! I know from past trips that she DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO SHUT THE FUCK UP. She's OBSCENELY loud, OBNOXIOUS, and TALKS THE ENTIRE FUCKING 2.5 hours there AND back. I've had the horrendous experience of sitting near her in previous trips.

I was ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATED when she sat across from me. NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!! I knew that I wouldn't be able to get my regular 2 hour nap there and back. She can be heard over my headphones and sleeping is difficult within 3 rows of her, let alone across the row. When the battery on my mp3 player died 1 hour from the mountain, my spirit was completely crushed as I had to put up with hearing EVERY SINGLE WORD that she said. I DON'T FUCKING WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR FAMILY PROBLEMS, LEAVES AND PLANTS, OR YOUR FUCKING YOGURT!!!!!

And to boot, she was FIFTY (50) minutes late getting back on the bus. We had like 50 people waiting for ONE person. We should've left her at the mountain. Not like she didn't know we were supposed to leave at 8 or where the bus was (she unfortunately comes every week). Everyone else was on the bus on time, except her almost equally annoying male friend who was 20 min. late. Everyone was on the bus by like 8:05 and we were just waiting on those two fuckers. How about some courtesy for others??!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!??

On the way back, they were chatting up a useless storm as usual in voices much louder than should be and louder than anyone else. After like an hour of trying to sleep, which was impossible with their screeching and my lack of music to drown them out, I told them bitches to shut the fuck up b/c people were trying to sleep. I may have put it in kinder words. They didn't really take the hint and kept on talking. FOR GOD'S SAKE, HAVE SOME CONSIDERATION FOR OTHERS!!!! It's not enough that they have to make us wait nearly an hour, just sitting on a bus in a parking lot, but they have to keep us awake the whole trip back???!!!? Jesus Christ.

Marsha is my face for evil in the world. If I could ask Zeus to strike down a bolt of lightning on one person, she would be it.


Sorry for the excessive profanity in this post. I'm pissed and if I wasn't Canadian and gunless, I would have shot her.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

OMG, e-mail is free!!!

U of T Ski and Snowboard Club reading week trip today. I rush to get to the meeting point at 7 am. No bus in sight. Not a soul around. I'm like shit, wtf? I'm 5 min. early!!! I rollerblade around and see a bus outside of med sci. I ask the bus driver if the bus is for the club, he shrugs, but when he asks where it's supposed to go and I say Blue Mountain, he says ya, that's gotta be it. Hopping on board, I know that I'm on the wrong bus. It was for biochem or something.

Calling Nick (the President), he tells me that they're not leaving until 9. WTF?? The e-mail said 7! Apparently they changed it on the webpage. OMG!!!! IT'S CALLED E-MAIL!!!! E-MAIL IS FREE!!!! I checked the webpage and it's not even like there's a big notice on the time change, it simply regurgitates the previous e-mail with 7 changed to 9.

Sigh. So many things have gone wrong with this club.

On the plus side, I'm able to watch some Olympics live (usually I'm not up early enough). Cross country skiing sprints are on right now. And the whole thing gave me a legit use for my cell phone, which generally goes unused.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Icewave

The Scramblers
Sherry, Phu, Andru, Sony, Ryan, Monica, Vince, Utku



I managed to raise $300 for the kids! Thanks to everyone who sponsored me! I was awarded a volleyball for raising that much (the red and white one). My ball count is now up to 4 - the 2 on the ends are the ones I actually use and the 2 in the middle are novelty/free.

My balls

This cat has a bigger waist size than me!



A 33-pound cat
...
31-inch waist
...
so heavy it needs the help of its owner to get onto a bed
...
eat six pounds of chicken and pork each day

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Something's a miss...

Canada loses in two consecutive hockey shutouts???!?!?! Canada fighting for its life just to make the curling playoffs??!?!?!? A Jamaican (Lascelles Brown) wins a bobsledding medal?!!?!!? Shani Davis becomes the first black man to ever win an individual gold medal in the winter Olympics (which is awesome)!!! I'm watching the CBC voluntarily??!?! I'm even watching CBC French!!!!

WHAT IS GOING ON???!?!?!!?!??

Happy Birthday Nusraat!

People need to stop getting older b/c it means that I'm getting older.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Let's play good news, bad news

Bad news
Snowboarding trip was cancelled b/c black ice caused roads to be closed and several of the lifts were closed due to high winds.

Good news
I was able to stay for Anitha and Kannan's going away party and I got a free dinner by tagging along with the CS grad student candidates dinner at Asian Legend.


Good news
I have two offers for summer internships.

Bad news
I have two offers for summer internships.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Too good to not blog about



Take that El Al!!!


We wish to advise you that we have completed our investigation of your claim and that it has been determined to compensate you in the final amount of CAD139.59.

...

I trust the foregoing reassures you of El Al's interest and help to regain your goodwill.


SWEET!!!! I gladly accept this compensation, but sorry, that's not enough to buy my goodwill...

Of course, this is just a moral victory, as I have no use for money. It won't spur any sort of spontaneous purchase, it'll just sit in the bank.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Post #200!!!!


This is my 200th post! No jokes. Also coincidently, the 200th straight day that my computer at school has been on without being rebooted or turned off! Serious. No Photoshop in that image, except to circle the 200 days. I like deserve some sort of award or something for that! 200 days straight! By far a new record for me. That means the last time I rebooted it was right before I left for my internship at MSR in Aug.

So, about 200 posts in the last 4 months. That's 50 posts / month and approx. 1.67 posts / day. This is why I need to cut back on blogging and DO SOME WORK!!! And by work, I don't mean web design. I mean, ACTUAL work.

I was initially hoping that posting online would help me to post regularly as I do have some external pressure to get me to blog regularly, unlike the journal I was trying to keep a while back, which kinda died off. The problem, is that it's too effective of a motivation and this is an amazing outlet for procrastinating.

Expect this space to remain stagnant for a while or at least be updated much less frequently. I'll try not to have a life so that I don't have anything to blog about. Maybe I should commit to not blogging for like a few days...

Time to work like an undergrad

I've realized that I have a lot of shit to do and none of it is getting done at the pace I'm going at. 4 papers to write by the end of April (tentative date that I leave to go work on the West coast for the summer).

I need to work like I did in undergrad! I'm amazed at how productive I was back then. Study, study, study, work, work, work. 17 hour days every day. No time wasted. Now look at me. I'm lucky to get in that many work hours in a month.

I need to set deadlines for myself. Cut the fat. Get stuff done. First thing to go is the Internet. Need to go offline. Blogging needs to be severely reduced.

Studying with Mimi in SS the other day was interesting to say the least. She had an awesome shirt on that she got from her recent trip to Vail, Colorado. Beware if she offers you any granola bars from Vail - they're infested with ants. It was really creepy. Ants everywhere. Live. Crawling.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Tuesday...

As if every other day isn't bad enough, the restaurants, flower shops, jewelry stores, card makers, etc. have to add insult to injury and make up this fake holiday.

My tune varies with my circumstance at the time, but this year, given my situation, I shall take on a bitter attitude. I preferred Sarah's greeting of Happy Tuesday to commemorate the day.

Monday, February 13, 2006

U of T Ski and Snowboard Club Group Photo


A number of my friends were not in this picture for various reasons - in Colorado, on the Saturday bus, not knowing where the picture was, or just not there. They have since been added.

Day ???: Ah, the smell of freshly cut grass

Before
Some improvement since we last saw the grass. 24/7 light and generous watering seems to have helped, but there's a lot of dried up grass that's not helping.



After
The supplied scissors were a little too small for my fingers. Trimmed the grass and tried to remove a lot of the dead stuff so the grass can grow without fighting through the mesh of dead. Bluegrass really isn't doing too well.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Seems all I do is webpage design...

Hot off the redesign of my webpage, I have just finished redesigning my research group's webpage, as it was in desperate need of a makeover.

Before
A horribly ugly webpage...



After
Now without the tackiness, eye straining background colour, etc. using CSS, Photoshop, and colour scheme tools.


A valuable lesson was learnt here: the colour blind member of the group should not be responsible for the design of the website.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Snowboarding, winter sports, and the olympics

First time that it was actually BELOW ZERO when we hit the slopes with the club! There was actually snow this time, not slush! Blue is definitely the new green and black is the new blue. Blue's are actually a bit of a yawn now. I tried a short black run, but it was pure ice and i just plowed down it. Not many selections of black at night. I'll do the 2 runs next week. The worst part is the flat areas.... fell on my ass like 4 times in flat areas. Pissed the hell out of me!

Random occurance of the day: girl tells me that when Googling "u of t ski and snowboard club" to try and find the club's website, she got to my blog :)

I think I'll have a greater appreciation for the Winter Olympics this time around, because since the last Olympics (well, actually just over the last 2 years), I've picked up a number of winter sports - skiing, snowboarding, curling, and hockey. Previous to that, I wasn't into any winter sports (well, skating I guess)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Subscribe to this blog by e-mail!

For those of you wishing to follow my blog, but don't want to check it every few hours and are too technophobic to try feeds, you can now subscribe to my blog via e-mail! You'll get my blog posts right in your inbox (with some delay). I won't use it to spam you or anything, or sell your address, etc., etc., and unsubscribing is easy if you decide you don't like it.

So, give it a shot if you like, the link is on the right.

Went with one girl, came back with another

Dinner was a bit of a bust, as it wasn't so much dinner as just hors d'oeuvres. Strangely enough, by the end of the night, I had a different girl on my bed than I had gone to dinner with. Unfortunately, it was Mimi and she was just waiting to get picked up.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Happy Birthday Rob!

Try to ignore the fact that you just hit the quarter century mark :p. Hope you have a good one!

On the fence so bad a post is jammed up my ass

Long D phone call. He makes a compelling counter offer and I haven't even told him about G. Not to mention the other things that we've got in the pipeline and a potential fellowship. Don't wanna ruin those. Sigh. Don't know what to do. I'm half hoping that my decision will be made for me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's a boy!


Anthony and Li-Yu with an artist's rendition of their baby boy.


Congrats to my cousins Anthony and Li-Yu who gave birth this morning in Melbourne, Australia to a baby boy!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Who am I to pass up a free dinner?

Table for 14 at Nataraj (Indian). Suprisingly how large the group has gotten, though Anitha and Kannan will be gone by the end of the month. This time the tab was on Brendan, unlike my US$626 dinner with Brendan and Nebojsa.... on me!

Yet another free dinner on Thursday. This looks to be a very good week :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Finally made good congee!


"tea fish and peanut congee" (literal translation)


Finally got the texture and consistency right for my congee! Got some tips off the Internet to use about 10 parts water for 1 part rice and just to cook it for a long time on low heat. I didn't have that much time, so I only simmered it for an hour and a half. Quite tasty :)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I'm a lesbian


Rob has provided very good evidence that I am indeed a lesbian. It became quite evident when my breasts swelled and required additional support when I was drunk once. I still haven't tried on the rest of Lindsay's exotic bra collection, notably her coconut bra.

Why are we friends?


Jill brought up a good point. How is it that we are friends??? We share ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in common. She says that she asks herself like everytime we talk why we are friends. The only common ground is that we were in the same high school, but we didn't hang out in high school, frankly I'm not sure if we ever spoke to each other in high school. The string of people involved in us meeting each other again is also an amazing tale that easily could be altered by any number of slight adjustments if you were to go back in time.

As with most stories of lore, it all begins in engineering room 229 at the U of M. Here is the chain of relationships involved that eventually brought me and Jill together:

Me -> Nusraat -> Chris -> Rob -> Jill

I was friends with Nusraat from H.S. She would come to me for academic help... repeatedly. I recall frantic phone calls as well. Anyways... She was friends with Chris. I knew of Chris back in H.S., but we didn't hang out or talk. All of us were in comp. eng. together and with Nusraat sitting at my table, Chris would occasionally sit with us as well. Plus we had double-dates for labs. Me and Kevin, Chris and Nusraat. Chris was in turn, good friends with Rob. Being in mech. eng. he wasn't in our classes, but roamed around 229. With Chris now included at the table, Rob would occasionally join. Again, I knew Rob from H.S., but we didn't talk or hang out. No beef between us, just had sepeate social groups. In some aspects, Rob is a key figure. He was the one to call me (well, message me) to hang out. His core group included Jill. The rest is history.

The story of me and Justin goes through almost the identical thread, except that my first contact with him was through Tim Millican back in Laidlaw. Like 8 years later we became friends. That one is a little bit more obvious why we are friends as we actually share common interests.

Back to the main reason for this post. So, Jill and I have not figured out why we're friends. There are no obvious connections based on interests, hobbies, sports, roots, or anything. I am Yin, she is Yang. Complete opposites in almost all respects. I think it's more of a compatible personality thing with the mutual desire to just have fun and have an open mind with the added benefit of an untainted past. Frankly, the change of pace is a welcomed breath of fresh air.

The exciting curling adventure


My prizes (front and back of t-shirt and card to event)

Getting back from snowboarding after midnight and having to get to the curling rink around 9 the next morning isn't the most fun thing once you add in a shower before bed, a bite to eat, blogging, and a subway and bus to the rink.

Bussing was an adventure all on its own. Randomly meeting people on the bus also going to the curling bonspiel, completely missing the stop and having to walk several blocks. I thought you knew where you were going, no I thought you did.....

Sprinting a block and a half when chasing a bus in the rain with a few beers in the system after curling in order to avoid having to wait half an hour for the next bus and jamming my umbrella in the door forcing the bus driver to let you on was amazing!

Curling itself was really fun as well. We were short a 4th as Kevin couldn't make it. Two volunteers alternated playing for us in the two games. Stole the first game in the last end by scoring 3! AMAZING! Second game was a nail biter ending with a score of 6-6 after 8 ends. Draw to the button to break the tie. Their skip got within 4 feet and I came up short just inside the 8 foot line. It's all good as it didn't matter either way, neither team was gonna win a prize and we had a really fun time. My curling game is improving quite a bit. I'm able to get draw weight quite consistently now.

I'm going pro next year and the Olympics in 2010.

Lunch provided for a new experience. For those who know me, I'm an obscenely picky eater. I don't eat pizza, well unless it has no cheese, I don't have dressing on my salad, my hamburgers are plain, the list goes on. The lunch was box lunch catered through Hart House. I got a chicken salad wrap. I ate it. And it was alright, despite the fact that there was mayo or at least some sort of sauce inside. Maybe I was just really hungry.

Weird point system was used to figure out the prizes. Prizes based on overall points, runner up, biggest one game win (not just the score of the game but also how many ends you won), and most points out of teams that didn't win either game. Ironically, the team we beat in the first won a prize - biggest one game win by killing an obviously inferior team like 14 - 0. I suggested to them to try and get the best of the losers prize, but they obviously didn't listen to me.

There were also a crap load of other prizes given out through a draw system. I was sitting with the second team, as is typical in curling apparently since the winner is supposed to buy a pitcher for the losers. Their skip works at Hart House and was the first name drawn and won a Hart House t-shirt. He was like, shit, I have like a hundred of these. He offered it to me and I was like sure! It was a pretty cool shirt. There were Hart House baseball caps and other Hart House memorabilia. One of the guys on the other team works in the Hart House shop or something and when the cards of Hart House art was up for grabs, he was like, I better not win that, b/c I think he had all that stuff anyways. He won it! Our table cracked up hysterically. A bunch of tickets to various Hart House events were also given out.

So, name after name was drawn, with probably like 25-30 prizes. 16 teams of 4 people each (that's 64 in total). I just kinda gave up hope that my name would be drawn and was like whatever, I already got a Hart House t-shirt.

Grand prize: $120 dinner for 2 at this fancy dinner in collaboration with Winterlicious and Winter City. Creative Fusion - Fire & Ice (http://uofttix.ca/view.php?id=103).

A celebration of creativity in all its forms - food, wine, art, theatre, music - set in the grandeur of Hart House’s Great Hall, Gallery Grill, Art Gallery, & the serene winter beauty of our open air courtyard.

An evening not to be missed.

"Vincent Cheung"

WOOHOO!! Kick ass!!!!

The problem being that I'm currently unattached. I think this is my first time ever where I'm required to bring a date to something and where I'll need to find one. I went to high school grad with Kevin, John, Dan, and Fan... Undergrad grad dinner was similar. Not required to bring a date and other times I already had a date.

But, this is the first time where I have to actively go and find someone. Time is also short (this Thursday). I think I have however, a solution to kill two birds with one stone.

Day ???: I may have forgotten to do something


I do recall noticing that the grass was in desperate need of water about a week ago. In hindsight, leaving it in front of the sunny window out of sight behind my curtain was not a great idea.

The grass has since been relocated to the incubation unit in the washroom and heavily watered.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Woohoo! I can snowboard!!!

I think I can finally say that I can actually snowboard now!!! I've graduated from the bunny hills and went on to do most of the blue (intermediate) runs today! No big wipeouts today and barely any falls!!! Still need to work on making my turns tighter, going faster, and figuring out how not to fall on the flat parts.

Next week: black diamonds

Mimi ditched me again for volleyball and my snowboarding crew didn't show up! I ran into one of the guys earlier this week and he said he was feeling sick and not sure if he was gonna make it. I ended up snowboarding with Yonnah (sp?) for half the time, the volunteer people organizer for my bus, and a fellow grad student. I had seen him on the big bunny slope the previous week and he was pretty good. I convinced him to make the trip to Happy Valley with me and he didn't regret the decision.

Random girl on the bus commented that I got a haircut, even though I had only seen her the first 2 weeks and she wasn't on the bus last week, though we've both been sitting near the back of the bus. Cute, but one of those Chestnut girls.

More time spent in meetings than actually doing work

I had like 5 billion meetings this week. Ok, maybe just 5. PSI group meeting, Factorgram meeting, Epitome meeting, meeting with Brendan, Factorgram meeting with Brendan.... argh.

No time to get any work done with all these damn meetings, plus Tuesday's a throw away day b/c of class and reading papers for class and Friday's snowboarding :p.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Perhaps the nerdiest thing I've ever done


So, it all started with Sarah. I blame her. She convinced me to get the VincentCheung.ca domain. I would have gotten VincentCheung.com, if it wasn't for my mortal enemy, Vincent Cheung the religious minister, who has that domain and beats me on Google searches. As a result of having a ".ca" domain, I became a member of the CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority). I got an e-mail about an upcoming meeting here in Toronto where the members could vote on proposed changes to stuff related to the CIRA. The incentives being that it was at the Fairmont Royal York (fancy hotel), free food, free drinks, and a free 128 MB USB memory key. Hey, I'm all about the free stuff.

I convinced Sarah to come as she also owns a ".ca" domain. She was quite hesitant at first, but I managed to convince her based on an "open mind" argument, but it was really the Royal York and memory key that sealed the deal.

So we get there just past 5:30 pm, which was when they started the actual meeting part. There were shit loads of people waiting in line to register, obviously because of the memory key. The trick being that you don't get it until after the vote. So we waited in line, unable to see the beginning of it, meanwhile the talks have already begun, whatever, we didn't know what the changes were proposed and we didn't really care. The line was moving really slowly and for some reason we were still last in line. Then, some volunteer randomly comes up to Sarah and asks to confirm that she's on the list. She finds her domain name and he tells her that she can go to this other line. 5 min. of walking later (past the obscenely long line), we're like 2 people from the front of a second line! No idea how to managed to pull that off!!!! Makes absolutely no sense what so ever. The sensible thing to do would have been to just let the next people in the regular long line go to the short line. Whatever, we didn't have to wait, so we were happy.

We also managed to skip the line to get name tags. It was kinda scary at first, small table with massive number of name tags. Just stacks and stacks. But like instantly both of us were like, WHOA, my name's right here at the top of the stack!!!! AMAZING!!! They couldn't find hers (the piles were only slightly sorted) so they just wrote one out.

I'm really amused at the highly sophisticated mechanism for adjusting the length of the name tag. Yet, it's just string!!! Incredible!!! The inventor of that deserves some sort of knot tying nobel prize or something!!! Best thing that ever happened to name tags since names!!!!

The main room was full apparently, so we had to go into the overflow area. We later found out that there were 400+ people at this meeting!!! They really pulled in the crowd b/c of the free memory key :). The overflow area was just a room with a big screen showing a live feed from the main room. The demographics were not exactly what I thought it was going to be. More business type people than obvious nerds. Mostly like 30's - 40's. And actually some feminine looking females! Similar guy-to-girl ratio as in ECE, which is basically one girl for every 10 guys. I was disappointed at the lack of porn stars representing their sites. There were however, more people with purple and green hair than I had anticipated.

I thought the meeting part was just gonna be boring and suck, but actually it was kinda interesting...at least for the first 2 hours. The people going up to ask questions, make comments, and requesting addendums were quite entertaining and brought up good issues, at least for the first 2 hours. Like one part in the by-law said that there would be equality for "both genders" on the board, but he wanted it to read "all genders", a change which should be made to be politically correct. The ass in front of us was cracking up at the explaination that there are not everyone identifies themselves as one or the other. The way they counted the votes was kinda retarded and the motion was defeated, but later, an equivalent change was made in another motion.

We voted by raising these yellow stiff pieces of paper into the air. Ironic how this was a meeting about the ".ca" domain names on the Internet, yet there was NO INTERNET VOTING!!! HILARIOUS!!! THE IRONY!!! THE IRONY!!!! Kinda dumb actually b/c the only people that would go to the meeting were those in Toronto, but what about the people in Alert, NWT??!!??!?! This is hardly fair for them!!!!

Anyways, they needed 2/3 "for" vote for the motion to pass, with "abstains" essentially counting as "against", which is pretty dumb. They should've counted all the "for" and all the "against", with the "abstains" as neutral.

There were lots of arguments about wording and changes in the by-law about powers of the board, etc. I see why people would be concerned, but the board members and others have also interally argued the points for the past year or two. It was at this point that things got stupid and just tedious. People just kept asking questions and being retarded. I think these people just don't have any friends and desperately wanted to talk to people. That and they advertised their domain name everytime they went up. The same like 5 people went up to the podium like 10 times each. They definitely needed to enforce limits on the number of podium appearances.

There were however, some entertaining characters at the front table where the "important" people were. I don't know their names, but we made up our own. There was the "seedy guy who doesn't look like he could be trusted", the lawyer, the asian lawyer, the "ex-board director" (who was actually in my room and just in the audience), and the "angry guy". The angry guy was hilarious. He was like the main guy too. When the lawyer was talking and clarifying things, he would stand right behind with his mouth half open and looking as if he was gonna kill someone. Sarah took a video of him on the screen with her phone, but unfortunately it didn't turn out...

The by-law eventually passed. Then there was the "Letter Patent". What the hell is a letter patent????!?!??!!?!? Whatever it is, it was argued about for a long time. One particular thing about the CIRA potentially going into other Internet things. I totally see why people had problems with that and I did too until some of the board directors cleared things up. Sigh. That eventually passed as well, though only about 230 people remained as the meeting went for 3.5 hours instead of ONE hour.

The meeting finally adjourned at 9 pm. We jetted out of there pretty quick and grabbed our memory key. They took our voting cards in exchange for the memory key, otherwise it would have appeared in the picture at the top of the post.

When we got to the subway, a train was just about to leave and Sarah ran on, but her massive bag got stuck in the door!!! Thinking that she was also going up the University-Spadina line, I shoved her bag in, pushed open the doors, and jumped on. As we were pulling away, I was like shit, I'm on the wrong line.... I switched over at the King stop.

Worst of all, I think I crunched my balls a bit while sitting in those chairs for 3.5 hours. Stomach didn't feel so well after that and I'm still not feeling all that comfortable down there...

Was it worth it? Probably not. The experience was kinda interesting with the whole addendum and voting procedure, but it was WAY too long and you can't store anything on a 128 MB memory key...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Well, I did ditch out some cash today


I had a coupon for $10 off on an instore purchase of $50 or more at Chapters that expired today.

I'm always amazed at the immense number of books that I haven't read when I go to a bookstore. There are tons of bookshelves and all the books I've read doesn't even fill one of those. I sometimes wonder if anyone has ever read all the books in a bookstore. Time to get cultured and read more.

The Da Vinci Code is supposed to be good and I've been meaning to read more of Shakespeare's plays. I've read Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Othello (maybe more, I forget), but there are plenty of famous (and hopefully good) ones I haven't read yet (Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, King Lear, Julius Caesar, etc.). Shakespeare's plays contain great plots that are re-told time after time in movies, tv shows, etc. and are heavily referenced. After this, I'll pick-up the bible to see what all the hype is about and so I can get the billions of bible references that are made all the time.

Utility of money, or lack thereof

So, I got my pay stub for this month for $92 as my research assistant pay. Always a surprise how much I'll be getting. Brendan uses this weird formula to calculate how much you get. It goes something like this:
  • Take 1/3 of your scholarship

  • Add $15,000 (base amount)

  • Add $1,000 as seniority bonus (if > 1 year phd)

  • Add any TA money

  • Subtract the amount of your scholarship

  • Total is that amount that Brendan pays you

The problem is that my total is always NEGATIVE. He makes me PAY him money!!!! Just kidding....

His logic is that this formula of 1/3 of your scholarship + some extra should be more than your scholarship and this is the total amount of money that you will get, and he subtracts your scholarship b/c you're already getting paid that. And then for those without scholarships, they get a good amount of funding.

The problem is that these new scholarships are too big for his formula. In other words, $16,000 < 2/3 * scholarship....

Well, I obviously don't have to pay him any money, so it's supposed to round up to $0. But he's still been giving me a little bit. Some arbitrary small amount.


I realized when I got this pay stub and for a little while now, that I have no use for money. This little extra in my pocket won't change anything, aside from bumping up my bank account. I basically buy anything I want anyways. The only reason I don't buy anything is because I don't want anything or need anything. Like, I could have a car, but I don't need one living downtown and it doesn't make financial sense to have one considering the cost of parking and insurance for something I won't use much (unlike Jill who, being in Winnipeg, needs a car, and finally got her truck!). I could buy a new computer, but I don't need one (yet) or another. I could get a big plasma TV, but I don't need one. I could get a boob-job, but I don't need one (I'm telling you, I want one, I just don't need one).

I'm just finding that I'm not that materialistic and what I really want cannot be bought. My family wanted me to make a Christmas list, but the only things I could think of that I really wanted were things that they couldn't buy for me (happiness, a girl under the Christmas tree aside from my cat or a family member, my thesis written for me, a good job, world peace, etc.). Eventually, I'll have a use for money, but just not where I am in my life right now. I'm not going to buy a house here in Toronto, I'm not going to buy a car here, and I'm too far from the water to buy a yacht. My current lack of a significant other really cuts back the costs as well...

Though, this shirt is tempting:



And this could replace my grass:

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