Vincent Cheung

Vincent Cheung's Blog

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy 3rd Blogoversary!

3 years ago, this blog was born! (Can't say that my first post was all that exciting or original...)

Here are other exciting things that have happened on April 25th:
  • 2007 - Boris Yeltsin's funeral

  • 2004 - Alan Kay, co-inventor of the Smalltalk programming language, receives the 2003 ACM Turing award

  • 1990 - The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the space shuttle Discovery.

  • 1983 - Pioneer 10 travels beyond Pluto's orbit.

  • 1972 - Paula the cat, a ten month old tabby, survives a fall from the 26th floor of an apartment building in Toronto.

  • 1964 - Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 4 games to 3 for their third consecutive Stanley Cup. This is their second last time winning the Stanley Cup.

  • 1961 - Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit.

  • 1953 - Francis Crick and James D. Watson publish Molecular structure of nucleic acids: a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid describing the double helix structure of DNA.

  • 1950 - BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and PEI sign an agreement with Ottawa to build the Trans-Canada Highway.

  • 1945 - Nazi occupation army leaves Milan after a partisan insurrection. This day is taken as symbol of the liberation of Italy and is an annual public holiday in Italy.

  • 1945 - Fifty nations gather in San Francisco, California to begin the United Nations Conference on International Organizations.

  • 1719 - Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is published.

  • 1507 - America got its name from German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller, who first used the term on a world map to refer to the huge mass of land in the Western Hemisphere, in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.

Also born on this day:
  • 1981 - Chris Graham (Winnipeg triathaloner and OVR Pass attendee)

  • 1976 - Tim Duncan (NBA player)

  • 1969 - Gina Torres (actress - Alias, Firefly, Angel)

  • 1969 - RenĂ©e Zellweger (actress)

  • 1940 - Al Pacino (actor)

  • 1917 - Ella Fitzgerald (singer)

  • 1900 - Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (Nobel Prize laureate)

  • 1284 - King Edward II of England

  • 1214 - King Louis IX of France

  • 32 - Marcus Salvius Otho (Roman Emperor)


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Annoying light pollution

The ROM and U of T Varsity Centre are sources of light pollution

Taken later that day showing the stadium lights

Two recent developments here in Toronto have led to some annoying light pollution problems.

U of T Varsity Centre
U of T recently revamped it's stadium, which includes the dome I went to a few months ago. They deflated the dome in the last few days and I guess they were testing out the stadium lights because during the sudden rain storm yesterday, they had the lights on full blown and it was really annoying. It was really dark outside because of the clouds, but the stadium lights were blazing and was annoying me b/c I could see it in my peripheral vision through my window while on my computer and it was the brightest light I could see. Let's hope this doesn't become a habit for them, otherwise I'll have to write an angry letter. There wasn't even a game going on; the field was empty.

The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) is getting a makeover/expansion right now. The new design consists of a very reflective aluminium sides at angles that are not perpendicular to the ground. As a result, between 2:07pm and 2:12pm today, one side of the building reflects sunlight directly into my eyes while I'm on my computer in my room. It's like a little kid is using their watch to reflect the sun into my eyes, wait that doesn't happen because I do that to little kids :p. Hopefully the position of the sun changes enough that this won't continue to be a problem. I guess I could close my curtains, but I like the view and the natural light.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Love hitting the beach in April!!!

It went up to 25 today and it was clear and sunny. I obviously hit the beach to play volleyball :). It was a week later than last year. I wanted to smash that record by going in mid-March and I almost went. It was 16 one day and it was gorgeous; I just didn't have a net and I had some work to do. Anyways, today was amazing out. Great conditions. Something like 25ish people showed up in our group and we had 4 nets set-up just for ourselves at Ashbridge's. Most of the 90-something courts were set up and there were quite a number of people playing. I played a game of 3's at the beginning and then played 2's the rest of the time.

I actually didn't feel like an uncoordinated retard on the sand for once! My timing was actually decent. Usually, I'm a bumbling fool on the sand b/c I can't jump as high, I can't time the sets properly, I don't do the proper approach, I underrun the ball like crazy, and I get thrown off by the wind. Beach frustrates me generally b/c I can't do things I can do indoor. But, it was fun today and I actually played decent. I played from 12pm - 7pm :D. That's a total of 17.5 hours of volleyball in the past week :D. 10.5 hours of indoor and then 7 hours of beach :D.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I think I'm burnt

It's mid-April and I think I burnt my face already :s. It's minor, but it's irritating. I think it's from me rollerblading around so much since it's been really nice outside. And I mean more rollerblading than just to my office. Like, going to St. Lawrence for pick-up volleyball and to the Russian Consulate. It hasn't been super warm (like up to 15ish yesterday), but it's been nice, clear, and sunny. I remember last year I got burnt around this time, but it was b/c I had hit the beach for volleyball and figured that I would be ok without sunscreen since it was April. I was wrong. When I go this weekend, I'll be sure to lather on the sexy white stuff.

I feel at home with the Russians

Thursday is my Russian day :). I had to go to the Russian Consulate today to pick up my and my family's Russian visas and passports. It was like going home! I walked into the room and I recognized half of the 6 people there! It was so comforting! It was as if we were one giant family :)

Us Russians, we're a tight community :)

How the Russian visas work is that they give you a date when you can go and pick them up (2 weeks later) and then you pick it up between 4 and 5. So, a bunch of people that were waiting with me for an hour 2 weeks ago were there waiting to pick up their passports and visas. We also all knew the system of lining up where we'd sit down and know the person who was before and after you, despite our random seating. We do this because the Russians don't believe in giving out numbers to people waiting in line. It forces you to talk to the other people so you can figure out what's going on :p

It was a lot faster to pick it up, but when I went up the guy called someone and was gibbering off in Russian for a while on the phone and he was like "Niet!" and shaking his head, so I was concerned. Everything was fine though and I got the visas, so I bet he was just calling a friend to talk about a hockey game or something.

So apparently, my Russian name is Vinsent 3arl9z V3eung. At least that's what the code on my visa says :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Those lights weren't there earlier this week

I was at that intersection on Monday and those traffic lights were definitely not there! There are now traffic lights at Bloor & Sussex Mews (who knew that that side street was called that??), which is actually nice because now I can cross Bloor to get from Dominion (grocery store) to Shopper's Drug Mart (drug store) without doing the whole Frogger thing.

Things on Bloor between Bathurst and Spadina change like crazy. Every time I go down that stretch (every month or so maybe), there are literally, new stores and restaurants. The turn over rate is pretty crazy.

I have this song stuck in my head

I heard it on the radio this morning and I also heard it when I was down in California.

Use the "secret" key (same as before). You might get the key if you ask.

Show encrypted text

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Can't wear the same thing twice

Elsa and Me. Role reversal in that I had to get her to come to a CCF event instead of the other way around and I had to tell her peoples' names.

(Sung to song) Wilson, he can move the mountains, we're gonna miss him so much, but not really because, he'll still be, here at UT with us, cause Wilson is here to stay, always with us he'll stay.

Gizelle the Vice-Chair

"Chairman Lau" singing and closing off the night and the year

The problem with me posting pics online and blogging is that even when I go to events with a completely different group of people, I can't wear the same thing, otherwise it'll look like I didn't change, especially if the posts or photo albums are consecutive :p. Plus, even if they are not consecutive, there is a lasting record of my clothing, so you can see how often I wear things. I'm pretty sure that the fashion industry is behind the Internet and online photos. It's all a ploy to make all clothing (and not just prom and wedding dresses) one use only.

I pretty much never wear a tie. I only learnt how to tie a tie nicely Christmas 2005 while on a Mexican cruise waiting for one of the shows to start and one of my cousins from Australia taught me. Prior to that, I would have someone tie the tie for me and I would never untie it, otherwise, I would tie it badly. I didn't know how because I didn't go to private school and never needed it for work. It's a rare occurrence where I have an event where a tie is appropriate, yet I had two consecutive nights of ties! The night before was S Dance and then it was the UTCCF Grad Dinner to say goodbye to the graduating students and to close off the year.

The dinner was held at the 89 Chestnut residence, which I hadn't been back to since I lived there in my first year in Toronto. It was a bit odd being back. I didn't get a chance to look around much and the ballroom wasn't familiar b/c they are not generally open to the residents as they are reserved for special functions.

The food was pretty good, aside from the saltiness of the chicken. The speeches for the grads and the grad video were pretty funny.

So this year's graduating class are the people that started university when I first came to Toronto, so it's a bit of a weird feeling. Gizelle, the Vice-Chair, is graduating and we were on the same floor in that residence, so that was kinda funny. If you ask me how much longer I have, I'll point you to this link. I hope to finish before the current crop of frosh :p

S Dance 2007


Back: MVP. I'm better than you, and now you know it

Glass I swiped from dinner. Not sure if we were supposed to take them, but it's not like they can do anything with them afterwards. They were way nicer and more practical than last year's mug-shaped oversized shot glasses.

S Dance is the annual engineering athletic awards ceremony, dinner, and dance. But because it's an engineering party, that really just means a lot of drinking. It's an undergrad party, but I feel that I am making up for my previous lack of participation in engineering related activities :). I went to get my wrist band and the chick at the desk looked over my ID: "81??? YOU'RE 81????". There were also shout-outs to the various graduating years. 0T7 is the graduating year, but there were plenty of 0T8's, 0T9's, and 1T0's. There were some boos for the 0T6's and the 0T5's were considered out of place (PEY + grad school). I kept my mouth shut about my 0T3 status :)

I got an MVP shirt for coed volleyball intramurals again! The shirts are way better than last year's because of the return of the slogan, "I'm better than you, and now you know it." Incidentally, Nastassja coined the term in response to the MIP's "I suck, now I suck less." shirts. I still don't have a stein... I'm determined to get one next year!!

The party was fun. I still have "S Club 7" music stuck in my head. The DJ was pretty crappy, playing a lot of country, 60's music, YMCA, and an inordinately high number of slow songs (to which Rob was my only outlet). Everyone was hammered, so the dance floor was still packed.

Me and Nastassja on the school bus to Scarborough. She was pretty hammered having pre-drunk with Ron at her place. I wasn't originally sitting there, but Ron had better things to do.

Ron trying to pick up a Romanian girl. Dejected and really drunk, he threw up after getting off the bus. He eventually got inside the place, but left early. I don't think he'll ever live down the fact that Nastassja drunk him under the table.

Me, Rob, and Steph

The celebrity (Robyn) and Me. Robyn won everything. Actually, 6 out of the 9 "athlete of the year" awards for the various years and sexes, went to people on the coed volleyball teams! Rob, Steph, Siobhan, Jess, Afjal, and Robyn. Woo-hoo! Go team!!!

More pictures

500th Blog Post

It's been over 6 months since my last milestone of 400 posts, so I'm definitely slowing down my blogging, since it only took 4 months between 300 and 400.

For such a significant milestone on my blog, I should probably do some reflection and say something interesting and profound or do some post of grand gesture or have a flashback post, like they do on tv shows. I knew it was coming, but I haven't given it much thought, mostly because I have been busy (DTD) and am too lazy to do anything all that time consuming for such an arbitrary milestone.

So while my blog has mostly served my own selfish purposes, I would like to dedicate this blog post to you, my readers. You have been there to encourage (force) me to write and reflect on things, even if I don't necessarily put them in words on my blog. By continuing to write, I am recording my journey though life and my blog helps me to remember past memories, which is very valuable to me and I thank you for helping me do this. Through writing, I am also connecting with my readers, whether they be geographically close, geographically far, old friends, new friends, enemies, people that think they're my friends (but aren't), complete strangers, openly reading blog readers, closet blog readers, or stalkers.

I hope to have a 1000th blog post and hope that you'll be entertained enough to still be reading!

Improved photography skills

I have to say that my photography skills have developed quite well recently. I've gone from self-photos like this:

To this:

These 4 photos were all taken in a span of 1min. 39s and all on the first try!

I still however, have problems with tall people and those involving more than 2 people:

I also have problems taking photos of people when they get kicked out of the club before 1:30 am for sleeping.

The rest of the pictures

Random bullet list
  • Me: "I'm going to a club tonight"
    Nick: "Which one?"
    Me: "Devil's Martini for a friend's birthday"
    Nick: "Me too!"
    (not the same friends though)

  • Crazy long line-up that was only moving b/c people were leaving

  • Giving a girl standing outside a double take, and then she asked me if I was Vince. We had met at Easy and was friends with one of the birthday boys.

  • Greasing the bouncers for $40 to get me, Michelle, and Donna inside

  • Both birthday boys were kicked out by 1:30am for sleeping

  • Wondering if Vic was in his condo b/c while he was dropped off there, he didn't have his keys

  • Food magically appearing without even looking at the menu

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The IRS is Googling me!

I was checking my website stats and I have irrevocable proof that the IRS Googled me! They searched for "Vincent C Cheung" on Google and got to my blog!

I just mailed my US taxes earlier this week, I only had my middle initial on the form, and the IP address was from the IRS, so I'm pretty sure they were looking for me :s.... Should I be concerned???

The IRS is giving me a nice fat tax rebate this year and hopefully I won't have to simply hand it over to the CRA like last year's negative tax rebate. I shouldn't have to and I can thank Stephen Harper's tax exemption on scholarships for that :D. At least he did something right!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My birthday bash

I'm the "V" in OVR

What: Vincent's 26th Birthday

When: April 28, 2007, doors open at 10pm

Where: Kai Lounge (3rd floor of Inside Nightclub)

Address: 220 Richmond St. West, Toronto, ON (back alleyway entrance)

Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at the door

I'm inviting all my blog readers to come and celebrate my birthday! It's gonna be a blast and I hope to see you there! Feel free to bring your friends!

Tickets are $10 if you buy a ticket from me in advance. $15 at the door. There will be various door prizes (stereos, volleyball gear, etc.).

The event is actually hosted by my 9-man volleyball team, the Toronto Warriors and it's both a fundraiser for the club (to help us fund our trip to the big tournament in San Francisco) and birthday party.

Just contact me (in person, by phone, e-mail, IM, facebook wall post, blog comment, etc.) to buy a ticket.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Warning: this game may be a detriment to your productivity

My best game so far

I don't normally have much of a taste for all those random flash games out on "the internets", but for some reason, I can't stop playing this game. It's deceivingly simple, yet involves an immense amount of strategy. I have lost many hours of my life to this and I blame Justin for sending me the link. I keep trying to stop playing, but I can't. I have little self control...

Warning: clicking the following link may rob you of several hours of your life.

Desktop Tower Defense

You get these various bug thingies coming from the left and the top and you have to build towers to shoot and kill them before they make it across the board/map. There is strategy in where to place your towers so that the creeps have to go through a maze of your towers, which towers to build, and when to upgrade your towers.

I can beat "Hard" pretty easily. I've been trying to beat the "100 level" challenge, but can't get past level 79. The bad thing is that each game is about 45 min. when you get that far, so it's a huge time killer and I keep having these ideas about how to improve things :p. Right at level 79, I have issues because I can't handle all the land creeps and then the air guys also overwhelm me... There are some strategies that try and do this "juggling" technique, which I presume repeatedly modifies the maze so that the creeps keep having to back track through the maze. I'm trying to beat it without having to resort to that.

Here are a few random strategies I have discovered:

  • Build a maze out of the pellet towers initially and that'll take you through 1.5 rounds pretty easily

  • Fully upgraded squirt towers are effective in taking out bosses

  • Upgrade 1 tower at a time b/c the final upgrades are way better than even the level before

  • Frost towers can slow down the flying guys, buying you precious time

Here are two of my best maps:

Level 79 Challenge - 10203 Points

Level 7X - 9937 Points

Friday, April 06, 2007

The return of the blender!

New blender!!! Classic Oster Beehive Blender

First blend: too much fruit and not enough juice. I add pineapple now and don't add ice. Sometimes I add a little bit of water to lighten it up.

I eventually got it to blend

A few hours later: smoothie #2 :)

Redder b/c of the use of more berries

A little while ago, my blender broke. The knob that controls the speed snapped off a while back, but was still working, but then the plastic started warping and was stuck on "1". I used it once like that by plugging and unplugging it repeatedly, but I couldn't continue.

I returned it to Loblaws, but they didn't have another blender in stock!!! I almost saw it coming and was thinking that with my luck, they wouldn't have one in stock. I thought about it for a bit wondering whether I should actually return it or keep it and use my plugging-unplugging technique and try to return it later. I decided to just return it (2 year warranty) and then try to get another blender later. I wanted to get the same blender, but you can't buy it online and the Superstore locations which are supposed to regularly have them in stock are too far away.

I eventually broke down and decided to buy one online. I splurged a bit because I know that I will literally use it every day. After all, I had been for the past 6 months. I am very much addicted. My new blender is about 3 times as expensive :p

I bought it from Home Outfitters / HBC and it shipped really fast. I ordered it late Thursday and it arrived Monday morning. Fortunately, my suitemate answered the door. I'm a pretty sound sleeper and didn't even hear the knock. I woke up and found the blender on the floor :). It was shipped through Canada Post, so even if I didn't answer, I could have at least picked it up at the Shopper's down the street at the end of the day as opposed to the hassles with the crappy delivery companies.

I'm still getting used to the blender, but I'm liking it. The big difference is that it makes smoother smoothies. It just blends more finely. This actually poses a problem for my "recipes" because with the usual amount of fruit and juice, it doesn't blend very well. The reason is because the fruit is pulverized more finely and then becomes icier (good thing), but it then requires more liquid for it to flow properly and I haven't quite gotten the right mix yet. Another nice thing is that the blender blends the seeds so there is less chewing at the bottom of the glass/mug. At the highest setting, the blender is very loud, vibrates on the counter a little, and blows out air quite viciously, but I have been finding that the lower setting is fine. The construction of the base, especially the switch, is stronger than the PC one, heavier as well. The glass container is slightly smaller, which isn't too much of a concern for a single serving for me (1 litre :)), but limits how much I can blend in the future. It's a good blender, but not 3 times better than the PC one.

The year so far...

It's been an interesting year so far. Different. It's kinda good I guess. Not quite what I've been looking for, but we'll see what the rest of the year has to hold...

Use the secret key. You might get the key if you ask.

Show encrypted text

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Thursday is my designated Russian day

Whether it's volleyball at the Pro Club in Seattle, pick-up volleyball at Antibes Community Centre here in Toronto, or my visit to the Russian consulate tomorrow, Thursday seems to be my Russian day.

For some reason or another, there are a handful of decent Russian volleyball players at Microsoft that play at the Pro Club on Thursdays. It was weird b/c they would go and chatter in Russian between games. Then, I go to Antibes to go play some pick-up a few weeks back on a Thursday and it's Russian volleyball!!! Apparently Bathurst & Finch is Russian central in Toronto because the pick-up volleyball was completely overrun by Russians. Of course, I attracted the high school Russian girls.

Amusing quotes from that night:

Some Girl: I'm on March break. (i.e. High School)

Some Other Girl: I'm going there next year! (Upon noticing Michelle's University of Waterloo pants)

Some Guy: Whoa, we're playing against a hardcore Korean team! (We were Chinese, with the exception of Christine who only pretends to be Chinese)

I gotta go to the Russian consulate tomorrow (Thursday) to get my visa for my family trip to Northern Europe and Russia. I guess this is my first general announcement of my trip. Russia.... Who knows, maybe I'll come back with one of those Russian brides :p

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fun, but there were consequences

The Ladies: Michelle, Christine, Karmun, and Michelle

Lots of omnisexual activity

Lesson learnt: when taking self shots, use your free arm. At least my aim was good enough to still get us in the pic.

I'm in this pic, which provides evidence that my camera was pick pocketed from me when Michelle grabbed my ass

More Pictures

Clubbing was fun, but volleyball on 2 hours of sleep with the taste of alcohol still in your mouth is not.

I went to Easy & The Fifth (which I think is just called The Fifth now, but everyone still calls it Easy) with the DVD crew. It was a lot of fun. I think I actually started enjoying clubbing only last summer down in California. With a few drinks I stop caring what people think and will hit the dance floor. I prefer jam packed dance floors and dark lighting so visibility is limited. It's also better when you go with a group of friends. The commonality of omnisexual grinding in both the California and this group is interesting. For N people, pretty much all NC2 ("N choose 2" = N * (N-1) / 2) combinations of grinding parters happens, regardless of gender. I kept the analysis simple and ignored the threesomes, foursomes, and general orgies. It's all just for kicks and having a good time.

I'm like the designated photographer. Christine asked Michelle if she brought her camera and she said no b/c I would probably bring mine. I've already taken over 1000 photos on my camera and that's just since Christmas. Michelle kept grabbing my ass during the night. She claimed she was just reaching for my camera, but I think we both know otherwise :p

The problem with the night was that after hitting the "train" Vietnamese restaurant at 3am, which was completely packed, I didn't get home until after 4am and I had morning volleyball practice up in Scarborough at 9am... I managed to get 2 hours of sleep. The only good thing was that despite not eating much of a breakfast (just a couple handfuls of Cheerios), I was ok for energy b/c I was still running off of the post-clubbing food :). At least practice was pretty easy, but I didn't play very well. I also blame my toe. My other injuries are negligible in comparison.
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