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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The rewrite process

There is nothing more agonizing than sitting through a group rewrite of your own work. While the end result is undoubtedly better than the original, the process itself is both painful and heart wrenching. The key to surviving such a traumatizing experience is to check your ego at the door. Realize that while it can be devasting to see a paragraph that you tweaked and molded for hours disappear into the ether with the swift press of a button, it is necessary for the cohesion of the work. If nothing else, you must understand that verbosity is a hindrance rather than an expedient to good writing.

Now replace every instance of 'you' and 'your' with 'I' and 'my', and you'll have an idea of what I did from 6pm to 1:30am on Monday night. The paper is looking really good though. So it looks like I can go to Montreal with little academic baggage :)

Your Favorite Jerk

Monday, August 28, 2006


I feel like a hamster running on its wheel. Constantly moving but not getting anywhere. What the heck am I even running towards? Who am I running for? Bullocks to all this! Seriously. I'm going to open up that ice cream I've been saving up for after the project's complete. Screw waiting. I'm going to enjoy it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Looking ahead

This week has just flown by. Time flies when you're in the lab 10-11 hours a day, eh? Next week, when this blasted paper is submitted and I'm free from the constant burden of work, I'm going to relax. I'm going to sleep in. I'm going to make slow cooked soup with that ox tail I bought weeks ago. I'm going to watch all those DVDs I've rented. I'm going to read all those books I've been meaning to read. I'm going to write letters to people I've lost touch with. I'm going to eat chocolate until I puke. And I'm going to give Tiffy all the hugs I missed this week.

But for now, I'm going to figure out some Pearson Coefficients for my data. Ciao.

Your Favorite Jerk

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I done lost my mind!

I just spent the last five minutes staring at my screen while humming the Transformers theme song instead of finishing off my work so I can get home before midnight. I don't actually know the words to the song after "robots in disguise" because I grew up watching the show in Shanghai where the episodes were dubbed in Mandarin. Believe it or not, the Chinese title of the show was Bian Xing Jin Gang, which when literally translated means Shape Shifting King Kong--seriously.

Your Favorite Jerk

I found a pleasant surprise on my phone today :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Checkout etiquette

Twice this week, I've been the victim of checkout line boors. On Saturday, Tiff and I stood in line behind a man who paid for a pair of skates and a hockey stick using three stacks of Canadian Tire Money in 10 cent denominations. Now, anyone who can collect enough 10 cent CTM to purchase hockey equipment obviously has commendable patience, and I don't want to belittle that virtue. But I don't have such enviable patience, and it's more than a little unfair of him to tax my admittedly meager forbearance to satisfy his own ends. Besides being inconsiderate, holding up a long line just so you can get rid of some play-money is just ig'nant.

Today, I waited in line at Dominion for a man and his partner to unload their entire shopping cart onto the express checkout counter. What part of 12-item express is so difficult to understand? Even by elementary school maths, most people can surmise that a full shopping cart contains at least 12 items. I'm not asking you to estimate the number of jellybeans in a jar to win a prize at the fair here--just look at your full cart and tell me if it has more or fewer than 12 items. You don't win a prize if you get it right, but you do look like a jerk if you don't.

End rant.

Your Favorite Jerk

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Je veux et j'exige!!!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOkay, maybe I don't exige, but I most definitely veux this Doraemon webcam. I think he would make a lovely friend for the bunny and the moose, all the while secretly filming them as they make a fool of themselves. The question now is if I trust a company in HK to deliver this to me. Decisions, decisions...

Your Favorite Jerk

Monday, August 21, 2006


I finished work at 11 last night and went to Fred's for a quick beer to wind down the night. As we talked about our aversions and aspirations, I realized that I'm wandering again. A few months ago, my path was clear and defined: study hard to pass the re-class exam. But now that I'm actually in the PhD program, the same demons that used to haunt me have returned to tease, prod, and taunt me, reminding me of how bored and unfocused I am. I feel like I'm stuck in my own desert, trying half-heartily to reach the promised land. Everywhere I turn, I see unforgiving giants and land that devours. They keep me from reaching that which was promised to me even before my conception, yet I can do nothing more than acknowledge the absurdity of this tragedy. When will I have the courage, determination, and faith to vanquish these giants? Who are your giants, and do you have the same question as me? Let's talk.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

File under fond memories

Today was a good day.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Zoom zoom

I got a chance to drive a Mazda 3 last night using my Zipcar membership, and I must say I'm impressed with the way it handled. For a car with a price tag like the 3 to go around bends on the Gardener without any hint of floating is quite remarkable indeed. Or maybe it just felt tight around the corners because the last three cars I drove were Chevys and Chryslers--and one of them was a minivan. It's all relative, I suppose.

Your Favorite Jerk

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pithy movie reviews

I recently signed up with for unlimited DVDs, so I anticipate a movie binge coming. In an effort to share my admittedly unimportant opinion, I will use this humble blog to offer pithy reviews of all the movies I watch. Watch this space for suggestions on movies to watch and movies avoid.

Little Miss Sunshine (5/5)
Brilliant. This movie is without a doubt the best I've seen all year. Don't read the reviews or synopsis because they will fail to convince you to see it. I know I wouldn't have gone if the tickets weren't free, but I'm very glad I did. I cried in sorrow when the most likeable character died mid way through the film, and just moments later I cried even harder in laughter as the family attempted to abscond with his body in their malfunctioning VW Omnibus. Truly a gem that held my attention for the whole two hours.

Flowers of Shanghai (1/5)
Garbage. Set in late 19th century Shanghai, this movie paints a picture of life in the upper crust brothels of that era. Like many other Tony Leung Chiu-Wai movies, this one is a bore from beginning till end. The critics, of course, love it for the same reason hardcore chocolate aficionados love 99% dark chocolate even though it tastes like chalk: it guarantees that they can voice an opinion contrary to the popular one, elevating them above the masses. For the rest of us, this movie is slow-torture. Worse still, all the dialogue is in Shanghainese, but many of the actors are from HK. Listening to native Cantonese speakers struggle through their lines in a vastly different tongue is terribly grating. For those who understand Shanghainese, Flowers of Shanghai is best watched with the English subtitles on and the audio off.

V for Vendetta (2/5)
Trash. This was a great movie to try out my new THX-certified 5.1 surround sound system, but the same could probably be said about Battlefield Earth. While it may be true that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, even Che Guevara would have been difficult to like if he spoke with the same pretentious verbosity as the protagonist of this movie. Save yourself the time and money and go watch something else. If you must watch a masked man dispatch hapless underlings, try Zorro--at least Antonio Banderas can keep contrived alliterations to a minimum.

Your Favorite Jerk

Monday, August 07, 2006

My favorite movie scene

The opening cooking scene from Eat Drink Man Woman is my favorite movie scene. If you can watch this and not get hungry, you need to get checked out for worms or something even more sinister. That knifework is insane.


Your Favorite Jerk

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I think I'm coming down with something


Thursday, August 03, 2006

One remote to rule them all

"Do you have price-match on this remote," I asked the Futureshop salesperson innocently, keeping all manner of premeditated mischief carefully hidden behind a seemingly uninformed facade. Unbeknownest to the salesperson, I had in my pocket a printout from that would make him and his manager rue the day some two-bit marketing hack at Futureshop HQ decided to roll out their foolhardy policy to price-match all competitors' advertised prices. "Of course, we do, sir!" he replied cheerfully, confident that whatever price difference there was between his store and that of his competitor would be so neglible relative to the profit he would make from the sale that the he would glad me throw me a bone with the price-match. But when he saw the $170 price difference his confident manner quickly abandoned him, and in its place came a sense of fear.

Sensing that the tide had turned against him, the salesperson, though still friendly, began to deliver a set-play script about how impossible it would be for him to fulfill this price-match. The piece he delivered was brilliant in its simplicity: the price difference was too great and Dell's price was below even Futureshop's at-cost price. A lesser man may have walked out at that point. Indeed I too would have walked away from the store dejected had I not been motivated by the beauty of the Harmony 880 universal remote, a remote so powerful that to call it a remote would be an affront and insult to its 3-inch colour LCD display. I stood my ground and insisted, in the most cordial way possible, that he call his manager. Seeing that I had called his bluff, the salesperson folded, rang up purchase, and congratulated me on an "awesome deal".

And how is the Harmony 880, you ask? In a word: magnificent. Come by some time, and I'll show it to you. But like George Bluth Sr likes to say, NO TOUCHING!

Your Favorite Jerk