free page hit counter

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Take my breath away

I'm 8000 ft above sea level in Snowmass, Colorado. At this altitude, every breath of air contains about 25% fewer molecules of oxygen than it would in Toronto. The body will try to compensate by increasing breathing rate, but often that isn't enough, and the result is a nasty set of symptoms including headaches and nausea. In order to avoid this altitude sickness, the lab and I arrived in Denver yesterday afternoon to acclimatize ourselves. So far, it seems to be working because aside from a very slight feeling of light-headedness, every thing seems normal. It's getting late, and I've had a long car ride today, so I will shower (the bathrobes here are delightfully fluffy!) and watch some TV chat with Tiffy while drinking some tea. More from Colorado soon.

Your Favorite Jerk

I'm still on the look out for other Asians in this state. To date, I've only seen three, and one of them may have just been a white guy with hepatitis. Spooky.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You know you're tired when lose two games in a row playing tic-tac-toe against the computer. Seriously. Who loses to anyone in tic-tac-toe after the second grade?

Your Favorite Jerk

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I'm behind the times. Everyone in my lab (and probably everywhere else) have thrown out their old ball mice and replaced them with optical ones, but I'm still using my old white one. I like the old-school mouse because it has a very appealing simplicity. No other component in a modern PC can give you this satisfaction. Rip out a video card and all you'll see are transistors and capacitors. But open up the bottom of a ball mouse and you'll instantly understand how it works: a rubber ball rubs up against two rotating rods that relay the Cartesian coordinates of the device to the computer.

An even more compelling reason for my love of my ball mouse is the almost edifying experience I get to have every two weeks when I need to cleanse the ball of dust and other debris. It's a deliciously satisfying ritual: I open the bottom of the mouse, take out the ball, and lovingly go over it with a soft microfibre cloth I keep in my drawer for this very purpose; then I take a toothpick and carefully scrape off debris from the two perpendicular rods on the inside of the mouse; finally, I place the ball back in the cavity of the mouse and replace the cover. For a mere three minutes of work, I'm rewarded with a mouse that scrolls so smoothly it puts my labmates' optical mouse to shame.

I do love the small pleasures of the daily grind.

Your Favorite Jerk

Monday, November 20, 2006


My highschool English teacher once wrote in my evaluation that I was morose. I thought the old man was blind and let his assessment slide on account of his senility. Ten years later, I think I may have prematurely dismissed poor Mr. Olsen (who, by the way, was my favorite teacher in those days). Today, if I were to make a list of adjectives that suitably describes me it would include such as dour, sullen, sulky, and misanthropic. But if I were inclined to be concise, I would require only one word: morose. I hope, however, that if this blog is still around in ten years, you will come back in 2016 and read that my new one-word-descriptor is 'exuberant' or some other likewise cheery adjective.

Your Favorite Jerk

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stuck between a rock and a hard place

...and there, it seems, I shall remain for the forseable future. I always did have a poor sense of direction. Lttle surprise it led me here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I am sapped of strength and motivation tonight. Perhaps a change of scenary in a couple of weeks will be the panacea I'm looking for. Though, in my current state of mind, I find that unlikely--altitude sickness and sub-zero temperatures will do little to cheer me up.

What I really need is a baseball bat and a room full of pinatas. I don't really care for the candy, but I could sure use a good swing at an easily destructible inanimate object right now. I am probably reverse projecting (if there is even such a thing). Lately I often feel like I'm an inanimate object, subject to the whims of a bat-wielding child who intersperses innocent laughter with wild swings of the bat, oblivious of my obvious fragility. On the bright side, when I'm destroyed I spill forth sweet candy.

Your Favorite Jerk

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gonna get me some soup!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Leaving the office in two minutes for take out from Yummy BBQ on Yonge. Nice bowl of spicey soup and whatever happens to be on Discovery Civilization this evening. That and a ton of work. But soup before work!

Your Favorite Jerk

Monday, November 06, 2006

Shipping and Receiving

It's five minutes to noon and my referee's report, the final piece of a challenging scholarship application puzzle, has still not arrived from Vancouver. If I don't get the Fedex package with the report in the next five minutes, I probably won't get it at all today. That's bad news because my application is due at 5:00PM. It's time to toss the Easy button and bring out the Panic button.

I call Vancouver and politely ask for the Fedex tracking number of the report. The voice on the other end sounds at once confused and alarmed as it informs me that the package had been delivered at 9:30AM this morning and was signed by an A. Appleby. At this point both of us are worried because names like A. Appleby, J. Smith, and H. Jablome are common pseudonyms people give to get rid of the pesky courier asking for a signature early in the morning. If my suspicions are correct, the courier had probably been unable to find my office and dropped off the package to at nearest shipping and receiving office he could find. I thank the sender because I know it's out of her hands and rush down to the shipping and receiving warehouse to try my luck.

The warehouse looks uncanily like the fictional one at Dunder Mifflin, and the guys who work there have the same sartorial traits as Roy and the rest of his crew. I walk in cautiously, sidestepping packages marked Hazardous and Fragile, and reach one of the grey-suited men. I ask for A. Appleby and brace for the inevitable laughter. I expect the man to shout to his buddies that some schmuck had come down looking for "A. Appleby" followed by their hearty laughter at my expense. But to my pleasant surprise, the man beams and says that he is A. Appleby. I get my package and the application is complete. Close call!

Your Favorite Jerk

For those who are sheltered or otherwise slow, the H in H. Jablome is quite often Haywood.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Brio good

I had my first taste of Brio, an Italian chinotto soft drink, yesterday. It's hard to describe the taste of this beverage because it had a taste unlike anything I've ever encountered before. The closest thing I can compare it to would be a mixture of Coke and a Chinese sweet made from sugar-soaked olives. At first I thought the drink was repulsive. But when trying a new food or beverage, my rule of thumb is to always try at least three bites or sips before I deliver my final judgment. This rule has helped me avoid rash dismissal of such delectables as sushi, fried squid, and kim chi. Last night it helped me again. After three sips of Brio, I fell in love with it! Brio is like the slow, ugly kid who's so different from every other kid in class that you just can't help but adore--consider Ralph Wiggum, for instance. If you get a chance, order a can of Brio to go with your next pizza. The Italians have a good thing going with that combo. I'm surprised it took me this long to find out.

Your Favorite Jerk