You know you're old when you start saying things like "i don't understand kids these days". Or maybe I just don't understand kids in the United States. The twelve year old I tutor always has such interesting stories about what happens at his school. He goes to middle school which is grades 6-8. So keep in mind, that's age 11-14 or thereabouts. A new kid at his school recently got kicked out cuz he got busted for cocaine possession. Apparently a good number of cop cars showed up to deal with the situation. Another couple kids in grade 7 were, I believe, expelled because they were caught smoking pot. Here's my question. How do kids, who really shouldn't be old enough to be going out, get connections for weed and cocaine? That means they probably need to get hook ups with kids who are at least 3-4 years older. The freakish thing is, if you dont remember what a 12/13 year old looks like, they've barely hit puberty. We're talking not one pimple, no facial hair and about 5' tall. The worst thing kids did when I was in grade eight was smoke and maybe borrow stuff from their parent's liquor cabinet. I wonder if the kids today at good ol' Montgomery Middle School in Coquitlam, BC are anything like that. My mom tells me the Centennial kids have a pretty bad reputation now. Harrassing the neighbouring rec center staff so badly that they are asking for police protection.


If I could have something that money can't buy, I think I'd wish for 4" in height, greater artistic talent, and a photographic memory. How about you?
I just got two copies of a hoax email. Kinda like Denny's but mine looks to be a virus. It's sent from security@microsoft.com but really it's laughable. The title reads "Use this patch immediately !" and the email goes like this:

Dear friend , use this Internet Explorer patch now!
There are dangerous virus in the Internet now!
More than 500.000 already infected!

Is this the invasion of the dumb wannabe hackers with pathetic grammar and no sense of what looks genuine, or what?


You gotta love the local Bay Area news. With so many people here, there's no shortage of weird stories. Last night police in the east bay embarked on a search for a reported dead body in a park. They concluded the search when they found a man alive and well. Apparently he likes to meditate in the middle of the night lying on his back in a few inches of water in the park's creek. What the hell kind of meditating environment is that? It's freaking freezing out, you're wet and muddy, there's probably bugs crawling up your ass and you're probably lying on some dog shit. Man, that's funny.


How much can I cram into one week? I'm currently taking 13 credits and tutoring 7 hours a week. On top of that I get the occasional college entrance essay to edit for some cash as well. Add homework and studying on top of that. And something new that I didn't have to deal with when I went to SFU - doing laundry, getting groceries, making dinner every night and cleaning the house. I'm trying to figure out if I should apply for another 20 hours of on-campus work on top of all this. It pays a whopping $9.10/hr which is decent by college job standards and it's for an OK job writing articles for some department and some clerical work. But it's hard to know how much is too much anymore. I'm tempted to test myself...


Man, I'm a sucker. I just got an email that told me that Ringo had been purchased by Tickle.com. So I signed in and poked around a bit. They're a Friendster copycat but covered in flashing banner ads and slightly disorganized. They've got some fun quizzes and stuff so I clicked through the handwriting analysis one. It took longer than I thought but it was kinda fun to pick out the sample that looked the most like my handwriting. When I hit the final submit button, all it told me was that I am trustworthy. To get more details, I would have to purchase the results. Bah. Anyways, I still like Friendster's layout and usability the best even though they need to do some serious upgrades to fix the slowness. Orkut isn't too bad. They would be my second choice. I'm not liking this Tickle thing. There's more advertising than personal space on your main page and it's tough to figure out in general.
Update on the potential dilemma. There's no longer a dilemma. Autodesk won't do an H1-B. I didn't ask my ex-boss to ask HR about a TN because it's so temporary that such a visa for a job that I know won't move me along in my career a whole lot wouldn't be worth quitting school for. So I can concentrate on my homework now. :-) I think I'm ok with all this. If I dropped everything for this job, it would return me to my other career track where I would continue to do stuff that I don't find intellectually challenging or personally rewarding. Would I have a bunch of money to go shopping every weekend? Yup. But thinking long term, it wouldn't make me a happier person. I'm taking some serious short term financial pain here...I sure hope it leads to long term gain, both personal and financial.

So B asked me yesterday if you could really get a PhD in media studies. I guess that just means that people generally don't know what the heck my field is about and understandably so. Most people know of PhDs in sciences and engineering, not something that seems as abstract as media studies. So short history lesson. If you've ever heard of Marshal Mcluhan. He's the grand-daddy of mass communication studies. He was a Canadian who did his undergrad work at University of Manitoba (be proud Ray!). He also studied at Cambridge, taught at University of Wisconsin and served as Director of University of Toronto's Centre for Culture and Technology. The focus of his work (and mine) is the effects of mass media. He looked at how the medium shapes the message being delivered and coined the term "global village", the cultural coming together of geographically disparate communities as a result of mass communication. Mass Comm PhDs typically aim to dedicate their lives to research, teaching or working for a media company as an analyst or consultant. There's many different areas of focus within the field as well. I'm tailoring my program to focus on media, race and gender.


Wednesdays and Thursdays are my homework days but right now I can't concentrate on anything. I just got an email from my favourite boss in the world (the guy offered to loan me money after I lost my job at Scale Eight to help me stay here and look for work). He is at Autodesk now in SF and is looking for marcom manager who would, I assume, report to him. I've just handed over in excess of $5K plus books for school this semester which basically puts me 1/4 of the way through my program. I've also developed a rapport with one professor who might get me a TA position for the summer too.

I've just replied to my ex boss asking what their visa policy is regarding H1-B because I'm a little scared of applying for a TN (long complicated story on that one). If the answer is "all clear on the H1-B" I'm headed for a VERY difficult dilemma in my life. Any advice? If I'm guaranteed a visa, do I ditch school and throw away the time, money, effort I've already spent? The visa and pay cheque and opportunity to work for an AWESOME boss would be what I have to weigh. As for the job itself, I've done that stuff before and can do it in my sleep, so it's a lateral move, not upward.


They say never to point a laser pointer into your eye, or other people's eyes for that matter. Well we played laser tag on Saturday and there were lasers pointing all over the place including straight into my eyes. How is that different from pointing a laser pointer into my eye?


I file this under E for EEEWWWW! It's funny the stuff you come across when you're shopping for free stuff on craigslist.
How many people can boast that their mom is in a band? Isn't that the epitome of coolness? Well, the mom of the 9-year-old I tutor is a drummer in a band. Unfortunately I can't make it to their next gig at the Beale Street bar and grill but check out the B-Cups' web page. The mommy/drummer I know is Deb on the left.


I have to put together a log of all my media activity for a week for a media ethics class. I realized something. I rarely just park my ass in front of the TV and stare at it. The TV is on a lot. I started feeling guilty that it is sometimes on for 3.5 hours a day. But, unless 24 is on, it's usually just playing in the background while I read, do homework, cook, clean, surf the web or eat. I guess if I'm multitasking that's not so bad. I wonder if those surveys about how much TV our children are watching takes into account whether they're sitting there staring at the thing, or multitasking.
It was a beautiful day today. Not a cloud in the sky. Hard to believe it's mid-February. I was walking through the "quad" at school. A big grassy area lined with trees between the library and student union building. Some students were tossing a football around, others were sitting on a blanket reading. Music was blaring from the stereo speakers next to a fraternity's information table. As I walked though the quad en route to my car parked 5 blocks away, a couple thoughts crossed my mind. (1) How come I don't remember such a scene at SFU? and (2) what is the point of a frat or sorority if there's no frat or sorority housing at SF State?

In answer to number 1, well... we had no grass. The area between the AQ and business building was designed by Arthur Erickson to be the gathering place for students. Anyone who attended SFU knows full well that students march right through that area to get to the bookstore, library or other end of the university. Why? Let's see, it was usually cold and rainy outside and being surrounded by concrete rarely makes people feel the urge to stop, congregate, and engage some scholarly discussion. SF State is by no means a good-looking school. Stanford is what you call a beautiful school. But that patch of grass outside the student union building at SFSU seems to make school feel more like a place to maybe stick around just a little longer.

As for number 2, I have no idea the answer to that one. What the hell is the point of a sorority or fraternity? The mission statements I've seen from the groups at SFSU are pretty vague if not meaningless. Even those Greek groups at bigger schools with houses for people to live in. What do they offer other than a place to stay and instant network of friends to party with (to the exclusion of other students)? I don't get it.


I've come to realize I have volunteeritis. I've become addicted to volunteering for every cause that interests me and unfortunately there's too many of them. I'm now behind in my reading for school and even further behind in sleep and house cleaning and haven't had a meal at home on a weekday for a week and a half. I dunno how people keep up this kind of schedule (or busier even) and still find time to work out and party on weekends. I value my sleep too much. There was once a time I worked, then went to night school til 10pm then to the gym before going home at midnight and getting up the next day at 7:15am. I think I'd collapse if I did that now. Maybe it's all mental and I just have no discipline. Maybe it's old age creeping up on me.


Help. I just half-volunteered myself for a humorous speech contest. Round 1 takes place March 3rd. So that means I need a topic that's, well, funny. HELP!!! It's hard enough to speak publicly much less try and be funny. Please submit your comments with speech topic suggestions. I already did a speech on what's cool and not-so-cool about Canada and another speech on how to best handle a going to the DMV office. I'm not sure i have any more funny material. hmm how bout something to do with my observations in dating/picking up at parties. (i'm sure i'll be able to get a lot of material from last week at jin and lonny's birthdays)
I have such an incredible talent for getting laid off, I even got sent home from a volunteer position tonight. I hauled my ass through some flukey late evening traffic to get up to 111 Minna to help out with the SF Int'l Film Fest kick off party. I got through the door and the lady at the counter pulled me aside and said, "I think we got all the help we need. There's really not much for you to do right now". To that I replied, "I would prefer you GIVE me something to do because I came from a bit of a distance to volunteer tonight." She sends me over to another lady who drags me through the dense crowd to the volunteer coordinator (this disturbingly disorganized woman who sends really confusing emails). She apologizes and tells me she sent a bunch of the early shift volunteers home already and didn't expect things to go so smoothly so she doesn't need me. She goes and checks my name off a list so I can get credit for my free film vouchers. I'm thinking, that's fine and nice and all but really missing the point. Then she says "yeah unfortunately when the other volunteers get here, I'll have to tell them there's no work for them either." I start to get the feeling this woman has never managed a project in her life. Wouldn't it have been wise to add phone numbers to that list of volunteer names so that maybe she could call us and tell us we wouldn't have to battle traffic, waste gas and drive circles looking for parking so we could stand there and do nothing or elect to turn around and head home? Guess I just gotta come to terms with the fact that some people got their shit together and some don't. It's tough being a type A personality.


I don't know if it's a difference between Americans and Canadians or a difference between SFU and SFSU students or the fact that people 8 or 9 years younger than me are just of a different breed, but I noticed a lot of really rude and obnoxious behaviour as I sat in one of my prerequisite classes this morning. This is a 25 person production class where we're all seated in a little semi circle in 3 rows. The class started at 9:10 am and all the way up until 9:50, there was a constant stream of students straggling into the class late, some making no effort at all to sneak in quietly. One girl made a huge production of her arrival by walking right up to the prof as he was lecturing and asking him in a big voice (while chewing her gum real loud) "could you tell me what class this is?" I almost fell out of my chair. Evidently, she had found the wrong room. But rather then leave with her tail between her legs, she had the gall to stall our lecture further by asking the prof how to find the room she was looking for. He kindly pointed her in the right direction (the man either has incredible patience or is used to this shit from students) and she walked like someone doing a bad runway model impersonation back out into the hallway.