Saturday, July 30, 2005

BOOM goes the dynamite

As many of you know, I've been approaching the 500-game milestone in Minesweeper Flags for a while now. Aided by approximately 70 games played in the last two weeks, it snuck up on me a lot faster than I expected. With ten games left to the milestone, I began reserving games for my bitterest rivals. My second-bitterest rival Adam was to play the penultimate game leading up to the big event and my fourth-bitterest rival Cameron was to play a game in there too, but due to scheduling difficulties and internet difficulties, respectively, my third-bitterest rival Rachel capably filled in. A couple of victories in my 498th and 499th games had me feeling good and ready to go.

There was only one person who I could play the big game against: Jim Dinning, my fiercest (and bitterest) rival. We've played many a three-game-rubber-that-becomes-a-seven-game-series. Excluding the first 20 games where he was a beginner and some 17-game win streak I had a month ago or so, our head-to-head record is quite close to .500.

Lately though his game wasn't quite up to the lofty standard he had set prior to (his) exam period. All that time writing, poring over legal texts, and speculating whether or not his roommate was balling another dude in the next room had tarnished his skills, it appeared. Combine that with the 17 straight wins I had against him and I wasn't even sure if he was the strongest player I knew anymore. But still he was the only choice.

I needn't have worried.

I got woken up early today, but couldn't get back to sleep because I wanted to get this 500th game over with, and because I am lame enough to allow such a thing to affect my decision-making. I dragged my ass out of bed, brushed my teeth, and made a beeline for the computer. Fortunately for me, Jim was online, or the suspense would have killed me. Well, probably not, but anyway, the game was on.

Even Jim acknowledged the gravity of the situation after a few moves.

Prior to the game, I had the sinking feeling that I would lose. I went ahead anyway, commending myself on pressing forward just for the love of the game. So, faced with exactly the risky choice Jim faced and declined (a 50/50 guess with the possibility of a blank), I decided I was going to have some balls and just give'r. No guts, no glory, right?

Cost me the game. Cost me the game.

Oh well. Notice the second 50/50 choice with a possibility of blank. Well, if it already happened once, what are the odds it'll happen again?

Cost me the game. Cost me the game.

When the smoke cleared it was 13-1 and I was in some serious trouble. Things didn't improve much, either: soon I was looking at 25-8 and my only hope was the bomb. Pardon me: da bomb. Maybe the Minesweeper gods would hand me a break on the big occasion, and I would get to triumphantly proclaim "BOOM goes the dynamite!"

No. It was not to be. I weakly typed "Good game as always, Jimothy" and that was that.

My first 500 games: 375-125, for a 75% winning percentage exactly.

To hammer home the point that his kung fu was bigger than my kung fu, Jim proceeded to beat me twice more. I'll never doubt you again. Cameron then beat me twice more, bringing me to 0-4 and five consecutive losses in total before I finally won one to put me at a highly underwhelming 20% in the post-500 era.

It's times like this that I like to look back at what I've accomplished. I've corrupted many of my friends and discovered that Minesweeper players come in all shapes and colours. Growing up, I was the only person I knew who actually enjoyed Minesweeper, but I've discovered since I started playing MF that not only are there lots of Minesweepers out there, they aren't the types you suspect either; it really does seem to be pretty random as to who plays and who doesn't, and who is actually good is a whole different question. It's little things like that that keep me warm at night.

Perhaps more interestingly, let's look at what I might have accomplished in the last six months were it not for discovering Minesweeper Flags. In this last six months, I might have:

  • Found an advisor
  • Found a research topic
  • Eaten more fruit

but I wouldn't trade the good times and trash talk that a good game of MF provides for any of that stuff.

Rivalries I have developed (records as of 6:00PM, July 30, 2005):

  1. Jim (83-49 head-to-head)
  2. Adam (56-18 head-to-head)
  3. Rachel (45-14 head-to-head)
  4. Cameron (34-12 head-to-head)

Classic moments in Minesweeper Flags:

  • Jowen spitefully closing the window after hitting blanks, thus lending his name to yet another cheap video game maneuver
  • Coining the terms "da bomb" (Jim), "SMF" (Adam), and "HDM" (Jim)
  • The first application of the phrase "BOOM goes the dynamite!" to a successful use of da bomb (Jim)

I look forward to the next 500 games.

Current Music: Blur - Modern Life is Rubbish

Friday, July 29, 2005


Galen, my go-to guy, is leaving for Calgary tomorrow, after years of needing out of the same old routine. Congratulations man, I think you'll have a great time striking out on your own; you've sure bailed my ass out plenty of times, I'm sure you'll have no trouble looking after yourself.

I don't have any rhetoric or jokes, but I do have this song, which I never did get a chance to sing for you:

I've been really tryin, baby
Tryin' to hold back these feelings for so long
And if you feel, like I feel baby
Come on, oh come on,

Let's get it on
Let's get it on
Let's get it on
Let's get it on

We're all sensitive people
With so much love to give, understand me sugar
Since we got to be
Let's say, I love you

There's nothin' wrong with me
Lovin' you -
And givin' yourself to me can never be wrong
If the love is true

Don't you know how sweet and wonderful, life can be
I'm askin' you baby, to get it on with me
I ain't gonna worry, I ain't gonna push
So come on, come on, come on, come on baby
Stop beatin' round the bush...

Let's get it on
Let's get it on
Let's get it on
Let's get it on

Save a steak for me, buddy.

In a non-sexual sort of way.

Current Music: Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I'm taking my ball and going home


All of a sudden the wang isn't feeling so gigantic.

Current Music: Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister

What do you get the man who has every... a lot of... some things?

It's my dad's birthday. I feel like I want to get him something.

(Image from uComics, or Garfield, or Jim Davis, whoever is in charge of that stuff)

Look at Garfield in the second panel. Look at the soul he's putting into it. He's really emoting. He's feeling it.

I don't think I have anything in me like that, I better just stick with a card.

Current Music: Beck - Lost Cause

Pet Peeve (or, What's Wrong With Wang) #5

Lately I find myself answering the same few questions over and over. I don't mind answering these questions. What I do mind is getting the same questions repeatedly from people who should already know the answer, either by listening to things people say to them and taking stock of the things that go on in the world around them, or at least by simple memorization given the number of damn times I answer these questions.

To save us all some time, I hope that those of you who are asking these questions (and you know who you are) will find the following guide helpful.

  • I go to UC Berkeley
  • It's in Berkeley
  • Yes, Berkeley is a city
  • I am in a PhD program
  • I study probability and statistics
  • I don't have an advisor nor a research topic yet
  • I have approximately 3 or 4 more years left in the program
  • No, I am not in the US right now
  • Yes, there are many jobs in statistics
  • Yes, I am going out for lunch
  • No, I cannot break my plans. I told you about this two days ago
  • No thank you, I would not like to try the [unappealing dish]
  • Yes, I know what it tastes like, I've been eating this for 23 years
  • No, I do not need a sweater, it is 28 degrees outside. You know this, you have a window
  • It's Cecile, not Cecilia
  • It's Jowen, not Jown
  • I don't know, I haven't met her
  • Yes, I'm driving. I can't talk now. Bye

Any further questions?

Too bad.

Current Music: Broken Social Scene - I Slept With Bonhomme at the CBC

Monday, July 25, 2005

What's Wang This Week

I never fully believed that my own calves were that big. I mean, who really looks at people's calves? Even if I were the kind of person that did, I wouldn't really look at my own calves, since they're behind me. After a/b-ing them with Graham's, and Graham is someone who as he himself points out "has been playing leg-intensive sports all [his] life", I am now convinced. Apparently I have formidable forearms, too. Now all I have to work on is everything in between.

In another attempt to shake myself from my rut, wherein I listen to Spoon and only Spoon for a whole month, I picked up a couple of Beck albums last week to go with Modest Mouse's "The Moon and Antarctica", which I got a few weeks ago. It's not really working though, as I still want to listen to Spoon. I fear I have overdone it, too, as with the other CDs Graham got me (bitch, you my number one nigga) I don't feel like I've given enough time to any one of them. What is wrong with me, why can't I take in other things? I think this is a sign I'm getting old.

Speaking of getting old, last night I realized, after Eric and I had our usual Marshall vs. Fender debate, that I don't even remember what kind of amps Graham Coxon uses. I used to know everything about his rig: his distortion pedal (Rat II), his main guitar ('52 reissue Fender Telecaster), his secondary guitar (Gibson Les Paul Custom), his tertiary guitar (Gibson ES-335), and those two awesome Marshall half-stacks which I cannot remember the names of. Hell, I even used to know what kind of picks he used. A part of my youth is truly dead; namely, the part that knew how to play guitar. I practiced for about an hour today, and my fingers are just torn to shreds. But it's a good hurt.

Last week some of us went to Aji Taro at UBC for lunch. The place was hilarious. They were "too new" to have lunchboxes, and they'd been around for like 3 weeks. Apparently they're also too new to have soap and paper towels in the men's room, or a flusher knob for the toilet. Regan asked if they were too new to have all-you-can-eat; since they were too new to have napkins, my guess would be yes.

I also mostly failed in using the math on the weekend and came out $3.75 down over two games of poker. With that $3.75, I could have bought three little battery-powered hand fans and still had some change left for some gumballs and a decoder ring out of one of those little machines they put next to the racks where you get that free TV listing magazine. I suppose it makes up for my ridiculous steal of a $20-to-$15 split of the pot when the chip leader had approximately 11 times more money than I did.

This is getting a little negative on my part and it hurts to type so I will cut my losses and fan myself with my small battery-powered hand fan (Jowen, bitch, you, also, are my number one nigga).

Current Music: Beck - Sea Change

What was Wang Two Weeks Ago

You know what, I can't think of anything specific.

Does anyone remember what I did two weeks ago?

Current Music: Beck - Sea Change

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My nipples are very sensitive

Food for thought: there is a chance that my PhD will have this man's signature on it.

I was more okay with that before I saw that video.

Current Music: Feist - Inside and Out

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


At age 23, George Harrison was married, had begun learning to play the sitar, and had toured the world with the Beatles.

Pavel Bure had racked up two consecutive 60-goal seasons and came within one goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

Kevin Garnett was making $10,000,000/yr by his 23rd birthday.

Before age 23, Évariste Galois had essentially invented group theory and shown that polynomials of degree 5 and higher were not solvable using finitely many rational operations and root extractions. He was then killed in a duel. What a fucking badass.


I think I'll probably try buying some cheese from the Cheeseboard sometime this year.

Current Music: Jack Johnson - Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

Monday, July 18, 2005

Guess whose birthday it is tomorrow?

You guessed it.

Steven Anthony Lawrence.

Happy birthday, kiddo.

Current Music: Beck - Odelay!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Linky Linky Fun Night

Mad props to Vikram: a nice description of "The Aristocrats" joke, with a decent example too.

Mad props to Rachel: let this be a lesson to all of us. I'm going to have to be on extra good behaviour the next time I wear my Dick's Lumber shirt. I can just see myself in a really serious situation on the news or something, like maybe I just witnessed a robbery or something, wearing it. Oh crap, I wore it in my meeting with my boss today.

Current Music: The La's - There She Goes

P.S. Don't forget to read the post right below this one

EDIT (12:15AM, July 22, 2005): Fixed the links. Stupid!

Now hear this

Who's free on Tuesday? I want to get together with my friends, and I want to eat food, and I'm hoping for some kind of glorious convergence of the two.

Get in touch with me and let me know if you prefer Japanese food or steak. The majority will have it... and I get 17 votes. But which way am I voting? I don't know yet; I'm told my capriciousness is why people love me. Also, let me know if you can drive, and I am open to suggestions for stuff to do afterwards. Mind you, it is a weekday and therefore I guess we should probably be, like, working and shit the next day. But suggestions!

Final details are TBA. But be assured, it will be on Tuesday, the 19th. (What a concept!)

Current Music: Marc Ribot - Aqui Como Alla

Monday, July 11, 2005

Note to self

Don't forget Adam's birthday and Ian's birthday.

Current Music: Elvis Costello - Pump It Up

Things at home I was glad to be rid of #5

Thing at home I was glad to be rid of #5: Shawn Desman

I almost said I didn't miss him at all, but then I remembered times when I was sitting there at my desk watching TV, glad I wasn't watching Shawn Desman.

Jim has informed me that Mr. Desman is moving on up and is now flying Air Canada from Vancouver to Toronto, rather than Jetsgo. Then again, I guess he doesn't have a whole lot of choice anymore but to fork out the extra cash.

Current Music: Björk - Big Time Sensuality

Random quotes from my past, provided without context #22

Cumin is so in right now.

-- Jim Dinning

Current Music: Thompson Twins - Hold Me Now

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sweet, sweet Jimothy

Yesterday was a sort of sad day (for me, anyway, perhaps not so much for Jim) as it was what is very likely the last time we shall ever see our man Jim Dinning at home in PoCo.

Jim moved to PoCo only a year before I first met him, but with his rapier wit and encyclopedic sports knowledge, the area took to him quickly. However, none of him and his family could say the feeling was mutual, and so 10 years after settling into a comfy Citadel Heights home, every last one of them is jumping ship/has already jumped ship and admitting/admitted they should never have left Newmarket.

Jim provided a valuable check to our balances; as the only bonafide easterner among us, he was the Hannity to our Colmes; the Carlson to our whoever the fuck else was on Crossfire; the Colbert to our Colbert. Only he was smarter than all those fucks.

On a personal note, he was also real fun to go up against, especially when I beat him at stuff. Probably my proudest academic accomplishment to date (not really, but for the purposes of this post, let's just say yes) is being 140 smarter than him. My proudest athletic moment is still posting him up at the top of the key and spinning around him for an easy layup. Mind you, everyone says I travelled, and I missed, but still it was quite a burst of speed I had there. And what a Minesweeper Flags competitor!

I'd say I'll miss him, but I'll probably talk to him on Monday. What I will miss is having him around to give voice to all the things I want to say but am too polite to, and having someone around whom I respect to teach me about law and other shit like that.

Jim was a hell of a rival.
A hell of a friend.
A hell of a man.

Goodnight, sweet Jimbo. To quote a very wise man, I'll see you on the internet!

Right back atcha.

Current Music: Ron Sexsmith - Retriever

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Overrated songs

Here's a fun one: what are some seriously overrated songs? I really agree with a lot of choices on this list (thanks to Fark for the link). Mind you, I might just be tired of hearing "American Pie" and "Light My Fire" over and over and over again, but then again I hear "Won't Get Fooled Again" plenty of times on Rock 101 (YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA - AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH - HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH - HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!) and I'm not so tired if it. But just the other day, I was thinking, you know what, I wouldn't mind if I didn't hear "Hey Ya" again for a year or three. And the fact that "Wonderwall" made me start playing guitar is a source of real shame for me. Their inclusion of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is one I have to disagree with, though.

It got me thinking: what are some songs that I just don't get? Songs that everyone loves but me, or were huge hits that I hated. I'm sure plenty more will occur to me later, but here are a few just off the top of my head:

  • The Beatles - Something

    Is it pretty? Sure, whatever.

  • U2 - Beautiful Day

    Come on, this was so boring. Pablum in music form.

  • The Kinks - All Day and All of the Night

    Honestly, if you had to pick one rollicking Kinks song for a road trip, who among us would pick this over "You Really Got Me"? They fill exactly the same purpose.

  • Coldplay - The Scientist

    Now... don't... get... me... wrong. I... like... that... album... a... lot. But... sometimes... it... can... be... a... little... zzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Kasabian - Club Foot

    "You wanna take control of me | You're messing with the enemy". That's not really a great lyric, and it doesn't really get much better from there. Other songs that sound cool at first but don't hold up to subsequent listens include The Bravery's "Honest Mistake" and Louis XIV's "Finding Out True Love is Blind", but I'm not really sure those have been overrated, since it seems most people realize this.

  • Keane - Somewhere Only We Know

    Like "Beautiful Day", only a power ballad.

  • Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side

    One cool bass lick, some mumbled vocals and some ham-fisted lyrics. No dice.

  • The Velvet Underground - Heroin

    Supposedly meant to mimic the feeling of a hit, which apparently consists of sitting there waiting for something interesting to happen.

  • Radiohead - Karma Police

    For my money one of the most unremarkable songs on the whole album, and yet it was a huge hit.

  • Tenacious D - My Biznitch is the Shiznit

    It's no "Wonderboy". It's not even a "Tribute". As far as I can tell most people only like it because of its admittedly awesome title.

  • Matthew Good Band - that song that was off the album that came before the one that had Apparitions on it, I don't remember

    The pride of Coquitlam. Hooray.

  • The Verve - Sonnet

    Since this was essentially a less eloquent "The Drugs Don't Work", I don't see what business it had being a #1 hit.

  • The Asbestos Concern - Rocky and Bullwinkle

    I really don't see what you all see in this song.

How about you? What are some songs you just don't get?

Current Music: The Doors - Touch Me

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Random quotes from my past, provided without context #21

I was telling all the girls about his huge nipples and how he farts when he pees.

-- Travis Tanner

Current Music: Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in People

Monday, July 04, 2005

Jowen's guest post

When the Internet's Foremost Dickolas Wang asked me to write a guest post on his blog, I was kind of honoured, I guess. At first I considered writing something like a simple yet insightful Random Quote or perhaps a WWTW in the key of Jowen. But instead, I present you with this:

Dear Shelby,

I just want you to know that I think your blog profile picture is hot. I know that you are much more than just a pretty face, and that you are probably tired of comments of this nature. Judging from your blog, you seem to be a very smart, competent, and intriguing person, who happens to have a very hot profile picture. It's hotter than my bull riding picture, and that bull riding picture is pretty damn hot.

Your picture is even hotter than that one time at McDonald's when I paid for a regular quarter pounder but instead got a quarter pounder with cheese AND bacon. And believe me, that was hot. However, if I find a clean pair of underwear in my room tomorrow, your picture will not be hotter than that - I'm sorry. Although your picture will always be hotter than that time when Rich "accidently" took my sandwich. Bastard, I hate you.

Anyways, I hope I don't sound like I'm trying to get in your pants. That is not my intention as I am already taken (isn't that right Dick? (ed: no -- DW)). You just have a hot profile picture.

- Jowen
P.S. - And no, I don't masturbate to your photo.

EDIT (1:57AM, July 5, 2005): Kicked it up a notch. You know, just so there's no confusion here. -- DW

What's Wang This Week

With the summer school over, I have now settled back in at home and am ready to get down to business. Or at least I would be, had I not foolishly decided to reformat my computer last night. Who knew it'd take so long to get everything set up again? Who designs these things, anyway?

My sister came home on Saturday after spending Canada Day in Toronto where it was not raining, and so there is crap everywhere. There is an open suitcase right behind me, a drying rack to its right, and six jars of chestnuts lined up behind my CD collection (don't ask). Couple that with the stack of 14 DVDs -- and 6 coasters, dammitall -- I burned over the last two days and my workspace is a shambles. It's a good thing I don't have an officemate here. It's especially good because this way all of the weird old man noises that come out of my belly don't get mistakenly construed as flatulence. My sister did bring me an extra can of Orange Fanta, though, which is pretty sweet.

I feel powerful: What's Chung This Week.

We went to Montana's for dinner on Saturday night and the server was speaking remarkably loud. I don't know why. My dad commented that he sounded like a bonafide Texan, which is bizarre because he was clearly half-Asian. However, this did lead to a very witty exchange, of which I am quite proud:

Him: "Look at that plate! I don't see anything left on those ribs! Now that's what I like to see!"

Actually, I don't think that quite captures the loudness.

Him: "LOOK at that plate! I don't see ANYTHING left on those ribs! Now THAT's what I like to see!"
me: "..."
"... well, that's how I roll."

Quite the zinger, I'm sure you agree. Speaking of zingers, here's one I wish I came up with myself. Can't you just imagine that happening to you? What do you say to that guy?

"That's how I roll."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Breaking News

This just in: I am a dork and I like to smell my own butt.

EDIT (July 2, 2005, 1:49AM): Jowen, I hate you.

It's times like this I ask myself

Today was the last day of the summer school. As I played shuffleboard and foosball at Koerner's, all of the people I had met in the last month started to leave. Unfortunately for me, the people I knew had no dinner plans, and I didn't know the people who did have plans well enough to go with them. I was left alone for dinner, with only a TV dinner that I couldn't put in the oven for lack of an oven-safe dish.

So I did What Jowen Would Do and took my TV dinner to the SUB to microwave it. I stood there, without cutlery or napkins and only having a lunch tray of questionable cleanliness, in front of a public microwave. Then I ate my TV dinner in the basement of the deserted SUB with no one to keep me company.

I felt incredibly sorry for myself.

It really makes me wonder: will Doing What Jowen Would lead me to nothing but crippling sadness? Is this What Jowen Feels When Jowen Does What He Does?

Is this Jowen's cry for help?

Current Music: Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle