Thursday, September 27, 2007

I have friends

The winner of the 2007/2008 Race To Berkeley is Billy.

Originally from Singapore [EDIT (4:12PM September 27): the Philippines (sorry, Billy)], Bill "Daniel Wang" y attended an international American school before heading to Vancouver to study mathematics at UBC. He was precocious and took algebra courses a year earlier than normal, which meant that neither he nor I properly learned Galois theory because we were too busy bickering quietly enough that we didn't get yelled at by our friends sitting in front of us. Currently working in the hot field of wavelets at the University of Oregon in lovely Eugene, Billy turned in a dominant performance in this year's Race, claiming victory in the first week of the Race without even announcing his entry by coming to the Bay Area to visit his brother on his birthday.

The quick victory is a shot in the arm that the Race needed coming off a difficult year which saw first prize go unclaimed, despite an honourable mention for 2005/2006 winner Regan Yuen, who passed through San Francisco with her family on vacation. Two-time runner-up Jowen Yeo couldn't mount a charge. Inaugural Race winner Adam Pauls now actually lives in Berkeley, leaving him ineligible. A final push by fellow LUG Victor Ho failed at the very last minute when his scheduled trip to Disneyland put him in Redding the day I flew home for the summer. Compounding this disappointment was the narrow failure of Frances Tong to claim the inaugural Race To Vancouver when her asshole brother vetoed a family vacation to Vancouver in favour of Utah1.

Billy was also the first winner to not stay at my house and consume my resources. Thanks, Billy.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to take the winner to the Sizzler or In-N-Out, nor did I have the good sense to take the customary picture with the winner. Here, instead, is a picture of Billy that I have expertly Photoshopped2 myself into.

Congratulations to the winner, and to the rest of you, I hate you all so much.

Current Music: Neil Finn - Try Whistling This

1. To be fair to Frances' asshole brother, they went to Yellowstone, which is probably quite nice.
2. More accurately, "Microsoft Paint-ed".

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The pinnacle of Saturday morning cartoon

Maybe Garfield is lame, but the cartoon was fantastic. It was one of my favourites growing up and, now that I have volumes 4 and 5 of the DVD set, it's one of my favourites again. I don't know if I saw this on TV when I was a kid, but it's on the DVDs and it's one of my very favourite cartoon bits ever.

Current Music: Garfield and Friends - The Picnic Panic

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There's a Chinaman joke in here somewhere

I'm not going to say that I've taken up weightlifting unless I manage to stick with my routine for at least two months. However, for the last two and a bit weeks I've been lifting some weights under the tutelage of Adam and Chris, three times a week. I'm certainly not getting as sore afterwards as I did at first, which is good but also bad because when I got really sore I slept like a baby, and I like that more than I hate hobbling around like a gimp for a day.

I thought this would be a good idea because I've come to realize -- well, maybe it's not a realization, but a theory, anyway -- that I just wasn't meant to be skinny. I think I was probably meant to be kind of big and strong. This has been suggested by my friends for a while, given the size of my calves. Interest in this theory grew over the summer, when a BMI calculator Daniel rather cruelly found online told me that I was obese -- not overweight, but obese -- and my parents became concerned that I was falling prey to the American epidemic of being a big disgusting slob. Anyway, it's been my thing for a while that I'm "probably naturally strong", and I thought that it was time to try to make the transition to "actually being strong".

It would be pretty nice to pack on a huge amount of muscle too because then I could go home weighing 240 and having my parents force me to go see a doctor about my massive obesity until I dead lift one of them. This is under the assumption that they probably wouldn't hold still long enough for me to bench press one of them.

This has allowed me to actually test the strength of my calves using the calf raise machine in the gym. After a few days of trying to find my level, today I discovered that I can manage to do at least one full set at the maximum weight of 600 pounds. Since this is one of the two things that I do remarkably well (the other being Tetris) I want to shout this from the rooftops. 600 pounds. That's almost a third of a ton, and a little over a quarter of a tonne. That's, like, four people. If four people needed to reach something on the top shelf that's just out of grasp, they could all climb on my back and I could raise them all eight inches, allowing them to grab their things.

Well, that's not quite true. As Adam pointed out, the calf raise machine employs a second-class lever, so there's some mechanical advantage involved. More accurately, if four people were strapped into a (weightless) rickshaw, and had to get at something on the middle shelf just out of reach, I could get at the handles of that bad boy and raise them all four inches.

Thinking about this reminded me of this.

Current Music: Crowded House - Together Alone

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What Was Wang This Month

Quite a bit, but the main thing that I feel like sharing right this minute is that I made leaps and bounds in my Tetris game and now my best score is 4395970, which at the time was good for 27th of 131205 (omitting the obviously hacked #1 overall score of 133333337). I'd like to thank Crowded House for breaking up in 1996 and releasing a ten-year anniversary DVD of their farewell concert, which slowed down the computer enough while I had it playing in the background that I could achieve this score.

This score is good not just because it's a huge improvement because it is a better score than the cute girl who was #10 for a long time, which means that maybe I'd be worthy of her now. It's also disappointing because my officemate Daniel's best score is now 491302, and my top score is no longer ten times his.

My nephew Thomas had the chicken pox last week. Those of you who knew me when I was 17 and had the chicken pox will understand how happy I am about this.

Bad news on the T-shirt front: the time is coming very quick to retire both my #1A and #1B T-shirts. My grandmother had done a quick mend of all the little holes in my Homsar shirt and my Dick's Lumber shirt while I was home for the summer, and that was great because it bought both shirts some time. Unfortunately, new holes keep appearing in Homsar, so I'm going to retire them while they still have some dignity. I intend to say more on this later, because it really is the end of an era.

I got Metroid Prime 3: Corruption three weeks ago, but I still haven't finished it. There are two reasons for this. One, I'm busy. Two, it's a first-person shooter, and despite the really cool Wii controls, just like all the other FPSs I've played in my life, it gives me motion sickness. I'm still willing to play it for an hour or two at a time though. That I'm willing to lose my appetite for a while just to play it says something about how good the game is, because my appetite is very important to me. It also says something about my frugality because I paid $50 for the game and it would feel like a waste if I didn't play it even though it causes me physical discomfort.

I bought tickets to see the Canucks play the Sharks on December 13. I managed to get a pretty big group together to go see them (14, and only Adam and I are actually Canucks fans), and despite Ticketmaster's sucking, thanks to Allan and Nick I was able to get tickets in groups of 6, 4, and 4. Since the size of the group basically makes this a thing, I think I may have to buy the #2 Ohlund jersey I've been wanting for over a year. This presents a problem, as the new Canucks jersey is really, really awful. While there's something to be said about buying a really, really awful jersey (who among us wouldn't love to have the awful yellow V jersey?), this jersey is so bad that I wouldn't be surprised if they changed it again within two years. On the other hand, that might give it even more novelty value after the fact.

Current Music: Crowded House - Time On Earth