It's always great to wake up in the morning and see that you were featured on BBC UK...
It really is a great charity event and I'll definitely look forward to next year's event a little more. Especially if they bring back that awesome beef tenderloin at the buffet! With my new found fame in the UK, I'm wondering if I will be invited to drive the "Reasonably Priced Car" on Top Gear UK? It'll be the only way to find out if a Geek is faster than a Stig!
At CES 2011 this year, I did something that I didn't expect. I actually won the Build Your Own PC Race for Charity. Despite coming in second and fourth before in 2008 and 2007, I was never really a heavy weight contender to win. Nor did I feel that I would be able to repeat any of my past successes. It's a very Canadian way to think about things isn't it? But after thinking back to the things that transpired before the four minutes and nine seconds of racing, there were some key things that I did this year that might have created an opportunity for me to take the win this year.
No Pressure. No Panicking.
I arrived late to the event because I wasn't even sure I was going to go because I wanted to go with the rest of the Futurelooks Team to go race go-karts at another event put on by MSI Computer. So I casually strolled in, and was the last one to grab my number. I had actually panicked the organizers because I didn't correspond with them at all the week or so before the event. They even tried calling me minutes before I showed up right at the sign up. But of course, it was for charity and I had to make an appearance. I wasn't expecting to win. I just wanted to see if I could finish up quick enough to get in a race at the Go Kart track before the other event closed up.
I Did What I Was Good At
As many of you know, I like to eat. So the first thing I did was hit the buffet and stuff my pie hole. I took so many portions of the beef tenderloin that the lady carving recognized me and loaded me up. I was literally "mooing" by the time we were called for the racers meeting. Of course, I took another new plate of food to the racers meeting. You know. Just in case I was hungry.
I Tried To Listen
At the race meeting, everyone had their notes out. I shoved them in my back pocket so I didn't get au jus or lobster risotto on them. I also pocketed bread sticks and bread so that I could sop up the remaining au jus. Since this year's racers uniforms were BBQ aprons, there were some great front pockets to hide food for mid race snacking. I didn't hear a thing because I basically chewed through the whole meeting and the crunch of the bread sticks didn't help.
iJustine was actually behind me busy studying her instruction sheet in the above picture. The race attracts media celebs from all mediums.
I Went Back For More Food
Before they started introducing the racers, I B-Lined back to the buffet table, got another plate of food, and shoved more bread sticks into my handy BBQ racing apron. The links to the videos I'll be posting will show some strange lumps in my apron. No, it's not because I was excited. That's actually food 🙂
I Ate While Looking At The Instructions
Once I got to my station, I decided to look at the instructions, accompanied by my stash of bread sticks and a Corona. I figured that another plate of food would get in my way so I raided the bread stand. I had so many bread sticks it was actually hilarious. I think Kevin Pollack, the comedian they hired to entertain us before the race, actually looked over a few times to see where the hell I was hiding so many because I was always chewing on something.
The systems we were building were actually pretty decent for a charity event, sporting AMD Radeon HD 5830 video cards, 4GBs of DDR3 memory, a GIGABYTE AMD 880 series board, a Phenom X6 processor, and both an SSD and a platter based hard drive. In previous years, they used really crappy Thermaltake cases that must have been their bottom of the line because they were so thin. This year they used CoolerMaster HAF 912 cases and they were solid. Really enjoyed building in them and most importantly, everything fit properly inside and didn't bend like those other cases.
Kevin Pollack did his thing for 20 minutes, and I had enough food for 20 minutes. WIN!
Think About The Food
Throughout the race, I couldn't stop thinking about how good the beef tenderloin was and wondered if I would make it back to the buffet before they cleaned up. So naturally, I had to go as fast as I could and completed my build in four minutes and nine seconds. Second place was four forty four and it looked like my time was over two minutes faster than last year's winners. When I'm hungry I have to eat!
Unfortunately, because I won, I had to hang out and get pictures taken, and get interviewed by the organizers, and by BBC, and by any other news outlet that needed a statement or a picture. Didn't quite make it back to the buffet unfortunately.
What To Do For Next Year
So clearly, additional preparation and psyching myself out isn't the way I roll. I seem to do best completely winging it and with a full stomach, while showing up as late as possible, deciding only to come an hour before the event starts. I guess this is horrible advice for people looking for a secret strategy but it seems to be one that works for me. I guess that's why they had to make up a quote for me for the official press release:
“This was my third year participating in the race,” said Stephen Fung. “I came in with a strategy and was determined to build the computer in record time. I consider the Build Your Own PC Race a highlight at CES.”
I chuckle every time I read that. But I guess it sounds better than what I WOULD have told them 🙂
Here are a few videos that I found from the event including one from CMHD.TV, CoolerMaster's own in house channel:
I guess I'll be there again next year. But maybe I'll show up a bit earlier just to get my eat on. I hope the money I won and the computer I built goes to good use helping out the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Yesterday, I headed out to Richmond Center Mall with our favourite background extra, Leo Chiang for the Vancouver stop of the LG Canadian Texting Championships. This special event was put on for local media and a prize of $1000 was put up for grabs. The winner would get to donate it to a charity of their choice. Also competing was John Chow, Buzz Bishop from Virgin 953 and April Smith from Aha Media. Check out the video below for a taste of the excitement:
Our friend Buzz Bishop returned to win this year's event with a time of 13:454. The fastest time in Canada was 5:67 so it's like being the best of the worst. But then again, a win is a win and LG owes Buzz a 10 second car...or that check for $1000 to his charity which is Team Diabetes. Here are the official results from the Vancouver Stop...
As Leo said, he also came to challenge for a spot in the Kam Do Mixed Grill Challenge Hall of Fame. It is true, I am the only one of the Dot Com Pho Crew that has survived and conquered this meal not only once, but twice. Stay tuned for the video to find out whether or not Leo lives or dies.
The holidays are a time for getting together with your friends and loved ones and of course, the ritual of giving and getting presents. While you're out enjoying the egg nog and the shortbread cookies, I'd like you to think about the people who have neither cookies nor egg nog. Or for that matter, no home in which to enjoy either.
A couple of weeks ago, the Dot Com Pho Crew headed down to the Union Gospel Mission where we heard some amazing stories and saw what this great charity was doing to make things just a little more festive for so many people in the Lower Mainland. Here's a video from our visit:
As you can see, the the Union Gospel Mission does a lot of good. What's even more amazing is what they can do when people are willing to give a little extra.
Unlike a lot of other big charities out there, they rely heavily on word of mouth, ensuring that all donations get maximized. That's why this holiday season I'd like you to think about putting the Union Gospel Mission on your shortlist of charities to give to when you can do without that double latte. In fact, the Union Gospel Mission can provide a Xmas Dinner for only $3.29. That means that $32.90 can feed 10 people and $329.00 can feed 100.
What If You Have Nothing To Give?
With the slowdown of the economy, things might be tight this holiday season. You might still want to give, but you can't. So what can you do? Well, I would say, give when you can. However, I've got another solution for you to consider this Xmas.
So today is the day that Americans decide whether Obama wins or McCain wins. Although much of the planet is already pulling for some "Barack and Roll" in the White House, it seems that there are some rather interesting opinions about the World Favourite in these elections. For example, my McFast and McFurious post has unearthed some interesting opinions about the candidates in the comments. I would have never thought in a million years that anyone would want Sarah Palin in the White House. Remember, no whining or bitching if you don't cast your ballot.
Legal To Ride
So on a rainy and blustery Halloween, I did my final road test and passed with flying colours. The lady at the desk commented on how little was on my test sheet when I went up to sign off for my new Class 5/6 license. I did go into the test with a lot of confidence and it looks like that was reflected in my riding. Prior to my test, my instructor, Dave Clayton of 2Wheel2Ition Motorcycle School did say that I was by far the best rider in his final wave of riders for 2008 and that meant a lot. Since I knew that a three of his other students that were testing today were RCMP officers, I just couldn't help but smile.
My learning to ride a motorcycle journey is over. All the restrictions from my motorcycle learners license have been removed and I'm now able to ride anytime I want, not just before dusk. Where this license will take me in two wheel transport, I'm not sure, but I did pick up a bigger scooter recently and have been enjoying the scooter lifestyle. The weather has been getting colder and I'll be sure to give you guys a quick post on how I'm staying toasty warm and dry on the roads.
If you're looking for someone that is willing to take the necessary amount of time to teach you to ride with confidence, I recommend Dave Clayton. He's got a waiting list forming for next season so make sure you head to his website and get on that list. He'll be firing up the bikes again in April 2009.
Kelly Raises $2600 for Her Olympic Weightlifting Coach!
This past weekend, Kelly held an Olympic Weightlifting Clinic at the CrossFit Vancouver Gym. She had modest hopes of being able to at least raise a grand or two for her coach to be able to bring his family over from Nigeria. With the help of the CrossFit community, she was able to raise over $2600 to help reunite her coach with his family, who he hasn't seen in over five years. Well done!
Her next clinic will be on November 22nd if you want to come learn how to chuck huge weights over your head without injury. This session is capped at 10 people so make sure you sign up early.
Kam Do Celebrates Thirteen Years of Cheap Food
Kam Do Restaurant is one of Richmonds best kept secrets for food that is so cheap that it gives the Union Gospel Mission a run for its money. Yesterday, I took a detour to go visit John Chow and family and was feeling rather peckish so we decided to head there for lunch.
Now, John knows better than to bet me that I can't finish a meal. Even iPhone Gary knows better, especially after witnessing my performance in tackling the Great Feenie Burger. The Dot Com Crew knows that betting against me in a food eating contest is like betting against the grass being green. I thought I put those silly throughts to rest when I destroyed two Wally Burgers and a TOPS Burger in the same day, but John had to tempt fate. He said I couldn't do it.
To be honest, after this mountain of food arrived along with an unpictured plate of fries, which I also finished, I actually doubted myself. But as I built momentum, it was clear that I would be PWN'ing the largest item on the Kam Do menu. Even the smallest item is bigger than most people can handle. Since it was their 13th Anniversary, they were even doing free refills so I made sure I got in a free refill of my Chilled Yin Yeung. Are there no meals that can defeat me? We call this my "Obama Victory Lunch".
After killing this one, I took the 25% of my meal that they were giving back as a bakery credit, and bought two almond cookies and two egg tarts...for later. Kam Do is also giving away $1000 CAD in a draw later this month. I just wish they let me put in my own ballot so I could use my patented can't lose method.