Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{June 30, 2006}   Take the Luongo Way Home*

In my recent absence from the blogosphore, I didn’t get a chance to comment on the big trade! Big Bert down to Florida, along with Alex Auld** and Bryan Allen, for ROBERTO LUONGO and some other random. We finally have a goalie! A real freakin’ goalie!!! I mean, we’ll miss Bert, Alex & Bryan, but we’ve needed a goalie for soooo long!! And not only did we make the trade, but we’ve also signed Luongo to four year deal! Go Canucks!!

*Do any Haltonians get the reference in that title? It’s an obscure one, so it’s worth 50 points to the first person who gets it right (and since Dave is off in Transylvania right now, someone else might actually stand a chance of winning).

**although I do wish we’d kept Auld as the backup and traded that overpriced choker, Cloutier, instead.


In no particular order, here is some random cool stuff:

  • If you add a bunch of Mentos into a bottle of pop, it makes this wicked pop explosion. We use it to demonstrated some principles of chemistry to kids. A friend of my recently sent me this link to a video of some people who took this demo to a whole new level — definitely worth checking out: Isn’t this wicked cool?

  • I just bought this cute little magnet, sort of an early Canada Day present for myself:

Isn’t it cute?

  • A little while ago, Jorge posted a link to a site that will make a graphical representation of a website…. here’s what my blog looks like:

Isn’t it pretty?

  • The other night we had our UBC Let’s Talk Science Annual General Meeting. My fellow coordinators totally surprized me with some really kind words about my work with the program over the past several years and with some amazing parting gifts! They gave me an iPod nano AND a Canucks T-shirt with the stick-in-a-box logo on it (which I had been looking for for ages and could never find!

Aren’t I spoiled?

  • And speaking of cute shirts, check out this cute shirt I gave my neice:

Isn’t that adorable?

If you are one of the people who does not like to hear me complain about Toronto and sing the praises of Vancouver, you may want to skip this entry. The entry below this one is a lovely summary of my trip, in cheesy number format… perhaps you would enjoy that?

OK, I am only kidding about that. This entry won’t *only* make fun T.O… I will point out a couple of things I like about the place too. I just happened to notice, while I was there, a few notable differences between the T dot and Vancity. But first, a quotation:

“One of the extraordinary things about life is the sort of places it’s prepared to put up with living.”

I read this in Mostly Harmless* and my immediate reaction was “that’s kind of how I feel about Toronto!” Much to my amusement, the passage goes onto to discuss the inhospitable nature of living in New York, with much the same reasons as I had for thinking this was related to Toronto. But it’s not just in that you have to “wrap [yourself] up in lots of other animals at one point in your planet’s orbit, and then find, half an orbit later, that your skin’s bubbling” that Toronto differs from Vancouver. I also noticed the following things about T.O.:

  • you only see 3 other joggers on a 40 minute run (unlike Van’s current rate of 35 jpm**)
  • the Skytrain is underground for some reason- what’s up with that?
  • similarly, this underground Skytrain goes to places that people might want to go, like the colleges and universities in the city… weird!
  • no one knows what you are talking about when you say “hey, it’s 4:20!”
  • they hardly have Sleeman on tap anywhere
  • air comes in either gritty or chunky (or, on especially bad days, gritty with chunks in it)
  • I can get Air Miles when I buy booze. Air Miles!
  • no mountais or ocean makes navigation much more tricky
  • if you smile at a hot guy on the subway, he will ask you out on a date! right there on the subway platform!
  • someone there calls me Aunt Beth and it is the cutest freaking thing I’ve ever heard

*Jorge, I know you recommended avoiding this book, but I just feel the need to read the complete “trilogy.”

**jpm = joggers per minute

I’ve been gone for two weeks, I’ve been drunk since I left
These so-called vacations will soon be my death
I’m so sick from the drink, I need home for a rest!

OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration… but it’s a good song nonetheless.

So, I’m home now. I had a very restful two weeks visiting family and friends in Toronto, which was exactly what I needed. I was SO burnout when I left and a fortnight of doing little to no thinking was exactly what I needed. I stayed with my sister and my neice, who don’t have internet access set up at their new place (they, like me, just moved), so I was out of the blogosphere for a while there. After the initial withdrawal symptoms, I decided that being “unplugged” for a little while was good for me.

Anyway, since I’ve been away for a while, I thought I’d present you with a summary of My Vacation in Numbers:

  • days away: 17
  • items of clothing brought, but not worn: 33
  • hours slept during the 3 days at the conference: 7
  • cost of trip from London, ON to T.O.: $0*
  • movies watched: 4.5
  • subway trips taken: 29
  • hot guys that hit on me in subway stations: 3
  • new pairs of shoes obtained: 3
  • new purses obtained: 2
  • # of those shoes/purses that I actually bought myself: 0**
  • cost of pedicure & fake nails manicure: $70
  • amount that I actually paid for this myself: $0**
  • days before I broke one of the nails: 2
  • total number of nails broken (so far): 3
  • appreciation level of Torontians for my awesome footwear, relative to that of Vancouverites: ~10%
  • new words/phrases we taught my 19 month old neice: 8*
  • Zanta sitings: 3
  • galas attended: 1
  • new restaurants/pubs/bars experienced: 15

Well, there you have it! Now you all there is to know about my trip!

*thanks for the ride, Nicole

**thanks Mom!

***at least… I have a feeling that there were more, but I can remember 8 for sure (Aunt Beth, crazy talk, blueberries, mauve, burgandy, Huggies, excuse me, tempeh… she already knew a ridiculous amount of words* before I got there, so there wasn’t much left to teach her**)

****seeing as I know no other 19 month olds, I’m really not qualified to judge if the amount of words she knows makes her a complete genius or completely average, but I’m going to take an aunt’s perogative and say “she’s a complete genius!”

A while back, Jorge mentioned this guy Zanta*, who runs around downtown Toronto in a pair of shorts and a Santa hat, showing off his 6 pack abs and screaming at everyone. Guess who I saw while walking home from the movie yesterday?

Anyway, not really much to report on my trip so far (which is a good thing, as my goal for this trip was to relax and do nothing). The conference was good, my speech at the banquet was well received**, and I got to do some A.R.M. research on both Friday AND Saturday night (scientists are party people!). Interestingly, while I did not experience any A.R.M. on either Saturday or Sunday morning***, I had wicked A.R.M. on Monday! So, either drinking with scientists delays your A.R.M. or drinking at sketchy London, ON bars delays your A.R.M. Or possibly, I’ve developed a tolerance to A.R.M. and the Monday morning M was the result of this flu I apear to have. It’s hard to say, really.

My neice is the cutest thing EVER! Yesterday when my sister and I picked her up from daycare, my sister pointed to me and asked her “Who’s this?” and she said “Aunt Beth!” Yay!! She knows my name now! And then, for the rest of the day, she proceeded to call me Kim. Kim notwithstanding, she seems pretty darned smart to me, not that I know a lot of 1.5 year olds to compare her to. Although I’ve started to wonder if she ever gets sick of all the questions we keep asking her, “What sound does a dog make?” “Where is your nose?” “Is Mommy funny?” “What colour is this?” Like, does she ever think, “MY god, that’s like the 20th time you’ve asked me what sound does a monkey make! Why can’t you people ever remember this??!”Other than that, I’ve pretty much been just hanging out, reading, relaxing, walking around Toronto to check out the city. And running. I’ve decided that I really am going to do a 10K, so I’m running every other day now. Apparently they’ve installed hills in the city of Toronto since I was last here – who knew?

*I would link to this on his blog, but that entry doesn’t appear to up on his new blog yet… =(

**I managed to work in my cool shoes , Harry Potter and that fact that “I’m a scientist” is a great pick up line…. not bad for a speech that I wrote about an hour before the banquet, and revised while the other speakers were speaking.

***although I had a splitting headache and was doling out my ibuprofen to my fellow conferees, one of whom described his condition as “I feel like I just got kicked in the face!”

{June 9, 2006}  

Well, I’m about to head off to the airport, but before I go, I thought I’d share a few more things with you… you know, just to keep you entertained (I know you’d be bored without my witty banter).

First, many, many, many, many thanks to Di from Stem Cell Technologies. As you may recall, Di heard my lament over my dearly departed pen and generously offered to send me a new one. Well, when I receive the package in the mail, I was delighted to discover that she had sent not just one pen, but TWO pens AND a pencil!! And this is the EXACT kind of pen that had expired whilst I was working on my thesis! I can confidently say that having these pens and this pencil was responsible for me finishing my thesis revisions! Thanks, Di! You rock!!

You may also recall that I recently moved and, in the process, found the some cool photos. Well, I found a few other cool things, including:

  • this snazzy button that Jody gave me a million years ago:

Jody – I’m looking forward to seeing you when I’m in the T dot!

  • this little receipt, which JWo and Sarah should recognize:

OK, I’m outta here! Torontoians, see ya soon. Vancouverites, see ya in 2 weeks!

I think she will. She was crying all day because I’m leaving. Of course, today was the day I had to run all over campus, picking things up and dropping things off. Couldn’t have been yesterday, when it was sunny and warm and wonderful (although, come to think of it, I did have to run all over campus yesterday too… but I had to do more of it today… bah!). Anyway, by the time I got home I was so wet (and not in the good way). And now my running shoes are still wet, but I’ve had to pack them. Bah!

I love packing in the summer. Summer clothes are so much smaller than winter clothes, so I can fit WAY more in my luggage. I’m bringing almost everything I own. ‘Cuz you never know what you’ll want to wear when you are away — and I’m going to be away for TWO WEEKS! And two weeks is a long time to be separated from your clothes.

Oh ya, I just found out that my friend Therese got me a ticket for a National Ballet of Canada gala — how cool is that?

{June 6, 2006}   Happy 6/6/6!

In honour of this day of the devil, I present the closest thing I have to a relevant photo: vampire Beth being slain by Blade:
P.S. Be sure to scroll down to read yesterday’s entry… I really want to hear everyone’s opinion on it!

{June 5, 2006}   Welcome to Cougartown

I have recently been discussing with various people the correct definition of a cougar. This topic has come up in conversation for absolutely no reason at all, why do you ask?

A search of such illustrious sources as wikipedia and urban dictionary have revealed that there appears to be no consensus on what constitutes a cougar. Opinions I’ve heard expressed include:

  • you have to be at least 35 years old
  • you definitely have to be more than 40 years old
  • anyone over 30 can be a cougar
  • there’s no minimum age limit – it’s all about the age differential
  • age limits don’t count if you don’t look your age*
  • without the leopard print spandex and skin that’s been tanned so many times it looks like leather, you ain’t a cougar
  • you want to poke your friend’s son? That makes you a cougar – regardless of your age.

But then, when I was having dinner with my friend, Alicia, she informed me of “the formula for calculating if you are cougar.” She assures me that this formula has been scientifically validated:

( your age ÷ 2 ) + 7

For example, if you are, let’s say for a completely arbitrary example, 29 years old, then your minimum age limit would be:

( 29 ÷ 2 ) + 7 = 21.5… which you round up to 22

–> if go for a guy under 22, you are a cougar.

Discussing this formula with some other friends, I was informed by Kyle that there is a similar “hockey player formula”= ( your age ÷ 2 ) –> hockey players can go for anyone who is over half their age**.

So, I’m interested in your opinion: what, exactly, are the requirements of being a cougar?

*I may or may not have been the person expressing this opinion.
**And we all know what an avid hockey player I am. I’m just saying.

{June 4, 2006}   This and That

or Ramblings Thoughts of a (Slightly) Hung Over Bethie

  • thanks to Mary for posting this article about how being a prof is the 2nd best job around! Their rankings were based on stress levels, flexibility in hours and working environment, creativity, and how easy it is to enter and advance in the field, as well as pay and job growth. With my academic stresses of late, I’ve been wondering if I shouldn’t have picked a different career, but this does remind me of some of the benefits.
  • thanks to Di from Stem Cell Technologies who heard my “cries of despair regarding the death of your favourite pen.” I am eagerly awaiting my new pen! Man, I love the internet!
  • Al Gore’s talk at UBC on Thursday was AWESOME! Not only is he a very passionate speaker, but he’s hilarious. The start of his talk, it was like he was doing stand-up comedy! I was very pleased to see that his new movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was in the top 10 at the box office this weekend, despite showing in only 77 theatres. If you have a chance to see this movie, I recommend that you do — if his talk is any indication, the movie will be well worth seeing.
  • I love consignment store shopping. There is no other way that I would be able to own an Armani shirt and a DKNY dress! I bought the dress for the conference I’m going to at UWO, where I will be giving a talk at the banquet and, therefore, needed a new dress. A new dress that goes with my beloved shoes.
  • and speaking of my Armani shirt and beloved shoes, I wore them out to Celebrities last night. On the plus side, there were plenty of hot men to look at. On the down side, they were all gay. Quote of the night was, “Why are there so many gay people in this gay club?”
  • I may have been a little drunk when I said that. As evidenced by the fact that I also said “this food is delicious!” when we were at Denny’s afterwards. Denny’s!! WTF?
  • And speaking of drunk, in my ongoing A.R.M. research, I did not experience any A.R.M. this morning, despite the binge* last night. Tentative conclusion: Denny’s food post-alcohol consumption prevents A.R.M. Side effect of this treatment: you have to eat Denny’s food.
  • I also conducted some A.R.M. research last Saturday (which I know I said I would write about, but never got around too). The pic of me in my sexy shoes is from a BBQ with my (extended) lab group… it was really nice to see everyone, as I don’t see them much since I’ve been writing rather than being in the lab lately. I started the day’s drinking there with a beer (despite the fact that I’m not usually much of a beer drinker).
  • Later that night, I went to a hockey jersey party** at some friends’s place on campus… I’m still waiting on the pics from that event (since I don’t have a digicam, I have to rely on the photos of others), but just picture me in a hockey jersey with that skirt (which is a bit shorter than the jersey) and those shoes. I may or may not have repeatedly told everyone at the party that I bought my shoes on ebay. I may or may not have repeatedly demanded that photos be taken of my shoes. I may or may not have demanded that video be taken of my shoes. I may or may not have told everyone in the room that I painted my toenails silver to match the silver on my Canucks jersey.
  • We played this drinking card game called Kings, which has a very complicated (and ever changing) set of rules, the worst of which is that the person who draws the last King has to drink the cup in the middle of the table, into which everyone has poured a bit of their drink***. When my friend Laura drew the last King, she said, “if drinking this makes me puke, will you guys look after me?” To which I replied “Don’t worry, I’m a responsible adult! I’ll look after you!” On a completely unrelated topic, click here for the definition of the word “irony.”
  • I didn’t experience any A.R.M. the next morning either… Sarah’s theory that puking prevents A.R.M. by removing the A from your system is supported by this evidence, except that I was definitely still drunk after the (relatively minor) puking incident. I’m starting to think that A.R.M. is a very complicated disorder that is going to require A LOT of further study.

OK, those are my rambling thoughts this morning. Now I’m actually going to go out for a run, which I promised myself I would do once I had finished up the thesis revisions!

*the accepted definition of a binge in the alcohol research community is “five or more drinks on one occasion.” Which, on my downward spiral into alcohol dependence and debauchery, doesn’t really seem like that much to me.

**tag line for the party: hockey jerseys required, all other clothing is optional

***Our cup had a mix of various beers, diet Coke & whiskey, ginger & rum (I think it was rum), and nectarine cider. Delish!

{June 3, 2006}   Blast From The Past

Well, for better or for worse, my thesis is in the hands of my committee! I think I am single-handedly keeping Copyright afloat by repeatedly printing this behemoth… but at least it’s a student-run business, so the money isn’t going into the hands of a greedy corporation*.

So, after making the trek to all the far-flung corners of campus to distribute my baby to my committee members, I celebrated by NOT being on my computer all day! I went to the public library and got a pile of books to read for fun! I went and got fresh produce and made a REAL meal (not a microwave burrito, nor take-out) for the first time since I moved into my new place! I unpacked all of the boxes I wanted to and have stored the boxes I want to leave packed in various nooks and crannies. My apartment now looks like an apartment and not a storage room! Yay!

Also, in the move, I discovered some cool things I’d forgotten that I had. Like this cute little sunhat that I bought a few summers ago in London, ON**. And some really cute baking things***. And a sterling silver cup from when I was a baby! And some Pendelfin figurines. And, most importantly, I found these photos:

This is me, circa early 90’s. I believe this may have been pre-Snowflake Ball, the annual winter semi-formal dance at my high school. Seeing this reminded me of last year’s “First Annual Mega-Mall-Hair Off” between Kris and Jurgen. Not that I would dare compare myself with those two preeminent virtuosoes of ’90s hairdom – I pale in comparison. But I do find my bangs a bit humorous.

In grade 12, we did a production of
The Mousetrap. Sarah, who inexplicably is the same height
as me in this pic (Sar, did you really keep growing after grade 12?), starred as Mollie Ralston and I played Miss Casewell, described by the Literary Encyclopedia as “a mannish looking young woman” — which explains why I look so freakin’ terrible in this photo — apparently our make-up artists were superb.***

In high school, I used to volunteer in the chronic care ward at the local hospital. Every Thursday after school I would spend the afternoon visiting with the patients, helping them make phone calls, feeding them dinner and just helping out in whatever way was needed. Since this was the chronic ward, it meant that the patients there were never getting out – they were going to spend the rest of their days there. This was one of my patients who was always a joy to see on my weekly visits – her name was Mrs. Godley and she was really a lovely woman. I believe I received this photo one Christmas and I can’t believe that I had forgotten that I had it.

This is my Great Granny, Sarah Snow. I remember visiting her in Montreal as a kid — she had this player piano and my sister and I would be endlessly entertained when she would pump the pedals to make the piano play on its own… it was like magic to us. When I was in high school, she fell and broke her hip and died shortly after, at the age of 98. I was in Kingston with Sarah at the time — I have a silver locket that she gave me as a kid, which I was wearing and the chain of which broke the same day she died. When my family went to the funeral home, I remember walking into the building and thinking it sounded like a party was going on, rather than a viewing… everyone was laughing and telling stories of all the funny things Great Granny used to do and say. It was truly a celebration her life. That was the first funeral I ever went to.

This is a picture of my dad and my uncles Bob and Greg from when they were little. I don’t know who is who in the photo. My uncle Bob died at the age of 21 in a boating accident on the Lachine Rapids. My grandfather is an avid hunter and used to take my dad and uncles hunting. Uncle Bob once said that if he died before his brothers, he wanted to be reincarnated as a duck and that, while hunting, they would try to shoot him, they’d be sure they had the duck in their sights, but they’d miss and he’d laugh at them. My dad swears that this happened exactly as Uncle Bob described after Bob died… he had a duck in his sights, shot and somehow the duck didn’t get hit, and then the duck started to quack and it sounded just like laughing.

This is my Grandpa and Grandma Griffin. Grandma died of cancer when I was 3, Grampa died of a heart attack when I was 5. I don’t remember my Grandma, but my sister remembers my aunts sneaking us under a fence so that we could sit outside the window of Grandma’s ICU room so we could wave at her (kids weren’t allowed in the ICU). I do remember my Grandpa – he had this little plastic tea set for us to play with when we visited; we used to take it to the park and play with it in the sandbox. He also gave us the foam off the top of his beer and told us it was ice cream. I remember my sister and I being very upset that we weren’t allowed to go to Grampa’s funeral. Our babysitters that day took us to the park and to the penny candy store to try to distract us, but we still remembered that everyone was at Grampa’s funeral, even despite getting those chocolate cigarettes. When my Grandpa died, everyone in the family got a framed copy of this photo and whenever I think of my grandparents, this is how I picture them. My sister and I were the only grandchildren that my grandparents lived to see (they have 9 grandkids now).

*which will be small consolation when I go bankrupt from all the money I’ve spent on printing these past few months.

**now all I need is some sun!

***I’m slightly obsessed with kitchen paraphernalia.

****At least that’s what I’m telling myself, as I refuse to believe that I really, truly looked this awful!

{June 1, 2006}   Shout Outs

I’m really fortunate that I have a lot of good friends. Good friends who will help me out on a moment’s notice and do it with smiles on their faces.

To Erika, who not once, but TWICE in the last week, borrowed her dad’s truck in order to spend hours and hours helping me move from my old place to my new place and then to take 300 kg* of garbage to the dump!

To Kalev, who not only came out to spend hours and hours moving my crap into Erika’s truck and then unloading it all at the dump**, but then bought us dinner!!

To Shalu & Deepak, who also helped move stuff to my new place and then also drove all the way to my old place to loan me a vacuum so I could actually clean up before I left!


*For my American readers, 300 kg = 661 lbs!***

**Which is surprisingly therapeutical, I might add. You get to throw things. When we had unloaded it all, we wished there was more garbage ‘cuz the throwing was so much fun. Especially when stuff shattered.

***And this is on top of the 500 kg that had already been brought to the dump, the various stacks of paper that I had put out for recycling and the huge bags of clothing that I donated to charity. This is what happens when you are a pack rat – the things you own end up owning you! But the purge was therapeutic and I’ve turned over a new leaf! No more pack rat!!

et cetera