Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{July 29, 2006}   Travels
Stacia recently posted a map of all the States she’s been to and, since I’m nothing if not a lemming, I had to check out the site that generates such maps! I was pleased to discover that they also have a program to map all the Canadian provinces you’ve been to. Much like Stacia’s goal of visiting all the states, I have a goal of visiting all the provinces and territories in Canada. As you can see from the map, I’m doing pretty well on the provinces, but the territories, not so much:

Click here to create your own personalized map of Canada.

Is it just me, or does that map of Canada look a little bit distorted?

Here’s my map of the States I’ve been to:

Click here to create your own personalized map of the USA

At least, I think these are the states I’ve been to. The ones down the east coast are ones I went through on a car trip down to Florida back in high school, so I may have mixed up which states I actually went through since I wasn’t really paying that much attention. I’m also cheating a bit by including Oregon & Texas, as I’ve only actually been to airports in those states.


{July 27, 2006}   Defences

I’ve been to 2 Ph.D. defences in the past 3 days. So congrats go to Frances, Lee & Candice on successfully defending their theses this week (I missed Frances’s, but saw the other two). My observations from these defences:

  • when examiners show up in Hawaiian shirts, things are going to go well
  • whatever you think the examiners are going to ask you about (and thus, have agonized over preparing for), they won’t
  • examiners like to ask hard questions and you are supposed to give good answers to these

None of these observations instill me with much confidence.

{July 27, 2006}  

I love the internet! I had to get a new passport and you can now* fill out the form online and then print the .pdf of it… well, it turns out that if you do this, you don’t have to wait nearly as long as the losers who fill out the form by hand. Literally, I went to the reception desk, the guy there checked my forms, photos & ID and handed me my number saying, “You get a quick number because you filled your form in online.” And the very next number called was mine — despite the fact that there were at least 50 people in the room who were all there ahead of me! I was in and out in record time, which almost makes up for the fact that, on the way there, the bus drove right by me waiting at the stop, so I had to wait a whole extra 15 minutes for the next bus! Stupid bus.

Since I was downtown, I decided to do a little window shopping and then got myself a Caramel Frappuccino with my new Starbucks gift card. I went to the Starbucks at the corner of Robson & Thurlow — not to be mistaken for the Starbucks at the corner of Thurlow & Robson**… I wouldn’t be caught dead there. There were two girls at the table next to me having a fascinating conversation — playing the game where you name two peple and the other person has to say which of the two people they’d rather have sex with… it started out with them naming kids at their school, progressed to celebrities and then became weird combinations of the two — “Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler?” “Adam Sandler or Mike from English class?” “Mike or that guy sitting over there?” I have no idea why I found this so fascinating, but I did. This conversation was only bestest by what I heard one girl say to another girl while I was waiting for the bus after the fireworks tonight, “Thanks for the shower and dinner.” Wuh?

*perhaps you could do this for a long time, but this was the first time I’d seen it.

**thank god they put 2 Starbucks on the same corner, ‘cuz I really didn’t want to have to cross the street or anything.

{July 24, 2006}   I ovulated!

I mentioned a little while back that I am a guinea pig in a friend’s study. As an update on that, (a) my collection of urine samples in my freezer* is almost complete and (b) according to my basal temperature calendar, I ovulated this month. I know you were all dying to know that information.

But the reason I’m blogging about this** is because I now have a choice to make: for remuneration, I can get a $20 gift card to Starbucks or a $20 gift card to London Drugs… which should I take? If I take the London Drugs card, I can buy something practical, like toothpaste***. I absolutely abhor Starbucks coffee****, but I do enjoy their soy chai lattes and banana frappuccinos- although they are too expensive for me to justify buying them… a $20 gift card would buy me like 5 of them. So, do I go practical or do I go fancy coffee route?

*now none of you will ever want to come over to my house for dinner, will you?

**which isn’t to weird you all out, which I’m sure it is.

***as it is not enough to buy myself something impractical, like the digital camera I keep lamenting my lack of.

****which tastes like cigarette butts

{July 22, 2006}   Can you handle some spice?

I went salsa dancing last night and that was the best fake pickup line of the night. The worst real pickup line was “Do you come here often?” I didn’t think anyone actually said that. Granted, as my friend Alicia pointed out, English wasn’t his first language so perhaps he didn’t know that that is a cliche pickup line and instead was genuinely interested in whether or not we salsa dance often.

Every Friday night in the summer, Dancesport BC holds a free dance lesson in Robson Square – yesterday’s was Merengue. We missed the start of the lesson, but I have to say that Merengue is waaaaay easier than salsa. In addition to the lesson, there is some free dancing time and then a couple of shows. We were hoping that the show would be some really good merengue dancers, but instead it was some kids doing like a dance recital kind of thing. I found their fake smiles to be really, really disturbing. We decided that we’d had enough of that, so we headed over to the Law Courts for some salsa lessons.

That’s right, the Law Courts. You walk into the courthouse on a Friday night, go upstairs and there you will find salsa lessons.

Salsa dancing is hard. There is lots of counting involved* and for me I think the toughest part is that the guy leads and the girl has to follow… I’m used to being the one in charge, so that takes some getting used to.

*and you know how I feel about anything that even resembles math.

{July 19, 2006}   Vimy

Am I the only one who finds it abhorrent that Stephen Harper compared his not liking the media to PEOPLE DYING AT VIMY RIDGE????

According to CTV, while at Vimy, Harper said:

“And the enemy carried guns, not cameras,” he added, looking directly over the lip of the old trench at a small clutch of Canadian TV and still cameras.

Now, I don’t mean to be melodramatic here, but my great-grandfather fought at Vimy Ridge. Over 3500 Canadians died in the battle (not to mention the tens and tens of thousands of Allied soliders who died trying to take the Ridge before that) – and these soliders were really just kids when you think about it. And for Stephen Harper to compare something so profoundly horrifying to the fact that he doesn’t much like the media just turns my stomach.

{July 17, 2006}   29.5 is the new 19…

… I believe that is the result of the new math.

So, now that I’m recovered from the par-tay, I can give you a brief recap of the festivities. But first I’d like to say that more people wished me a “Happy 1/2 Birthday” than wished me a happy real birthday. This may have been because I was pretty much hiding away from the world on my actual birthday, as opposed to blogging about/emailing about/talking about/changing-my-msn-messenger-tagline-in-reference-to like I did with my 1/2 birthday… but I could be wrong on that.

The evening started with dinner for 16* at the Rugby Club who, despite their best efforts to screw up my reservation**, did actually manage to give us our table. Food was delish, drinks*** were cheap. Service… not so much. But they brought me a free piece of chocolate cake with a candle when my friends told them it was my birthday! Unfortunately, I didn’t get my wish****… perhaps wishes don’t work for 1/2 birthdays?

After dinner, the old folks***** went home and the hip, young kids went to the Buffalo Club. The highlight of the journey was Deepak’s first bus ride since bus rides cost 75 cents. We were able to waltz right in ahead of all the people in the lineup because, due to my connections******, I had got us on the guest list. Since the dinner reservation had to be at 6:30 (apparently they didn’t have anything later than that), we ended up at the club quite early. After partaking of some Jäger Bombs******* and other bevvies, we noticed that the crowd in there seemed very, very young. Even too young for me (and you know my feelings on young-ness, so that’s saying something). Erika’s bf decided that he looked like “someone’s dad” and contemplated storming up to the first young couple he saw and demanding “What are you doing with my daughter?!!”… apparently, we needed to feed him more drinks, because he never did it (but I would have paid good money to see that!). By the same token, I did not dance in the cage, despite my claims that “one more drink and I’ll do that”. At around midnight, all the kids in the club inexplicably aged about 7 years and we felt much less out of place (although perhaps we were just more drunk).

As the night wore on, various people came and went********, and when the group had been pared down to 5, Nadia & her boyfriend Phil suggested we check out the Tokyo Lounge. Now, Phil is a man with connections. Not only did he get us right into T.L., but somehow he had a parking spot directly in front of the Buffalo Club and drove us over to T.L., directly outside of which he found a parking spot. I’m not sure how that is possible, but it happened. Once inside, he talked to the bartender and got us King Kong shooters and then any other drinks we wanted. And then I did something I haven’t done before. I turned down free alcohol!********* Perhaps it’s just the maturity that comes with being closer to 30 than I am to 29**********, but I thought “perhaps I have had a sufficient quantity of ethanol tonight.” I also remember thinking, “I would like to get through my 1/2 birthday without puking at any point.” Overall, I think this was a good move.

Also, there was something that was going on that was really, really funny, but I which will refrain from actually saying what it was here in the blogosphere, in order to protect the innocent***********.

Oh yes, on the A.R.M. research front — again, no A.R.M. In fact, it has been so long since I have had a case of A.R.M. that I’m beginning to question my experimental model…. odd. Seems like more research is needed.

Now, I’d love to show you some photos from the evening, but I don’t have any. This is due to (a) my lack of a digital camera, (b) everyone forgetting to bring their digital cameras, and (c) Alicia’s inability to work her souped up camera phone************. So instead, I show you photos from previous outings for which I never bothered to post the photos before.

This is a picture from Shalu’s birthday at Au Bar. I wanted to link to my melodious description of that night, but I discovered that I never blogged about it. D’oh!

This is a pic of us at the War Room in Seattle (which I most certainly did blog about). A few things of note about this picture. (a) We look remarkably sober in this picture, which we are, in fact, not; (b) that’s the same shirt that I wore to my 1/2 birthday party, so this pic is a reasonable facsimile for this blog posting; and (c) notice the hottie in the background? Somehow, inexplicably, that night, we didn’t. D’oh!!

Once upon a time an intrepid young blogger commented “We finished off the night at Au Bar where people who were not me danced up on the risers.”

Now, I can exclusively provide you with evidence that this is true.

*a few more peeps were invited but couldn’t make it, due to things like being in Victoria, being in Calgary, being in California, being in Copenhagen, or not responding to my email. Jerks.

**such screw ups included not writing down that I’d changed the reservation from 10 to 16 people, telling me that they can’t put together enough tables to accomodate 16 people, telling me that they had booked more reservations than they had space for that night, and telling my friend Ian that there was no reservation for “Beth” (despite having already seated people who showed up and said, “we’re here for the reservation under the name ‘Beth'”).

***I highly recommend the Chesterfield Rugby, a modified bellini, of which I had the same number as there are asterisks at the start of this sentence. BTW, Shalu, thanks for buying me #3! And for the bottle of Fireball!

****I’ll leave it up to your imagination what my wish was. đŸ˜‰

*****You know who you are.

******And by “connections,” I mean my internet connection. Seriously, you just have to fill in the online form.

*******Thanks Deepak, they rocked!!

********mostly went.

*********I can just picture the look of disbelief on Sarah & Dave‘s faces right now — apparently, I am not a patriot.

**********ouch… when I put it that way, it makes the baby Jesus cry.

***********I know, I’m such a bitch to tease ya like that, aren’t I? oh ya, just so you know, it wasn’t me involved in this situation in question.

************altho I think she may have got one photo, but I don’t have it yet.

{July 16, 2006}  

I’ve been wearing my left contact lens inside out for the past two days.

{July 13, 2006}   Sweet Obsessions

Regular readers of my blog will know of some of my current obsessions: my shoes, David Emerson (see: hatred thereof), the Vancouver Canucks (sub-obsessions include: how ugly the Sedin twins are, how I would like to have Brendan Morrison’s babies), Cobs Country Grain bread, Vancouver restaurants*, being a scientist, my neice, the TTC (specifcally, hot guys therein), I Saw You.

But I also have a number of other obsessions that I haven’t really given any air time to here in the blogosphere. In no particular order, they include:

  • filling out surveys – perhaps I just like being deluded into thinking that if I’m asked to fill in a survey, someone actually cares about my opinion on things, but I love filling out surveys! I don’t even care what they are about. I’ve piloted several questionnaires for various people’s graduate research projects, participated in any research project I’ve been asked to. I especially like when I have the possibility to win something for filling out a survey. In both of the last two Censuses I received the long version and was absolutley in heaven!
  • Simpsons quotations – I really do believe that there is a Simpsons quotations for all occasions. Ones I use most frequently include: “Mama’s watchin’ her stories” (used when I want someone to stop bugging me), “I dunno, internet?” (used when I don’t know the answer to (or don’t care to waste my time thinking about) the question in question), “And now we play the waiting game. I’m sick of the waiting game – let’s play Hungry, Hungry Hippos!” (used in situations involving waiting, obviously), “Sitting still, writing down numbers, paying attention. Yes, science has it all!” and “Batman’s a scientist” (used several times during an average workday in the lab), “Me fail English? That’s unpossible” (used to make fun of the grammatically impaired), “I’m somewhere I don’t know where I am!” (for me, used frequently)
  • weird pluralizations – octupi, matrices, ulnae – I can’t get enough of that shit.
  • the Young & the Restless – this one started in my first year of university. Whenever I came home from my afternoon labs, my roommate, Laurie, would have Y&R on her TV. And being tired from lab, I would always drop down onto my bed and watch it. And thus I became addicted. And even though I haven’t had access to television for the past 5 years, I’ve still kept up with the storylines by reading a spoiler site. And now, in my new place that has a TV with bunny ears that gets only one channel, Global (which happens to show the Y&R), I can watch again! The acting is terrible, the writing is worse and the special effects would make those who produced Tron go “wow, that’s some lousy FX.” But yet I still tune in. I mean, where else can you hear a woman who’s had several affairs (and whose husband had also had several affairs) say to another woman who got impregnated by her husband’s brother and never bothered to tell him, letting him believe that the kid was his (and whose said husband left her ‘cuz she wouldn’t give up her career, but then they got remarried) say “Oh, Drucilla. I always thought you and I had the most stable marriages.” Or where else can you see that same women sleep with her brother-in-law (who just married her sister-in-law mere weeks before, and who also was engaged to your mother-in-law and whose step-daughter is the child of his wife’s former step-mom and her father, but only because the former step-mom stole his sperm from a lab)? Now that’s entertainment!
  • caffeinated beverages – especially diet Pepsi and coffee. Especially Tim Horton’s coffee. This addiction stems from two sources: (a) I worked in a donut shop when I was young and having to open the store at 5 am, combined with access to all the free coffee you can drink during your formative years, is a recipe for caffeine addiction, and (b) my family’s tendency to express affection via the delivery of hot, caffeinated beverages. In my family, saying “want a cuppa?” or bringing someone a Timmy’s is the secret code for “I love you,” which they would never be caught dead actually saying.
  • my boots – although I have gone on ad nauseam about my beloved sexy shoes, I don’t think I’ve yet rhapsodized about my boots. Referred to as CFM boots by some** and bitch boots by others, I love my boots. I only seem to have a couple of not very good resolution photos of my boots***, but here they are:

(would you believe that these photos were taken, of all places, in a bathroom?? Moxie’s on Broadway. In the pic on the left, I’m sitting on one of the make-up chairs. In the one on the right, I’m next to the fire place, below the big screen TV. Nicest.Bathrooms.Ever)

  • libraries – OK, I do realize how nerdy that makes me sound. But combine my love of books with my abject poverty and there you go. Up until I moved (and decided it was easier to return most of them than to move them to my new place), I had about 15 books checked out of the UBC Library (including one book, which I still have, that I’ve been renewing for over 4 years) and I just checked out 4 books from the VPL, to accompany the 3 that I already have (and the 1 that I’ve requested).
  • Harry Potter – And if you don’t believe me, email me at halfbloodbeth {at} mugglenet {dot} com for more details. And don’t even think about calling me a nerd for this obsession, or I will curse you. And since, according to a certain person who threw out my Tarot cards (!!), I am, in fact, a witch, I totally could.
  • lists – Grocery lists, to-do lists, Christmas gift wish lists… if it’s in list form, I’m all over it. As evidenced by the list of which this is a part. I actually add things that I’ve already done to my to-do list, just so I can cross it off****.
  • my shoes – I may not have mentioned it before, but I bought these shoes on ebay…

*see Dave‘s blog entries from April 12 to April 23, 2006 for more details.

**mostly by people who want to CFM.

***my kingdom for a digital camera!!

****come on, I know you do this too.

{July 11, 2006}   Happy 1/2 Birthday to Me!

Happy 1/2 Birthday to Me!
Happy 1/2 Birthday to Me!
Happy 1/2 Birthday dear Bethie!
Happy 1/2 Birthday to Me!

{July 10, 2006}   I Am A Hippie With Dirty Feet

Spent the weekend at my friend Erika’s parents’s lakeside cabin up in the mountains. After a weekend of wearing flip-flops in a shower-free environment, I had such dirty feet that I’m certain Dave would have run screaming from if he had seen me.

Major accomplishments of the weekend included:

  • I caught a fish! And it was this big*! We were just trolling around the lake and I caught the little guy (who we subsequently returned safely to his or her watery home). The only other person to catch a fish this weekend was the other vegetarian Elizabeth, who was fly fishing. I assured everyone that the reason we caught the fish was that they knew we’d throw them back.
  • Wood was chopped while wearing sandals which, while stupid, did not result in any injuries**.
  • As there was not, in fact, a ban on fires, we built a nice campfire around which we could sit and drink***. As predicted, non-vegetarians did toast and consume marshmallows and I was, in fact, jealous.
  • Team Rat-tail**** managed to convince Team Mullet-hunter that they were nearly hit by a trucker bomb.
  • The future of science in Canada was discussed at length (That’s right — I wasn’t kidding about that.) Notes were taken, minutes will be compiled, world will be changed.

Best lines of the weekend included:

  • “What happens at the petrol station in Merritt, stays at the petrol station in Merritt.”
  • “We really are roughing it. This place has a spice rack.”
  • “And for best pecs in science, the nominees are…”

Best line of the weekend for which you had to be there (and for which you had to be drunk) to appreciate:

  • “What is knowledge translation?”

*my hands are currently being held three feet apart to illustrate the size of the fish that I caught. The fish biologist on hand estimated the fish to weigh in at about 500 g.

**surprizingly, it wasn’t me who was doing this.

***for those who are interested in my ongoing A.R.M. research, current evidence suggests that drinking in the mountains prevents A.R.M. Or perhaps it is drinking next to a lake. Another possibility is that being far, far away from a liquor store or bar, resulting in the inability to consume dangerously large quantities of alcohol prevents A.R.M. The jury is still out.

****”Rat-tail” and “Mullet-hunter” were our two cars’s code names for using on the walkie-talkies that we had to keep in touch during the drive (not only cheaper than cell phones, but we were so far from civilization that there is no cell phone reception there).

Apparently there is more to life than updates on Canucks trades, which is all my blog has consisted of lately. So, this weekend I’m headed up to my friend Erika’s parents’s cabin* with a bunch of other scientists, to relax, boat, swim, drink, chop wood** and discuss the future of science. You know, typical camping stuff***.

Oh ya, must give a shout out to Erika & Paul, who just got engaged! Congrats guys!!

Also, in the realm of excitement, next week is my half birthday! As of next Tuesday, I will only have six months left in which I can truthfully**** call myself a twenty-something. Festivities are being planned for the following weekend — I’ll keep you posted as plans progress.

Anyway, I should probably get going as we are leaving for the cabin this afternoon and I have yet to pack and such.

P.S. To all the guys who showed up at the midnight showing of Pirates of the Caribbean last night dressed up as pirates — Johnny Depp can get away with wearing eyeliner. You cannot.

*out in the Interior somewhere, I think. Somewhere near Merritt. I don’t actually fully know where it is… I’m just getting in a car and letting other people worry about such things as directions.

**our required payment for the use of the cabin.

***but we probably won’t get to have a camp fire, due to all the forest fires. This sucks, because I love camp fires. But on the bright side, I don’t have to be jealous of everyone else roasting marshmallows (full of gelatin-y goodness that my vegetarian sensibilities preclude me from taking part in).

****altho I figure I can untruthfully call myself a twenty-something for at least a couple of years yet.

Well, maybe not dead. But out of Vancouver (and out from under our salary cap!). Yippie!! We traded the overpriced choker for some draft picks (but frankly, I’d have given him away for free, just to get rid of his salary). I don’t know why Mark Crawford* loves him so much, but it works for me!

*MC, who kept giving Clouts another try in Vancouver, is now the coach LA, where Cloutier was traded.

{July 5, 2006}   A couple of things…

I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to Cobs Bread. Specifically, their Country Grain. I got a loaf the other day that was fresh out of the oven — ohmigod, it was to die for! I also discovered that they have opened up shop in Ontario! And, of course, I discovered this *after* I got back from Ontario! I could have been having Cobs-y goodness on my vacation! Anyway, if you happen to see a Cobs Bread in your travels, I *highly* recommend stopping by.

On the bus today, there was this guy picking his nose. I swear, right there, out in the open on the bus! And it wasn’t even an old guy! He was probably in his early 20s, listening to an iPod, semi-cute (at least until he started picking his nose — as soon as I saw that, he instantly became ugly). I mean, wtf??

The volume on my stereo has a mind of its own. I’ll be listening to the radio and it will just decide “hey, I’m going to really, really loud now, right out of the blue, just to fuck with you.” Or another time I’ll turn it on and have to jack the volume up to max just to hear anything. Sometimes I can make it louder by lifting the lid on the record player part and then putting it back down.* I think it may be possessed.

I recently read an article on Mary’s blog about procrastination — and how we procrastinators need to practice stopping! So I did that today – I made myself stop working on my paper. Now my plan is to go to bed so I can get up early in the morning, go for a run and then get back to work at a reasonable hour. Let’s see how that goes!

OK, I’m rambling here, so I think that means it’s time for bed!

*Yes, my stereo has a record player. It is 18 years old. Come to think of it, it is *exactly* 18 years old today, as my sister got it for her 13th birthday (I inherited it when she moved out of our parents’s place, way back in the ’90s). But it couldn’t possibly be that it is starting to wig out because it’s so damn old — it’s definitely possessed.

{July 4, 2006}   I Am A Guinea Pig

So I’ve signed up to take part in a study being conducted by a friend of mine. I know how hard it is to get people to participate in studies and, since I was eligible and available for the time needed, I volunteered. I won’t go into the details of the procedure, since it’s not my research and I don’t want to reveal too much info on the study, but suffice it to say that I have a nice collection of urine samples in my freezer now*.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been a guinea pig. Back in my first year, I took part in a few psychology studies, because it meant that I could get out of writing some of the assignments for my first-year psychology class. When future civilizations dig up the remains of our civilization, there will be a plethora of info on first-year psychology students on which they will be able to base their understanding of our time (or, at the very least, they will learn that first-year psychology students will do just about *anything* to get out of having to write assignments).

The coolest study I ever took part in, though, was getting a fMRI** done — again, it was someone I know who was working on a study and needed control subjects to compare to patients with schizophrenia. You lie down inside this tube with a giant magnet and have pictures of your brain taken while you take part in some kind of an activity — in my case, I had to match up pictures and sounds. As remuneration I could either get $10 or a picture of my brain. So, of course, I took the picture. I would put the picture up here, but (a) it’s really hard to scan since it is kind of like an x-ray, where you have to view it on one of those light box things, and (b) I don’t want my enemies (of which I have many) to have access to the secrets of my genius.

*OK, I concede that perhaps that is TMI!

**functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging – it lets you see what parts of the brain are activated during different activities.

et cetera