Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{August 30, 2006}   Necromouse

This might just be the coolest photo* I’ve ever seen:

Props to Rick for sending this to me (and for appreciating that I would appreciate it).

*Source: (Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)


Well, the paperwork has all been filed, the forms filled out in triplicate. I’ve dotted all the t’s and crossed all the i’s. My thesis has been submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies! I have officially, 100% completed my Ph.D. I am officially, for the first time in 24 years, not a student! I am also officially “unemployed” and when the friend whose place I’m subletting gets back next week, I’ll officially be homeless too! I was planning to write a big emotional blog posting about how this has shaken my identity (who am I, now that I’m not a student?), but instead I’m going to write about the gong show that was my attempt to hand in my thesis. So, the deal with the thesis is that, after the defence, you have to make some revisions as suggested by your examining committee and then hand in a final, perfect copy to FoGS. Since I received a Category 2, I had one month to do my revisions and so I took a bit of a break after the defence to celebrate before I sat down to make the revisions (which were quite minor and didn’t take very long once I actually made myself sit down to do them). Anyway, when you actually go into FoGS to submit the thesis, it has to be perfect. They have a lot of very particular formatting rules that must be followed exactly. They check your table of contents to make sure that all the page numbers match up to each section, table and figure. They measure your margins. They double check that you spelled your own name correctly. So the clerk at FoGS starts looking at my thesis and says, “Your preliminary pages are supposed to be in Roman numerals.” Now, I know that the prelim pages have to be in Roman numerals. I put the prelim pages in Roman numerals right from the beginning. And I’ve printed my thesis a gazillion times (for my supervisory committee, for the examining committee, etc., etc.) and never once has Word* switched my Roman numerals to Arabic numerals. But this time it did. So I had to go all the way back to the printing place (on the other side of campus) and re-print (and pay for all over again) another copy**. So I go, I fix the pagination problem, fix the Table of Contents to match the correct pagination, I reprint, I bring it back to FoGS. And the clerk looks at the thesis and says, “Why does the Table of Contents have the “List of Figures” listed twice?” Now, this is something that I could never figure out. I used the Table of Contents feature in Word and whenever I re-generate the T.O.C., it always listed the List of Figures twice. I could not figure out what weird code I must have hidden in there somewhere that made Word do this, so I always just deleted one of the “List of Figures” from the T.O.C. after I re-generated it. But did I remember to delete it this time? No, of course I didn’t! So it was back to the printing place to re-print the T.O.C. Fortunately the T.O.C. was only 3 pages long, so I only needed to print those pages. And even more fortunately the printing place guy was kind and didn’t even charge me for those three pages. So then it was all the way back to FoGS (thank god it was a nice sunny day out, making the walk not so bad) and, third time’s a charm I guess, because everything was finally in order*** and they accepted it! But all the thrill that should have gone along with the submitting of my thesis had evaporated in the hour and a half of walking back and forth across campus and fiddling with formatting. And the whole thing begs the question: why the hell can’t we just email the damn thing to them anyway? Why the hell do they want a paper copy, seeing as they are just putting the whole thing directly on microfiche? And who the hell uses microfiche in the year 2006 anyway??

So, that’s the story of my gong show of a day trying to submit my thesis. But on the plus side, it was accepted in the end! Plus, I got a free FoGS pen (and you know how much I love free pens!) and a survey to fill out (and I love filling out surveys… second only to my love of free pens). The survey is from StatsCan and is called the Survey of Earned Doctorates****. And since I am now no longer a student and will never have to write another word for my thesis again, I felt that I needed to update my blog title, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting.

And even better than free pens and surveys and slightly modified blog titles, guess who asked me for my number when I walked by the house down the street from me today???

*Word has screwed up various other formatting issues when taking a document from my computer and opening it up on the computer at the printing place. But it’s never screwed up my pagination like this before. I’m not shocked that Word messed something up (that’s to be expected, quite frankly, knowing Word) but that Word is so inconsistent in what it screws up.

**And what am I going to do with the incorrectly paginated version, you ask? Oh, you’ll see. I have plans – stay tuned for that.

***If you would like a copy of my thesis (come on, you know you want to read 167 pages of thesis-tastic excitement), let me know and I’ll email you a copy. I would post the pdf but it’s too big of a file to post on Geocities, which is the only place that I currently have set up to post documents and I’m too tired right now to find another free site that will allow bigger files.

***I like how they point out that this is for earned doctorates — those ones you can buy off the internet just don’t cut it for this survey, bee-yotch!

{August 28, 2006}   On Notice

For those of you who are fans of the Colbert Report, you will appreciate this pic. For those who haven’t seen the show, I’ll give some background. On the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert has a segment called “On Notice” — when things make him angry, he puts them “on notice.” (Things that make him really, really angry go on the “Dead To Me” list, which is a whole other story). For example, Professor Michael Adams of North Carolina State University was put “On Notice” for not crediting Colbert as the original source of the word “truthiness” in a newspaper article in which Adams was quoted. On another episode he put “pant cuffs” “On Notice” after showing a clip of Latin superstar Juan Gabriel tripping over his pant cuffs.

And now, thanks to the wonders of the internets, you too can now put things that make you angry “on notice.” See if you can guess which ones were on the original Colbert list and which one I added.

{August 27, 2006}   Always Welcome

I found a new sign to put on my front door:

(Photo by: Sarah)

{August 25, 2006}   Embracing My Inner Geek

Since so many people* were asking where they too could get a cool blogging shirt, I decided that it was high time I embraced my inner geek and joined the Affiliate program. Basically, what this means is that I’ve added a lovely graphic onto my blog (look to your right) and if you click on that link and then buy stuff from ThinkGeek, they give me cash. And it’s not like this is the first time I’ve touted the ThinkGeek stuff… you may also remember ThinkGeek from such blog postings as How To Turn Yourself OCD (featuring stuffed viruses) and Merry Thesis-mas (featuring the travel mug with the caffeine molecule on it). ThinkGeek has all kinds of cool stuff for your geekness needs.

I also added a link, right under the ThinkGeek one, to Jinx is a similar site (but more gamer/hacker oriented, I find, than the more broadly defined geekdom of ThinkGeek). If you click on that link and buy stuff, they don’t give me any money =( But they are going to send me a free sticker! I heart free stuff. When I signed up to put the link up, the form asked “how did you hear about” with the usual type options like “a website”, “a friend”, “an ad”, etc. And then it asked for a more specific answer, saying “what website? what friend?” So I wrote, “I heard about from a cute boy that I met online.” True story**.

*and by “so many,” I mean 2.

**true both that I heard about it from a cute boy that I met online and that I told that that was how I heard about them.

{August 18, 2006}   I heart weekends!

But not for the reason that you think. As I’ve discussed before, weekends are rather meaningless to me, as my schedule is rather unconventional. But the past few weekends have been good because there are some smoking hot guys fixing a roof down the street from me. They only seem to work there on the weekend. And the weather has been nice so they work with no shirts on. And, coincidentally, I have to walk right by there on my way to the bus. Or when I’m just heading to the shops on Dunbar. And I tend to go out a fair bit when the weather is nice. And today, on my way out to meet my friend Jen for coffee, guess who said, “hey!” to me? And on the way back too.

Happy weekend everyone!

It is a well known fact that Translink hates Sarah. Recent developments, however, suggest that Therese may be the antithesis of Sarah in Translink-related matters. The entire time that Therese was here, we never missed a bus and we never had to wait more than 2 minutes for one to show up… every connection showed up at the perfect time – we never had to run for the bus, but we never had to wait long either. So apparently Translink loves Therese. Unfortunately, Vancouver night clubs were not so accomodating.

OK, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Therese arrived, with an extremely large suitcase in tow, on Monday afternoon. We just chillaxed* for the afternoon, going to Sodas for dinner and to the Dunbar to watch Talledaga Nights. Word to the wise: as with many comedies, most of the funny stuff is in the trailer.

The next day we decided to do the Grouse Grind! It took 2 buses and a Seabus trip to get there, but thanks to Therese’s magic Translink powers, we got there in record time!

Apparently I had been spotted on my previous trip to the Grouse Grind, as the sign that used to warn merely of black bear sightings had another wild animal listed on it this time.

On the way up we ran into some interesting characters, including a guy from Hamilton (who joined us in our “We love Mac!” rants, as he went there too) and two randoms who were speaking what I think may have been Spanish and who liked to pass you and then walk really, really slowly in front of you. And spit a lot. Freaks.

I’d like to post all the photos of our trip up, but I’m pretty sure that it would crash Blogger. Therese loves to take photos and I am a photo-taking enabler. I blame our many photo ops along the way for our taking longer than the average to get up the mountain. That and Therese’s low blood sugar. Also, the other people in our way. It has nothing whatsoever to do with our lack of physical prowess.

Anyway, here are just a few of the particularly good photos from the climb:

Check me out… I’m chillaxing at the 3/4 way mark… oh ya, this is soooo easy!

Here we are at the top, savouring our victory over nature!

And here we are devouring a well-earned Beaver Tail.

I’d also like to take a moment to point out my T-shirt in this photo. My sister gave me this shirt** and I vowed to have a pic of me wearing it on my blog…. like, blog self-reflexivity in T-shirt form. Meta-blog if you will. I got a few comments on this shirt that day, and a few laughs***.

The other important thing about our trip was that Therese taught me the very important skill of surreptitiously taking photos of cute boys while pretending to take photos of ourselves.

Exhibit A: No-shirt boy, who reached the top with his two friends shortly after we did. They decided to go up on the balcony to take in the view. Therese decided to pretend to take my photo while actually directing the camera a bit higher. And then you zoom in on the photo thusly:

Exhibit B: We saw this boy unloading kegs of beer for the restuarant off of one of the gondolas. And then he**** turned out to be on our gondola on the way down. Hence this photo:

After the Grind, we headed to the Templeton to satisify our jones for some poutine (even though Therese had never eaten poutine before in her life. Sacre bleu!), and then headed home for quick showers before heading out for the evening. We went for dinner with Kalev and his friend Alex, who was visiting from San Diego, to the Rugby Club where, despite having just told Therese that I *never* run into people I know around Vancouver, I ran into someone that I know. After dinner we headed to Celebrities where, despite it being just past 10 pm there was the longest lineup that I’ve ever seen at a club in my life! On a Tuesday! So we decided to head to Jupiter for a few drinks instead. Unfortunately Jupiter, which is usually quite classy, decided that it was a good idea to have the worst karaoke that I have EVER heard. So it was a quick drink there and then we decided that, since we value our sanity, we had to leave. We checked out the Oasis, but it was closing at midnight, being that it was Tuesday. The lineup at Celebrities had barely moved, so we decided to check out the Odyssey instead. And the Odyssey was having a drag queen comedy show, Tickle Me Tuesdays. Apparently it was just not our night for good entertainment.

And that was pretty much all of Therese’s trip! She had to catch a flight back to the T dot the next day! (Her trip was waaaay too short!). I miss you, EZ-T!!

*this is my new word for the week. Therese often uses this word and I appear to have incorporated it into my vocabulary.

**thank you

***at least, I hope they were laughing at my shirt.

***damn, I hope none of these people find my blog.

{August 14, 2006}   Absentminded professor

So, I’ve been wandering around in a daze since Tuesday*. It seems like I really couldn’t imagine a time beyond the defence and, even though I had been making plans for future events, I really couldn’t keep any of them in my head. Case in point: my friend Therese is visiting. Now, I knew that she was coming out to Van from T.O. in August for her cousin’s wedding and then she was going to stay a few extra days to hang out with me. And I am aware that it is now August. But I would be damned if I could put those two facts together in order to ask the ever so pertinent question: “when in August?” Well, it turns out, now. She called me on Friday to say “hey, I’m here! I have a free afternoon!” I really had it in my head that she was here next week, not this week. I also somehow thought she would be here all the way to the next Friday, even though I do recall her saying she was staying just a few days after the wedding (and I didn’t really think the wedding was mid-week). Apparently my math** skills are not what they used to be. So anyway, we went to Bo Kong for some delish Buddhist vegetarian Chinese food, since she was staying at her cousin’s place right across the road. She had the wedding this past weekend***, And now she is coming to stay with me for a few days! Yay!! I’ll be sure to keep you posted on our adventures. =)

*only part of the time due to the chemical with which my research was concerned.

**or “maths” skills, in case the wacko from London, UK is still reading my blog and hating my shoes. Oh yes, I’m on to you.

***whereas I entertained myself with debachery at Caprice.

{August 11, 2006}   D-Day

When we last left off, our intrepid young doctoral candidate and her trusty PPP had just had dinner at the Eatery. As expected, I did not get much sleep that night, as I was waaaay too nervous to sleep. I did some last minute reading/cramming and even found a crazy typo as I was reading through my thesis*. I finally laid down around 3 a.m., but only to enter a continuous cycle of dozing off and the immediately waking up in a panic. Around 7ish I decided I may as well get up and get ready. I had a friend in my undergrad who always showed up to exams with her hair and makeup done and a nice outfit on (while the rest of us looked like we hadn’t slept or changed our clothes in days). Her theory was that if you were going to go down in a spectacular train wreck of an exam, you might as well look good doing so. In that spirit, I did my makeup and hair and dressed up all spiffy-like (even wearing my kickass boots, seen here). Sarah and I caught the bus (surprizingly, we had no transportation misadventures on the way) and made it to the Grad Student Centre, where the official doctoral exam room is, with plenty of time to spare.

Now, I mentioned in a previous posting that when your examiners show up to your defence in Hawaiian shirts, you know things are going to go well. My theory being that if the examiners wanted to fail you, they’d be showing up in a suit to exert their authority. So when examiners showed up in biking gear, my spirts were buoyed.

The process for a doctoral defence is that you give a 20-30 minute presentation on your research and then the examiners, who have all had at least 4 weeks to read your thesis, get to ask questions. They get 20 minutes each for the first round, then the audience is given an opportunity to ask questions, then another round of questions from the examiners (if they so desire). There are 6 examiners in total – 3 from your supervisory committee**, one from your department who is not on your supervisory committee, one from another department (also not on your committee) and an external examiner, who is from another university (the external doesn’t actually come to the defence – he or she just emails their questions and their ranking of your thesis). After that they kick you and the audience out of the room so they can deliberate and then call you back in the room to give you the verdict.

As for my defence, I thought that my presentation went quite well (some of the examiners even commented that they felt the presentation was well done and really made the findings of the thesis very clear), but I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked on the questions. Some of the questions I handled alright, but there were a few where I really did know the answer but couldn’t quite recall the details that I needed. I really think the stress was getting to me… I’m usually much better under pressure, but the stress of not just the defence itself (which is bad enough) but of all the many and varied personal and professional catastrophes I’ve been experiencing in the past year all seemed to pile up on me and the strain was just a bit too much for me to perform as well as I would have liked. But apparently the stuff I did answer, and my handling of the stuff that I didn’t know, was good because I passed! And with very minimal revisions to do! So now I just need to make those revisions, show my supervisor that I did what they asked for and I can hand it in and then I’m totally done! Woot woot!

After the defence, there were many congratulatory hugs, “I told you it would be fine!”s and photos taken. Then my supervisor took a bunch of my friends and colleagues to lunch at the Banana Leaf in Kits. After that I had to meet with her to go over the revisions, as she was leaving the next day for a week long camping trip. When I returned home, Sarah showered me with cards (from her and Dave, and from her parents) full of money*** and double Amaretto & diet Pepsis. I called my parents to tell them the good news, and then I called my sister, who, along with my neice, was in Halifax visiting her friend****. My sister said to my neice, “Say “yay Aunt Beth”! Aunt Beth got her Ph.D.!!!” To which my neice confidently replied, “Tomato.” As if to say, “Ph.D., Ph.schme. I would like to eat one of those delicious looking cherry tomatoes!” Leave it to a 20 month old to put things into perspective!

After the phone calls, there was lounging and chatting and then, due to my ineptitude (and probably the effects of the dA&dPs setting in), we missed the bus that was supposed to take us to meet Kalev by about 30 secs, so we had to walk 17 blocks (and it would be the first day it had rained on Sarah’s entire trip here!) rather than wait for the next bus, which wouldn’t be until 20 minutes later. Meeting up with Kalev on Broadway, we hopped on a bus to take us to the dinner that Sarah had organized (as I had refused to organize my own dinner, as such presumptious behaviour on my part would undoubtedly have jinxed me). Kalev & Sarah didn’t tell me where we were going and despite my valiant efforts at guessing, it wasn’t until I could actually see the restaurant that I figured out we were going to Habibi’s. Despite the fact Kalev had introduced me to this source of Lebanese deliciousness a mere week earlier, I got off the bus going, “Where are you taking me? There are no restaurants around here!” For the second time that day, I had Kalev ordering for the whole table (since we decided to order a bunch of dishes to share). There was a slight panic when we were informed that the keg wasn’t working and we couldn’t get any beer, but they later informed us that they’d fixed it, much to the relief of Rachel, who I thought might actually die from the shock of not being able to have a beer with dinner. The next big shock came when I was presented with a scrapbook – a brilliant idea of Shalu’s. It was full of all kinds of pictures from my friends (including a few pictures that I hadn’t seen before!) and which everyone who attended the defence and/or the dinner had signed and written stuff in. I was totally shocked when I opened the first page and saw pictures of me that had been taken right after my defence that morning*****! Also shocking was that I had no idea that everyone was sneaking out during dinner to sign my book, which was sitting on a table on the patio right in plain view!! I’d noticed people going outside during dinner, but hadn’t been paying much attention and kinda thought they were just going outside to talk on their cell phones… closer to the end of dinner I sort of noticed that someone was at a table outside writing something, but at that point it was kinda dark out, so I wasn’t even sure that it was someone from our group and, if it was, I figured maybe they were signing a card. So I was totally surprized – and very touched! – that my friends had done this for me!

After dinner, a bunch of us went downtown to find a club. Seeing as it was a Tuesday, there weren’t a lot of options, so we opted for the Roxy. Not the fanciest of clubs, but it had a lot of people in it, the music was good and, unlike Celebrities, the boys there are straight. Rachel bought the first round of drinks, which included Jager Bombs for all! Yay Jager Bombs******! And thereafter much dancing, drinking and debachery followed.

The next day was kind of a blur, but I do recall lunch at Sodas and a quick trip to the Liquor Store to procure some delectable BC wines for Sarah to bring back to Ontario. And then a cabbie came and whisked her away to the airport! =( And I missed her as soon as she was gone! Sarah, I can’t thank you enough for coming all this way to support me during my defence! You are the best PPP, post-defence-party-planner and friend that a girl could ever ask for! You rock!!!

The next day I got a lovely surprize – my parents, sister and neice had sent me some beautiful flowers! Check them out!

*In one of my citations I had referenced an article that, apparently, was published in 1007 (rather than 1997). Man, that’s one OLD article!

**You can have 2 or 3 from your committee… I had 3. And I will just add that I had the best committee ever, so I was perfectly happy to have 3… heck, I’d have had all 5 if I could have! (OK, not really… but I did really like all my committee members!)

***Money which is being put towards the digital camera I keep whining about not having!

****readers of Touch You Last will know her friend as the intrepid commenter, BRNQ

*****God bless 1 hour digital photo developing!

******for the uninitiated, Jager Bombs are a shot of Jag dropped into a glass of Red Bull. And they are currently my favourite drink.

Well, it’s been a whirlwind of a week! And since Dave wasn’t here to chronicle the adventures this time, I have to actually do my own blogging. Fortunately, Sarah has a photographic memory and, before she left, she wrote down a list of everything we did while she was here, otherwise this posting would read something like, “um.. we did a bunch of stuff… I remember going to the Eatery… ya, and some other stuff”.

Sarah’s transportation misadventures, of which there were several, started even before she got here. While she was supposed to arrive at 11 pm, she didn’t get here until after 1 am, owing to lightning at Toronto airport, where she had to transfer planes. Apparently they don’t like to have the workers out on the tarmac during storms, ‘cuz it would be a bitch of a lawsuit if one of them got struck by lighting. I whiled away the extra time waiting for Sarah by going to see some no-reason fireworks – the show, put on by the Czech Republic was, in my humble opinion, the best of the series. After her 11 hour trip (which followed a full day at work) and arriving at what was past 4 in the morning her time, Sarah was tired for some reason, so we went off to sleep, only to have to rise early the next morning for my practice defence session. After making sure that I knew how to use the Grad Studies laptop and projector and that my PowerPoint slides all worked (and getting feedback on my presentation from the people who came to watch), my friend Erika joined Sarah and I for lunch at One More Sushi in the Village. As One More is conveniently located near the campus Liquor Store, Sarah quickly rushed to buy as many cans of Granville Island Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale as she could carry (having brought an empty suitcase in which to return said cans to Ontario). Taking the bus while carrying 24 cans of beer made us look in no way like a couple of alcoholics.

After a much needed nap, we headed out to dinner at one of my favourite Indian restaurants, Indian Oven, and then downtown to meet Kalev and some of his friends at Celebrities, where we were horrified to discover that a new by-law means that the minimum price for hiballs has been raised from $2 to $3… Vancouver university students will now be 1/3 less drunk and will be none to happy about it. Other highlights from Celebrities included the bouncer requesting 8 pieces of ID and her T4 after he saw Sarah’s Ottawa-based ID, the amazing* entertainment, and dude in (and later out of) the kilt. Oh ya, and the guy snorting coke in the middle of the club.

The next of Sarah’s transportation misadventures occurred the next day on our bus ride to Stanley Park. Shortly after a women with a cart full of bottles got on the bus, a woman got on the bus in her scooter, declaring, “It’s my first bus trip on my scooter!!”. The bus driver informed her “it’s easier to get on the bus if you back in,” to which she yelled, “WHAT??” as she drove forward on the bus. Then it took her 20 MINUTES (no, I’m not making that up) to try to turn her scooter around to get properly placed on the bus. The whole procedure was complicated by the women with the bottles who was standing right in the way of the woman trying to turn around on her scooter. Apparently it didn’t occur to her that she was right in the way and it didn’t appear that she spoke any English and so couldn’t understand the bus driver’s requests to get out of the way (and apparently this woman is often on this bus, as the driver said, “Why do we have go through this EVERY day?!”). Also, the woman had taken her shoes off. That didn’t add to the complication of getting the other woman and her scooter on the bus, but it was just a weird thing to do on the bus. Then, to top things off, the woman on the scooter got off the bus a mere 4 stops later… it would surely have taken her half the time to just scoot there!

After this long and harrowing ordeal, we FINALLY got to Stanley Park, where we met up with Sarah’s friends Deepa and David (who were in Vancouver on a househunting trip as David is starting at UBC and Deepa is transferring to Van) at the Aquarium. After eating outrageously priced sandwiches at the snack bar, we marvelled at size of the sea lions**, ooh and ahhed over the adorable sea otters, and ran screaming from the snakes & spiders*** in the Amazon Rainforest exhibit. Once we’d had our fill of marine life, we checked out Prospect Point, which Sarah hadn’t been to on her previous trips to Stanley and which I haven’t been to since I was 17. That was followed by a ridiculously long search for a parking spot downtown, as we were meeting Sarah & Deepa’s friends Etienne and Eve at the Banana Leaf on Denman for dinner. Word to the wise: the Banana Leaf on Denman is no Banana Leaf in Kitsilano. When we proceeded to tell Etienne & Eve our story about the woman with the bottles on the bus, they sighed, “Oh, her.” Apparently she’s quite the fixture in the world of Translink travellers. We followed up dinner with coffee at some coffee place whose name I can’t remember where I had the surreal experience of sitting in a coffee shop in Vancouver with 5 people all speaking French around me. I believe this is the first time that 5 French speakers have ever been in Vancouver at the same time, let alone at the same table, and surely is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

The next day was Saturday and since Sarah needed to get more bus tickets, we stopped at Safeway and picked them up, along with some surprizingly tasty sandwiches that we ate on the bus on the way downtown. We met up with Deepa & David, as Sarah had forgotten her camera in their car the previous night. The Mac-Mc family doesn’t have much luck when it comes to not losing their digi-cams, so we were very glad that it had just fallen out of her purse in their car. After a quick chat with D&D at Starbucks in Gastown, it was off to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see Raven Travelling, an exhibit of Haida art. They also had some other exhibits, including an exhibit about contemporary prefabricated homes… now, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking “prefab homes? wtf? that’s not art!” And you know what, you are right, it’s not. So we were glad that we spent most of our time on the Haida art, of which Sarah and I are both big fans. Dinner was at everyone’s favourite hippie hangout, the Naam. And since it was the last night of the Celebration of Light (aka the no-reason fireworks) we decided to add a little something extra to our diet Pepsi bottles and hop on a bus to Kits Beach to watch the show. Now, the plan was good. We checked the bus schedule. We knew that we needed to go quite a bit early because EVERYONE in Vancouver goes to the fireworks and EVERYONE takes the bus ‘cuz there’s no parking within a hundred mile radius of the beaches. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. The time at which the bus was supposed to arrive came and went. The time at which the NEXT bus was supposed to come also came and went. Finally, pretty much when Sarah (who had quite enough of her transportation misadventures by this point) said, “I don’t even want to go to the fireworks anymore!” the bus arrived. 40 mins late. On a route where buses are supposed to come every 20 mins. On a night when Translink claims they have extra buses because they know so many people are taking the bus to the fireworks. Pretty much everyone on the bus had a bottle of “pop” or “juice”. There were even a few people with “bottled water” that was an awfully strange shade for water. And Sarah was all like “I thought the stage in my life where I had to surreptitiously drink my alcohol from a pop bottle were over!” Apparently, not so much. On the way back we decided it was just easier to walk home than to wait for a bus, which gave me the excuse to stop at the Tim Horton’s on Broadway for a coffee. Where I impressed an American with my vast knowlege of American and Canadian politics****. And his friend was like, “Wow, this is one well-educated young lady.” Seeing as this was 3 days before my Ph.D. defence I was like, “Dude, you don’t even know the half of it.”

Sunday was one of the few days where we had actually made plans more than a day in advance. The day started off with a pre-Pride brunch at Kalev’s friend Craig’s place, where Craig made Eggs Benedict and wicked awesome champagne and Alize drinks (which I managed to spill on myself). Now, believe it or not, I’d never had Eggs Benedict before and, after trying it, I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on! After brunch we found ourselves a nicely shaded spot to watch the Pride Parade, where we boo-ed the Conservative Party of Canada car and cheered Hedy Fry, Jack Layton and, especially, the Celebrities float. After the Parade, we lost Kalev & Co in the throngs of people at the Sunset Beach Festival, so we headed back across the bridge to Kits, where we found ourselves back at Sophie’s for burgers. After that we headed back to my place to try to touch base with Shalu, with whom we had tentative plans to do something that night. After about six thousand phone calls in which we dithered and dithered and dithered on what we wanted to do, we finally decided to go to Andrew’s post-Pride party and then head over to Wild Coyote for FUBAR. By the time Shalu arrived, Sarah and I had broken into the bottle of port she had picked up at the Liquor Store. Port which I managed to spill on myself. We arrived at Andrew’s with a bottle of wine and a bunch of beer, so Sarah declared, “We BYOB’d” and everyone thought she said, “We brought weed.” Oh, Vancouverites. In a surprizing twist, I managed to spill my wine on myself. We got to chatting with everyone and before we knew it, it was totally late and we never did get out to FUBAR. But we had a great time at the party, so it was all good.

After our fun-filled Sunday, Monday hit me hard. Monday meant there was only one day left before D-day. Panic started to set in. Sarah entertained herself with my collection of Harry Potter books while I got in some last minute studying and practised my presentation for my defence. The day was punctuated with good luck emails and phone calls from family & friends and with Sarah keeping me from ever getting to full-blown panic mode*****. Lunch was some mexican food at Mexacali’s, where I had a passable meal and Sarah’s was inedible. We made up for the lackluster lunch by going for a late dinner at the Eatery. Mmmm, the Eatery. If you are ever in Vancouver, I highly recommend you go there.

OK, so this posting has gotten really, really long, and it is getting late… and I think the defence itself warrants it’s own posting, so I’m going to end this posting now (has anyone actually read all the way through this thing?)

*where is a sarcasm font when you need one?
**I actually know someone who works with those sea lions for her research
***OK, this might have just been Deepa and I. And we didn’t so much run or scream as just refuse to look and got the hell out of that exhibit ASAP.
****My vast knowledge consisted of “I dislike Stephen Harper because he is a fundamentalist wacko” and “I dislike GWB because he is a fundamentalist wacko.” When pressed for more details, I added, “He’s a war mongerer who cares more about oil than he does about human lives.”
*****henceforth Sarah was known as my PPP (personal panic preventer).

{August 8, 2006}   Ph.Dizzle

Oh ya baby! My defence is over and I PASSED!! Woot woot!

{August 1, 2006}   My apartment eats things

Like my watch. I know my watch was in my purse one minute (I’d taken it off and put it in my purse when I was out because I didn’t want to get a watch tan) and the next minute, it wasn’t. I remember seeing it in my purse and I was standing right beside my coat rack. And then it was gone. It has to be in my apartment somewhere, right?

And then there is the case of the missing articles. I’d printed up two journal articles that I wanted to read and when I went to read them, I couldn’t find them anywhere. I thought, “oh, perhaps I left them at the lab (where I’d printed them up)”, but I went to the lab and they aren’t there either. I’m sure I brought them home and my apartment decided that they would make a nice midnight snack.

I’m typing this posting in my office on campus, because I don’t want my apartment to know that I’m on to it…

et cetera