Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{December 31, 2006}   I’ve Been Traded!

As you may have heard, I’m spending my New Year’s Eve as a coat check girl. Well, I just found out that I’ve been traded to a different bar! It’s a bigger venue and I’m told that the clientele there is older, so here’s hoping that translates to bigger tips!


{December 28, 2006}   2006

2006 is a year that just can’t end soon enough. For months now it has been apparent to me that 2006 was just not my year. The first thing that comes to mind is getting divorced – while definitely the right decision for me, deciding to end a marriage of almost a decade (not to mention the events leading to the divorce) was not a pleasant experience. One thing that was helping to console me through this ordeal was that I was soon to finish my PhD and would be moving away to start a job that I can only describe as a dream come true. And then, due to circumstances I care not to discuss in a public forum (but which I can assure you were most decidedly unfair), my PhD defence was delayed by four months. But there was hope – my dream job would wait for me! It made those four months bearable, knowing that I would still get to move away, to get my fresh start and to be doing some fascinating research in an amazing location. Then, five days before the rescheduled defence I was informed that, due to unforeseen circumstances (and again, due to something completely beyond my control), my dream job had evaporated. It mattered not that I’d gotten rid of all my furniture, moved out of my old apartment to sublet a friend’s place “just for the summer” under the understanding that I’d be moving away to my new job in September. It mattered not that I’d turned down another job offer to take this one. Needless to say, that’s the last thing I needed less than a week before what was sure to be stressful event – defending a body of research before a committee of 5 professors and a public audience, where an insufficient performance could mean you don’t get your degree (!); but somehow, somehow I managed to make it through. It wasn’t the best performance I’d ever given, as I truly felt suffocated by the stress of it all, asking why, why, why did everything have to happen to me all at the same time?? But I survived and when the examining committee chair said the words, “It is my pleasure to inform you that the committee has decided to grant you your Ph.D.” I just wanted to cry with relief. Six years of blood, sweat and tears, finally come to fruition. It was August and it was one of the first good things that had happened in 2006. Sure I was now unemployed and homeless, but I had a PhD, dammit. Unfortunately, the bad luck streak didn’t end. Shortly thereafter, I nearly got another good job* in a fantastic location and I thought “my luck has finally started to turn!”… but then they decided to hire someone else. Someone else with more direct experience in their type of research. Sigh. And, since then, despite the multitude of resumes I’ve submitted – nothing. Four months of unemployment to end this seemingly endless year. Before this, I hadn’t been unemployed since… well, since I got my first paper route at the age of 8. In fact, I’ve had such a streak of bad luck this year that I had a law named after me – Beth’s Law.

But, recently, I’ve come to realize that my troubles pale in comparison to those of many people I know. I started thinking about this a few days before Christmas when my ex called to tell me that his best friend had just had a heart attack**. His best friend who is a mere 29 years old! Who the hell has a heart attack at 29 years old?? As I recovered from the shock of this unexpected news, my head began to reel as I started a mental tally of all the terrible things that have happened this year:

  • one of my closest friends tragically lost his mother to cancer
  • four of my good friends lost grandparents
  • one of my best friend’s aunts, at 47 years young, had a very debilitating stroke
  • my grandfather had heart surgery (which we are very thankful he has recovered from)
  • my grandmother had a heart attack (which we are very thankful she managed to survive) and was diagnosed with a breast cancer that is not being treated, as the doctors believe she could not survive surgery, chemo or radiation
  • a dear friend of mine had a tumor the size of a football removed from her abdomen (and we are counting our blessings with that one, as she seems to have recovered nicely, thank goodness)
  • one of my dad’s work colleagues drowned
  • like mine, my sister’s marriage of 12 years also ended; unlike me, however, she has a 2-year-old daughter

So I started to think about how the things that had gone wrong in my life personally paled in comparison to what people I care about have experienced this year. I’m healthy, my family is healthy and I haven’t lost any family members. And as I was mulling over this blog posting in my mind, my roommate, who is home for the holidays, called asking me to look up her friend’s cell phone number in her phone book. His brother was in a car accident, he’s in the ICU, unconscious, and she wanted to call and see how he was holding up.

It’s gotten to the point that I’m afraid to answer the phone. There’s only 4 days left of 2006 and I shudder to think what those days will hold. I’m holding out hope that 2007 will bring brighter days – a job, some stability and no more people having unexpected health issues at unreasonably young ages. Is that really too much to ask?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go unplug my phone and hide under my covers until the New Year, in the hopes that the Fates will forget to curse what is left of my 2006. Of course, since I live in a basement, that won’t help me if that big earthquake that Vancouver is overdue for hits, burying me in rubble***. Oh well, it will make a nice break from the hurricanes we’ve been having lately.

*and by nearly, I mean the words, “I would like you to come and work with me” were actually spoken.

**Paul, if you are reading this (and I know you are), all those times I told you to “go to hell” – I didn’t mean it literally. Yeesh.

***on the bright side, I do have earthquake coverage as part of my apartment insurance!

To be cross posted at Indie Bloggers.
Update: cross-posted here at Indie Bloggers.

{December 27, 2006}   I’m Officially a Cliché

I’m going to spend my New Year’s Eve working as a coat check girl/hostess. In a bar. That’s Dr. Coat Check girl to you.

{December 26, 2006}   Christmas Booty

Being a good Pastafarian, it was important that I got some good Christmas booty (not booty). And good booty I did receive!

First of all, Kalev & I had a wicked good dinner, the ingredients of which were purchased at Urban Fare in Yaletown, where Kalev informed the cashier that it was “our first Christmas together.”*

Here we are enjoying our wicked good dinner:

Now, onto the booty! As for gifts given, most of the gifts I gave were things that I made**, although I did purchase a few books, including chicken books for my dad from the American Poultry Association***, Rob Feenie cookbooks for my mom & sister****, and the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Kalev. Stuff I made included baked goods***** and these wicked cool shot glasses:

Evidence that I made these myself include these artsy self- potraits****** of me with a paintbrush:

I’m also making something for my roommate, but don’t want to mention it here on the off chance that she actually reads my blog. She’s not back until the New Year, so I haven’t made her present yet. But I know exactly what I’m making and it’s going to be super cool!

I got spoiled with a lot of cool gifts. Kalev got me a paper shredder (which I have been dying for!) and books 4, 5 and 6 of Y, the Last Man (which I have been dying to read since he first introduced me to the series). My parents sent me a Chanel lipstick palette ******* and money for a Magic Bullet********. My sister got me a watch, which I’ve desperately needed since my apartment ate my old one. And my niece, as usual, got me awesome stuff! She’s quite good at chosing presents, especially considering she is only 2 years old. She got me this T-shirt:

and this cold virus soap dispenser:
She liked this soap dispenser so much that she got one herself too. It’s blue. We like blue.

My roommate hid a whole bunch of stuff in our closet and called me on Christmas to inform me of its presence. Included among the closet booty were this awesome picture frame she made for our Snow Rat picture:

and ball in a cup. A few weeks ago we’d seen this on Family Guy:

I have no idea why we found this so freaking funny, but we couldn’t stop laughing. And so I got ball in a cup. But my ball isn’t attached to a string, so I need to worry if I don’t catch the ball!!

Anyone wanna come over and play ball in a cup with me?

*While technically true, it was not in the way that the cashier thought. So we enjoyed a good laugh at her expense. We are nice like that.

**Because it’s so much more personal that way… not because of my abject poverty, why do you ask?

***You know, the APA.

****To commemorate our trip to Lumiere.

*****Given to a few lucky peeps!

******This is why I shouldn’t be left to my own devices too often. I get bored very easily.

*******She informed me via sticky note that “A “Dr” should have a little Chanel”

********The blender, not the other one.

{December 26, 2006}   Happy Holiday!
Happy Holiday!

May you be touched by his noodly appendage this holiday season!

{December 23, 2006}   Em-Beth

While watching clips of The Daily Show on the Comedy Central website, I noticed that there was a little button with code to embed their video clips on your site. Emboldened by my success at embedding clips from YouTube in a previous posting, I decided to emblazen my blog with this, one of my favourite ever clips, for the embetterment of your viewing pleasure:

I have made a decision and that decision is this: I am never going to buy wrapping paper again.

This isn’t because I’m cheap frugal (which I am), nor is it due to my abject poverty… it’s just such a friggin’ waste! I recylce, I always print on the back of previously used paper, write notes on old envelopes, bring my own bags to the grocery store and a travel mug to Timmy’s, so what am I doing buying paper (probably made in a sweat shop from virgin paper) that is merely going to be ripped off and thrown away (and probably not recycled, if I’m not there to rescue it from the garbage!) Now, this doesn’t mean that I won’t wrap presents — I LOVE unwrapping presents!! But I’m just not going to wrap with wrapping paper. I know that many environmentally conscious people will wrap their presents in newspaper, but I wanted mine to look a little nicer, so I wrapped them in shiny magazine pages! And since the only magazine I had on hand was the free one from the BC Liquor Store*, that was what I used. Fortunately, it is the holiday issue and a surprising number of ads had pictures of red bows in them, making it sort of look like I had bows on my presents.

Do you think my parents will get the subliminal message on this gift?

And I even found a picture of a bear for one of my neice’s presents:

Of course, her other present has a picture of a bottle of booze on it. But it’s folded over so you can’t really tell what it is. Plus, she’s only 2 – she’ll never know, right?

*which I totally got for the *recipes*, btw.

Everytime I go into Shopper’s Drug Mart, I look longingly at the Canucks paraphernalia they are hawking for the holidays. One of the things I really like is the Canucks optical computer mouse:

Then I flipped the package over to read what was on the back (I’m still not sure what possessed me to do this):

Let’s zoom in on that, shall we?

WTF?? Swallow a computer mouse? Wouldn’t that be slightly difficult?

Is it strange that this warning label makes me want this product even more?

{December 22, 2006}  

Why didn’t this site come out before I did my Christmas baking? I want to be eating the same Choco-Coco Squares as Mattias Ohlund!

And for the record, I notice that Taylor’s Pyatt’s gf didn’t contribute any recipes. She’s no good for you Taylor!!

The good people of Environmental Defence have a petition that I thought I’d pass along to you. From their petition:

This is supposed to be a season of giving. But the kind of gifts the Top Ten Greenhouse Gas Emitters in Canada are giving us all are not only unwelcome – they’re changing the climate and killing the planet.

Their goal is to get 3500 signatures (as I type this, there are 351). Want to sign it and let Canada’s top greenhouse gas emitters know what you think? Go here!

{December 20, 2006}   Varia

Three blog postings in one day yesterday? That must mean (a) Beth has real work that she should be doing but isn’t, (b) Beth’s roommate has gone home for the holidays and there is no one here to listen to her various witty remarks, so she feels the need to blog.

Also, it appears, at least on my screen, that those clips from You Tube that I posted earlier are too wide and so they cover up the stuff on my sidebar. And, since I’m too lazy to figure out how to re-size it, I figured I would just write another post to push that one further down on the screen. And I also figured that if I put photos in, it would be even easier to make a sufficiently long posting to do so. So I dug through the images I have on my computer* and found some cool shiny things for you to look at.

This is a cool pic of downtown Vancouver that I snagged off the ‘net one day. Not sure where it is from or what I needed a pic of Vancouver for…. but I like it.

This next one comes from the Facebook group “All My Money Goes to Starbucks”… a group of which I am most certainly not a member.:

Facebook groups of which I am a member include: Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Fuck this shit…I’m transfering to Hogwarts, The “I am Less Proud To Be Canadian Now That We Have a Conservative Government” Group and the first group I ever joined, Jon Stewart, bed me now**.

Next we have a pic of me as a South Park character. Aren’t I adorable?

I loved this book when I was a kid:

This is a pic of my neice from last Christmas… it speaks for itself:

And speaking of adorable children at Christmas, guess who this cutie is?

I loved CHiPs when I was a kid. Erik Estrada was my hero! When I opened up the CHiPs set that Santa brought me, that helmet went on and didn’t come off for the rest of the day. I even remember handcuffing my grandpa to prevent him from stealing the sausages off the turkey while it was in the oven***. Funny thing is, I have no recollection of wearing it ever again, but I remember wearing it for that entire Christmas as if it were yesterday. I would also like to point out that I am wearing a really styling housecoat.

*turns out I’m a digital pack rat as much as I am a pack rat in the real world.

**The description of this group is: “Everything to do with the tasty morsel of Jewish goodness that is the host of the Daily Show.”

***My family attaches sausages to the turkey with toothpicks while the turkey is cooking. Seriously.

{December 20, 2006}  

This has to be the worst PR that Bird’s Custard Powder has ever had.

{December 20, 2006}   Holiday Potluck

I was at a potluck on Monday night. Brought my cheesecake – it was a big hit! It was a little softer than usual, which resulted from a combination of putting just a splash too much Amaretto and taking it on an hour long bus ride, where the bus drivers were maniacs and the centrifugal force of them taking the corners at Mach 10 pretty much liquified my precious cheesecake. But it still tasted damn good, which is really what matters.

The party was lots of fun, but there were two particular points of interest that I thought I’d share with y’all. First, I tried Gløgg. And it was really good! Ordinarily, I’m not much interested in chunks of food in my beverage (bubble tea, I’m looking in your direction!), but I quite enjoyed the nuts and raisins in my Gløgg!

Mmmm, Gløgg!

Second, I thought you might enjoy seeing some of our entertainment for the evening. I’ve never put anything up on YouTube before and I just took the clips on my digicam, so the quality isn’t the best, but you can still tell what is going on:

{December 20, 2006}   Holiday Baking

By insistent demand special request, I was told in no uncertain terms that I would be thought it would be nice of me to bake some shortbread cookies to send to my sister for the holidays. As it happens, I make the world’s greatest shortbread cookies. From my Great Granny Snow’s recipe. Her *secret* recipe. Which was passed on from my Great Granny Snow to my aunt, who then passed it on to me. There is no rhyme nor reason to who the recipe gets passed on to… no traditional, every-second-generation-the-13th-member-of-the-
family-learns-the-secret-at-the-full-moon. As far as I can tell, it is based solely on favourtism. My Great Granny liked my aunt the best and my aunt liked me more than all her other neices and nephews. But, as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. And so I bake.

But before I could bake, I needed to find my rolling pin. Most of my kitchen gadgets are packed away in boxes, seeing as I am living this transient lifestyle (I usually just use my roommates baking stuff, but she does not seem to own a rolling pin). And seeing as I am a recovering pack rat, I have a fair number of boxes. I knew that I’d seen my rolling pin the last time I’d been digging through boxes for some much needed kitchen item (I believe that time it was a casserole dish). I searched through the boxes in my bedroom cupboard, but to no avail. So then I searched through this pile of boxes:

But alas, no rolling pin. I did, however, find some things that would make my life much easier, including a wooden spoon for beating cookie batter, cooling racks and cookie cutters. So I kept that stuff out and, as the items in my boxes appear not to obey the law of conservation of matter, I just repacked the boxes as best I could. And then I restacked the boxes careful, since the last time I’d dug through them and hastily restacked them, they all came crashing down in the middle of the night, scaring my roommate half to death.

Next I decided to search through this set of boxes:

Jackpot! I found my rolling pin! It is made of marble, so it weighs about 300 lbs, but I really like it. Isn’t it cool looking?

Fortunately, the 2 hrs it took me to unpack boxes; rifle through them; delight at the treasures within; struggle to re-pack them, marveling at how, despite having taken things out of the boxes, I can no long fit the remaining items back in the box; decide it is OK to do a half-ass job of repacking the boxes; re-tape them and restack them, was just the necessary amount of time for the butter that I had taken out of the fridge to soften, so from there it was smooth sailing.

Secret recipe in hand, I mixed the batter:

I cut the cookies into traditional Christmas cookie shapes, such as gingerbread men shaped, circles and, of course, cows:

On some cookies, I used a cookie press to make imprints of festive shapes… like this one, where I was making an imprint of a vampire bat:

And yes, that is festive black nail polish that I’m wearing!

Then you just decorate with chocolate chips or coloured sugar – you know, stuff that a nutritional scientist would totally be into. And bake!

And that, my friends, is the most I’m going to reveal about how you make my Great Granny’s secret recipe for shortbread. Man, I should totally have my own cooking show.

{December 18, 2006}   The 12 Bars of Christmas

The date: Saturday, December 16th, 2006.

The premise: It’s Erika’s birthday. We celebrate by going to 12 bars in one night.

The rules: You must consume at least one drink per bar. You must finish your drink on time to get to the next bar on schedule, lest you get yelled at by the Pub Crawl Nazis (read: Erika, Paul and, eventually, Linda). Five, three and/or two minute warnings will be given, depending upon the time at which a Pub Crawl Nazi looks at their watch. You must sing the appropriate verse of “The 12 Days of Christmas” before leaving each bar.

The participants: Anyone crazy enough to join in. While some people did join us along the way at various bars (the schedule having been emailed out the week previous), only those who started at Bar 1 were truly cool.

The photographic evidence: First, a confession. I have shamelessly ripped off my photo idea from paid homage to Dave’s Movie Marathon 2006 photography – at each bar, I had someone hold up the appropriate number of fingers to represent the bar in question. Or at least I attempted to. It was necessary, because I knew I was going to be in no state to remember where the hell we were in these photos by the next day. Unfortunately, I am not as skilled a technical wizard as Jorge (read: I can’t figure out where on my computer my animated GIF program has run off to) so my photos are not in cool slideshow format like Dave’s are.

3 pm* – Bar 1 (E & P’s place). Of course, two people are showing number 1, which may lead you to believe that this is bar 2, which it is not. Clearly, the drinking has begun:

3:30 pm – Bar 2 (Bimini’s). Beth shows off a festive (and highly overpriced) Amaretto Sour*:

4 pm – Erika tells us it is Bar 3, as does Linda (again, making it look like it is bar 6, rather than Bar 3). Dave K. (who was only at bar 3) shows us his two beer, further confusing our numbering system. Oh ya, this is Hell’s Kitchen, which had by far the best Amaretto Sour:

4:30 pm – Showing that we are now at Bar 4 (Kitsilano Restaurant), with glass of House Red in hand.

We had the luxury of a whole hour scheduled at Kitsilano Restaurant, as we also had dinner there. And although we were surprised by how fast they could make 21 orders of chow mein, it did take slightly more than one hour. Which meant we needed to spend less than our 1/2 hr at the next bar in order to get back on schedule.

5 pm – Hence this photo:

The first few of us into Bar 5, Tatlows, started negotiate with the bartender: “We need 23 shots of something – what kind of deal can you offer us?” She agreed to make 23 Crispy Crunch shots. Which were then paid for by a total random sitting at the bar, with whom Leanne had been chatting. Said he was missing out on a holiday party that day, so he’d buy our shots and “Merry Christmas!” Merry Christmas indeed!!

And now we start to get creative! 5 shot glasses to represent Bar 5!

6 pm – Bar 6 was Darby’s.

Our fearless leaders, Erika & Paul, lead us in song. “On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six geese a-laying!” at Darby’s.

6: 30 pm – Bar 7 is one of my favourite bars – Nevermind!

7 pm – Bar 8 Lou’s. Christine is holding up 3 fingers, I swear! We may be on our 8th drink (shots of Jäger, ‘cuz they were on special), but we can still count!

I would also like to point out that I chatted up a hot boy, who took this photo for us:

7:30 pm – Bar 9
The Fringe Cafe. Nick is trying to look sexy. Linda seems to find her hand amusing!

Getting a bit behind schedule, and because The Fringe Cafe really can’t fit all 23 of us very comfortably, we opted for shots. Inexplicably, we chose shots of Jäger again:

8 pm – Linda’s sister, Krista*** joined us at Coppertank, and was thus our model for Bar 10:

8:30 pm – Bar 11Mark’s Fiasco – Apparently my photography skills are getting a bit fuzzy by my 11th drink, as I cut Erika’s hand out of the photo. =(

9 pm – Bar 12
and we can still do math! wOOt! Good times at the Reagle Beagle:

9:30 pm ’til late: After Bar 12, we decided to celebrate having survived this insanity by going to another bar – Lola’s. Where we played pool, danced and, unbelievably, drank some more.

Summary: I got the bright idea at some point during the night that I should figure out how many alcohol calories I actually consumed during thidebaucheryry. This morning, I still thought that would be a good, albeit frightening, prospect. And so, as best I can remember (using the photos as help!), I believe I consumed: a beer, an Amaretto Sour, an Amaretto Sour, white wine, Crispy Crunch shot, an Amaretto Sour, an Amaretto Sour, shot of Jäger, shot of Jäger, an Amaretto Sour, an Amaretto Sour, an Amaretto Sour, an Amaretto Sour, shot of Jäger, an Amaretto Sour. Using my diet analysis software and the wonders of the internets for research, I estimate this to be a whopping 1898 Calories!! Considering that my average caloric expenditure for a day is only 1748 Calories and I did actually eat food that day, I also estimate that I now weigh 500 lbs.

For those of you who prefer graphics to all this text, estimates my blood alcohol to have been:

To put that in context, drunk driving in most of Canada and the US is 80 mg/dL. Also from

300 mg/100 ml of blood – At this level most people will lose conciousness.

Now, in my own defence, I don’t believe my blood alcohol was this high. I didn’t feel nearly that drunk****. I didn’t puke, or even come close to puking. Nor did I pass out, or even fall over. I only sunk 1 ball in 2 whole games of pool, but I suck at pool, so I could easily have done that stone cold sober. Similarly, I may have knocked over the drinks of two of the three people who bought me drinks at Lola’s, but I am a generally clumsy person anyway. Jesus, do I sound like I’m justifying things here or what?

Best lines of the night:

I need your fingers” – in reference to the photos!

If you don’t look the other person in the eye during a toast, you will have 7 years of bad sex.” Response: “Oh my god, is that consecutive??”

E: “Hookups trump relationships” This was in reference to the priority list for who, of all the people crashing at E & P’s, would get the spare bedroom (a hookup couple would get priority over a relationship couple, which would get priority over a single person). My response to this: “I agree with that statement in every possible connotation*****

Conclusion: A fun time was had by all, even though it will take me at least 17 weeks of running to burn off all those calories. Anyone who didn’t do all 12 bars is a wimp. Better luck next year!

*Times are approximate… we pretty much stuck to the schedule, so the times are basically correct, ± 15 minutes.

**I was drinking Amaretto Sours for a very good reason – I wanted a drink that I could consume most of the night without getting alcohol poisoning. I thought that was reasonable.

***At least I think her name was Krista… I’m not good with names at the best of times!

****And clearly I was in the proper state to judge such a thing.

*****For the record, there were no hookups. Sorry to disappoint!

et cetera