Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{February 16, 2007}   O.O.T.S.S.O.E.R.A.A.A.P.

Got an email from Jody yesterday:

I hereby award you the “I blog about science” badge. Congratulations.
http://scq.ubc.ca/sciencescouts/index.html

these scouts sound fun.

Thanks Jody!!

Man, I’m sooo special! Check out the shiny badge I get:So, being the internet junkie that I am, I needed to further investigate this organization from which Jody had bestowed me this honour. They are the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique. And being that (a) I am a scientist, (b) my repute is exemplary, (c) my physique, above average, and (d) I meet their criteria for membership*, I have applied for official membership.

Perusing the badges on their site, I have decided to award myself the following:

The “talking science” badge:

This badge is required for all members and commemorates the fact that I talk about science. All the time.

Along the same lines, I give myself the “destroyer of quackery” badge:

“In which the recipient never ever backs down from an argument that pits sound science over quackery.” I totally, totally deserve this one.

Next up, I think I should get the “sexing up science” badge:


“In which the recipient has had experience with things such as selective breeding, crossing, mate selection, prokaryotic conjugation, fertility studies, STD related microbiology, and/or any other acceptable interpretation of the badge.” I feel like I should get this for another “acceptable interpretation of the badge” based on the following: I once gave a speech at closing banquet at a conference of science educators where I said, “Saying “I’m a scientist” is a great pickup line. No, seriously. Try it at the bar tonight!” I think this qualifies.

And finally, I wanted to give myself the “knows how to collect semen from more than one species“:

Although I never technically collected rat sperm per se, I did have check under rat breeding cages for dried semen (the graphically named “vaginal plugs”). But it doesn’t really matter if that qualifies me for this badge or not, as when you read the fine print you see: “That’s two species not including humans”.

*I will fulfill my committment to spreading the truth in a future posting.



{February 15, 2007}   Spoiled

Tamara brought me this necklace back from Thailand:

And this bracelet from Fiji:


We also think she may have brought back dengue virus, but we aren’t quite sure.



{February 14, 2007}   Jealous

Danielle’s best friend, Tamara, has just returned from traveling to Fiji/New Zealand/Thailand and is staying with us for a few days, before she heads off to Cuba for her sister’s wedding. As I write this, she is having her first hot shower in a month.

Danielle is heading to Belize for Reading Week on Friday; Kalev & Kyle leave for Hawaii shortly thereafter; Jason heads to Bolivia in March. And don’t even get me started on Sarah & Dave and their 15 cruises per year.

I really do need either a job or a sugar daddy so that I can go to cool places too!



{February 14, 2007}   Why?

Why did my grocery store decide to rearrange their set up, right when just I got to know where everything was? And why don’t they keep the tomato paste next to the canned tomatoes? And why have whole wheat English muffins been on sale* non-stop since I started going to this grocery store last May?

Why do all the non-organic croutons, of which there are several varieties, have to have trans fats in them? Do I look like I can afford 50 cents extra to buy the organic ones in order to avoid the artery clogging trans fats?**

Why can I not remember any phone numbers, save my parents which has been the same number since before I was born? Oh ya, and Sarah’s phone number back in high school, which her parents no longer have, as they have moved, and thus the number is totally useless to me. I mean, I don’t have a cell phone, so it’s not like I have everyone on speed dial. I look up numbers when I call people, yet I never seem to remember what those numbers are the next time I call.

Why can a politician stand up in the House of Parliament and tell an out and out lie and get away with it? Why isn’t there perjury for politicians on the House floor?

Why don’t I have a sugar daddy?

Why does my Palm Pilot require that I fiddle with it for at least 15 minutes and hold it just so in its cradle before it will hot sync?

Why did Vanilla Ice drop out of the music scene?***

Why is my application status for a job that I would quite like, and for which I applied in October, still listed as “in process”? And why won’t they answer my follow up email?

Why do I always have a burning desire to bake cookies at 9:30 p.m., every single night?

Why am I completely incapable of doing any real work before 11:30 pm, of sleeping before 2:47 am, or of rising before 12:21 p.m.?

Why do I forget to take my calcium supplement 4 out of 5 days? Is the fear of debilitating osteoporosis not pressing enough? Is the need to have street cred among the other bone biologists not sufficient to jog my memory?

*10 cents off the regular price

**For the record, I decided to make my own, homemade croutons instead. And they were delicious.

***More importantly, why the hell did I just read the entire Wikipedia entry on Vanilla Ice? And why the hell did he and his wife name their daughters Dusti Raine and Keelee Breeze? Why, why, why would someone do that??



I’m planning to donate blood.

OK, “stupid” probably isn’t the best word. Giving blood is important. People need blood and it has to come from somewhere. Blood doesn’t grow on trees, you know. Perhaps “paralyzingly terrifying” is a better term. You see, I am deathly afraid of needles. In fact, I’m getting woozy just writing this posting.

Sarah can attest to my unreasonable fear of needles. After all, she was present the only time I ever gave blood, way back in high school. I had recently turned 17, the minimum age for giving blood, and there was a blood drive at our high school. I felt that I really should give blood, despite the fact that I usually cry like a little baby when anyone comes anywhere near me with a needle. I distinctly remember Mr. Burt, one of the teachers and the director of the play that Sarah & I were in at the time, making fun of me for being such a big baby as I waited in line, white with fear. Sarah was still 16 at the time so, since she couldn’t give blood, she ran back and forth between my cot and the cot of another person who also had the deathly fear, trying to keep us calm as we sat there with huge needles piercing our veins, nay, piercing our very souls, sucking our life’s blood from us! She was also the one who pushed the chair underneath me as I blacked out on my way from my cot to the juice table! Mr. Burt later recounted to me that he felt like quite an asshole for making fun of me when he saw me collapsing from across the school gym shortly after calling me a big baby. As he should have.

Now, you may think that blacking out is a bad thing, but as they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonades, ya? I’ve parlayed that one second of unconsciousness into 13 years of “I can’t give blood, I black out.” And for quite a while, I managed to not feel (too) guilty about it.

But last year, Jay talked about giving blood on her blog. And the guilty feelings started to appear. Every so often, the idea squirmed its way into my brain – “You are fortunate that you are healthy. You could help out someone who really needs it!”* I even looked into it, but I discovered that I was below the minimum weight. So my excuse became, “I’d love to give, but they won’t let me!” That one’s even better than my wimpy “I black out” excuse, as it’s not my fault they won’t take my blood. But it has been on my mind. And since I’ve put on a couple pounds, I’m just over that minimum weight. Dammit.

So, last week when I saw a poster up on campus that a group from the Ag Sci faculty is getting together to give blood this Friday, I decided, against my better judgement, to email and say “hey, can I join you?” Of course, I have had a cold for about a week and if it isn’t better by Friday, I will have an out, as “full recovery” is required if you have had a cold, flu or sore throat. So the big baby in me is hoping that I still have a cough when Friday comes around. But the bigger person in me hopes I’m better**. Because I have blood and “it’s in me to give,” right?

Well, that brings me to one big problem I have with Canadian Blood Services – their discriminatory practices that mean that, for many people, their blood isn’t in them to give, despite what the commercials say. In particular, check out this question from the screening form:

Male donors: Have you had sex with a man, even one time since 1977?

If you are a man that has had sex with a man, even once in the last 30 years, you can’t give blood. Period. You also can’t give blood if you’ve taken money or drugs for sex (or paid someone money or drugs for sex). But there aren’t any questions to assess if you have had sex with lots and lots of people. The closest is question 28, which reads:

In the past 6 months, have you had sex with someone whose sexual background you don’t know?

But you could have unprotected sex with say, a different person every night, and as long as they didn’t pay you and you asked them about their sexual history, you’d be allowed to donate. Whereas a gay man who has been in a monogamous relationship for the last 30 years would not be allowed. Basically, hetero sluts can donate, but gays and whores cannot. And why only a 6 month limit on straight sex with strangers, but a 30 year limit on men having sex with men?

However, despite my dismay with their discrimination, Canadian Blood Services is the only provider of blood in Canada. And people get sick or injured and need blood, and it’s not their fault that CBS discriminates. They may suffer because perfectly healthy potential donors aren’t allowed to provide them with much needed blood, and I don’t feel like boycotting CBS and further decreasing the blood supply will help. Perhaps writing to CBS, to the government, and just raising the profile of this issue will help.

*and as the list of all the people I know who were injured or sick or died continued to grow last year, the idea seemed more and more important.
**that, and I’m sick of coughing and sneezing and being tired all day long.



My friend Phillip told me about this article called “Say Everything” in New York Magazine. It’s an article about how comfortable young people are with revealing information about themselves on the internet. If you want to read Phillip‘s take on it (and/or the comments on his blog from an educator cited in the article wherein I am legitamized as a “freelance scientist, educator, artist, model and social engineer*“), check it out here. But I want to talk about a slightly different aspect of the article.

Anyone who knows me, or has been reading my blog for a while know that I am a bit of an internet junkie. And just the other day (before having read this article), I was mentioning to Danielle how easy it would be to stalk me – you can probably find out where I am at any given time from my msn tagline, my facebook status, mapmyrun.com or my blog. I’m pretty willing to share a lot about my life with the world at large**. And of course, the “prevailing wisdom” of “anyone over the age of 30,”*** as mentioned in the article, is that doing so is dangerous. But, as Dani pointed out to me, we’d be easy to stalk regardless – it’s not that hard to follow someone and see where they go, what their routine is, when they are alone, etc****. Similarly, the article points out:

“Younger people, one could point out, are the only ones for whom it seems to have sunk in that the idea of a truly private life is already an illusion. Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

So it may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn’t exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones.”

The idea of maintaining your privacy by not putting yourself out there:

“… might be an artifact—quaint and naïve, like a determined faith that virginity keeps ladies pure. Or at least that might be true for someone who has grown up “putting themselves out there” and found that the benefits of being transparent make the risks worth it.”

That is the part of the article that really spoke to me. That the “benefits of being transparent make the risks worth it.” As you may know, I recently got divorced****. And as you probably only know if you are one of my close friends, I kept my separation secret for a long, long time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to end my marriage or if it could be saved. And I didn’t want to be influenced by what other people said, I wanted to make up my mind on my own. But mostly, I felt humiliated and didn’t want my family and friends to think less of me. Even when my ex moved out, I didn’t tell my parents, my sister, my closest friends. But the longer I kept the secret, the more isolated I felt from everyone I cared about. At the same time, I was reading blogs – blogs of people that I didn’t really know who put their lives out there for all the world to read. And I yearned to be even half as open as they were. I came to realize that I couldn’t truly be close to anyone unless I let them in, unless I made myself vulnerable, unless I took that risk. Eventually, when I had spent enough time deliberating and going to counselling to work through things in order to make my decision that the marriage was truly over, I told my friends and my family everything that had gone on. And that step, that openness, brought me closer to them than I ever had been before. Taking that risk, becoming transparent, despite the fear, despite my insecurities, despite having never really opened up like that before, were so unbelievably beneficial to me. Putting myself out there and saying “this is who I am, this is what I’ve been through” really helped me to connect with others, because I was letting them in, letting them know me more deeply than I had before. And my friends and family were there for me 100%. No one thought less of me, no one blamed me and every single one of them told me how much they loved me and understood me and supported me*****. I know this seems like I’m getting way off tangent from the article I am ostensibly discussing, but this is what the article got me thinking about. And it does relate – putting yourself out there, while risky, is, in my opinion, worth it. And putting yourself out there to a worldwide audience is just an extension of this. I’m often surprised by how many people out there will say something on their blog and I think I know exactly what you mean. Or how I will say something on my blog and it will resonate with others. And I’m sure there are moments where I say things that spark something in someone that I will never know about – after all, the people whose blogs I read that taught me how to be open probably have no idea that they had this profound effect on me.

Other quotations from the article along the same lines include:

“…the potential for self-documentation to deepen the intimacy of daily life.”

“This is Jakob’s [the co-founder of Vimeo and co-creater of CollegeHumor.com] vision: a place where topless photos are no big deal—but also where everyone can be known, simply by making him- or herself a bit vulnerable.”

“In this linked, logged world, you have a place to think out loud and be listened to, to meet strangers and go deeper with friends.”

Another quotation from the article that spoke to me was:

“All sorts of opportunities—romantic, professional, creative—seem to Xiyin to be directly linked to her willingness to reveal herself a little.”

Again, this is something to which I can totally relate. I have friends, including the aforementioned Phillip, that I have met through online ventures (Facebook, blogging, etc.). I even scored myself wicked cool free pens and a signed copy of the Heathen’s Guide to World Religions****** based on my blog postings. You never know what opportunities may arise. Although I have often wondered if I have no job because potential employers have Googled me and found this site… which brings me to this quotation:

“It’s a form of communication that requires a person to be constantly aware that anything you say can and will be used against you, but somehow not to mind.”

I’ve said before that if someone Googled me and didn’t hire me based on something they read on my blog, then that is a person I don’t want to work with. This is who I am and if you can’t deal with that, then perhaps it’s best we not try to collaborate. Of course, as my bank account balance rapidly approaches 0, my opinion on this may change.

And finally, one of the young people in the article says,:

“To me, or to a lot of people, it’s like, why go to a party if you’re not going to get your picture taken?”

So true. See here, here, here, here, here, here and here for more.

*that’s right, a site on the internets that is *not written by me* says that I’m a model. And that I have model friends.
**although there are a few things that I never talk about here in the blogosphere. Things that I have consciously decided to keep out of the public domain.
***of course, I take exception to the constant use of the phrase “anyone over 30” to represent “old people” in this article.. wait a sec, I’m not over 30… nevermind, it’s all good =)
****please don’t stalk me
*****dammit, that was one of the things that I never talk about on my blog!
******I should say here that I had no rational reason to think that my friends and family would not be supportive. This was all my own issues, not theirs.
*******That reminds me, I’ve been meaning to blog the story of my signed copy of the Heathen’s Guide.

I think I’m going to post a version of this on IndieBloggers.


{February 11, 2007}   Sign Here

I received the following email from my friend Mike:

I’m reading Stephen Lewis’s “Race Against Time” (about the HIV-AIDS
crisis in Africa) and was inspired to do what I can to enable
Medicines Sans Frontiers and other well-intentioned do-gooders to
deliver treatment and curb the spread of the virus and its effects.
This means asking you to visit:

http://www.msf.org/petition_india/international.html
http://consensus.essentialmedicine.org/

Please have a look at the links above and consider signing. Adding
your name is easy and really helps those campaigning for access to
HIV-AIDS treatment.

So I thought I’d let y’all know so you, too, can be a well-intentioned do-gooder.



“I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.”
-Rodney Dangerfield

So, I went to the Vancouver Giants game last night. First off, early on in the game Garet Hunt of the Giants skated directly into the boards at full speed. It seemed like he was trying to hit a guy on the other team, but he fully missed him by at least a foot. We were all like “wtf was he trying to do?” How embarassing! Even more embarassing, he actually broke a leg and will be out for the foreseeable future. And one thing I really don’t understand is why, when a player gets hurt on the ice, the crowd starts cheering when they get the player onto the stretcher. I mean, yes, we are glad that he is getting medical attention. But are we applauding this guy for missing the hit? For breaking his own leg? Or perhaps we are applauding the work of paramedics. I really don’t know.

Also strange at Vancouver Giants games are the prizes they give out to fans. When they start to give out the prizes, you really know you aren’t attending a game at the highest level of professional sports. For example, one time at a Toronto Blue Jays game, Sarah won a fax machine. That’s what you win in the big leagues. At the Giants game, you can win a box filled with bags of potato chips. Or a bag of peanuts, which go to the best dancer in the “lucky section” of the game. Dance for your peanuts, monkey, dance!! Or, at the end of the game, they give out the leftover White Spot* burgers from the concession stands. Free meat!!

The strangest giveaway I have yet seen though (and I’ve been to a few Giants games this season) was a special event – the Dash for Cash. They dumped 15,000 loonies on the ice and 30 “lucky fans” got some certain amount of time (like 30 seconds, or 60 seconds… I can’t remember) to grab as many loonies as they could carry. And as I stared down at these 30 people, down on their hands and knees, scrammbling to fit as many ice cold loonies into their shoes, their hats and, in one case, down their shirt, all I could think was “how degrading.” I mean, these people probably got $50, or maybe $100 at the most. But they just looked so pathetic! And the real kicker came at the end of the event, while the crowd was cheering for these 30 people, when the announcer said, “And now, all the remaining loonies will be swept up and donated to a charity for the homeless. So, not only did these people degrade themselves for $100, but they also took that $100 from people who could really have used that money. I mean, if you could afford to pay $20 to watch a hockey game, I’m sure you didn’t really need those loonies.

But back to the game – it was a very exciting one! The Giants and their opponents, the Kamloops Blazers, were tied for 1st in the BC Division going into the game, meaning that the winner would take over top spot. Which meant that the game was going to be intense. Which probably explains why, when the Giants were winning 5-1 in the third period, multiple simultaneous fights broke out. We are talking each of the 5 skaters on the Giants was in a fist fight with one of the 5 skaters on the Blazers. And you know the goalies were contemplating jumping into the action too. There weren’t enough refs/linesmen to monitor all the fights!

And amdist all this madness, all I could think was – why the hell did I, the person who brings her camera just about everywhere she goes, not bring my camera tonight?? It’s not often you get to see 5 simultaneous fights on the ice — it would have made a spectacular photo! And I had actually made a conscious decision not bring my camera. “I have pictures from other Giants games I’ve been to this year, ” I mused, “What could I possibly need more for? I don’t want to have to carry my camera around all night and my pockets are already full of gloves and hats and suchlike.” What also would have made a nice picture was the Giants bench at the end of the game – there were only 5 players left there (all the others having been kicked out of the game), and that included the back up goalie! Man, I’m never going to listen to my own reasoned arguments of why not to bring my camera with me ever again.

*Despite what the name sounds like, White Spot is not a segregationist club. It’s a restaurant chain in Western Canada. No one has yet been able to explain to me why the hell it is called White Spot. Also, despite the fact that Rob Feenie appears in their ads, White Spot is not the fancy dining establishment they claim to be… it really is glorified fast food.



{February 10, 2007}   Not a Blog Posting

I’m right in the middle of writing a big long blog posting, but I didn’t have enough time to finish it before I went to play ultimate this afternoon, and now I’m just going to scarf down a quick dinner before I go out for the evening, so I won’t have time to finish my posting. But I’ll finish tomorrow, as Danielle and I are having a study date at Calhoun’s (a coffee shop – not a bar, as several people asked my last week when my msn tagline read: “At Calhoun’s on my new laptop!”) and I’ll be using my mad internet skillz to wirelessly transmit my bloggy goodness via the internet waves.

That’s right, today’s posting is about how I don’t have a posting. I wonder how many times I can get away with doing that.



{February 8, 2007}  

While I’m on the topic of politics*, I just read an article that David Emerson is thinking about running the Vancouver Quadra riding in the next election. Vancouver Quadra is my riding**. As you may remember from my previous rants, I’m not fan of David Emerson. David Emerson, who defected from the Liberal party a mere two weeks after the election to take a cabinet position as a member of the “Conservative”** party, knows that he doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning in his current riding of Vancouver Kingsway. The people of Vancouver Kingsway haven’t forgotten! Of course, despite the fact that the title of the article is “Emerson mulls running in Quadra or current riding,” Emerson isn’t actually saying that. My favourite line in the article was:

“I indicated to the prime minister what my plans at that point [during the Christmas holidays] were, but plans are always subject to confirmation or revision.”

Yes, David, we know that your plans are *always* subject to revision – even *after* you’ve been elected!

*I did mention politics in that posting, however briefly.

**I mean I live in that riding. Not that I’m the MP for the riding. Don’t be silly.

**I still can’t bring myself to call these guys the Conversatives. They are the Canadian Alliance, who are the Reform party. That’s all there is to it.



{February 8, 2007}   Aloo Gobi

I’m listening to the Canuck game and my future husband, Marc Chouinard, has just gone to the dressing room partway through the 2nd period with what appears to be a leg injury of some sort. I hope it’s nothing serious! Never fear, Marc, I will kiss it better for you!

In other news, apparently Condi Rice is coming back to Canada to get another piece of that hunk, Peter McKay…. *snicker*… nope, I still can’t say “hunk” and “Peter MacKay” in the same sentence with a straight face.

Oh – Marc‘s back! He’s trying to walk it off. He’s so tough! He’s back on the bench now!

I tried to make Aloo Gobi for dinner tonight… it turned out OK, but a bit mushier than I would have liked. Perhaps if the recipe I used had made more sense and I didn’t have to make up a few of the steps up along the way, it might have turned out better. For example, the ingredients list included both garam masala and coriander powder, but at no point in the instructions are you told when to add them. And the instruction to “Add cauliflower and high heat for about a minutes” required some guesswork. As well, there were a few points in the recipe where you supposed to bhoona, which the recipe explains means the following:

Bhoona is a technique that is essential to Indian cooking. The bhoona technique means that the mixture is cooked over medium-high heat, with constant stirring to avoid scorching, until all liquids are reduced and the spices coat the meat like a paste. About 1/2 cup of water can then be added, the dish covered, and a gravy created as the dish becomes liquified again.

The problem with trying to bhoona in this recipe is that there wasn’t a single liquid in the ingredient list! It’s rather difficult to reduce all liquids when there aren’t any. So I added water and hoped for the best. After taste testing, I decided that the mixture tasted like nothing and added a bunch more spices and a couple of chili peppers, which gave it a nice kick. However, I think all the adding of the water in order to be able to bhoona made the potatoes disintegrate, hence the aforementioned mushiness.

So, does anyone have a good recipe for Aloo Gobi?



{February 7, 2007}   Things That Make You Go.. wtf?

It has proven to be far more difficult to get Air Canada to change my last name on my Aeroplan card than it was to get my name changed on my passport. What the hell is up with that?


I went to my old grad student office to check if there was any mail there for me. There was the usual junk mail (e.g., ads for journals about addiction research, newsletters from research networks) and a pay stub from 2005. That’s right, a pay stub for money that I made two years ago! I mean, where has this pay stub been? Was it stuck in the campus mail system for all this time? Was it sitting on someone’s desk who decided to make a 2007 New Year’s resolution wherein they clean up their messy desk?


While looking at job postings on Monster.ca, I noticed that there are postings for positions like “Combat Engineer” and “Infantry Soldier” with the Canadian Forces under the category “Sports and Recreation/Fitness”… um… the military? Sports? Really?


The following is a book review posted on the Barnes & Noble site for the book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma:

This book is so good because i think its a good book. Like they told me a recipe that its good and taste good. it is a good book, very good. Recommend it to all the good people, not fatties, cuz they will eat like savage, i mean the good normal people only. If you have weight problem, dont buy this book, you need a Diet book not this good book. Once i reading this book, i saw a picture of a food, and i said ‘WOW, what a food!’ to myself. So I made it the food and I mused ‘it must be overweight/obese people favorite food, like how can they eat all this’ so then I thought I must write a review to warn overweight people about good food that will make u bigger and soon colonize the whole world!

Do I really need to ask? No, but I can’t resist…. WTF????


And lastly in the land of wtf, my roommate went to a Canucks game the other day and, after the game ended, she noticed that someone had left behind a set of those inflatable plastic sticks that people bang together to make noise at sporting events. And look what is printed on those inflatable plastic sticks that people bang together to make noise at sporting events:


Thank GOD they wrote that! However would anyone know how to use this high tech device otherwise???




It’s the day that we’ve all been waiting for! Health Canada has released the new version of Canada’s Food Guide!

Before:
After:

This thing has been in the works for years. The previous incarnation, officially called “Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating,” was released in 1992. In 2002, Health Canada thought, “hmmm… perhaps we should update that thing.” And now, a mere 5 years later, here it is*. And it is pretty much the same as it was. Which is probably because it was already pretty solid to begin with. The graphics are slicker, fortified soy beverage** has been added to the newly renamed “Milk & Alternatives”*** group, and some of the recommended number of servings have changed. The old Food Guide gave a recommended range and it was up to individuals to figure out where they falll in that range. The old recommendations were:

  • Grain Products: 5-12 serings
  • Vegetables & Fruit: 5-10 servings
  • Milk Products: 2-4 servings
  • Meat & Alternatives: 2-3 servings

…and people were all like “Do I have 5 servings of Grains? Or 12? What do I do?? Aaaah!!!” There was an explanation in the extended booklet on “Using the Food Guide”… like, “if you are an 6 ft, 200 lb football player, you should choose from the upper end of the range and if you are a sedentary 90 lb person, maybe don’t eat as much as the football player, k?” But no one ever reads the booklet, so it looks like they decided to put the breakdown of this directly onto the new Food Guide, like so:


Astute readers will note that the ranges for the recommended number of serings have changed to:

  • Grain Products: 3-8 serings
  • Vegetables & Fruit: 4-10 servings
  • Milk & Alternatives: 2-4 servings (the only one that stayed the same)
  • Meat & Alternatives: 1-3 servings

Notably, the ranges have all decreased… the low sdecreased as the Food Guide is now applicable to kids starting from age 2, as opposed to the old Food Guide which didn’t start until age 4. The upper end of the Grain Products and Vegetables & Fruit are lower, I think, because Canada’s are so inactive that we don’t need as much food as active people – and we all know that too much food + too little activity = a nation of fatties.

I think having this table breaking down the recommended number of servings by age and sex right on the Food Guide is a pretty good idea… much easier for people to follow and, unlike the new US Food Pyramid, you don’t need web access and mad internets skills to get the info you need. In fact, ever since the Americans butchered their Food Pyramid, I’ve been worried that Health Canada would screw our Food Guide up, so I’m glad to see that they didn’t.

So, those are my initial thoughts on the much awaited**** Canada’s Food Guide. Wow, I think that’s the first time I’ve actually talked about nutrition on here. And nutrition is my bread and butter… or my bread and non-hydrogenated margarine, so to speak.

*back in 2003, I wrote a problem-based learning case for the nutrition course that I was teaching that was based on the fact that the Food Guide was being revised…. I thought I would only be able to use that case once, since the revised Food Guide was supposed to be ready for spring 2004. Since it took so long to come out, we were able to use that case in that course right up until the January 2007 section!
**which everyone on earth usually refers to as “soy milk” but which you aren’t allowed to call soy “milk” because the dairy lobby gets angry and litigious if you do so.
***which used to be called “Milk Products.” Take that, dairy lobby groups!
****well, much awaited by me and the other foodies, anyway



{February 4, 2007}   Nerdery
So, I just joined a new group on Facebook: “If I were an enzyme i would be DNA helicase so i could unzip your genes.” Snicker. I never could resist a good science joke. So, in this Facebook group I discovered the Nerd Test. And I just had to know my nerd score. Read it and weep, suckas:

I am nerdier than 80% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Ya, that’s 80 out of 100. 80%. I defy anyone to get a higher nerd score than me! I’m pretty sure I’m the biggest nerd here. I think I scored big nerd points for (a) having a Ph.D., (b) having taken university level calculus, (c) having a wicked amount of RAM on my new computer and (d) my vast knowledge of the periodic table. And perhaps it noted that I was filling out a online nerd quiz on a Friday night.

Ya, that’s right, I spent Friday night working on my laptop in a coffee shop. Using stolen wireless access. On the less nerdy side, I was hanging out with two friends who were also doing homework. And I’m going out to a country bar tomorrow night. On a schoolbus full of drunk undergraduates.

Oh wait, I don’t think that helped my cause.



Thanks to Phillip, I finally joined the 21st century and started using Google Reader to keep track of all of the blogs I read, instead of clicking on the links on my blogroll individually. On the plus side, it sure beats clicking through my entire list and being disappointed when I find that no one has posted anything new. This way, I go to a single page and get disappointed all at once when I see no one has posted anything new. One stop shopping*.

But the downside to this is that I read far less of the blog comments than I used to. When I was going directly to the blogs, I would see how many comments there were and could just click to read them. Now I have to click on the link to the posting in Google Reader to even see if there are comments yet, then click to read them. That’s an awful lot of clicking. And so I usually only make that herculean effort if I have something to say. Which is a shame, because I’m sure I’m missing out on some good comments. I was talking to Katie** earlier and she said that she felt there are a lot less comment on blogs these days…. are other people finding this too?

*Except for Jody’s blog, which doesn’t seem to allow me to subscribe to it. Hmph.

**I can’t linked to Katie ‘cuz she took down her blog. 😦



et cetera