Not To Be Trusted With Knives

If you were at a certain birthday party on the beach today, you would have heard the following exchange:

Person #1: So, are you guys carbo loading?
Person #2: Do bellinis count?

Guess which person was me in that conversation?

{April 27, 2007}   Oops, I Did It Again

Pacific Spirt Run.


The Sunday after the half marathon.

As part of the Brain Research Centre’s team.

I figure that this is the closest I will get to being able to call myself a brain surgeon.

{April 27, 2007}   The Mysterious Sticky Note

When I got to my office today, I noticed that there was a sticky note on my desk that I didn’t remember seeing there ever before. It seemed like it had fallen down from somewhere and landed on my desk, so I picked it up to see what it said.

And much to my surprise, it said this:

I recognize the handwriting as being that of my predecessor. But she hasn’t been in my office for a month and I don’t even remember seeing this sticky note ever before and I have no idea how it could have just shown up on my desk. Furthermore, I really can’t imagine a situation where someone would write that on a sticky note.

Freakin’ weird!


Now, I may have yelled “Turco, you dirtbag!” many, many, many times during the first round of the playoffs. But in truth, it was always when he’d made some amazing save, robbing my beloved Canucks of much needed goals. You won’t often hear me say something positive about an opposing team, but even I have to admit that Marty Turco played one hell of a series.

Turco broke the Stars’s franchise record for a shutout streak at 165:45. Ed Belfour held the previous Stars record with 164:35. Turco’s three shutouts also tied an NHL record for most shutouts in a seven game series.

Props to you, Marty Turco!

In related news, Melanie apologized for getting me a cursed chocolate bar.

{April 25, 2007}   Today I Got Mistaken For Me

Today, I ran into a woman that I have known for over 6 years. I was walking down a hallway in a building on campus (I was there for a workshop) and noticed her in a room that I was passing by, so I smiled and said “hi.” She smiled and said “hi”, but then when she stepped out of the room, she said, “oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were someone that I know.” Needless to say, I was confused, so I said, “You do know me” and she was like “Beth? Are you Beth?” And I was like “yup” and she was like “Oh, I thought it was you, but then when I got a better look, I thought it wasn’t you. Didn’t I just see you a few weeks ago??” I had, in fact, seen her just a few weeks ago. I said, “Oh, it’s my new haircut” and she said, “Was your hair this long when I last saw you?” “Actually, it was several inches longer! But I didn’t have the bangs.”

It’s very weird to be mistaken for yourself.

Shout out to my boys in blue!

I nearly had a heart attack watching tonight’s game! It had been very frustrating to watch my boys lose the last two games, where they could have ended the series, but didn’t, resulting in tonight winner-take-all matchup. Then it occurred to me what the problem was… my chocolate bar was cursed. Two games ago, I was watching the game with a bunch of friends at two of my friends’s apartment and during the intermission between the third period and OT, a couple people decided to go to the store for snacks* and I got a big bar of dark Swiss chocolate. It was quite delicious, but certainly more than I could eat in one sitting. We lost that game in OT, and then we lost the next game. I had eaten some more of the chocolate bar over the past few days, but still had quite a bit left when this game started. I started to have an inkling that my chocolate bar might be cursed, preventing the Canucks from winning, but when Dallas scored first in tonight’s game, I decided it was time to take action. I ate the rest of the bar. And shortly after finishing said bar, the Canucks scored. Did I ever mention that I’m supersititious?

Thanks to me devouring the cursed chocolate bar, the good guys prevailed and the bad guys… well, they got sent back to Dallas. Roberto made the big saves, the Sedins got their first points since Game 1, Trev got the game winner (and became the leading active player to score in game 7s) , my boyfriend sealed the deal with empty netter #1 and then Trev, being the upstanding guy that he is, passed the puck to Smoke to let him have empty netter #2 rather than taking it himself. I love my boys!! Tonight, I’m willing to have all their babies! And now it’s off to Anaheim to kick some Duck!

Also, special thanks to the Red Wings for eliminating the despised Flames**. Flames, you are a team of dirtbags from a crappy city and your defeat brings me glee. That’s right, glee!

Oh yes, and right here and right now, I’m calling a CanucksSens Stanley Cup this year! I know I call that at the beginning of every season, but this year I know that Roberto is going to lead us to the Cup!!

*we’d already had pizza and, after game 1, we had no idea how many periods of OT we were facing – we needed sustenance!
**please note, the Flames get no link love because I hate them.

{April 23, 2007}   Biz-ness

A few items of business. Because I know you all love business, right?

Remember back when this used to be a blog about thesis writing, and the similarity between writing a thesis and the seventh layer of hell? Well, my final paper from that thesis has now been accepted for publication in the journal Bone. For those of you not from the world of bone science, Bone is a pretty sweet journal to get published in. My other paper from my thesis is also there, so it’s nice to have this one in the same journal, as it really does stem from the first paper. As an added bonus, we get to have one of the figures printed in colour – for free! Ordinarily it costs about US$1000 to get a figure printed for free, but they grant one request per month for a free colour image, as long as the colour is scientifically warranted. Which of course mine is. It also happens to be waaay prettier in colour than in black & white. But absolutely scientifically warranted.

I got my business cards last week. I would post them here, but as I discussed before, I’m avoiding mentioning where I work here in blogland*. Suffice it to say, they are wicked cool and you should be jealous of me.

In terms of my health, no one seems to know what’s wrong with me. I am H. pylori negative, but that doesn’t tell me why my tummy still hurts, or why I was vomitting coffee grounds***. I went back to the walk-in clinic, but the doctor I saw seemed to not really know what was wrong with me, and just wanted to criticize what the first doctor had done, despite the fact that he hadn’t even opened up my file before he walked into the room and had no idea what was going on. He also told me that I need to completely eliminate caffeine, despite the fact there really isn’t any scientific evidence to support that****. I need to find a real family doc and not rely on the walk in, because clearly continuity of care is not their strong point. I think I need a referral to a gastroenterologist to find out what the heck is going on. My plan is now to contact the (absolutely wonderful) doctor I used to see at Student Health***** to see if she knows of a good family doc that is accepting patients right now, and hopefully they will give me a referral, as well as a prescription for a proton-pump inhibitor, as I only currently have a sample package, and that will run out soon.

And finally, I really should get back to work. I’m working on revisions to a systematic review that I’ve been working on for ages (it kind of got sidetracked as my co-author, who is normally in Australia, went to Zimbabwe for a while and didn’t have much access to the net**). It’s due later this week and I’m hoping there aren’t too many revisions (although I’ve had the reviewer’s comments for a week, I got sidetracked with my health and haven’t really looked at them up until now). There really is no rest for the wicked.

*not that that stopped a co-worker from Googling me and finding my blog!

**kind of like Field, BC.

***fortunately now it is just stomach pains that come and go, and no nausea or vomitting since that one time last Sunday.

****Had he suggested a trial period of caffeine elimination from my diet to test if that was causing trouble, I might have been willing to play along. But telling me to never have caffeine EVER AGAIN (which is what he said to do) and being completely dismissive of the fact that I’m experiencing withdrawl symptoms did not impress me in the least. I mean, I have tags for “coffee,” “tea” and “diet pop” on my blog… I think I just might be a caffeine addict!

*****I can’t go to Student Health anymore, as I’m not a student. =(

So, my most recent Facebook status has garnered some raised eyebrows and several demands that I explain what the f, how the f and why the f someone would pay me $20 to watch porn. So I suppose I should explain. It wasn’t really “pay”, it was actually an honorarium. That should explain it, right?


OK, the deal is, on Friday I took part in a research study on sexual arousal and testosterone in females. They are interested in finding out if testosterone levels are correlated with sexual arousal in women – studies have been done in men, of course, but (like many areas of medical research) not so much in women. So, as a feminist, I felt that I should participate in this important research endeavour. And when they told me that I got to watch porn and would get paid $20, I was sold!

I was told that I would be filling out a few questionnaires on sexual history and current practices, and would give saliva samples (to measure testosterone) before and after watching some porn. “You’ll be in a locked room, completely private.” Oh ya, and they are measuring blood flow during this whole thing, so that they can actually quantify your level of turned on-ness. Because nothing really sets the mood for sexual arousal like being hooked up to a machine so that the researcher in the next room can quantify your level of arousal in real time. Hot, I tell you, hot.

After I filled out the questionnaires and spit in a tube (and they even give you a piece of gum to encourage saliva production) for my pre-porn baseline testosterone sample, I got all set up to watch the movie. There was another questionnaire to fill out about your mood before you watch the film, where you have to rank your level of different moods (1 = “Not at all” to 7 = “Intensely”) such as “anxious,” “worried,” “excited,” “bored,” and, my personal favourite, “dirty.” Then the film starts – they don’t want to just throw you right into the porn, so first the word RELAX appears on the screen, in capital letters. Because nothing makes you relax like ALL CAPS. Of course, no one who has ever seen Zoolander can look at a screen with the word “relax” on it with breaking out into fits of laughter – all I could think of was Will Ferrell in a bonnet, licking an oversized lollipop and saying “little kid things.” I’d been warned that any movement on my part would register on the blood flow monitor, so I tried to suppress my giggles, which only made me giggle more. After the RELAX screen, a travel video came on, again part of the pre-porn show that is supposed to be neutral, to get you to relax before the actual “experimental treatment” (i.e., porn*). The “travel video” they chose to show was on Hawaii, specifically on the practice of making leis. “Lei,” of course, is pronounced “lay.” And when you are already suppressing fits of Zoolander-induced giggles and are about to watch some porn, hearing someone saying the word “lei” repeatedly can really put you over the edge. “The best way to make a lei is…”, “the best leis are…”, “a really good lei is…”

Now, so far, so good — filling out questionnaires, hooking up to machinery, free gum. Unfortunately, however, once the porn starts, it all goes downhill. Inexplicable, the research team who wants to study sexual arousal in women chose as their stimulus: the world’s most boring porn. They must have had to watch hours and hours of porn in order to find the most boring pornographic film ever made. “We’ve carefully chosen porn that appeals to women,” the research assistant had told me several times. Apparently then, they think that women like porn with (a) a plain looking, middle-aged man having boring sex with (b) a plain looking middle-aged women who goes out of her way to (c) show the camera that she’s wearing a wedding ring. Because clearly women only want to see a married** couple “making love.” They made sure to choose porn where they guy goes down on the woman, but not the other way around. Of course, I have no problem whatsoever with the guy going down on the woman***, but didn’t it occur to them that some women might actually enjoy giving head and so might want to see that in their porn? Or that some women might want to see a couple fucking rather than boring missionary sex, with a just a little bit of doggie style thrown in at the end? Or perhaps we’d enjoy seeing a guy with rock hard abs and 24″ biceps? Or maybe we’d like to actually see a penis in our porn?? Most offensive of all, however, was the fact that the woman in the film didn’t have (ok, fake) an orgasm. The guy did, but the woman didn’t. Porn where the woman doesn’t get off — how, exactly, is this supposed to be appealing to women??

After the boring porn was over, I had to fill out the mood questionnaire about how I felt while watching the porn**** and take the post-porn spit sample for testosterone (and remove the, uh, apparatus for blood flow measurement*****). Then I tell the research assistant over the intercom that I’m done, so she can come back into the room and give me my $20. When she enters the room, she excitedly asked me, “Did that shock you?” And I was all like, “What? Shock? I found it really tame actually.” She seemed pretty disappointed when I said that, but quickly recovered, “Oh ya, I found it tame too. But some women say, “I didn’t know it was going to be like that!!” after they see it. They didn’t know it was going to be like what? That there would be people with no shirts on? That bad actors would pretend to have boring sex? How shocking!

All I can say is – at least they paid me $20.

*Yes, I’m trying to use the word “porn” as often as I can, so as to garner more hits from Google searches to artificially inflate my stats. Like this woman I met at Northern Voice who constantly gets hits on her blog for her posting called “Beaver Shots“…

**And I’d just like to say that, as a recently divorced woman, wedding rings are not really what I’m looking for in my porn.

***Especially because it meant I didn’t have to see his ugly face anymore.

****And you can bet that I ranked “bored” as a 7! I am intensely bored by your lousy porn!!

*****Is this too much information? I feel like this is too much information.

If I had a kid, I would totally teach them to do this:

The best part is how the father tells the kid he loves her after she rhymes off the Canuck player names and referee hand signals. Like if she had got them wrong, he wouldn’t love her anymore.

{April 19, 2007}   Radio Stars

Now that I’m a 9 to 5er, I spend about 8 hours a day listening to the radio. I am partial to the station that brings you Hump at the Pump and Wear the Fox Hat. On the morning show, they have open phones and every time they have a different set of rules. One of the rules is always, “No swearing,” but the other rules are devised, I’m pretty sure, based on the DJs mood. Yesterday it was “No Calgarians. Calgary is embarrassing Canada, so no Calgarians are allowed to call today during open phones.” Today they expanded it to “No Albertans. Sure the Flames won last night, but they are still embarassing us.” What’s not to like about a show like that?!

Another reason I like that station is because, like everyone else in Vancouver, the DJs there are obsessed with all things Canucks right now and have a hate on for the evil Dallas Stars (or Dallas Douchebags, as they like to call them). Several times a day you get to hear: “Welcome to Dallas, birthplace of Osama bin Laden.” And they like to do prank phone calls too. Yesterday one of them called the stadium in Dallas, saying that he is a Canucks fan who was going to the game in Dallas and was wondering where he can put his 7 live beavers that he will be bringing to the game for good luck. “I’ve bought tickets for them, but was just wondering if you have a pen I can put them in when I go to get my beer.” It always amazes me how long people will stay on the phone with a prank caller, taking them seriously.

Today’s prank call was even funnier. When we beat the Stars tomorrow (Thursday) night, they will be eliminated from the playoffs, meaning they will be getting an early start on the golf season compared with hockey players on good teams who continue on in the playoffs. So this DJ he called the Dallas Stars office and said, “I’m with the Dallas National Golf Course and I’m calling to confirm a tee time on Friday for a foursome of Mike Modano, Sergei Zubov, Joel Lundqvist and Marty Turco.”


{April 18, 2007}   Coffee-ground vomitus

Like Sarah, I’m sure that everyone is dying to know why I know about coffee-ground vomitus. What’s that? You really aren’t all dying to know? Well, too bad, ‘cuz I’m going to tell you anyway.

Actually, it’s not nearly as exciting a story as it could be. But I think it has to do with this guy:

On Sunday I went out for my 18 K run. Felt great. Finished my run, had a shower. Started to feel not so great. I think “oh, I’ll be fine”, walked to the grocery store. Start getting groceries. Start to feel really, really not great. Like intense stomach pains, extreme weakness. Do I drop what I’m doing and go immediately home like a sensible person would? No, of course I don’t. I finish getting my groceries, pay for them, and walk home, having to stop a few times to lean against a pole and gather my strength. Now, I think that someone who just ran 18K should surely be able to walk 4 blocks carrying a few groceries, no? Apparently, not so much. When I got home, I dropped the groceries on the floor and crawled into the bathroom, as by this time I was having the most intense stomach pains – I could actually feel my stomach muscle contracting! – and nausea. Really, really nauseous. “I’ve been food poisoned by the Power Gel I had on my run!” I decided. On my previous 18 K, my Power Gel (vanilla flavoured) did wonders, but this time, I’d clearly been poisoned. How could you let me down so, Strawberry-Banana Power Gel??

Every so often, I would gather my strength and crawl out to my living room and get something to bring back to the bathroom with me – first a pillow, since lying on the bathroom floor is not all the comfortable. Then my laptop* to try to distract myself, and possibly summon assistance. The pain and nausea got so bad that I thought, “Well, I have 2 options. I can sit here and continue to sob from the pain, or I can make myself throw up.” Whenever I’ve had food poisoning, I’ve always felt so much better after vomiting. My body knows when there is something bad in my stomach and knows that getting it out is the best solution. So I did something I’ve never, ever done before. I actually stuck my finger down my throat to make myself throw up. And thus, the coffee-ground vomitus. It actually looked just like coffee grounds! It was so disgusting that the sight of it made me vomit even more**.

Now, I have never seen or heard of coffee-ground vomitus before, so, being a little freaked out, I consulted Dr. Google. I was pretty sure that I didn’t actually have yellow fever, which is the oft cited cause of black vomit, but other causes of upper GI tract bleeds were a possibility (coffee-ground vomitus is the result of an upper GI tract bleed of some kind, as the heme iron in the blood becomes oxidized by gastric acid, resulting in the lovely black vomit), . So then I decided that perhaps I should consult my personal physician, Dr. Kaede***. After a series of questions, she determined that a possible cause could be a bleeding ulcer, although it is odd for it to come on so suddenly (I hadn’t had any stomach issues prior to this).

So, on Monday after suffering through a day of stomach pain (but no nausea, thankfully) at work, I went to a walk-in clinic****. I got a ride there from my personal nurse*****, who asked me the same questions as my personal physician and came to the same conclusion. Although she did point out that my ridiculously high caffeine intake (which is usually about 2 large travel mugs of coffee and a diet Pepsi per day, sometimes more) probably doesn’t help the old GI tract. “But I’ve been drinking this much caffeine for 15 years,” I said. “Yeah, and that’s probably catching up to you now!”

I wait at the walk-in clinic for an hour and fifteen minutes so that the doctor can ask me all the same questions as I had gone through with Dr. Google, Dr. Kaede and my nurse. And then ordered a test for H. pylori******, the bacteria that causes ulcers. I wish I could have just ordered the test myself and saved that hour and fifteen minutes.

On the plus side, I was given the option of either a breath test or a blood test. Obviously, being even more of a needle-phobe than I am a vomit-phobe, I opted for a breath test. The drawbacks are that you have to fast for at least four hours and that you can’t take any antacids before the test*******. A small price to pay for keeping needles out of my arm, in my opinion. So I went for my breath test today… they made me drink some radioactive drink and blow through a straw into a tube. As far as I can tell, the radioactive drink has not given me any superpowers… yet. Test results should be back in a day or two. I’m really hoping it is H. pylori, because it’s fairly easy to treat – just a week of antibiotics and you are good to go. If it isn’t that, who the hell knows! And I don’t want to be dealing with this – it’s not fun to have constant stomach pain and I have a half marathon to run in less than 3 weeks, but right now I can barely walk the three blocks from the bus stop to my office.

Also, my mother is convinced that I am hemorrhaging to death. She is sure that somehow running 18K caused my internal organs to be ripped apart and my death from blood loss is imminent. So now, on top of the non-stop stomach pain, I have to deal with that guilt that I’m worrying my mother. The stress of that is enough to give me an ulcer!

*You know you are an internet junkie when…
**This will not be a surprise to Sarah, who gave me the nickname “Flush” after that party in high school were I was puking and I kept flushing the toilet mid-puke because I didn’t want to look at it.
***OK, she’s not actually my personal physician. She’s a friend of mine who also happens to be a physician
****Since I don’t actually have a family doctor. I’d been going to Student Health Services, where I had the best doctor EVER, but I can’t go there anymore since I’m no longer a student.
*****OK, she’s not actually my personal nurse. She’s a friend of mine who also happens to be a nurse.
******See picture at the start of this posting, which seems like ages ago!
*******I got to take the antacid (which is actually an H+, K+, ATPase inhibitor – a pretty powerful antacid) after the test, but it didn’t really seem to help at all anyway.

Coffee-ground vomitus.

In happier news, my boyfriend scored the game winner in OT to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead in their series against the Dallas Stars. Go ‘nucks!

{April 15, 2007}   Eagle Cam

My friend Erika recently took a very, very cool job. She is the resident biologist for – a company that streams videos of wildlife to the net so that you can watch animals in real time, undisturbed, in their natural habitats!

Hired by CEO Arthur Griffiths*, Erika is responsible for all things biological at Wavelit and recently oversaw the installation of this year’s EagleCam** – a camera focused on an eagle’s nest in Stanley Park 24/7 (they even have infrared for night-time viewing and a microphone, so you can hear the eagles chirping at each other). Right now the eagles come and go, but once the eggs are laid, there will be eagles there all the time and you will be able to watch the eggs hatch and the baby eagles grow! How freaking cool is that?

You can also watch orphaned grizzly cubs, Grinder and Coola, who live on Grouse Mountain on GrizzlyCam, Hummingbirds somewhere on the west coast of Canada***, and Nkorho Pan “a natural water hole in the prestigious Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, in South Africa” on Africam. I’m watching Africam as I write this and, although there are no animals at the watering hole right now, I can hear crickets!

omg omg! I just flipped back to EagleCam and the eagle is there!!! S/he is fixing up her/his nest! So cool! What a beautiful bird!

I have a feeling I’m going to be spending a lot of time watching these cams!

*a Vancouver businessman, former owner of my beloved Canucks and the man responsible for bringing the 2010 Olympics to Vancouver.

**apparently previous years’s EagleCams have received over 14 million hits PER DAY.

**it doesn’t say where. I was just watching them and they are so cute!

{April 14, 2007}  

In my continuing efforts to disparage all things Calgarian*, I would like to point out one of their many grammatical errors:

I would love to stay and chat, but there is playoff hockey to go and watch! Don’t wait up!

*I would also like to point out that the Blogger spellchecker’s suggestion for Calgarian was “Vulgarian.”

{April 13, 2007}   I’m Tired
Like pretty much everyone else in Vancouver today, I’m a walking zombie. Why, you ask? It’s very simple – because I stayed up until almost 1 in the morning waiting for the Canucks to finally beat the Stars in game one of their playoff series!! Since I was at a free movie last night, I didn’t get to watch (or listen to the radio broadcast of) the regulation-time portion game* – but it’s OK, because I got home in time to listen to the almost 4 periods of overtime! For those of you who aren’t hockey fans**, a normal hockey game is 3 periods. So the Canucks played more than 2 full hockey games!

A few numbers for you:

And speaking of bed, I’m heading there now! So tired! But I would be remiss if I didn’t first inform y’all that the Detroit Red Wings beat the Calgary Flames in the first game of their playoff series. Go Detroit****!
*although I did get to ride on the bus with tonnes of people who were going to the game, since the movie was at a theatre next to GM Place.

**i.e., my American readers

***the longest one ever was 176:30, back in 1936, involving Detroit and the Montreal Maroons.

****or whoever is playing the Flames really. My recently trip to Calgary has made me hate the Flames even more than I did before!

et cetera