Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{November 30, 2007}   He’s #1!

who has a better save percentage?
Originally uploaded by steveleenow

Props to Roberto Luongo for his team record-breaking three shutouts in a row!!

Due to his spectacular on-ice performance, I am obliged to offer to have his babies.



{November 29, 2007}  

I hate numbers. I hate crunching numbers. I hate writing reports, with minuscule page limits for the actual report and multitudinous pages of appendices, to be submitted in triplicate.

I am SO glad that I have vacation days next week! You have NO IDEA how excited I am about that.

Also, I don’t care what my waistline says, I need a mocha. NEED!



So, they unveiled the 2010 Olympic mascots yesterday and the general sentiment I’ve been hearing is one of three things:

  • they have nothing to do with Canada – there’s no maple leafs/beavers/loons/moose
  • they have nothing to do with Canada – they’re “too Asian”1
  • what Olympic mascots?

But I don’t care what the naysayers are saying2. I like Quatchi.

Quatchi is a young sasquatch who comes from the mysterious forests of Canada. Quatchi is shy, but loves to explore new places and meet new friends. Although Quatchi loves all winter sports, he’s especially fond of hockey. He dreams of becoming a world-famous goalie.

Dude, he plays hockey! And I think he’s cute! And he’s from the “mysterious forests of Canada.” *I* live near a mysterious forest! Maybe he lives in my ‘hood!


Although I do have to agree with Darren that if you go to the official site and hear the mascots say their name, which you do by mousing over the characters, it’s a bit freaky. I like to run my mouse across all of them really fast so that they keep saying their names over and over in quick succession. It’s kind of psychodelic.

Apparently, I need to get out more.

1Seriously, I’ve heard that a lot – listening to open phones on the radio and reading comments sections on online new stories.
2Or naysaying, as the case may be.



{November 28, 2007}   Beth in a Box

When someone has a giant box in their house, it’s only natural that they will try to see if they fit in that box. The answer, my friends, is yes:

bethinabox

In fact, there’s plenty of room inside that box – you could have a tea party in there!

So, I took this photo, but before I got a chance to post it I saw over on Darren’s blog that Rebecca beat me to the punch. Not only did she have a picture of her inside her printer box, but she did it with comic strip complete with Dick in a Box reference. Clearly, I have much to learn in the ways of blogging.

In my own defence, I only just set up my printer last night, despite receiving it last week because, well, I was kind of intimidated by the fact that the “Quick Setup Guide” was 70 pages long1. I was really busy last week and this past weekend2 with work and it was much easier to leave it until a computer-y friend of mine came over and set it up for me. I chose the wifi printer because I didn’t want to be hassled with such things as plugging the printer in and setting it up for wifi required knowing things like WLAN and WEP and WPA and other such acronyms. I’m sure I actually could have figured it out3 if I wanted to, but having someone else do it for me was much easier. I work smarter, not harder. Plus, it gave me more time to do things like play inside my new fort4.

On the plus side, it’s all set up now and prints all nice and suchlike. At least, the few test pages that I’ve printed so far. I’m going to play around with it more this weekend/next week once my stupid big report at work is done. I’m very excited that it prints in colour and duplexes stuff. I heart duplexing.

1Wait a sec, that’s not really in my own defence. Unless my defence is that I’m a big baby.
2Ya, I was working on the weekend. Big report due. Boo to big reports!
3There are illustrated step-by-step directions. I’m sure I could have followed along if I actually tried.
4I have to keep the box to ship the printer back to them when my trial run is over. So I suppose I should keep my playing to a minimum to keep it intact.



{November 27, 2007}   Unending Jest

IJ

Someone who rides the bus and does most of her reading on said bus and thus must carry her book to and from said bus probably should not get herself into reading a book this size:

IJ2
The apple is in the photo to give you a sense of the size of the book.
Granted, it’s a smallish apple, but it’s still a really big book!

Fortunately, my health benefits package includes $400 a year of massage therapy and another $400 a year of chiropractic, no doctor’s note required, as lugging this book around for last 871 months has really done a number on my vertebral alignment.

1 At least it feels like I’ve been reading it for 87 months.



On my recent flight to Vegas, I found myself flipping through “SkyMall” – the catalog for those who can’t last a whole three hours without satisfying their need to purchase stuff. And this catalog was rife with items that I just can’t imagine anyone actually purchasing. Things like:

beef

Seriously? Do people really want to brand their beef?

And you might think it’s just because I’m a vegetarian that I wouldn’t want to buy a beef brand. But I also don’t want to brand my toast:

toaster

And while it was the branding of the toast by this product that first caught my attention, upon closer reading of the description of this item, I noticed this:

toaster2

Seriously? We need a digital countdown to tell us when our toast is ready? Doesn’t the “pop” of the toaster popping tell you all you need to know? And then I noticed this:

toaster3

Are people really willing to pay $130 for a toaster that tells you when the toast is ready… just like every other toaster ever invented???

Here’s another product I just don’t get. Perhaps I’m missing something here, but I just don’t understand why you would buy this:

wifi

If you have a device that uses wifi, doesn’t it already detect hot spots and their signal strength? Why would you need a separate item, which doesn’t do anything else, for this purpose?

Want to make sure your kid grows up to be a good consumer? Why not give them a fake ATM to play with:

ATM

Much like with cola, it’s important to start kids’ learning about how to spend-spend-spend early!

I think this picture speaks for itself:

exercise

Giddy up!!

And thank god I can finally “STOP COUNTING THUNDER!”

thunder

Because, you know, I spend so much time counting thunder, this is going to be a real time saver!

And can someone explain to me how, exactly, they get away with saying this is the “world’s largest” storage tower?

worldslargest

Really? You’ve seen all the CD storage towers in the entire world and this one is the biggest? Really?

Next up, Items That I Would NEVER Use to Decorate My Place:

lamp

This totally makes me think of the “major award” that the father wins in A Christmas Story.

bigfoot

And what yard is complete without a two foot tall statue of Bigfoot? Creative gardening style indeed!

holidaytree

This is just sad. I don’t want a “total environmental makeover”1 – I want a Christmas tree, dammit!

Now we have Items That Allow You to More Effectively Neglect Your Pets:

catlaser

Because cats are just so high maintenance that you need a device to keep them occupied “so you can do other things.” Why do I suspect that the “other things” the type of person who buys this item has to do are, like, watching TV for 8 hours straight? “Momma’s watchin’ her stories, kitty, go play with your laser.”

Also for people who are too busy for their pets, why not get this lovely 8 Day Autopetfeeder:

petfood

Going away for 8 days? Sure, you could do the responsible thing and have someone watch your pet, or put them in a cat-spa/doggy daycare/whatever you call those places where actual human beings care for your pets while you are away, but why not just leave them some food in an automated dish instead? I mean, what else could your pet need in EIGHT DAYS??

Finally, we have Items That Make Me Shake My Head in Disbelief at the State of Humanity.

Such as this brush that regrows hair:

hair

It’s “consistently seen in the news and magazines,”2 so who I am to question that?

And this sure looks like good times:

tailgate

“Imagine the faces of your pre-game buddies when they see you kicking back in this”?2 Shouldn’t that say “imagine the faces of your pre-game buddies when they kick your ass for spending $200 to look like an asshat?

This one just makes me sad.

pillow

This woman not only has no one to spoon her and has to use this pillow to simulate spooning, but she got herself a rose. Because clearly no one else loves her.

Perhaps she’s alone because she “easily hid” this item in the car…

spy

… to find out where her spouse was going3.

And finally, because you should always save the best for last:

cookie

It’s about time we had cookies that make you lose weight! As a nutritional scientist, I can see absolutely nothing wrong with this idea. Nothing!

1Who writes this stuff anyway?
2ibid
3Which reminds me, while waiting for luggage at Vancouver airport after the flight home, the man next to me was very loudly talking to his buddies about HIS MISTRESS! Saying things like “So my wife was kind of suspicious, but I said, “I can’t even handle you, what would I do with two women??” and “Never admit it. Never. That’s the two million dollar mistake.” So if you (or someone you know) have a husband who flew from Vegas to Vancouver on US Airways on November 3, you (or they) might want to get yourself a good lawyer – apparently there’s 2 million dollars in it for you.



IMG_0570
The 12 Bars of Christmas is back!

Next Saturday be on the lookout for a merry band of pub crawlers, singing, drinking and, well, being merry.



{November 25, 2007}   NHL All-Star Voting

You know you want to go here to vote for all your favourite Canucks. And remember, it’s not a beauty contest, so it’s OK to vote for the Sedin twins.

And if you win the trip to the All-Star Game in Atlanta, you have to take me, k?



{November 23, 2007}   These Boots Were Made for Walking

bethyOnce upon a time1 I bought a pair of boots. And so beloved were those boots that I wore them everywhere – to work, to clubs, to job interviews, to a blogging conference. They were an integral part of my last two Halloween costumes. Hell, I even wore them to my Ph.D. defence.

Of late, I have noticed that the beautiful pleather2 that gives my boots their shiny goodness was starting to flake off. ‘No matter,’ I thought, ‘It’s just flaking a little bit and you have to look quite carefully at them to notice. They’re still good, they’re still good.’3 But that was before I fell down the stairs. Twice in as many days.

OK, “fell” is probably a little overly dramatic. More like “slid” or “slipped.” The first time I was rushing down the stairs at Granville Station to catch a Skytrain4. I figured that the stairs were just slippery or something. But then the next day I slid down the stairs at my massage therapist’s office, right after getting a nice hour-long massage – and pretty much undoing all the good that the massage had done. ‘What the hell?’ I thought, ‘Why am I suddenly incapable of going down a flight of stairs??’

Then I got a brainstorm: ‘Perhaps I should look at the sole of these boots!’ Um, ya, so the heels of my boots are *completely* devoid of tread. Like, totally, completely 100% tread-less. So I had to admit to myself that it might, just might, be time to find a new pair of boots, as continuing to wear this pair appears to be hazardous to my health and well-being5. So this newfound concern for safety, combined with my jealousy of Stacia’s beautiful new boots, led me on The Search for A New Pair of Boots.

Only one small problem. My boots are too cool. I can’t find anything even remotely as cool. And I went to every shoe store in downtown Vancouver. I found a pair that, while not as perfect in style as my current boots, I could have been happy with in this shoe clearance place in the basement of where The Bay is downtown, but they only had them in size 8.5 or 10, whereas I wear a size 6 shoe6. I found another one in the Shoe Warehouse, but same deal – too big. There were a couple pairs that I tried on at Winners, but they didn’t fit properly – either they’d be way too big for my calves, or they’d put your foot in a weird contorted angle that you know would be very, very uncomfortable after about 5 minutes of walking around. The thing with my current boots is that they are super stylish, but also really comfortable.

All in all, I think I only tried about 5 pairs of boots that looked acceptable but turned out to be too big/small/uncomfortable/weird, but this number was completely dwarfed by the number of boots I had trouble even being in the same room as, let alone be willing to try on or, god forbid, consider buying. Apparently the style this season is stiletto heels7 and ridiculous pointy toes. And I’m not talking just a little pointed. I’m talking the shoe is so exaggeratedly pointed that the toe of your shoe is in a different time zone than you are.

Heading home, dejected, from the boot store which appears also to stock only stupid pointy toed, stiletto boots this season, the answer to all my problems hit like a stroke of divine inspiration8. Where did Beth find her most perfect pair of footwear? eBay, of course! A quick search led me to this pair, the auction for which I just won this morning:

Anyone want to take bets on which will get here first: the eBay boots or the vegetarian marshmallows?

1A.k.a. November 2005.
2Being a vegetarian, I don’t wear leather. Pleather is also way cheaper that leather, but it doesn’t last as long.
3I may have been in denial about the impeding demise of my boots.
4Which, of course, begs the question that Sarah & Dave asked me on one of their visits to Vancouver: “Why are we going DOWN stairs to get to the SKYtrain?”
5Not that I’ve actually stopped wearing them. I just try not to run down stairs in them.
6Which,I was doubly choked that they didn’t fit because they were $100 boots that had been marked down to $25!
7Read: ridiculous uncomfortable. Who the hell thought that putting an entire person’s weight on two millimeter wide sticks was a good idea?
8As previously mentioned, my deity9 may vary from yours.
9and Her sexy shoe obsession.



{November 22, 2007}   My new printer!

printerI arrived home today to discover that my new printer had been delivered! Well, it’s not actually *my* printer – it’s only mine to test drive for a couple of months.

A little while ago, Darren emailed me an amusing comic strip, asking if I wanted to try out a colour laser printer for two months. And, well, you know how I feel about free stuff, even if it’s only free for a little while!

As you can see from the photo, it’s a Brother printer and comes in an exceptionally large box. I swear, that box is bigger than me! What you can’t see from the photo, it’s the HL-4070CDW (Wi-Fi certified wireless network-ready colour laser printer with built-in automatic two-sided printing). I’m a big fan of printing on both sides of any given paper and I’m eager to check out the Wi-Fi’edness. I should point out that my current printer was purchased in 1995 when I bought my first computer and requires that you hand feed each paper individually (and even then it sometimes has a hissy fit and requires repeated shutting off and restarting of my computers before it will stop printing in tongues, and so if this thing actually feeds paper on its own, I’ll be stoked.

I worked late tonight and then had to do some grocery shopping as I had no food in my place, so I was too exhausted to unpack my new printer and figure out where I’m actually going to put it, being that it’s so huge and all. But Thursday is my Friday, so I will have the weekend to unpack it, hook it up and play with it! I’ll keep ya posted



{November 22, 2007}   Real Time Canucks update

I’m working late tonight – had to do some brainless work that needs to be done for this report that I’m writing, so I’m listening to the Canucks game as I work, as the Great Convexity1 has decided to let me stream the radio broadcast today3. And there’s been 5 goals4. in 10 minutes and 30 seconds! Craziness! OK, I just had to share that. Now back to my regularly scheduled brainless work.

1“The Great Convexity” = what I’m now calling my work computer now. It’s the only one of gadgets that actually ended up with a name2.
2Except for the ones that are, uh, named after Canucks.
3The last time I tried, it stubbornly refused to work, even after I turned it off and turned it back on again, which, as we all know, is the only thing that can fix a problematic computer.
4 Two Canucks goals that counted, one disallowed because of a too quick whistle; and two goals by the bad guys.



Today I received a most exciting email:

Dear Beth,

We are pleased to report that a product in the VeganEssentials Online Store, about which you requested notification, is now in stock.

Product: Vanilla Vegan Marshmallows by Sweet & Sara

About two years ago I decided that I really needed to find me some vegetarian marshmallows1. I’ve been a vegetarian for over a decade and while I’m perfectly happy not eating meat, I really do miss marshmallows3. I can have marshmallow creme, as that is usually vegetarian, but you can’t toast a jar of marshmallow creme! At that time, I found a brand called “Vegan Supreme Marshmallows.” They were stupid expensive – if memory serves me, they cost something like US$8, plus shipping, for a bag containing 18 marshmallows. But it was oh so worth it to toast marshmallows on my stove again!

I was so excited, in fact, about the discovery of this product that I emailed both Choices & Capers, two local fru-fru organic grocery stores and told them that if they carried these ‘mallows, I knew many, many vegetarians who would be more than happy to buy them. Choices ignored me, but Capers actually started carrying them, which meant I could just pay $8 a bag, no shipping. At that point, my life was basically complete5. Until one day, when I went into Capers and lo and behold, no Vegan Supremes! I asked one of the staff what was up with that and he said that “one of their ingredient suppliers went out of business so they can’t make their marshmallows anymore.” I’m not sure why, but I assumed that it was the maker of their vegan sugar6. I was totally disappointed, but I figured that in the long run it might be a good thing for my chequebook and my waistline to not have such ready access to these tasty treats.

Skip forward a few months and, in a fit of procrastination no doubt, I decided to see if that company had ever found new suppliers. Googling “Vegan Supreme Marshmallows” yielded this: as it turns out, the company that he been supplying the vegetarian gelatin substitute to the company that made V.S.M. was just lying – they were just selling regular old animal bone & skin-derived gelatin! Which means that I had been eating gelatin! And, to add insult to injury, I was paying $8 a bag to do so! So gross!!!

Anyway, after a recent conversation I had about marshmallows in which I recounted this tale8, I got thinking about marshmallows again and Googled and found that Sweet & Sara was now making vegetarian marshmallows, but the dealer, the VeganEssentials Online Store, was out of stock! I was thinking that perhaps they had met a similar fate, but signed up for a notification in case they ever had them again… and apparently they do! And just now I found the following on YouTube which explains all:

Part 1 of the video:

Part 2 of the video:

So, mystery solved. Sweet & Sara marshmallows really are veggie and my life is, once again, complete. Or it will be in 6-9 days9.

1Almost all marshmallows are made with gelatin2, and thus not vegetarian.
2Gelatin is made from animal bones/skin/hooves. Yum!
3And Mini Wheats, which also contain gelatin. My kingdom for a gelatin free Mini Wheat!!
4And this was back when the US dollar was worth more than the Canadian dollar.
5I know I’ve said that about my Treo, my eBay shoes and various other purchases, but really, it was the vegetarian marshmallows that completed my life. No, really.
6Refined sugar is often processed through bone char7
7Yup, “bone char” is exactly what it sounds like it is – charcoal made from bones.
8I really only have about 5 stories that I tell (e.g, the veggie marshmallow story, the story about how my sister screwed me out of tonnes of money when we delivered newspapers when we were little, this time I bought these shoes on eBay). After that, I’m pretty much out of material.
9Estimated shipping time to Canada.



My niece is turning 3 this month. So, being the super aunt that I am, I actually decided to buy her present well in advance of the date, in order to be able to it to her in time for the big day2.

So, I’m standing in a toy store and another shopper notices my deer-in-headlights look and says to me, “Are you looking for a birthday gift?” and when I say “Yes!!” her immediate question is, “For a boy or a girl?”

“A three year old… girl,” I say, with a bit of hesitation. To me, the “three year old” is the more important part, but to her, not so much.

“Oh, I only have boys, so I know all about toys for boys, but not for girls.”

“I never buy girly toys,” I say. “I prefer “boy” toys3 myself.”

She shows me this air hockey toy thing were you get to kick the disc thingy, which floats on air of its own accord, around your house. Its edges are padded so it’s OK to play inside.4

IMG_2876

“Too bad it’s hockey,” she says, “They used to have a soccer one.” “I play hockey!” I say, “This is perfect!”

And it was like she didn’t even hear me. Almost as if “girl” and “hockey” in the same sentence did not compute within her brain. She just kept going on about the soccer one.

We chat for a little while longer and then, as she leaves, despite the fact that I am holding the air hockey toy and have loudly declared “I am *totally* buying her this!”, she says “It really is too bad they don’t have the soccer one, it would have been perfect for her.”

WTF? I mean, the soccer one is the EXACT SAME TOY, just painted differently!

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve actually decided to give my niece the hockey toy for Christmas because I’m going to Ontario for the holidays, so I won’t have to mail it (it’s kind of big for mailing). This is in no way because I want to be able to play with this toy too, which I can’t do if I mail it to her now, but I can if I bring it with me for Christmas. I can’t believe you would even suggest that!

For her birthday I’m giving her this:

IMG_2875

I found this toy in the same store while talking to the woman who is unable to understand that girls can play hockey. My sister had this game when we were little. You fill it up with water and then you press the little white button on the front to send the little balls floating up and you try to get them into the little plastic bucket in front of the crab. Simple, but I swear to you, hours and hours of fun!! And if Madeline doesn’t like it, I know that Nancy will!

I also got her this:

IMG_2879

It’s bubbles that don’t burst when you touch them, so you can like grab them and carry them around with you. God knows what chemical is in them that allows this to happen and I’m sure we’ll all get cancer and die from it, but damn, that sounds like hours and hours of fun!!

1That title is there because I don’t want my sister and her bf to read this blog posting because it will ruin the surprise for them of what I got Madeline for her birthday.

2Unlike the rest of all y’all, who routinely receive your birthday presents from me a month after your actual birthday. Apparently I am a super aunt, but somewhat of a mediocre friend.

3By which I mean toys that are marketed for male children. Not the other kind of “boy toy.” Not that I object to those personally, just not for my niece!

4If the idea of people kicking stuff around in your house is a problem, Nancy, speak now or forever hold your peace. Oh righ, I told you not to read this posting… hee hee!



{November 15, 2007}   I forget

I have a terrible memory. I regularly lose my keys, my purse, I always accidentally leave things at people’s places when I’m visiting them. I have been known to leave my oven on overnight because I forget to turn it off when I’m done cooking, or leave my hair straightener on all day because I forget to turn it off when I’m done straightening. My coffeemaker has an auto shut off feature so that when I accidentally leave it on, it goes off after two hours. My microwave beaps once every minute after its done until you take whatever you were nuking out of the oven1.

My solution to my poor memory is to write myself notes, lots of notes. I have an intricate web of sticky notes on my wall a work to remind me of all the things I need to do 2. All events in my Palm Pilot calendar have alarms set to remind me about them3. I’m kind of like that guy in Memento.

But this morning took the cake. I was knocking out a few quick emails before I left to go to a workshop on campus and was jotting down a list of things I didn’t have the time to do before I left but needed to do as soon as I got back. “Post documents to course website.” “Make November payment for hockey registration.” Etc. And, as I typed out an email, I thought of something else I needed to do, but before I could write it down I forgot what it was! That’s right, I couldn’t remember it long enough to actually write it down on my reminder list!

I kind of thought it would come back to me. But it hasn’t. So either (a) it wasn’t actually that important, (b) I’ve remember and done whatever it was, but just didn’t remember that it was the thing I was trying to remember or (c) I’m supposed to be in some really important meeting right now and I’m not.

1Prior to this, I routinely found abandoned cups of tea in there, as I’d nuke my tea and then forget it was there until I went to nuke something else like the next day.

1Mostly because my whiteboard is already full of an intricate web reminding my of how I’m trying to structure the course I’m developing.

2Except hockey games. I seem to be able to remember that I play hockey every Sunday.



{November 14, 2007}   Support My Hockey Team!!

hockeylogo So, speaking of Vegas, want to support my hockey team to play in a tournament there? We are trying to raise enough funds to go to the Lady Luck Cup tournament in Las Vegas in April.

We are doing a fund raising raffle and I need to sell at least $50 worth of tickets (preferably many more than that).

Here’s the 411:

  • Tickets are 1 for $2 or 3 for $5
  • First Prize: a beer fridge full of beer
  • Second Prize: two tickets to a Canucks game
  • Third Prize: a trio of 26ers (probably like rum, vodka and gin, or something like that)

We will be doing the draw at our fundraising pub night on January 19th and you don’t have to be at the pub night to win. I know the prizes aren’t very portable, so for my long distance readers, if you want to buy a ticket or seven and then you win, I could sell the prize and send you the cash!

Wanna buy some raffle tickets? You know you do! Email me: apo_b100 AT hotmail DOT com

P.S. If we raise enough money, I’m sure that my team will get up to all kinds of hijinks in Vegas and I promise to blog said hijinks. I would expect it would be something along the lines of this type of thing. So you could consider buying a raffle ticket to be an investment in your future blog reading enjoyment.

P.P.S. Another fundraiser possibility that we considered, but didn’t have enough time to do this year was a calendar. Sort of the “girls of hockey” kind of thing. Would you buy a calendar of me and my teammates like, for example, wearing our hockey jerseys and looking all cute and suchlike? Just doing a little market research for next year….



et cetera