Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{December 30, 2007}   Goodnight, Sweet Monkey

My sister’s cat, Monkey, died yesterday. This is a picture of Monkey from better days. She never much liked anyone other than my sister and my niece, but one time I tricked her into thinking I was my sister and she let me pet her. She will be missed.

Rest in peace, little Monkey.

{December 29, 2007}  

I’m writing this on the train from Ottawa to Toronto. I’m too cheap to pay to use the VIA Rail internet access1, so I’ll post it later. But there’s an electrical outlet at every set of seats, so I can actually use my laptop for the whole trip and not worry about the battery dying. It’s sweet to be here in the future.

I put together the syllabus for the course I’m teaching in January and gone so far as to start putting together my first lecture. And I’ve even jotted down a few ideas for assignments2. So I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something, sort of. So now I can goof off and blog and perhaps take a wee nap as I’m kinda sleepy3. However, I am suffering from a wicked case of writer’s block4, so nap time it is! Night!

1but it’s nice to know that it’s available in case I some day make enough money to both buy a train ticket *and* pay for Internet access.
2It’s my first time teaching this course and I’m not in love with the assignments that were given last year, so I’m trying to come up with new ones.
3This may or may not have anything to do with staying up ’til 2 a.m. watching Veronica Mars.
4Which may or may not have anything to do with being distracted by the teenagers sitting next to me, yammering loudly about how they are in the cadets. It’s all “drinking game” this and “drinking on army base” that.

{December 29, 2007}  

Either Ottawa hates1 or loves me so much that it really, really wants me have a reason to return, because everything we tried to do today was a no go.

First, we couldn’t go to the Diefenbunker as the tour was all booked up when we called to make a reservation. Then, The Green Door was inexplicably closed when we tried to go there for dinner. Bah!

It worked out in the end though. We hung out at Sarah’s parents place, where we had lunch, chatted for a bit, and then Sarah’s mom gave me three (3!) pairs of shoes2! Then we watched more Veronica Mars and we ended up going to another restaurant, a veggie Thai place, that made most delicious food, for dinner. And, honestly, Sarah & Dave are just fun to hang out with, no matter what you are doing. And now I have an excuse to come back to O-town – ‘cuz I totally need to check out the Diefenbunker!

1Since they put a giant spider in front of the National Gallery, I’m leaning towards the former.
2And you all know how desperately I need more shoes!

For my Christmas present, Sarah and Dave offered me a “choose my own Ottawaian adventure.” In the interest me not having to carry a bunch o’ stuff back on the plane, they gave me some options of fun things to do in Ottawa, including:

I chose: most of the above. I’m unable to go to the National Gallery due to the fact that they have sculpture of a giant spider outside. And you know how I feel about spiders. Museums of Civilization and/or War are out because, um, I’m neither civilized nor war mongering.

Today, Dave had to work today in order to keep us in the style to which we have become accustomed while Sarah & I picked up the cats from the cat spa3, then went to the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The C.S.T.M. kinda made us feel like Canada hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot in science and technology that isn’t related to snow and/or hockey. Although we did learn that Ernest Rutherford did the work which earned him his 1908 Nobel Prize while in Canada. Which, you know, you think they would have mentioned when we learned about the Rutherford model of the atom in high school and university chemistry classes, given that we went to high school and university in Canada. But whatevs.

After the C.S.T.M., we came home and Sarah made us some super delish veggie sushi. Just like The Eatery, but with much better service. We chain smoked the first four episodes of Veronica Mars, which Sarah has been telling me about forever, but which I had never watched before. Now I’m totally into the mystery and need – and I mean NEED – to find out whodunit. Then we watched the Sens game, followed by the Canucks game – both which had happy endings. And now I be tired. But before I head to bed, I give you me, in a stupid large snowbank. With a pink hat on:


1although not live, since it’s sold out. But with PVR-y goodness, we can watch it without pesky commercials
2I can’t link to this site, because I am afraid that a picture of the giant spider will be on their site.
3Where they had been living a life of cat luxury while S & D were away for a few days of family Christmas visiting.

I’m now on the second leg of my Christmas tour – at Sarah & Dave‘s place in Ottawa. Tired and should go to bed soon, but first I thought I’d show y’all a few Christmas photos.

Like this one, a picture of my niece with the stuffed Quatchi1 that I gave her:


And here, she’s tucking Quatchi into the new bed she got for Xmas:


And this is my sister’s boyfriend, my niece and I, looking out the window of her new playhouse. The house is about 3 feet tall2, and was packed with all the toys she got for Christmas, which she carefully placed into this house before insisting we join her in said house. Translation: it was rather crowded.


OK, Beth sleep now. Beth will blog more coherently tomorrow.

Update: For the record, I’m in Ontario, but my blog timestamps using Pacific Time. So I’m really not going to bed at 9:40 p.m.

1Aunt Beth, spreading the love of Quatchi eastward!
2Disclaimer: I am completely useless at estimating heights.

{December 25, 2007}   Happy Holiday
The Flying Spaghetti Monster wishes you all a Happy Holiday!

My sister’s boyfriend, Jeff, made this for me. Apparently they came up with this idea a year ago and have been giddy with excitement about making it for me ever since. So. Friggin. Cool.

gingerbreadboxes Merry Christmas, gentle blog readers.

I hope Santa brings y’all something awesome for Christmas.

{December 22, 2007}   Peanuts

So, it appears that my blog will now be an aunty blog1, at least until I head to Ottawa on the 26th. I can’t help it though – my niece is just so damn cute! I’ll try to throw in the occasional cougar reference, lustful thoughts about the Canucks or snarky comment about David Emerson that “Not to Be Trusted with Knives” readers have come to expect2, so as not to lose my readership completely as I oooh and ahhh over my niece’s brilliance.

IMG_3087Today, we baked cookies. In our pyjamas3. These are to be the “best cookies that I ate in the whole world.” I think the secret is that my niece was rolling the dough “back and forest.” Right now the cookies are cooling and my niece is napping, hence the opportunity to do the blogging, although I should be cleaning up the kitchen, which is a right disaster. There was also a pre-baking song and dance – the song went something like “I can do it all by myself! But sometimes it’s OK to ask your parents for help if you need help because sometimes you are too tiny and you can’t do it but it’s OK because you can ask for help to get some milk and you can feed your pets if you have pets at home I have two IMG_3082cats at my home and they are named Pakita and Monkey and I can feed them but sometimes it’s OK to ask for help from your parents.” And the song must be sung while shaking maracas, must be sung completely out of tune and must continue on until Aunt Beth nearly collapses from exhaustion with all the dancing around the kitchen. I have no idea where the hell kids get that kind of energy!

But the really funny thing she said4, I wasn’t actually there to hear. She went up to my sister last night and said, “Girls have vaginas. Boys have peanuts.”

1Not unlike “mommy” bloggers, just with less responsibility.
2I’m on vacation so, much to the disappointment of my email subscribing friend, I won’t be talking about thigh highs.
3My pyjamas are hospital scrubs. They are very comfy.
4Are you totally sick of this yet? Is anyone still reading?

{December 21, 2007}   I Have A Lot of Cake in My Life

Did I ever mention that my niece is the most brilliant, most adorable child ever to walk the face of the Earth?

Last night she told me a story. “Once up on a time there was a little girl named Aunt Beth and she had blue eyes and a black and silver shiny necklace. And she had a zipper that went up and hid her necklace and then down and you could see her necklace.” Then the up and down of the zipper part of the story repeated for about a half an hour. I think this may have been related to her desire to avoid bedtime.

She also told me about the three birthday cakes she had this year: a flower one at her party with her dad, a Scooby Doo one when they went to visit my aunts & uncles in Montreal and a horse one at her party with her mom. “On my next birthday, I want a cow cake. And the next one, I want a sheep cake. And the next one I want a moose cake. And the next one, I want a snowman cake. [thougthful pause] I have a lot of cake in my life.”

Staying at my sister’s new place, my bed is a futon mattress on the floor of my niece’s room. My sister said to her, “When you get up in the morning, be careful not to step on Aunt Beth.” “I won’t step on Aunt Beth’s bones,” she says, “It’s not nice to step on people’s bones.”

When my niece finally went to bed, she wanted everyone else to go to bed too. We told her we wished that we could be so lucky as to go to bed, but we had to stay up and do laundry. Oh poor us! We may have neglected to mention that doing laundry involves about 30 seconds of work and 3 hours of Guitar Hero1.

1I have never played Guitar Hero before and I must say that I suck pretty bad. It took me about 27 attempts to get past the first song2. My sister, on the other hand, kicked Slash’s ass in a battle. Rock on, Fussness Business3.
2I did, however, rock at “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
3“Fussness Business” being the name of my sister’s band in Guitar Hero. My band is named “Rogue Scientist.”

{December 19, 2007}   Double Think

I have been telling myself for weeks that I have a good 5 hour flight to Toronto during which to start planning my course (the one that starts in January). I have also been telling myself that the reason I like to take the red eye flight is that I can sleep on the plane and thus don’t feel like I’ve lost a whole day due to traveling1. It only occurred for me yesterday evening as I was packing for my 11:50 p.m. flight that I can’t do both of these things.

So, which of these did I end up doing on the flight? Neither. I spent most of the time chatting with the very friendly and very entertaining girl who was sitting next to me2. A girl who just so happened to have seen this picture of me from last year’s Northern Voice conference the just other day. Small freaking world.

1It’s about a 4.5 hr flight, plus a 3 hour time difference.
2Although I did sleep for about an hour, as we started to watch the in-flight movie3, which seemed entertaining, but apparently not enough to keep me awake at 2 a.m.

{December 18, 2007}   Why Do I Find This Hard to Believe?

Just received this message in my Facebook inbox:

Attention all Facebook membeRs.

Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated,There have been many
members complaining that Facebookis becoming very slow.Record shows that the
reason isthat there are too many non-active Facebook membersAnd on the other
side too many new Facebook members.We will be sending this messages around to
see if theMembers are active or not,If you’re active please sendto other users
using Copy+Paste to show that you are activeThose who do not send this message
within 2 weeks,The user will be deleted without hesitation to create more
space,If Facebook is still overpopulated we kindly ask for donations but until
then send this message to all your friends and make sure you sendthis message to
show me that your active and not deleted.

Founder of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg

  • Call me crazy, but don’t we all know that Facebook tracks everything you do and has a wealth of information on our every move? Why would they need me to send an email and then have to check every email to see if this specific one had been sent to see if my account is “active”? Don’t they already know that I’ve posted on your wall, bit your zombie and Scrabbled your Scrabulous?
  • And isn’t Facebook keeping every piece of data ever entered for some nefarious, but as of yet unspecified, reason? Why would they make me sign over the rights to my every status update, book preference, top friend, picture and first born child only to then want to delete it?
  • Isn’t the whole point of Facebook to have as many people on it as possible? Why would they want to delete people? More people on Facebook = more ad revenue, no?
  • Speaking of revenue, you really expect us to believe that Facebook wants donations?
  • And what gives with the weird capitalizations and punctuation errors?

OK, clearly, I have way too much time on my hands today. It’s not like I’m leaving on a jet plane tonight and haven’t packed, wrapped my presents or planned the course I have to start teaching in January.1

1I had a nightmare on Sunday about this. I was in my classroom for my first lecture and I hadn’t prepared and I had NO idea what I was supposed to be teaching. Perhaps I sign that I should learn the stuff I’m supposed to be teaching, eh?

For every person that views this e-card:, BC Hydro is donating (up to $5,000) to BC Children’s Hospital. It’s a pretty cool little e-card – check it out and it will be the easiest donation you make this holiday season!

{December 14, 2007}   The Great Convexity 2.0

A while ago, based on a suggestion from JB, I dubbed my work computer The Great Convexity. Two days ago, I.T. peeps came to my office and took away the Great Convexity, leaving me with a younger, sexier model. At first, T.G.C.2.0 seemed great. Bigger monitor that like swivels and goes up and down. Optical mouse. Keyboard that isn’t full of crumbs. But then I discovered that:

  • I can no longer set my own picture as my desktop background. I used to have this photo as my desktop; now I can only use some lame Microsoft background images1.
  • My entire email archive appears to have been wiped out.
  • My new computer sounds like it has a colony of hissing wolf spiders in it.

On the plus side, I just used a program for uploading some files to my website and discovered that I appear now to have Java. Welcome me to the 21st Century2.

1After I wrote that line, but before I published this posting, I was bitching about this photo isue to the admin assistant and she told me that we can get around this by using an online pic. For some reason, I can’t right-click and “Set image as background” with an image I have on my computer, but I can do that with a photo that’s online. And fortunately, this photo is online! Problem solved! But the point is that I shouldn’t *have* to do that!
2.The down side of this is that Scrabulous might work on my work computer now. I’ve avoided checking because I refuse to play Scrabble on my computer at work. Refuse!

{December 13, 2007}   Not to Be Trusted to Click a Link

Apparently not everyone cares to hear about my thigh highs. Today I received this lovely message over email:


Below this message was my latest blog posting, followed by this:
You are subscribed to email updates from Not To Be Trusted With Knives
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now. Email Delivery powered by FeedBurner
Inbox too full? (feed) Subscribe to the feed version of Not To Be Trusted With Knives in a feed reader. If you prefer to unsubscribe via postal mail, write to: Not To Be Trusted With Knives, c/o FeedBurner, 20 W Kinzie, 9th Floor, Chicago IL USA 60610

Perhaps if this individual took the time to READ instead of yelling and swearing at me, they would notice the lines saying “You are subscribed to email updates” and “To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.” I can see how it would be difficult to notice the link saying “unsubscribe now,” seeing as it is underlined and in bright blue. Hell, there’s even instructions on how to unsubscribe via snail mail, if you prefer.

Not having much faith in this person’s ability to understand this very complicated procedure, rather than reply I’ve clicked the link to unsubscribe them. But they are now going to seriously miss out on some killer nylon stories.

{December 12, 2007}   Thigh Highs

Remember last year when I bitched about nylons, specifically the fact that they are way too big for lil’ ole’ 5 ft tall me? Sarah provided me with some size “A” nylons (which apparently you have to be a Costco member to buy), which were an improvement over the size “B” ones I am forced to buy at any store to which I have access. But they were still a wee bit too big. So I’ve come up with a new and improved solution.

Thigh highs.

The nice things about thigh highs are:

  • although, due to my shortness, they are still too long for me, that just means that they come up higher on my thigh than the sort of mid-thigh location that they appear to come up to on the model’s thigh in the picture on the packaging. Which is much better than full nylons, where the nylons totally bunch up at the top.
  • when I put a hole through a thigh high, I only have to throw out one leg (as opposed to regular nylons, where a hole in one leg means you need to throw out a whole pair).
  • they are damn sexy

That is all I have to report.

et cetera