Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{April 30, 2008}   Tweet 800

Yesterday I hit my 800th Tweet. In commemoration of this momentous occasion, and because I am putting all my mad writing skillz into writing this big ole report from my recent work in Yellowknife and thus have none left for blogging so I decided to steal my previous writing from Twitterland, and besides, everyone loves a list, don’t they?, I give you a list of my favourite Tweets:

  • Nutrition pop quiz: What would be worse for me to get for a lunch: a Tim Horton’s cheese scone or a Häagen Daaz ice cream bar?
  • Had a meeting this morning, followed by a post-meeting debrief meeting. Now, to change things up a bit, I’m going to go run a meeting.
  • Rest in peace, green pen I was using to mark exams. You will be missed.
  • Just knocked half a cup of coffee onto the floor, on top of a pile of papers. Awesome.
  • Summarizing a 500 page Senate report. You know you are jealous.
  • Parts of me that hurt: groin injury, neck, left triceps.
  • My amount-of-work-to-do to motivation-to-do-work ratio is waaay out of whack.
  • Flickr search for photos to use in my nutrition lecture reveals a surprising number of cats are named “Scurvy”
  • Best line from the meeting I was at tonight: If there’s one thing that this group needs to do, it’s… something.
  • @touchyoulast When is the movie marathon? What movies are you watching? Crimetime? Crimetime? Have you thought about watching Crimetime?
  • Not enough hours in the day. And my thigh highs are being less than cooperative.
  • I dropped my earring in my coffee this morning. And my very first thought was “I need to Twitter this.”
  • The Canucks *finally* listened to my advice to use a Sedin in the shootout. And by “advice,” I mean “yelling at the radio.”
  • Drowning Canuck-related sorrows with chocolate chip cookie dough.
  • Feeling pressure to Twitter something now that I’ve joined. I have Twitter block!

In an attempt to prove that I’m only partially, and not completed, ego-centric, here are the three Tweets written by other people that I’ve favourited:

  • touchyoulast Currently taking care of business. Every day, every way, it’s all mine, and working overtime. Also: work out.
  • todmaffin BREAKING: Parliament recommends funding increase for CBC. In related news, pigs have been reported flying and a cold snap in hell begins.
  • audihertz Aww… Adam Foote hurt his arme

Also, I just wanted to show y’all that I have 69 followers. Tee hee… 69.


I just received an email about a new service from, “the magazine for life science professionals”:

And finding the world is a crowded petri dish?

It’s not always easy to find that certain person for a great symbiotic relationship. Enter Science Connection. The Scientist has partnered with Science Connection to offer our single readers of an intellectual bent a unique and open meeting place.

Join Science Connection today and meet other scientific professionals like you in a safe and specialized environment.

– Find a friend to meet at a scientific conference
– Meet a pen pal with similar interests
– Create a meaningful relationship…true love has been found in stranger places!


Apparently there are plenty of microbes in the petri dish and maybe, just maybe, one of those could be your soulmate!

50 points to the first scientist who finds a date on this site and then comments on my blog to tell us about it.  You know you want to.

At last! Someone has combined two of my biggest pet peeves – pointless, annoying Facebook apps and ridiculous spelling errors!

All they needed to do was make this “Is spiders and the Calgary Flames really ment to be yours?” and it would be perfect.

Name and profile pic have been blurred to protect the annoying.

</Monday morning bitching>

Also, my apologies for not posting this week’s installment of my prime ministerial series, which I know you are all dying to read, yesterday. I blame (a) too much exam marking this weekend, and (b) my first hockey game of the spring season¹. I’ll try to get it up posted tonight, although I have a nerd meeting to go to, so we’ll see.

¹The game, which was an exhibition game, ended tied 2-2.

In case you were wondering, I haven’t actually dropped off the face of the earth. The lack of blogging around here has been due to me spending the last several days marking exams. But I am finally, finally, finally done with the marking! Rejoice!

And now that all the students, some of whom apparently read this blog occasionally, have written the exam, I would like to share with you one of my exam questions:

Estimate the daily total energy expenditure of a 38 year old, 220 lb, 6’4” Vancouver Canucks centreman during the hockey season

25 points to the first person who can tell me who the player in that question is!

… as described via Tweets on a night that the Calgary Flames play the San Jose Sharks in a winner-take-all Game 7:

8:01 p.m.: The world’s largest flying insect is in my kitchen and it’s freaking me out!!!! HELP!!!

8:03 p.m.: Seriously, I can’t get to my tea ‘cuz the bug is over there

8:23 p.m.: Please San Jose, please win! If this giant bug kills me, I don’t want to die knowing the Flames made it to the next round of the playoffs.

8:30 p.m.: Techniques used for defending self against giant flying bug: swiping at it with hockey stick; throwing exams at it.

8:49 p.m.: Crisis averted. The monster has been captured & released outside my apartment. Please resume your regularly scheduled Calgary Flame hating

And in case you don’t believe it was huge, I took a picture. It was a monster!

{April 23, 2008}   *The* Skirt

The pictures don’t really do it justice, but here is *the* skirt:

The tale of this skirt is one of intrigue and mystery. OK, not really, but it is a tale of social networking, nerdy geeky goodness. And it goes like this:

My freakin cool and totally hot friend Jen sends an email to a bunch of her friends saying she has some clothes she wants to sell –> I buy a skirt –> I Twitter about wearing my new skirt –>@jenmae Twitters:are there pics of this new skirt you can share with us? –> I reply-Twitter: “I will take a picture and it will be blogged!”

Then I start getting Twitter-compliments on my skirt from people who haven’t even seen my skirt!

–> I post pictures of the skirt to Flickr –> blog the skirt [i.e., this posting] –> this blog posting will automatically imported into Facebook & a Tweet will go out about it –> there will (hopefully) be comments about my skirt here, and possibly in Facebook.

Probably far more attention than a skirt should get, really.

And before you ask, yes, I am wearing thigh highs in that picture.

{April 22, 2008}   Happy Earth Day… sort of

I went to Starbucks at lunchtime for a wee bit o’caffeine to get me through the afternoon and when I handed over my travel mug and asked for an Americano, the dude¹ said, “But it’s Earth Day. You get a free drip coffee.” My response, “But… [long pause]… I don’t like your coffee.” The long pause was because I was trying to decide if it would be too offensive to say “Your coffee tastes like you burnt the coffee beans in the seventh level of Hell for a few millennia before you brewed the coffee. I would rather eat poison than drink your coffee.” And so I got, and paid for, an Americano in my travel mug.

Anyway. If you like the taste of burning, go to Starbucks with a travel mug today and you’ll (probably) get a free coffee. A free coffee that you’ll sweeten with tiny packets of sugar or sweetener (since they don’t have a bowl of sugar) and then stir with a disposable wooden stir stick (since they don’t have reusable spoons for stirring) throwing out the packets and stir stick into a plastic garbage bag.

Also, for every Starbucks card you buy today, they’ll donate 5 cents to some eco-charity. Every plastic Starbucks card.

I mean, I’m totally down with raising awareness and having people use travel mugs and such, but I think, for the most part, “green” and “earth” are just marketing buzz words to many people.

¹I can’t bear to call them “baristas.” I’ve only just recently been able to order by saying “tall/grande/venti” instead of the proper words: “small/medium/large.”

{April 21, 2008}   Can’t blog. Marking.

It’s exam time, which means I’m now faced with a giant pile of exams to mark. *sigh* And they don’t seem to be marking themselves, so I’m resigned to the fact that I will, in fact, need to mark them myself. *double sigh*.

And, because I have this crazy idea that university should be about learning how to think critically, how to analyze and synthesize and evaluate using information rather than how to regurgitate random, out-of-contexts facts, I won’t give fill-in-the-blank or multiple-choice or matching questions, which are, of course, waaaaay easier to mark. So marking 94 exams is quite a project. Now, I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much, as at least I’m being paid to do this, whereas the students have to pay to take the course and write the exam!

But I still don’t like marking. I don’t like it in a house. I don’t like it with a mouse. I don’t like it in a boat. I don’t like it with a goat.

I B in ur internets, writin’ abt ur Prime Ministrs.


Name William Lyon Mackenzie King
Born: December 17, 1874 in Berlin (now Kingston), ON
Died: July 22, 1950
Party: Liberal
Held Office: December 29, 1921 – June 28, 1926September 25, 1926 – August 6, 1930

October 23, 1935 – November 15, 1948

Best known for: -With more than 21 years as P.M., he was not only the longest serving Canadian Prime Minister, but the longest serving Prime Minister in the history of the British Commonwealth!-He led Canada through WWII.

-He was big into exerting Canadian autonomy – arguing for greater autonomy at the Imperial Conference of 1926, deciding that Parliament would vote before Canada went to war, and creating the idea of Canadian citizens (as opposed to British subjects) with the Citizenship Act of 1946.

-He held seances to talk to, among other people, his dead mother. Oh yeah, and his dead dogs.

-He’s on the $50 bill.

Some Things I Didn’t Know About This P.M. -Mackenize was one of his given names, not part of his last name (although it was his mother’s maiden name, so you can see where the confusion comes from)-his little brother’s name was Dougal MacDougall King. Who the hell names their kid Dougall MacDougall?

-he won the first ever Liberal Leadership Convention, which was held in 1919. All the Liberal Party leaders before that were chosen by the party caucus.

-he was never married and had no children… that he knows about.

-he led the first ever minority government in Canadian history.

-he introduced old age pensions

-in 1930, he appointed the first ever female senator, Cairine Wilson, in Canadian history

-he created the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1936 and the National Film Board (NFB) in 1938 (yay CBC & NFB!). He also created the precursor to Air Canada (called Trans-Canadian Airlines) in 1937. I’m pretty sure it’s not actually his fault that Air Canada sucks so bad.

-he expanded the National Research Council, mostly with nuclear research

-4 jackass things that Mackenzie King did:

  1. Investigating narcotics in Vancouver after riots in Vancouver’s Chinatown & Japantown led to claims for damages by opium manufacturers, King freaked out that white women, not just Chinese men, were using opium. He then started a process that led to the first anti-narcotic legislation in Canada. Now, I’m not saying that I think narcotics should be legal, but rather I’m calling Mackenzie King a jackass for this racist behaviour.
  2. Speaking of racists, he said this about Adolf Friggin Hilter “I believe the world will yet come to see a very great man – mystic in Hitler […] His dictatorship is a means to and end – much needed perhaps to make the Germans conscious of themselves – much I cannot abide in Nazism – the regimentation – cruelty – oppression of Jews – attitude towards religion, etc., but Hitler him, the peasant will rank some day with Joan of Arc among the deliverers of his people, & if he is careful may yet be the deliverer of Europe.”(right from his journal, March 27, 1938, p. 4). Awesome.
  3. The limitation of immigration of Jewish people trying to escape the Holocaust under his government. It was consistent with other governments of the day, but that doesn’t make it right.
  4. His government interned Japanese-Canadians on the west coast, giving Japanese-Canadians 24 hrs to pack and get out and then sold all their property & possessions.

You can read William Lyon Mackenzie King’s diaries online! God, I hope my journal never ends up online1.
If you are just dying to read more about W.L.M.K. written by people who have read his diaries, then check these out:

I like top hats.

And if you think that reading is for suckers, you can watch this.

Image credits: From from the Library and Archives Canada, copyright is expired.

1Yeah, I keep a journal, where I write all the juicy stuff that I don’t want y’all on the internets to read about!

I saw this news story on CNN the other day – a man was arrested in Las Vegas the other day in possession of the biological agent ricin. The news articles didn’t say any reason why this dude was making ricin, or what he planned to do with it.


You totally have to check out these videos.  They are both of Hans Rosling, a Swedish professor and global health expert.  Not only does he present very compelling statistics (yes, statistics can be compelling!), but he show them off using super cool software that really lets you visualize and engage with the data.  As a visual learner, this kind of thing is right up my alley.  Oh yes, and he’s freaking hilarious.  Plus, you won’t believe what he does at the end of the second video!

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod

And this is his 2007 TED talk:

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod

After watching Hans, you’ll believe that the “seemingly impossible IS possible”!

{April 18, 2008}   P.S.

Also, while playing Scrabulous, you can chat with your opponents. As seen in this screenshot, where I trash talk this brother-sister pair that I was playing against:

{April 18, 2008}   Scrabulousishness

I’ve mentioned before that I ❤ Scrabulous¹. I have also mentioned that I have the sense of humour of a 12-year-old boy. This posting is a marriage of those two facts.

The goal of Scrabble, of which Scrabulous is an unofficial² rip-off, is to score more points than your opponents. You can do this by using high scoring letters, forming more than one word at a time so as to double count letters, and placing your letters on double- & triple-letter and -word scores. At least, this is how most people play Scrabble. But I think that there should be some value placed on playing good words. Where good words = dirty words, swear words and basically any words that would make my mother blush. This is why I will forgo playing a triple-word score with the letters J, X, Q and Z³ in it if I could instead play the word “slut.”

In fact, I’ve been so enamoured of my good word plays in Scrabulous, that I’ve kept screen shots of them to share with you, gentle blog reader. Aren’t you glad I’m always thinking of you?

This is an example of me playing a word for a high point value, in the traditional method of scoring Scrabble:

I played “quiet” and I scored 57 points. But, while it was only worth 13 measley points in traditional Scrabble scoring, I couldn’t resist playing “oral”:

or the related terms “lick” and


You’ll notice, though, that I scored 7 more points for “lick” than for “oral,” and more than double for “suck” compared to what I scored for “oral.” So, who knows what’s up with that?

And, sure, they aren’t worth may points, but can one really be expected to resist playing “porn,” “whore,” and “horny”?

Or “lube”?

Lube is important you know! And if you are playing “lube,” you really also need to be playing “men”:

I also liked how this one said that I “played his”:

…especially if you put that right before these two:

Of course, sometimes you just want to play a word because it’s your name, and you are an ego maniac:

And that’s OK, too.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it’s important to reiterate that I have a personal goal of seeing how much I can score for “sex.” I play “sex” and get a score, and then I try to beat that record. Like, here I only score 10 points for “sex,” which is actually the minimum you can get for “sex.”

But another time I played “sex” for 24 points:

And yet another time, it was 30 points.

I must have played “sex” really good to score 30 points.

Sometimes you can play a good word AND score a lot of traditional Scrabble points, as in the case of playing “queer”:

and “queered”:

But other times you don’t get so lucky, and you don’t have all the letters you need to complete the word:

But other times you get all the letters you need to play a really awesome word:

Of course, playing that might make you think that I’m

or on

Or possibly just plain

But I don’t care what you think. It’s my blog and I’ll play “cunt” if I want to.

I think my favourite play of all is this one:

When I’m the one who played a word, it will say “You played…”, but when it’s my opponent, it will say “Last move was…” And there’s just something hilarious about Scrabulous telling you “Last move was ANAL by Ian.”

And that’s all I really have to say about that.

¹This may have even been mentioned in the newspaper this week.
²Doesn’t “unofficial” have a much nicer ring to it than “illegal”? Although I guess when you tag “rip-off” after it, it loses some of its luster.
³For the Scrabble-uninitiated, these letters are worth 8, 8, 10 and 10 points, respectively.

{April 17, 2008}   D’oh!

I get into the office this morning at 8:30 a.m. Turn on my computer. Open my Outlook¹ and a message pops up, reminding me that I registration for the workshop I was supposed to be at started half an hour ago. A workshop downtown. And I, as you’ll recall from 3 sentences ago, am in my office. Which is not downtown.


Fortunately, I was able to get a cab to come to get me and whisk me downtown pretty quickly, so I only missed the first few minutes of the first session, but boy did I feel stupid! Why hadn’t I put that workshop in my Palm Pilot calendar? Or set the Outlook reminder to remind me yesterday before I went home, instead of for this morning?

¹Yes, I use an evil Microsoft product. Not by choice.

I was talking to my dad on the phone yesterday. First, he lamented that neither his nor my NHL hockey team made the playoffs this year and then he proceeded to tell me a joke. I asked him where he heard said joke and he replied, “On the comedy section of the ‘net.”

“Wait, where did you hear that joke?” I said, confused.

“You know, the comedy section of the ‘net.”

That’s right, the “comedy section of the ‘net.”


et cetera