Not To Be Trusted With Knives











I meant to mention this yesterday, but totally forgot what with the sleepiness and all: I didn’t forget to write about the next Prime Minister in my Sunday series on Prime Ministers. Rather, I chose to take the quasi-long weekend holiday off from the series. Sure, Canada Day is Tuesday (tomorrow), so it’s not a real holiday weekend, but I’m pretty sure no one actually went to work today because who wants to work on Monday when Tuesday is a holiday? And the next Prime Minister in my series is Brian Mulroney and I just couldn’t bear to write about him on Canada Day weekend.

In completely unrelated news, a squirrel fell out of a giant tree in my sister’s backyard today. They have this mullberry tree that is constantly dropping berries, so we are used to hearing (or getting hit by) falling berries when we are out there, but something massive (massive relative to the size of a mullberry anyway) fell with a giant thud. And for some reason, my initial reaction was “oh my god, a coconut just fell out of that tree!” Because apparently I think I’m in Hawaii. But the squirrel got up and scurried away; coconuts, not so much with the scurrying.

And, in even more unrelated news, Almost Dr. Dan came up from Guelph to join us for dinner and we went to this vegetarian Indian buffet and I ate so much that I think I’m going to barf. So. Freaking. Good.

So, in conclusion, the Prime Ministerial series will resume next Sunday with an entry on Brian Mulroney; I ate so much Indian food I want to barf; and hallelujah it’s raining squirrels!



{June 29, 2008}   I am sleepy

Now, I like to run, but I’m not used to running *everywhere*. And when you hang out with a three-year-old, it’s all about the running. And the jumping. And spinning spinning spinning. And if the three-year-old is running, you best believe that you are running too. If the three-year-old is jumping, then so too shall you jump. And if the three-year-old wants to spin… well, you will be spinning until you fall down. Or maybe it’s just me and I’m a complete sucker and will do anything a three-year-old tells me. Including – if you can believe this – looking at a spider. A SPIDER! “Hey Aunt Beth, come look at this spider!” And I did!

But who can blame me? I mean, look at how cute this kid is:

And now I will go to bed. Because I’m sure I will have a full day of running, jumping, and spinning in circles ahead of me tomorrow.



{June 28, 2008}  

I now forgive Stephen Colbert for what he did to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song.  Because this video was made as part of his “Project Make McCain Exciting“:



{June 27, 2008}   Blogger’s Block

Conversation earlier tonight:

My sister:  I’m tired.

Me:            Me too.  But I need to blog something.

My sister:  What are you going to blog about?

Me:            I don’t know.

My sister:  You could blog about how awesome our backyard is.
               Or how about the delicious Thai dinner we had tonight.
               What are you going to blog about?
               You could blog about how you don’t like veggie food items that pretend to be meat.
               Hey, how about how peaceful our backyard is?

I can’t blog under this kind of pressure!

Oh wait, but I do have to tell you about my niece, who I may not have mentioned is the coolest kid ever.  Last night I went out for dinner with my friend Jen in the Po Cred and by the time I got back to my sister’s place, everyone was already asleep.  Including my niece, who was asleep in my bed.  Apparently she had declared “I’m sleeping in Aunt Beth’s bed tonight” and, because it’s too hot to wear pajamas, “I just want to sleep with my body on.” She cracks me up.

I woke up in the morning and she was staring right at me, about an inch from my face.  “Good morning Aunt Beth!  I slept in your bed!”  Too. Freaking. Cute!



{June 26, 2008}   A Blog Post in Pictures

Had a burning desire to write a blog post on the plane on my way to Toronto, but there were no electrical outlets in which to plug my laptop. And my laptop battery sucks. Hence, I give you this:

Props to my sister’s bf, Jeff, for (a) lending me his camera to take those pictures and (b) fixing my damn computer and it’s messed up DNS so that I could actually get on to the internets to post this.

Now I will get back to my regularly scheduled lounging in the backyard.



{June 25, 2008}   Summer

And speaking of grad school, when you are a grad student, you don’t really get vacation.  Sure, you might not run experiments over Christmas holidays and you get to go to the occasional conference, but you are still working.  Or, if you are goofing off, no one’s paying you to do so.  But along with my big girl job comes such things as benefits, like vacation days.  Here’s how I’m planning on spending some of those days off:

Well, I’m not actually taking vacay days for the August stuff (I don’t work Fridays, so I’m doing my lasers in my eyes on a Friday and am supposed to be fine to be back at work on the Monday.  But it still looks to be quite an eventful summer!



{June 24, 2008}   Comps

Comprehensive exams: com·pre·hen·sive ex·ams

n. an especially cruel form of torture to which Ph.D. students are subjected
—Synonyms 1. comps  2. hell

Props to Erika for passing her comps yesterday!



{June 23, 2008}   A Weekend In Pictures

It’s late Monday night and I’m only just now getting around to blogging my weekend… where does the time go? As you know, Friday morning I did the Grind and you don’t know, Friday night I stayed home and did a whole lot of nothing. Honestly, I can’t remember what I did on Friday night. I intentionally stayed home with plans to clean my apartment because (a) I’m going on holiday on Wednesday and I hate coming home to a messy apartment, (b) I figure when you’ve been saying “I can’t even remember the last time I vacuumed” for so long that you don’t remember when you started saying it, that’s a sign it’s really been too long since you vacuumed and (c) sentient lifeforms had started to evolve in my shower. But my mad procrastination skillz took over and I didn’t actually do any cleaning. I know I must have done something, but I really can’t remember what. I’m sure it had something to do with the internets.

Saturday I went to the bank to deal with my big girl investments, which I get to have because I have a big girl job. And then I actually did, in fact, clean. I cleaned the counters in the bathroom & the kitchen. I folded laundry, which had heretofore been sitting in various laundry basket, unfolded, since I did laundry 1, 2 or 3 weeks ago1. I scrubbed the shower. I vacuumed ever inch of carpet. And I swept and mopped the kitchen floor. I knew that you probably wouldn’t believe any of this, so I now provide you with some photographic evidence:

In celebration of my newly cleaned apartment, I went with Rachel & some of her friends to Republic. Republic is a fairly new club on Granville – if memory serves, it just opened up last summer – one that I hadn’t checked out until this weekend. And my assessment of Republic is this: not worth the $18 cover. That’s right, $18 cover. As in 1-8. The club itself was fine – the music was good, if a bit monotonous2 – but the place was a bit small and there were probably 5 girls to ever guy in the place3. And here be the photographic evidence of the night (although I have no idea what Rachel and I are looking at):

Despite being up until the wee hours of the morning, I managed to get myself out of bed and out the door in time to meet Kalev for brunch. And then we decided to check out Greek Day, for which a chunk of West Broadway is closed down to celebrate all things Greek, including, um, cotton candy, bubbles, people on stilts and, um, light sabres?

So, ya, not much really going on for Greek Day. But all was not lost, as we went to see a matinee of Kung Fu Panda. Yay Panda!

Sunday night brought hockey in the form of a hard fought battle against the Rebels, which we lost 4-2. But really 4-3 because we scored this one goal that totally went in but the ref didn’t keep up with play, so didn’t see that it went in and bounced out. Not that we’re bitter or anything.

And then today was a busy day of work, trying to get a bunch of stuff done before I leave for holidays. Did I mention that I get to see my niece, the greatest child ever to grace the earth with her presence?4. And now there’s just one last work day before my trip where I (did I mention?) get to see my niece.  Things I’m looking forward to: actual summer weather, delicious Indian buffet, seeing as many friends as possible in a very short period of time, lunches in the park, going to a pool with a really big slide.  You know you are jealous.

1Um, ya, I do laundry, take it out of the dryer and dump it into a laundry basket, never get around to folding it and just pick through the basketful of clean laundry to find clothes to wear. And then the next week I just dump the newly cleaned clothes on top of whatever as-of-yet unworn clothes were still in said basket. And repeat.
2Somehow they managed to make Sean Kingston, Michael Jackson, Brittany Spears and Bon Jovi all sound exactly the same
3So guys, if you are wondering where all the women are – apparently the answer is Republic on a Saturday night.
4Expect to see copious use of the “aunty blogging” tag here for the next week, btw.



Despite the fact that I was actually alive when he was Prime Minister, I don’t know much about John Turner. This is probably explained by the fact that he was the P.M. for 2.5 months when I was 7 years old.a152412.jpg

Name John Napier Wyndham Turner
Born: June 7, 1929 in Richmond, Surrey, England
Died: hasn’t
Party: Liberal
Held Office: June 30, 1984 – September 17, 1984
Best known for: -having the second shortest tenure as a P.M. (after Charles Tupper). In fact, he called an election just 4 days after being sworn into office. The party was decimated in the election, with the Liberal only winning 40 seats (their lowest number ever). In that election, Turner won the seat in Vancouver Quadra (which is *my* riding, btw) and became the leader of the (very small) opposition.-he ran for the Liberal party leadership in 1968 and said, “My time is now,” and that he was “not here for some vague, future convention in say, 1984.” Trudeau won the 1968 leadership convention handily and guess what year it was when the next leadership convention, which Turner won, was held?
Some Things I Didn’t Know About This P.M. -one of his middle names is “Napier,” making him “John Napier” and, as we all1 know, John Napier invented logarithms. John Turner, however, did not invent logarithms.-his wife, Geills McCrae Kilgour is the great-niece of John McCrae, who wrote In Flanders Fields

-in 1965 he rescued former P.M. Diefenbaker who was struggling with the undertow will swimming in Barbados

-he is in the UBC Sports Hall of Fame, having been one of the three fastest men in Canada between 1947-1949


If you are just dying to read more about J.T., check out:

  • a152415.jpg

Image credits:(First photo: Robert Cooper/Library and Archives Canada/PA-152412; second photo: Robert Cooper/Library and Archives Canada/PA-152415; both photos: Restrictions on use: Nil; Copyright: Robert Cooper.

1Where “all” = me & Sarah



See Gay Zombie.

Props to Kalev for passing this along!



{June 21, 2008}   The Grouse Grind…. again.

Yesterday marked my first Grouse Grind of the year! The trail didn’t open for the season until quite recently due to the super heavy snowfall we had this past winter – they don’t open the trail until enough of the snow is gone. And apparently there was too much snow until June. Craziness.

Also craziness is the idea of climbing 2800 ft… for FUN! But that is, in fact, what Kim and I decided to do with our Friday morning.

First up, taking the requisite pictures at the start of the trail:

And then we climbed for 1.5 hrs and then took this photo.

The End.



{June 20, 2008}   Global Metal Review

So Raul invited me to join him and some others to attend a movie premiere last night. Well, I believe he actually “informed” me that I would be attending rather than “inviting” exactly, but that’s neither here nor there. The movie was a Canadian documentary called Global Metal and it was being shown as part of the First Weekend’s Club‘s Canada Screens series.

You can read much more insightful and professional reviews on Raul’s & Rebecca‘s blogs. Here on NTBTWK, we eschew thorough coverage and professionalism for quick tidbits and using the word eschew as many times as possible.

The Movie:

  • metalhead and anthropologist Sam Dunn checks out how heavy metal differs – and ways in which it doesn’t – in countries as diverse as Brazil, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, and United Arab Emirates1
  • contains one of the most brilliant cuts I’ve seen on film. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I’ll give you the teaser that it involves Lars Ulrich
  • you should go see it. Go see it now!

The Venue:

  • District 319 located at, not surprisingly, 319 Main St. is a pretty cool little theatre, where the seats are all armchairs
  • you should go there. Go there now!2

After the movie, we went to the Alibi Room:

Andy, me, Rebecca (a.k.a. Miss604), Raul & Trevor.
Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

And, in honour of Global Metal, Rebecca and I show our best devil hours:


Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

1At the concert in UAE, he talked to metalheads from a number of countries, including some Iranian people that he arranged to meet in Dubai, as he wasn’t allowed to enter Iran.
2Well, maybe not right now. But the first chance you get to see something there, I highly recommend it.



{June 19, 2008}   Support a little scientist!

Planning any travel in the near future?  If you are and if you book through Travelocity, I encourage you to use this link:

http://www.gvrsf.ca/travelocity.html

A portion of the commission of anything booked through that link will go to support the Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair.  I’ve judged at the GVRSF for several years and it really is a fantastic experience for both the students who get to show off their amazing science projects and meet with scientists and get inspired to go on in the sciences, and for the judges/scientists who get to meet these amazing, inspirational, enthusiastic kids!



{June 18, 2008}   Booked it!

It’s official! I will be have laser beams in my eyes on August 15th.

I was given a set of instructions. You have to arrive an hour before the surgery for them to get you all ready. Wear a button down shirt so you don’t have to pull the shirt off over your head that night. You have to wear those giant sunglasses for a day after surgery, including to bed, both because you will be extra sensitive to light and to make sure you don’t rub your eyes, even in your sleep. I tend to rub my eyes a fair bit, so I’m trying to get in the habit of not rubbing my eyes in preparation.

Probably the most difficult thing will be that I can’t wear my contacts for a week before the surgery. I *always* wear my contacts. I hate wearing glasses. This is due to a combination of my vanity1 and the fact that my glasses are almost a decade old. The thing is, with my ridiculously strong prescription, my glasses end up costing $500-$600. And where the hell was a starving student supposed to come up with that kind of dough? I could barely scrape together $100 every second year to buy a pair of contacts2. The glasses that I currently wear were purchased when I was doing my Masters at the University of Guelph, because the student health plan there covered them. That was back in 1999-2000. In the intervening years, my ‘script has changed, the glasses have been banged up, scratched up, stepped on, and so forth. Basically, I can barely see with them on. So that should be an interesting week, to see if I can function without my contacts.

Other instructions tell you that you need to:

  • “shampoo your hair and wash face and eyelids” on the morning of surgery. Do people really need to be told to wash their face? I mean, we’ve been over the whole “do you wash your hair every day” thing here recently, but shouldn’t washing your face just be a given?
  • “keep your eyes closed for the rest of the day after surgery.” Sounds like I’ll be listening to lots of podcasts that day!
  • have a “responsible adult” escort you home from surgery and back to the clinic the next day for a post-op check up. Man, I’m sooo glad they specified that, because I was going to ask an irresponsible adult to escort me. Or perhaps a responsible child. Now I know better, so I’ve arranged for a responsible adult to be my escort.

Also interesting was that the consent form, which they emailed for me to read before the surgery, says that “Laser-Assisted Intrastromal Keratoplasty [LASIK] and Photorefractive Keratectomy [PRK] are classified as investigational by the Canadian Health Protection Branch” (emphasis added). I don’t know the ins and outs of what “investigational” means exactly (I mean, I’m sure it means that it’s not like full status approved and they are still doing research, but I don’t know what it takes to become post-investigational), but it’s interested that this was never mentioned in the consultation, nor did I see in on their website.

Anyway, I’m excited and a bit nervous. But the promise of being able to see properly every morning when I awake, of being able to go surfing without worrying about losing a contact and go swimming and be able to see people on the other side of the pool will make it all worth while. Plus, I know you all can’t wait ’til the live blog of the surgery.

1I want everyone to be able to see my big beautiful blue eyes.
2Because I used to wear the non-disposable kind, so I’d keep the same pair for 2 years.



I hosted a work-related function at the Alibi Room tonight (based on some recommendations I received after Twittering something to the effect of “Help! Need a place in Vancouver that can accommodate a group of 20-40 people!”) and I can’t speak highly enough about the place. The awesome food, friendly service and funky space led to a wonderful night of socializing, celebrating and means I didn’t get home ’til 11:30 p.m. On a school night! And hence this late (and short) blog posting.

But seriously, if you ever need to host a group event, or are just looking for a new place for dinner – go to the Alibi Room!



et cetera