Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{July 31, 2008}   Geek Cred

Cred in the tubes of the Internets, if you will.

I was featured today as a Geek Girl Blogger on Spyjournal:

geek-girl-beth by you.


I wonder if this would work with soy bac’n?

No one likes to wake up, especially by an alarm. This clock gently wakes you up with the mouthwatering aroma of bacon, just like waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of Mom cooking breakfast. Unless you’re Jewish.

Check it out here.

Props to Jeff for bringing this fantastic innovation to my attention.

{July 30, 2008}   My BlogHer/Feminism Rant

Wow, I’m like totally the captain of late blogging. BlogHer was like eleventy billion weeks ago and I’m just getting around to blogging my rant.

First of all, a picture of all the cards I brought home from BlogHer:

I don’t even have time to keep up with the blog feeds that I currently subscribe to, so I have no idea how I will find time to check out all of these. In fact, I haven’t yet checked a single one of these yet! But I *swear* will get to them, because there were definitely some cool people with cool sounding blogs that I need to check out!

Secondly, an obligatory feminist rant. Or rants, really.

Rant#1: I’ve already mentioned that the majority of the people I met at BlogHer were mommy bloggers, most of whom had little or no interest in talking to you if you had no kids1. When I’m at a conference, the first things I ask when I meet someone new are “What’s your name?” and “Where are you from?” but I can’t count how many women I met whose first question was, “How many kids do you have?” or “How old are your kids?” And, seriously, many of them didn’t want to talk to you if you weren’t a mom.

I noticed on the conference agenda that there was going to be a session called, “Who We Are: Women Without Children and the Blogosphere” and I thought, “Hmm…, maybe that’s where the non-mommy bloggers go.” But then I read the description, which said:

You might be childfree by choice because you always knew you didn’t want children, or it might have snuck up on you, and you decided or work to be content as you were. Either way there are definitely times when it’s like being a fish out of water in this society…online and off. Lisa Stone likes to say that “the only thing harder than being a mother in this culture is being a woman who chose not to be a mother.” Join Laurie White, Teri Tith, Suebob Davis and Laura Scott, who have a lot to say on the subject!

To me, that sounds like a “Hey! Did you decide that you never, ever, ever want kids? Or did you accidentally get old and barren when you weren’t paying attention and totally missed the boat? Come to our bitter fest where we complain about how people are mean to us because we are and forever will be childless!” Now, I realize that I’ve been complaining (some might say “bitterly”) about people being less than hospitable to me because I’m childless, but (a) I’m not (necessarily) childless for ever, so I don’t fit into that group any more than I fit into the mommy bloggers groups and, more importantly, (b) why do women have to be categorized by their uterine-status? Do men get categorized, judged and in- or excluded from things because they are daddies vs. childless?2

Which brings me to my Rant#2.  Specifically, a rant about swag. In the various swag bags that I picked up over the weekend3, there was not 1, but 2, samples of laundry detergent. At a blogging conference. Seriously. I mean, do you get samples of laundry detergent at your average (i.e., non-gender specific) blogging or tech conferences? Do men not do laundry? I know that, on average, women do more housework than men do, so I can see why laundry soap companies’ marketing departments, target women, but it doesn’t make it right! Shouldn’t we be demanding that men do their half the housework?? And what about single men? Don’t they do their own laundry? The single men that I know do, so why isn’t there laundry detergent in their swag bags?

And then there was iRobot, the makers of the Roomba. You know, the robot vacuum cleaner that cleans your carpets & floors. Now, I will admit that I TOTALLY want a Roomba. Because I, like any sensible person, hate vacuuming. But again, does Roomba show up at the exhibitor’s room at other blogging conferences? Well, I asked their rep and the conversation went something like this:

Me: So, do you go to other blogging conferences, or just this one?

Her: <pause> Well, this is the first one we’ve been to. We are going to see how it goes and then maybe we might consider going to some others…

Me: <pause> Really?

Her: Well, our target audience is what we call the “C.H.O.” – the Chief Home Officer. So, whoever is responsible for the home.

Me: …

Her: Yeah, women with kids. <pause> But, well, I’m single so I’m the Chief Home Officer at my place, because…

Me: Because you are the only one there.

Her: Yeah.

Me: What about single men then? Aren’t they a target audience for this?

Her: <shrugs>

Chief HOME Officer?? Really??! <barf!>. But what really ticked me off was the brochure that they handed out, which, citing a University of Wisconsin study4, said, in part:

Did you know that Women [sic] spend an average of 31 hours per week doing housework while men spend 14 hours – a ratio of slightly more than two to one? […]

Even in households where both the husband and the wife work full-time, paying jobs, the wife does 28 hours of housework and the husband 16 – a ratio just shy of two to one.

Said Sampson Lee Blair, associate professor of sociology at the University of Buffalo, ” – (Even) where she has a job and he doesn’t… where you would anticipate a complete reversal, you find the wife doing the majority of the housework.”

With the touch of a button, iRobot can help you even the score. Let our home robots help with the dirty work so you can spend more time doing… anything you want!

(emphasis mine)

That’s right. The solution to this injustice is not to strive for equality, but for women to accept that vacuuming is their responsibility and buy their product.  Notice that no one is telling men that they have to solve the vacuuming issue before they do “anything they want.” They can just go do as they please and the women need to make sure the “dirty work” is done. Not. Impressed.

And speaking of lame things about Roomba, they were giving out these bracelets that open up to reveal they are USB memory sticks:

That, in itself, is not lame (although I would never, ever wear it as a bracelet). What is lame is what is included on the USB memory stick. Specifically, a song.  A song about the Roomba.

No, I’m not kidding. A song about the robot vacuum cleaner.  A friggin’ song about a friggin’ robot vacuum cleaner!  And it’s not even remotely good. Not even listenable, really.  And not even in an amusing way, like this song.  Just an awful, awful, awful Roomba song.

Thankfully, through the magic that is YouTube, now you too can hear the Roomba song!

Fortunately, in addition to the cleaning supplies that make me angry, there was some good swag, including I USB memory sticks from Smilebox and from some military thing. They had crap loaded on their sticks too, but didn’t appear to have any songs that I could mock, so I just deleted the crap and now I have a some free USB sticks.

I also got this thingy from topix that turns a power outlet into three power outlets – a great idea for a blogging conference which, surprisingly, I didn’t see a single person using. Instead, everyone just asked me if they could plug into my power strip that I had brought with me.

There was also this button. It made me laugh.


And for any of the swag that you didn’t want, Zwaggle, a site that facilitates parents passing along “gently used” kids stuff to other families, has a swag recycling room where you could drop off any swag that you would otherwise chuck into the landfill, and grab stuff that other people left for recycling.  Like if you were just dying for more laundry soap.  They gave out cool t-shirts, so they get my thumbs up and my link love.

Of course, the most amazing piece of swag I got disappeared from my purse before the end of the first night.  But I don’t think I have the strength to talk about it right now, so that will have to be a blog post for another day…

1So many thanks to the lovely women I met who were moms (some mommy bloggers, some bloggers who happened to have kids) who *did* talk to me after I admitted I was currently barren.
2Perhaps you do and I just don’t know about it because I’m not a male. Male readers – what’s been your experience with this?
3And you know how I feel about free stuff.
4In truth, they cited a New York Times article which cited the actual study.

{July 29, 2008}   Buh bye, sweet Scrabulous

As you know, I heart Scrabulous.  So you can imagine my reaction when I saw this Tweet from J.K. Parker this morning:

Sad that Scrabulous is gone from Facebook! 😦

Tanya sent me a link to this article on the Wired website:

The creators of a Scrabble knockoff responsible for countless hours at the online hangout Facebook suspended their word game Tuesday after being hit with a lawsuit, disappointing fans who logged on expecting to make their next moves.

And clareondrey sent me a link to this petition: Hasbro: Don’t Hate, Cooperate!

Yes, copyright laws exist for a reason.
No, we are not anarchists.
Can’t Hasbro work together with the creators of the Scrabulous application?
Pluses: We keep our Scrabulous; Hasbro retains its rights; everybody stays happy!
Minuses: None!
Many of us have learned the joys of Scrabble from this online application. Some people have enhanced their previous love for the game. Reward the Scrabulous makers for this accomplishment – and take over from there!

Oh Scrabulous, remember the good times we had?  How I will miss you.

After much delay, I’m finally bringing you the latest installment of my Prime Ministerial series. In fairness, I was on vacation for both three Sundays ago (Sun Peaks) and two Sundays ago (San Fran) and this past Sunday (i.e., yesterday) was hockey playoffs. It’s summertime, so one must expect some delays and disruptions. But now, on to P.M. #19.

The Right Honourable Kim Campbell was our, as of yet, one and only female Prime Minister. She wasn’t elected as the P.M., but took over when the aforementioned rat left the aforementioned sinking ship that was the Progressive Conservative government of 1993.

Five former P.M.s: Right Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau,
Right Honourable John N. Turner, Right Honourable Kim Campbell, Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, and Right Honourable Joe Clark.
Name Avril Phaedra Douglas “Kim” Campbell
Born: March 10, 1947 (1947-03-10) in Port Alberni, British Columbia
Died: not
Party: Progressive Conservative
Held Office: June 25, 1993 – November 4, 1993
Best known for:
  • being the first female Prime Minister of Canada
  • being the second female Head of State in the G8 (after Margaret Thatcher of England)
  • in the Mulroney government, she was the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (1989-1990), then Minister of Justice (Canada’s first female in this role) and Attorney-General (1990-1993), then appointed the Minister of National Defence (again, Canada’s first female in this role) in 1993.
  • She became the Prime Minister in June 1993 after Mulroney announced his retirement from politics, beating out Jean Charest for the party leadership. The election in fall 1993 was disastrous for the Progressive Conservatives, with the party winning only 2 seats3; Campbell lost her seat to Liberal Hedy Fry. There was probably not a single person who could have taken over the reigns after Mulroney and managed to win an election mere months later, but there was also a big ruckus caused by the Tories running attack ads against Liberal leader Jean Chretien, including an ad that appeared to make fun of his Bell’s Palsy.
Some Things I Didn’t Know About This P.M.
  • Canada’s first baby boomer P.M.
  • her name isn’t actually Kim, it’s Avril. She gave herself the nickname “Kim.”
  • She started a doctorate degree at the London School of Economics, studying Soviet Government, but didn’t finish it. Instead, she went to the University of British Columbia Law School and obtained her L.L.B.
  • She currently lives in Paris, France, with her common law husband
  • She was unsuccessful running for a seat in the provincial legislature with the BC Social Credit Party1 (the “Socreds”) in ’83, then unsuccessfully ran for the leadership of the Socreds in ’86, then won the Vancouver Point-Grey riding2

If you are just dying to read more about The Right Honourable Kim Campbell, check these out:

Image credits: Image of the 5 PMs is from the Library and Archives Canada, no restrictions on use. I was unable to find any other photos of Campbell that were free to use.

1Don’t let the word “social” in their name fool you – the Socreds were conservatives.
2That’s the riding where *I* live!
3I remember this joke going around after that election: What did the waiter say when Campbell entered the restaurant? “Kim Campbell, party of 2?”

{July 27, 2008}   Hockey Highlights

Highlight of the playoffs:  Amy scoring with 4.3 seconds left in overtime to win our last playoff game today.  4.3 seconds!!

Lowlight of the playoffs: Discovering that some guy from whatever team was in our dressing room before us had taken a dump in the shower.  Seriously.

Now there is about a month off (during which I’ll be getting my laser eye surgery!).  Hopefully I’ll get out to some drop-in hockey before my surgery to work on (a) my wrist shot, (b) my stick handling, (c) pivoting and skating backwards.  The one thing I don’t need to work on: standing in the crease and shoveling in the juicy rebounds after a good player takes a shot – I’ve totally got that one covered.

Also, everyone tell Kim that she should keep playing with the team in the fall.

{July 26, 2008}   Shout Out to the Blogathoners

I’m in between hockey playoff games – we won our game this morning against the last place team1 by a score of 13-12, but this evening we play the second place team, so we are going to have to work our butts off to have a chance at this one – so I will make today’s blog entry brief.  But fear not, as there is tonnes of stuff to read out in the blogosphere – today is Blogathon 2008!  Be sure to check out Rebecca’s posting which lists all the people crazy intrepid enough to post a a blog entry every half hour for 24 hours straight.  And everyone is blogging for charity so if you can afford to, donate to some of the worthy causes for which they are raising money.

And if you are all like, “Oh noes! But I wanted to read something written by Dr. Beth!”, you can check out my guest posting over on Hummingbird604.  And then you can buy me a MacBook Pro.

Now if you’ll ‘scuse me, I have to go put my hair in braids for hockey game #2 (of our 3 games within 24 hrs!)

1We finished in third place, with six teams in the division.
2And I scored a beautiful goal from my office.

{July 25, 2008}   I heart my new keyboard redux

Leave it to my blog readers to keep me honest. I totally phoned in yesterday’s blog entry by not including a photo. In Dave‘s words:

Whyfor no picture? I’ve seen pictures of all the outfits and shoes you’ve worn since 1984 but no keyboard picture. Whyfor?

Far be it from me to deny my blog readers a requested photo:DSC_5550 by you.

Also in response to yesterday’s comments: Chris said:

A full-size keyboard? On the bus? That would be difficult imo.

Personally, I just adapted to the size of the keyboard (on a Treo 750).

I’m fine with the size of the keyboard on my Treo 700 so long as I’m only typing a few words – maybe an entry into my calendar, or a contact’s phone number. But typing up an entire blog entry, or a longish email, no way – it just takes *forever* on the tiny keyboard. The full-sized is the only way to go. And it works just fine on the bus – so long as (a) you get a seat, and (b) your seat is a forward facing one, not a side facing seat. Since the Palm Pilot just sits on the keyboard, if you are sitting in a side facing seat, the Palm slides back and forth out of the range of the infrared every time the bus accelerates or decelerates. Which, on the bus, is like every 2 blocks. But get a forward facing seat, like I do pretty much every day on the way to work, and you’re golden.

{July 24, 2008}   I heart my new keyboard!

I’m typing this on my beloved Hermione1. On the bus. And not on the itty bitty Palm Treo keyboard. But on a full-sized2 wireless keyboard. I’ve been wanting one since… well, since I got Hermione, really. I had one for my old Palm Pilot but it was the kind that you plugged the Palm Pilot into and it’s not compatible with the new Palms. And before that I used to use the infrared one that I gave to my ex-husband (or was-bund)3 for his graduation, but he got custody of it in the divorce. So I’ve been Palm-wireless-keyboard-less for quite some time now.

But I’m Palm-wireless-keyboard-less no more! And I’m celebrating with an inaugural blog posting from the venerable keyboard. I’m also celebrating by using the word “venerable.”

As you were.

1Hermione being my Palm Treo.a
2Note that I have small hands, so YMMV.
3 I told you I was going to start using that one!
aAnd, yes, I know it’s not an iPhone, like all the cool kids have. But ya have to play the hand that you’re dealt.

Once before I presented you with a video that I said you should never, ever watch.  While the video below isn’t nearly as graphic as that one, it does make you want to harikiri yourself.  So really, just don’t watch it.

You’ve been warned.

My favourite line is “we’ll live out our core values.”

{July 22, 2008}   Brain Cells

I already have a stuffed cold virus, a stuffed flu virus and a stuffed Ebola virus. But when I was in the airport waiting for my flight from San Francisco on Sunday, I discovered that they now make stuffed brain cells!

So cute.

While waiting for *4 hours*1 for my flight home from SFO yesterday, during which I was (a) Twittering with another BlogHer attendee who was also stuck at SFO, (b) talking on Skype, and (c) being looked at like I was crazy because I was talking loudly to my computer, I was also checking out whether I would have a good seat on the plane, should I ever actually get on the plane, using Seat Guru. Seat Guru provides you with all kinds of useful tidbits about your particular seat on any given plane, including:

  • Detailed seat map graphics.
  • In-depth seat specific comments denoting seats with limited recline, reduced legroom, mis-aligned windows.
  • Color-coding to help identify superior and substandard seats.
  • In-seat power port locations.
  • Galley, lavatory, Exit Row and closet locations.

The Guru informed me that my seat was neither particular good, nor particularly bad, that I would have a personal TV screen and an in-seat power port. However, I have to say that there was some false advertising with respect to the in-flight amenities:

My seat did not, in fact, come with an infant.

1It was delayed 2 hrsa, but I was already there well in advance of my flight, because you never know how long it will take to get through security.
aFirst it was delayed due to weather, then it was further delayed because the “front flap” on the plane “wasn’t working.”

{July 20, 2008}  

As you know, I was the BlogHer’08 Official Correspondent for and so I thought you might like to see the stuff I wrote over there:

I have to head to the airport now.  I’ll miss San Fran, but I’m always happy to go home to Vancouver!

Here at the BlogHer’08 opening session, finding some like-minded bloggers to hang out with over Twitter. Just found some and was about to re-locate to their table and I get this message via Snitter:

Twitter is currently down for maintenance. We expect to be back in a couple hours. Thanks for your patience.

Way to go, Twitter.

{July 18, 2008}   BlogHer 2008

It’s the end of the first full day of BlogHer 2008¹ and I am tired. As the official BlogHer2008 Conference Correspondent² for, I’ll be reporting in, not surprisingly, over on I’ll post links here to my postings there (the first one being here).

On a personal note, I have to say that I’m feeling a bit isolated here as it seems that I’m one of the very, very few women here that doesn’t have kids. I’m not exaggerating when I say that of all the people I met in the last day and a half, only two of them didn’t have kids³. Now, I have nothing against moms (heck, I even have one of my own!), but it really feels like this conference is very, very mom-centric4. And not being a mom myself, I can’t really relate to a lot of what people are talking about, nor a fair number of the products being exhibited. I was kind of expecting BlogHer to be a more geeky kind of thing, sort of a SXSW for chicks, but it doesn’t seem to be that way. I guess I’ve really gotten used to the Vancouver tech scene, where I’m hopelessly behind all the tech savvy peeps, but here is seems like my geekiness is beyond the average geekiness score. Two examples: (a) there are like 10x as many people on Blogspot as there are on WordPress5, and (b) I’ve met numerous people who’ve never even heard of ThinkGeek!

Plus, a lot of people seem to know each other. And again, I guess I’m just really feeling out of sorts with this too, as I feel like I know a fair number of people in the Vancouver tech scene, so I can show up to Third Tuesday or Vancouver Blogger Meetups or whatever and I’ll know people there. Which makes it strange to see all these people who know each other and I don’t really know anyone. It’s not like I have trouble introducing myself to new people, but I’m starting to dread the inevitable “how many kids do you have?” question that comes with every introduction.

Anyway. I did meet some interesting people and I have a pile of cards with URLs to check out6. And the women I was hanging out with at tonight’s party were fun to hang with7and they invited me to join them at breakfast tomorrow, so that’s cool. Now I better go finish up my next posting for – this one will be a summary of all the actual content from the sessions I attended today.

¹Yesterday was the opening parties, but today was the first day of conference sessions.
²I’m *so* adding that to my C.V.!
³Both of whom are here in a work capacity; one as an exhibitor, the other as a marketer.
4Which really made Kris’s recent post about this resonate with me.

5I know I only made the shift to WordPress in January myself, but I did so under extreme peer pressure to go on the better platform where all the cool kids play.
6While I’m personally not interested in reading any Mommy blogs, just because someone is a mom doesn’t mean they are a “Mommy blogger.” I talked to some people today who said they are even offended by the term “Mommy blogger”… essentially saying, “just because I have kids and I am a blogger doesn’t mean I’m a Mommy blogger.” And I’m up for reading well written blogs, regardless of the parental status of the blogger. I’ll be sure to post links to them in the coming days.
7Again, they were all moms, but we did have non-mom things to talk about.

et cetera