Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{August 31, 2008}   BC Premier #1 – JFMcC

Now that I’ve made my way through all of the Canadian Prime Ministers, I feel a void. I actually got to quite like learning a bit about Canadian history every Sunday. So, I’m now taking on a more daunting task – I’m going to write a blog posting every Sunday about a British Columbia Premier1. It’s more daunting because I didn’t grow up in BC, so I’ve never heard of the vast majority of BC Premiers before2. Plus, there’s been more BC Premiers than there has Canadian Prime Ministers, so this series will be longer. But I think I’m up for the challenge!

OK, first up is The Honourable John Foster McCreight – the first Premier of the Province of British Columbia.

John Foster McCreight Name John Foster McCreight
Born: November 18, 1827 in Caledon, County Tyrone, Ireland
Died: November 18, 1913 (hmm.. he appears to have died on his birthday!)
Party: none
Held Office: November 13, 1871 – December 23, 1872
  • he was a lawyer, called to the bar in 1852
  • Ireland –> Australia –> San Fran –> Victoria, BC
  • when he moved to Victoria in 1860, it was part of the “Colony of Vancouver Island;” by 1866, the Colony of Vancouver Island and the Colony of British Columbia joined forces
  • evidence is kind of sketchy on his martial situation – maybe he had a scandalous affair in Australia that caused him and his wife to leave there, or maybe he married someone from San Fran – they don’t seem to be sure. But the 1881 Census does list him as married to an Elizabeth Ann McCreight, although little seems to be known about the 411 on her.
  • he was heavily involved in the Anglican church and the Masons – involvement which “seem[s] to have been motivated by a mixture of faith and ambition.”4
  • after BC joined Canadian Confederation on July 20, 1871, he became the Attorney-General, then ran in the first election and won the seat for Victoria, and was then chosen as the first Premier of BC
  • he was described by a colleague as, among other things, “utterly ignorant of politics;”4 not exactly a rousing endorsement for a politician
  • best line in his biography: “he was firmly opposed to responsible government, believing his fellow British Columbians too immature to carry the burdens of democracy”4
  • he lost a vote of nonconfidence in 1872, so he resigned
  • he was appointed as a justice in the Supreme Court of BC, where he worked until 1897, and then he went back to the UK

In summary, on his trip around the world from the UK to Australia to North America and then back to the UK, he took a pit stop in Victoria to become our first provincial premier. The end.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. w00t!

Footnotes:
1For my American readers, the “Premier” is the head of the government for a province or territory. Sort of like your state governors. And provinces and territories are like states. And Canada is that giant country just north of you.
2Of course, I grew up in Ontario and didn’t learn about the vast majority of Ontario premiers. But I digress.

References:
3Wikipedia, the reference of champions
4Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

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{August 30, 2008}   Pimping Tanya’s Run

Tanya over at netchick.ca is running a half marathon in DisneyWorld with Buzz Bishop’s 95 Crave Team Diabetes on Jan 10, 2009 (that’s one day before my birthday!) to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association. And you should sponsor her!

Why, you ask? Well, if supporting a worthy cause1 isn’t good enough reason, how about COLD HARD CASH?

Tanya’s running a contest where you will be entered into a draw for $500 in cold hard cash if you sponsor her run (2 contest entries for every increment of $25 that you pledge) and/or blog about her campaign. Pledge before September 4, 2008 to get an extra contest entry!

Go here to sponsor Tanya!  And while you are at her blog, wish her the best of luck with her training and her race.  Do it!  Do it now!

P.S. Good luck with the fundraising, the training and the race itself, T!

1Seriously, who doesn’t know someone affected by diabetes? Personally, I have type II diabetes on both sides of my family (my mom and my paternal grandmother) and know several people who are afflicted by it. And it causes some serious health problems – blindness, amputations, and it’s a major risk factor for heart disease!



{August 29, 2008}   Spam of the Day

Just got this spam in my work email:

I AM A SEAMAN SEEKING YOUR CONSENT TO TRANSFER MY COMMISSION OF ($25,5M) TO YOU FOR SAFE KEEP.I SHALL COMPENSATE YOU WITH 40% OF THIS FUND, WHEN RECEIVED INTO YOUR ACCOUNT, SEND YOUR FULL NAMES,PHONE NUMBERS.AND CONTACT ADDRESS FOR PROCESSING OF THE FUND IN YOUR NAME BY THE OIL COMPANY

SINCERELY YOURS

KARL NEWE

Tee hee. He said “seaman.”



On my recent trip to San Fran, I found myself yet again flipping through the SkyMall magazine. While I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t have any new products as good as the branding iron for your dinner or the all cookie diet or the tailgate party slings, it was still rife with ridiculousness. The guy sitting next to me on the plane seemed to think I was quite strange, sitting there laughing to myself and ripping pages out of SkyMall. See the things I do for you?

First up, we have these toys:

Extra points to that one for referring to the mobility-impaired elderly using the word “cripple.”

Tired of not looking like an idiot when you sleep? Why not try the Spacesleeper Travel Pillow?

It’s like sleeping with a zero IQ!

Have way too much time on your hands and no friends? Why not spend the next year of your life trying to solve this crossword puzzle?

Also from the land of ridiculously large things, there’s this inflatable TV screen:

Because, you know, if a TV screen can fit inside your house, it’s just not big enough.

And this next one is just dirty. Dirty, dirty, dirty.

And finally, from the Humiliating Your Pets category, we have such fine products as:

Doesn’t this dog really look like she’s “enjoying her privacy”? No, really. She doesn’t look like she’s serving 25-to-life. Not at all.

When not trapping your dog in an undersized jail cell, why not let her look through this lovely porthole:

I’m sure the other dogs won’t laugh at her.

And finally, there’s a solution for those of you who have been wishing that your dog could take a shit in the house. Seriously. I’m not making this up.



{August 28, 2008}   Knee Injury Update

Today on the bus, a guy tapped me on the shoulder1 and said, “You know what would clear that knee up? Turmeric. You know, the spice?” Um, ok. I actually thought my knee was healing quite nicely.

One day after the epic knee scraping

One day after the epic knee scraping

After 13 days of healing

After 13 days of healing

And really, what would help it clear up is refraining from picking at the scab2.

1I was listening to my iPod at the time, so he to do this to get my attention.
2Too much information?



Ice cream cake sporting my hockey teams logo. Mmmm, ice cream.

Ice cream cake sporting my hockey team's logo. Mmmm, ice cream.

My hockey team had a year-end pool party this past weekend, commemorating our championship, Vegas tournament, trip to provincials in Kelowna and all around hockey good times. The party was held at team captain Karen’s parents place – they have the super awesomest backyard ever, complete with pool1, hot tub, and multiple BBQs. We were further spoiled with goalie Meghan’s husband, Chef Brian, cooking us a gourmet dinner2. And then, to top it all off – a Dairy Queen ice cream cake AND a cheescake!

We also got to see a slide show of photos from the year – in addition to professional ones we had taken of us in action on the ice, there were photos from our fundraiser pub night, Vegas and Kelowna. All of which are no-Facebook, no-Flickr, no-blog. For reasons that I’m sure you can imagine! Then there was also a presentation to one of our team members, Nancy, who retired at the end of the season after an illustrious career with the Blazing Blades. Her jersey was framed and her number (44) has now been retired in her honour. We are hoping that she’ll come back to coach us in the new season!

Speaking of which – it starts next week! I’m so stoked, because I’ve totally been missing the hockey. And now that I have my superhuman vision, I’m sure to tear up the ice this season! I’ll keep you posted, because I know you are just *dying* to hear all about it!

1Although I was technically supposed to go swimming for a full two weeks after my laser eye surgery, I went for a swim, but just made sure not to put my head under. And to go in the pool before everyone else got in so I wouldn’t risk getting splashed in the eyes. I can’t wait ’til my eyes are reading for swimming!
2And, professional chef that he is, he accommodated my vegetarian ways by making me my own special chickpea creation. Which was AWESOME!



{August 26, 2008}   My New Desk

As promised, I now have photos of my cool new desk. And, even better, I have pictures of the various stages of setting up my desk1!

When we left off yesterday, the desk was sitting in the middle of my living room, with its drawers piled up hither and fro, and my computer was sitting on Rubbermaid buckets in the spot where the desk needed to be. After moving the computer and eleventy billion boxes from the place I wanted to put the desk, and then vacuuming2, I was able to move the desk into its rightful place:

IMG_4022 by you.

Desk, with the drawers yet to be put into it.  Note that the desk is so wide that it’s wider than I am tall.

Then I put the drawers back in.  And moved my mega-sized printer on to the desk.  The gigantic printer didn’t fit on my old desk, so I used to have it sitting on my filing cabinet.  This is much better, as the printer is now more out of the way, so I can use the top of the filing cabinet to store things like stationery items that I need to access more regularly.  Stationery items are currently stored on my kitchen table, so needless to say this will be an improvement.

IMG_4024 by you.

Desk, now with drawers. And a gigantic printer.  Note that even with the gigantic printer on it, I can still fit my entire body on the desk.

And, finally, I put the rest of the computer onto the desk:

IMG_4036 by you.

Note that even in the presence of my gigantic computer, mammoth-sized monitor and the computer tower, I can still fit on the desk.

A couple things of note:

  • While my desk looks all nice and tidy, I should point out that I have humongous stacks & boxes of papers to sort through, which aren’t shown in these photos.  I probably don’t really need to keep every draft of all the papers I wrote in grad school, do I?  But seeing as those are intermingled with things that might be important, like tax returns and  gift certificates I keep forgetting to spend, I can’t just throw the whole mess into the recycling like I want to.
  • I noticed while dancing around and arranging my computer, that my next door neighbour has taken to leaving their kitchen blinds open. Their kitchen window being directly across from the window directly behind my desk.  I didn’t see anyone in the kitchen, but I did notice that they have a large number of hockey sticks in said kitchen.
  • I would get a lot more done in an evening if I didn’t spend so much time trying to capture photos to blog about my various activities.

1It’s that kind of value add that keeps you readers coming back, isn’t it?
2It’s not very often I get to vacuum there, since I have no intention of moving a desk to vaccum under it, I figured I should take the opportunity.



I had to go pick up a desk from my friend Alicia’s place today.  The desk I had been using for the last 2 years actually belonged to my old roommate, Danielle.  She’d moved to a furnished place on the island, so I was babysitting the desk, and her dresser, until such time as she needed them back.  As she’s now moving to an unfurnished place, such time has arrived.  Fortunately for me, my friend Alicia was looking to get rid of a desk1 right around the same time, so said I could have it for free!  And you know how I feel about free stuff.

So tonight I booked myself a pick-up truck from the car co-op and bribed Kalev with a trip to the grocery store2 if would help me pick up the desk.  It’s one of the many great things about the car co-op – whenever you need a truck or a van to move big stuff, you can have your pick.  I chose a 2007 Mazda B3000, a pretty big truck for a wee-sized girl like myself.  I hate driving pick-up trucks because (a) they are a bitch to park and (b) I had a horrifying experience driving my dad’s pick-up truck when I was younger… a horrifying experience involving a very, very large spider.  *shudder*

Anyhoo, we managed to get the desk moved into my place all in one piece, as well as get a ridiculous amount of groceries – virtually all of which was on sale and/or came with bonus AirMiles.  And now I’m very, very tired!  So my desk setting up adventure will have to wait until tomorrow.  But I’ll post a picture once I have it set up all nice like.

Props to Alicia & Paul for letting me have their old desk/dresser thingamabob, and to Kalev for helping me move it!

1It’s actually a dresser with a spot for a chair – like where you’d have a chair and could sit and put on your makeup at your dresser – but I’m going to use it as a computer desk. ‘cuz that’s the way I roll.
2Kalev, like me, is carless, so an opportunity to be driven to a grocery store where he can buy any heavy items he wants, is an excellent bribe.



{August 24, 2008}   P.M.#23 – Dr. Stéphane Dion
Name Stéphane Maurice Dion
Born: September 28, 1955 in Quebec City, Quebec
Died: not
Party: Liberal Party of Canada
Best known for:
  • he was named Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs by Chretien in January 1996, before he was elected to Parliament. He was elected two months later in a by-election.
  • Dion presented the Clarity Act to the Parliament; the Act stated that a referendum on separation needs to use a “clearly” stated question (where “clear” is in the judgement of the Canadian House of Commons) and the separatists would need a “clear majority” (not “50% plus one” majority) in order to separate.
  • he was dropped from Cabinet when Paul Martin took power, but was later brought back into Cabinet by Martin as Minister of the Environment
  • he became the leader of the Liberal Party, running a campaign on the issues of social justice, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability
Some Things I Didn’t Know About This P.M.
  • His father, Léon Dion, co-founded the department of Political Science at Laval University in Quebec, where Stéphane Dion got his B.A. and M.A. degrees
  • His father’s name is Léon Dion… tee hee.
  • As a teenager & university student, he was a Quebec separatist activist, but his support of separatism “ended during a five-hour, rum-and-Coke fuelled discussion with a federalist household while he was going door-to-door” for the Parti Québécois.
  • He received his doctorate degree in Sociology from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and then taught public administration & organizational ansalysis and theory at the Université de Montréal (1984 to January 1996).
  • He has a pet dog named “Kyoto.”

If you are just dying to read more about P.M. Stéphane Dion, check these out:

Image credits:

  • Photo was accessed from Wikipedia and is used under a Creative Commons license.


{August 23, 2008}   Canada’s Official Sports

Everyone knows that hockey really is the sport of choice in Canada. I remember visiting out east back in 2002 – my ex and I went to upstate New York1 to go to one of his friend’s weddings, and then we spent some time visiting family & friends in southwestern Ontario.  Down in NY State, at least half the cars you drove by had American flags on them.  And, while I didn’t see any Canadian flags, at least half the cars you drove by in southwestern Ontario had a Toronto Maple Leafs flag on them. Just like back home in Vancouver, Canucks flags dominated the traffic scene. We may not be able to agree which team to cheer for, but most Canadians2 will agree that hockey rocks.

However, you often hear people say that lacrosse is “Canada’s national sport.”  Like, as if anyone plays lacrosse.  I’ve also heard that it’s just a rumour that lacrosse is “Canada’s national sport,” a rumour made up and spread by the Canadian Lacrosse Association to try to build a name for their sport.  So I decided to look it up once and for all.

As it turns out, both hockey and lacrosse were declared to be “”Canada’s national sports” in the National Sports of Canada Act in 1994.

The game commonly known as ice hockey is hereby recognized and declared to be the national winter sport of Canada and the game commonly known as lacrosse is hereby recognized and declared to be the national summer sport of Canada.

1Have you ever been to upstate New York? Don’t. Seriously, just don’t.
2Except Kalev, but he doesn’t count because he’s not a real Canadian, as all real Canadians love hockey; so, by virtue of his irrational hatred of hockey, he’s not actually Canadian.

Image credits: Photo of hockey skates by notanartist on Flickr. Photo of the lacrosse stick by downing.amanda on Flickr.  Rock on, Creative Commons licences, rock on.



{August 22, 2008}   Nom Nom Nom at the Naam
Sarah at Tsunami Sushi

Sarah at Tsunami Sushi

Ah, the Naam.  One of my fav restaurants in Vancouver, and one of the places that Sarah gets to at least once (and sometimes more) on every trip to Vancouver. This trip has had us eating at not only the Naam and the Eatery, but also Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe (great veggie burgers), Tsunami Sushi (not highly recommended), and Cactus Club (yay yam fries!).  Nom nom nom.  Also, we went to see Tropic Thunder, where Sarah used a variety of Famous Player gift cards and I used Scene points, so the grand total for both of us to watch the movie was $2.30.  Our frugality rocks!  TT was a pretty friggin’ funny movie – best part, in my humble opinion –  (quasi-spoiler warning here): the movie trailer at the beginning with Robert Downey Jr & Tobey Mcguire.

So, yeah, Sarah and I have been having an awesome time just chillin’.  Since Sarah has already done virtually every touristy thing in Vancouver on previous trips here, and since we hardly ever get to just hang out (given the 4000+ km between us), we’ve had a nice time just hanging out and catching up.  Going for walks. Hanging out by the water.  Having tea. Eating at various eateries. Endlessly riding the #7 bus.

Also, I had my one week post-op check-up to see how my eyes are doing since my laser eye surgery.  My optometrist was very impressed with my eyes, saying things like “Wow, you must be a really good healer!” and “Your eyes look like most people’s look after a month, and it’s only been a week!” and “You are the poster child for laser eye surgery.”  I do have an unattractive looking subconjunctival hemorrhage, which I noticed looked worse last night than it had the previous day, but my optometrist explained that it’s normal for subconjunctival hemmorrhages to look worse before they look better.  Essentially, it’s like having a bruise, caused by blood vessels bursting due to the suction used during the surgery. But since your eye is clear, it’s bright red instead of being black & blue like a normal bruise.  The reason it looks worse today is because gravity is pulled the subconjunctival blood down, where it sort of pools near the iris.  It’s harmless and will go away over the next few days.  But, because I’m me, I decided that you all would want to see a picture (quasi-grossness warning here).

My eye lashes are kind of clumped together due to the sticky lubricating drops I put in every two hours.  I’m sure that it’s religiously sticking to my eye drop regimen, as well as wearing sunglasses at all times when I’m outside, that is helping me recover so fast.  Well, that and the lab accident involving a radioactive rat that happened when I was in grad school, giving me superhuman healing powers.



{August 21, 2008}   Sarah is Here! Sarah is Here!

You know you are jealous.

My friend Sarah1 is visiting from Ottawa!  She’s going on an Alaskan cruise with her parents2, so she came into town a couple of days early.  She got in last night and we headed to the Eatery for some Fat Elvi2and veggie sushi rolls.  And since then we’ve been lounging around.

And now we are going to go do some adventurin’.  Hijinx will ensue.  Photos to follow.

1You may remember Sarah from such adventures are “Calgary: The Land that Vegetables Forgot,” various trips (of me to Ottawa or of her to Vancouver) and her role as my personal panic preventor at my Ph.D. defence and as the resident Canadian historian here on NTBTWK.
2So jealous.
3“Elvi,” of course, being the plural of “Elvis.”



{August 20, 2008}   The Science Tattoo Emporium
DNA ankle tattoo from the Science Tattoo Emporium

DNA ankle tattoo from the Science Tattoo Emporium

While emailing with my friend Dan about (a) his new birthday tattoo1 and (b) his lack of luxuriant flowing locks preventing him from joining the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™, I was prompted to search out a club that the tattooed scientist can call home.  And now I share with you:

Discover Magazine’s Science Tattoo Emporium.

Those scientists have some pretty awesome tattoos, like this DNA ankle tattoo on a molecular and cell biology instructor at a University in Atlanta.  If it weren’t for my (a) crippling fear of needles and (b) remarkable fickleness which would result in my being bored with any tattoo I chose before the ink dried, then I too would want to join the Emporium.

Also, while checking out the Emporium I noticed an ad for “made with molecules” – a company that makes jewelry that looks like molecular structures.  I totally want this dopamine necklace.  You know, in case you were looking to buy me a present.

1The Greek letter “gamma” (Γ). Dan is a statistician and has the goal of covering his body with tattoos of all the Greek letters and so far has sigma, psi, delta, pi, gamma, and xi.



{August 19, 2008}   Wanted: Nutrition Ideas

I’m looking for topics in the area of nutrition that would make for good debates (specifically, topics that have good scientific evidence to support both sides of the argument).

So I thought I’d put it out to the blogoverse – any thoughts?  What controversial topics in nutrition would you want to see debated?

Photo by africankelli on Flickr. CC licence.



{August 19, 2008}   Fun With The Elements
Because you never know when you might need to know the atomic weight of thorium while standing in your kitchen.

Because you never know when you might need to know the atomic weight of thorium while standing in your kitchen.

Looks like my sister is on a roll in getting shout outs her on NTBTWK.  Yesterday it was for bacon band-aids, today it’s for a magnetic periodic table of the elements.  She actually gave me this gift of awesomeness when I was visiting back in June, but I, like the ingrate that I am, forgot it there.  I also forgot my phone charger and am very stoked to have both of these items back now, my sis having mailed them to me.

As you know, I’m a bit of a nerd, and I’ve long had a thing for the periodic table of the elements – I have it on my Palm Pilot, I had a poster of it on my bedroom wall as a kid, and I’m even able to sing several pieces of the Periodic Table of the Elements song1.  And now I have it on my fridge.  You know you are jealous.

And the extra fun thing about this particular set is that every element is its own individual magnet.  So you can rearrange them and spell fun things.  If you are lucky2, like me, you can even spell your name3:

Or other fun words:

And I can’t believe I’ve never noticed this element before:

1But only pieces, because it’s a really hard song to sing!
2Not every letter of the alphabet is available as an elemental symbol. For example, there isn’t a element represented by “T”; for my name I can use “Th”, but if your name has a T that’s not followed by an “i” (Ti = titanium), a “c” (Tc = technetium), an “e” (Te = tellurium), an “a” (Ta = tantalum), an “l” (Tl = thallium), a “b” (Tb = terbium), an “m” (Tm = thulium) or an “h” (Th = thorium), or preceded by a “p” (Pt = platnum), an “a” (At = astatine), an “m” (Mt = meitnerium) or two “u”s (Uut = ununtrium), then you are SOL.
2Alas, there’s no “D” or “Dr”, so I couldn’t do “Dr. Beth Snow.”



et cetera