Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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.

{July 17, 2008}   Heading to the airport!

Gone to BlogHer 08

{July 16, 2008}   Pitch My Blog

As you know, I‘m off to BlogHer tomorrow! Well, the introductory brochure for Blogher suggests that I come prepared with a pitch for my blog1 and, since I’m the Queen of Procrastination, I’m just getting to thinking about this now.

Picture this: someone at BlogHer will ask me, “What’s your blog about?” and I will say… um… I will say… um… Ya, so this is where you guys come in – what the hell am I supposed to say? I’m always stumped when I’m asked this question and usually answer something like this: “Well, it’s a just a personal blog2. I kinda write about whatever comes off the top of my head. I write sometimes about hockey. And weird things that I do. And funny stuff I find on the Internets. And people/places/things that piss me off. So, um, ya.”

See! I need your help! If you were to try to explain to someone what my blog is about, in two sentences or less, what would you say?

1And it specifically says that “I just have a personal blog” is not an acceptable answer.
2See footnote 1.

{July 15, 2008}   I can has Zazzle?

A while ago I Twittered this plea:

Does anyone know of anywhere that I can get Moo-sized cards that aren’t from Moo? I want some, but need to get them in less than 27 weeks.

I recalled a number of people complaining that the Moo cards they ordered for Northern Voice or SXSW took forever to arrive, so I was hoping that there would be a quicker alternative. And Flying Spaghetti Monster bless Twitter, Miss604 came to my rescue with the suggestion that I try Zazzle!

After much hemming and hawing over what to make my cards look like, I settled on two designs: one featuring a photo of my eyes1 and the other featuring a brain2.

Photo credit: Miss 604 on Flickr

And why, you ask, do I need these cards?  Because I’m going to BlogHer3 on Thursday!!

My attendance at BlogHer, just like my using Zazzle for my cards (and the above photo of my Zazzle cards), is thanks to Rebecca.  About a month ago, she wrote about how she was looking to sell off her BlogHer registration as she was no longer able to attend, so I contacted her and we worked out a deal. So excited!4

1props to photographer Jorge for taking this photo
2that I licensed from
3I am a bit choked that Kris won’t be there this year. Every year, Kris goes to Blogher and I’ve been dying to meet her since forever. I guess she’ll just have to come out to Vancouver to visit me some time =)
4Plus, I’m staying at my friend Katie’s place and it will be awesome to see her again!

…and the whole place goes to hell in a handbasket!

BC Hydro’s site lists 20 outages in Vancouver right now, all either due to “cable fault” or as “under investigation.” although the CBC tells us:

The fire started when underground power lines caught fire and caused an explosion beneath Richards Street, between West Pender and Dunsmuir streets, around 9 a.m. PT.

The explosion blew a manhole cover into the air and filled the business district with smoke, but fire officials said the smoke was not toxic. The fire was extinguished around noon. (Source: CBC)

Yeah, I’d say if the cables are ON FIRE, that’s probably a “cable fault.”

Needless to say, I’m happy to be here right now:

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lounge by the pool!

{July 3, 2008}   Welcome Home

I *love* coming home after a trip to a clean apartment. I don’t have trouble, for the most part, with living among mess. Piles of paper, unfolded laundry, scattered books, random shoes and other piles of paper feel like natural surroundings to me1. But when I come home from a trip to that exact same mess, it sucks the life from me. Coming home to a bed that’s been made, shoes stacked neatly on the shoe rack, clean dishes shining in the drying rack2 and a carpet that not only can I see, but that has actually been vacuumed during the same calendar year, makes Beth a happy camper.

I also like coming home from trips out east because it means that I’m conditioned to wake up early, due to the time zone difference.  I was quite tired after my much-delayed flight, so I pretty much just brushed my teeth, washed my face and crawled into bed3 when I got home last night, and this morning I was up even before my alarm went off.

I also like this 1 day workweek I’m having this week. <grin>

1It helps that I don’t spend a lot of time at my place – it’s more of a place to sleep than a place to hang out most of the time.
2I do realize that real clean freaks would consider dishes left in the drying rack to be anathema , but in my world – hey, at least they are clean.
3A nicely made bed, at that

{July 2, 2008}   Stuck at the Airport

Oh three hour delays at Toronto airport, how I hate you. And I’m way too cheap to pay the $9.95 it would cost to log onto the internets, so I’m writing this in BlogDesk to publish when I get home.

My flight was supposed to be at 4 p.m., so I left my sister’s place at 2, in case traffic was bad, which it wasn’t, so I’ve been here since 2:30. And around 3:30 they announced that our “aircraft is unserviceable” and that they were trying to locate us a new one. Which they finally did – a plane scheduled to arrive around 5:30, which we can board around 6 to leave at 6:40. I suppose it’s better that we found out the plane was unserviceable now, rather than finding it out when we fall out of the sky. But it’s still not fun. I’ve been filling my time with reading a book1, chatting on the phone, sending text messages, eating french fries2, chain drinking diet colas, and lamenting the things that I realized I forgot at my sister’s place3.

And did I mention that my niece is the cutest thing EVER? More cute things that she said included:

  • While reading The Cat in the Hat (which, for the uninitiated, is a story about two little kids who are at home while their Mother is out and a Cat in a Hat (“Ooh, he’s a troublemaker!” my niece says”) shows up with tricks and games that make a great big mess in the house), at the part just before the Mother gets home: “It’s not safe for children to be left home alone!”
  • “I see a SMART CAR!” – every single time we saw a Smart car.
  • After I told her I had to leave today, because I have to go back home, she asked, “Why?” So I said that I had to go back to work. And she says, “Oh. Can you come back after work?”
  • “Mommy, why are you yelling at that man?” after my sister told the jackass at the butterfly conservatory in no uncertain terms that he was ignorant because he kept touching – and thus, killing – the butterflies, completely disregarding the “do not touch the butterflies” signs.
  • “Let’s show up the road!” (instead of “let’s get this show on the road.”)

Probably the best was what she said yesterday at lunch. My sister has this technique where, if my niece is misbehaving, she tells her “If you don’t start doing what you are told/stop being rude/whatever the misbehaviour is, we will take away your gum/toy/trip to the park/whatever thing she really wants for one week.” And that works pretty well, because she learns that there are consequences to her actions and that she has a choice: behave properly, or lose out on something you like. So we are at a restaurant for lunch yesterday and the waiter gives Madeline a lollipop. But we are on our way home for naptime, so my sister says that she can have the lollipop after her nap, not before. And M is like, “But I can ride my bike holding on with one hand and lick my lollipop with the other hand” (clearly not appreciating that the issue here is the sugar before naptime). So Nancy says “no” to that and Madeline gets very serious and says, “Mommy, you are NOT listening to my good idea. If you don’t listen to my good idea, I will take NO naps for one week.” Oooh, that kid is a troublemaker! And very, very clever!

1Infinite Jest, which I’m still reading but getting very, very close to finishing. For reals.
2Because every restaurant in this airport appears to have the yucky kind of veggie burger. And I already bought a veggie sandwich from Tim Horton’s to eat on the plane, so I didn’t want to have two of those in one day.
3A pair of socks, a wallet my mom gave me, the diet Pepsi I meant to bring to drink in the cab on the way to the airport, and, most distressingly, my phone charger4
4I can charge it up using my USB synching cable, but it’s mch slower than the real charger

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 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!

No, I don’t have plans to cut my hair. Nor to stop being a girl. That’s a quotation from my wee niece. My sister asked her if she wanted to get her hair cut and Madeline said, “No, I want to have long hair like you, Mommy.” And when my sister said, “Well, I’m thinking of cutting my hair,” M paused and said, “If I cut my hair, will I still be a girl?” I swear, I used to think stories about kids saying stuff like that were made up.

Only 11 more days ’til I get to go see my niece!  Decided it was time for an impromptu trip to see the fam and work on a top secret project with my sis.  Other plans including seeing some friends, seeing the parental units and having as many dinners as possible in the park.

{May 18, 2008}  

Wrote this last night, but then the crappy hotel wifi wigged out, so I couldn’t post it. So here it is now:

Hey y’all.

Just wanted to let ya know that I have not, in fact, died. I’ve just been in Kelowna. As you may recall, my hockey team qualified for provincials in Kelowna. So, ya, that’s where I am. And, despite the fact that our team name is the “Blazing Blades,” we are listed on the schedule as the “Blazing Bisons.” ‘Cuz that makes sense.

Why do we always go to places with 30+ degree weather to play hockey? ‘Cuz that’s the way we roll.

I’d love to tell you the scores of our games so far but you know what they say, “What happens in Kelowna, stays in Kelowna.” (I’m sure someone says that.) Suffice it to say, we’ve come in second in both our games.

Other highlights of the trip so far include:

  • a $10 block of 3 -year-old cheese
  • a very long cucumber
  • conversations about gay porn

et cetera