Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{January 9, 2009}   Ouch

I slipped on an icy sidewalk on the way to work this morning:IMG_4488 by you.

What makes it even worse was that I *just* bought those nylons!  And they weren’t cheap!  Fortunately, they were thigh highs, so I only have to replace one leg and not throw out the whole pair.  And now my left knee can have a nice scar to match my right knee. Besides, it definitely could have been worse – one of my co-workers slipped on the ice in the parking lot on the way into work this morning and broke her ankle!

Also, in the interest of full disclosure,  I would like to point out that even though I scraped the hell out of my knee, I did manage to not spill my coffee.  One my keep their priorities straight.

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{January 8, 2009}   Movie Review: The Unborn

Kalev won free tickets1 to a sneak preview of The Unborn tonight and he took lil’ ole’ me.

Kalev’s review of the movie:

“The best horror movie I’ve seen this year!”

-Kalev, Jan 8, 2009

1Then I won free tickets and then he won more free tickets. So, clearly we were destined to see this movie.



{January 8, 2009}   I will not procrastinate

I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.

So. Very. Tired.



People who haven’t shoveled the snow from the sidewalk in front of your houses: I hate you, I hate you, you suck, I hate you.

I actually saw a little old lady virtually disappear into a snow bank getting off the bus last night.  The bus driver had to get off the bus and fish her out of the snow bank.  True story.

Dude who was shoveling my street when I got home from work: You rock.

Seriously. Dude was shoveling the street, by hand. Because Vancouver doesn’t plow side streets. Ever. Even when we get 3 ft of snow.  They assume that it will just rain and wash away the snow.  Even when we get 3 ft of snow and sub-zero temperatures for weeks and so the snow just sits there and sits there and traps unsuspecting drivers who try to drive on side streets.  Yesterday, in a mere two block span on my way from the office to catch the bus, I saw FOUR cars stuck in the snow. FOUR!

Mercifully, it is now raining and hopefully this means the snow will melt away and we can have our beautiful rainy Vancouver back.

Rain: I’ve missed you. Welcome home!



{January 6, 2009}  

From the T-Shirt Hell.com e-newsletter that was sent out yesterday:

As you may know, T-Shirt Hell opened a sister site called Torsopants last year, that was basically a clothing company geared towards retards and undesirables. Well, Torsopants closed its doors on Dec 23rd and most people didn’t care.

But there were 2 people that were upset (Beth and Steve)…and because EVERY LOSER IN THE WORLD matters to us here at T-Shirt Hell, we’ve decided to bring Torsopants back! That’s right, each week, along with our regular new shirts, we will be adding new Torsopants as well, which will be located in their own section on the site. [emphasis mine]

Um, ya. So I was pretty sure that “Beth” was referring to me.  Because I *did* blog about how upset I was over the demise of Torsopants.  And if you Google Torsopants, I am the sixth hit.  And then I thought that maybe it was just my rampant narcissism kicking in, but then Chris tweeted @ me that he thought that was me, so I’m pretty sure that must be me, right?

So, yeah. T-shirt Hell noticed me.

I am not a loser.



{January 5, 2009}   Overheard On The Bus

So I’m on the bus yesterday and some guy is yammering really loudly to his friend. Like, so loud that I can hear him despite the fact that I had my iPod turned all the way up in an attempt to drown out the horrible singing of this other women on the bus. So I turn off my iPod to see what is so important that this guy felt the need to proclaim it for all the bus to hear.  And you know what he was saying?  He was saying, “I can’t believe how inconsiderate people are talking really loudly on their cell phones on the bus!  Do they not realize how inconsiderate this is?  Do they really think that everyone on the bus wants to hear their conversation?  I think we should make it unacceptable to do this in society. We could be prejudiced against this behaviour. Maybe we could give them tickets for talking too loudly on their cell phones.”  And he went on like this for like five minutes. Seriously.



Wow, I’ve been a total slacker in writing entries on my BC Premiers series lately.  I haven’t actually written one in more than a month.  I blame the economy. And the prorogation of Parliament.

Anyway, I’m back.  And I’m back with the eleventh Premier of the province of British Columbia – Charles Augustus Semlin.

Charles Semlin.png Name Charles Augustus Semlin
Born: 4 December 1836 near Barrie, Upper Canada
Died: 2 November 1927 in Cache Creek, British Columbia
Party: none
Held Office: 15 August 1898  – 27 February 1900.
  • had a lot of different types of jobs:
    • quit his job as a school teacher in Barrie, Upper Canada to try his hand a prospecting in the gold rush, but, not being very good at it, he became a packer (like, he carried other people’s stuff for them), followed by managing a roadhouse and ranch
    • I guess he liked running a roadhouse, ‘cuz then he bought one (1865)
    • But I guess he liked being a rancher more, ‘cuz then he traded the roadhouse for a ranch (1870)
    • in addition to ranching, he was the first postmaster in Cache Creek, became a school board member, became an MLA and got Cache Creek a school, which turned out to be controversial and closed in 1890; but then he became a school trustee for the school district created in the region after the school he got started was shut
  • he doesnt’ seem to have been a very good politician:
    • his entry to provincial politics in 1871 was kind of messed up: he was tied for third in a three-member riding, so the returning officer put their names in a hat, drew Semlin’s name and declared him the third MLA for the riding. Awesome.
    • he ran unsuccessfully in the next two elections (1875 and 1878), but then won his seat back in 1882 and retained it for the next four elections (1886, 1890, 1894, and 1898)
    • 1894: became leader of the opposition after the election of 1894, although he was widely recognized as being rather meh as a leader. Yes, meh is a word.
    • 1898: Premier Turner failed to win a clear majority, so Lieutenant Governor Thomas Robert McInnes kicked out Turner and asked Beaven to form a government. Sure Beaven didn’t even win his own friggin’ seat, but this didnt’ appear to matter to McInnes.  Not-so-surprisingly, Beaven couldn’t get enough support to form a government (did I mention that he didn’t even win a seat?), so McInnes asked Semlin, being the ineffectual leader of the opposition from the last government, if he could form a government.  And Semlin did, so then he was the Premier. Some other dudes were trying to put together a provincial Liberal party (remember, they still didn’t have political parties at this point), but they didn’t have it together yet and so weren’t asked to form the government.
    • Semlin was, did I mention, a pretty meh leader and that, combined with infighting within his Cabinet and Semlin’s attempts to initiate a bunch of reforms (people hate that) meant for a short lived (18 month) premiership for Semlin.
    • A speech given by his Attorney General, Joseph Martin, ended in a brawl that had to be broken up by the cops and Semlin demanded Martin’s resignation. So Martin was pissed at Semlin and joined the opposition.  This resulted in Semlin receiving a vote of non-confidence, but asked Lieutenant Governor McInnes for a some time to prove he could regain the confidence of the house, which he did by getting some opposition ministers to to join him. But the McInnes, who apparently liked doing weird things, ignored Semlin’s newfound confidence and asked Martin to form a government.  Which pissed off the MLAs, so they voted Martin out in no-confidence.  So, basically, it was a really big shit show. So they had an election in 1900 (in which Semlin didn’t run) and, when the dust cleared, Dunsmuir became the next Premier.
    • Semlin won a by-election in 1903, but then didn’t run in the 1903 general election. Then ran and lost in 1907.
  • And now a tidbit about his personal life:
    • Although he didn’t marry, he raised a daughter, ironically named Mary.  Her mother, according to the 1881 census, was a First Nations woman named Caroline Williams, who lived with Semlin and used the last name Semlin, but was not married to him.

In summary, he had a lot of jobs, he was a meh politician and his daughter was a bastard.

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

Wikipedia, the reference that has a grand total of seven sentences about Charles August Semlin.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online



Before my trip, I was having discussions about the appropriate number of shoes to take with me.  The general consensus among my friends was that you don’t really need that many shoes for a week long trip.

I disagree.  For the record, I took seven pairs of shoes:

And I wore every single pair at least once.  So there! =P



Yesterday, Airdrie posted her answers to interview questions given to her by Keira-Anne, who had posted her answers to interview questions given to her… well, you get the idea.  Anyhoo, I took Airdrie up on her offer to interview people.  Here are her questions and my answers:

1.  What are five of your favourite movies?

Fight Club definitely ranks up there with one of my fav movies, as does the Matrix.  I saw both of those when they first came out before there was a huge amount of hype about them (especially Fight Club, I don’t think I’d even heard of Fight Club and we just ended up seeing it because we wanted to see a movie and nothing else playing that day looked any good).  Fight Club was so well written, well acted, well directed and it was unlike any other movie I’d seen.  Similarly, the Matrix was unlike anything I’d ever seen before – the special effects, which were created because they were actually needed for the plot and not just because they looked cool, totally blew me away.  But the thing that really clinches it for me with both those movies is that not only were they very entertaining in their own right, they both had really insightful social commentaries to make.

American Beauty is another one of my favourites – like Fight Club & the Matrix, it had a compelling story, amazing direction and thoughtful social commentary to make.

I don’t think I ever laughed as hard at a movie as I did when I saw South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut in the theatre, so that has to be on the list.  I remember sitting in the theatre watching the South Park kids sitting in the theatre watching Terrance and Phillip sing, “Shut Your Fucking Face, Uncle Fucker.” We all sat their in our seats in the theatre, stunned, thinking, “Oh my god, did they really just *say* that?” while, on the screen, the South Park kids sat in their seats in the theatre saying, “Oh my god, did they really just *say* that?”  I heart self reflexivity.

Interestingly, all four of those movies were released in 1999. Best year for movies EVAR!

For my fifth movie, I’m going with Zoolander.  As evidenced by the inclusion of the South Park movie on my list, I like stupid humour.  Usually stupid humour is only funny the first time around, but Zoolander, for some reason, stays funny no matter how many times you watch it.  And I’ve watched Zoolander many, many times and it’s just as funny the 20th time as it was the first time.  Or maybe I like it because I’m really, really, ridiculously good looking.

2.  You are mailed a box with $10K cash inside, and a note that says “Pay It Forward!”  What do you do?

I would use it to pay off some of my friend Z’s student loan.  Z did her Ph.D. along with me and, like me, accumulated a significant student debt. Unlike me, she did her Ph.D. while raising two kids on her own.  She’s very bright and very dedicated and she’s one of the hardest workers I know.  Even though she now has a great job that she loves, one doesn’t go into academics for the money and I’m sure that $10K coming off her student loan debt would be a welcome relief.

Damn, now I wish I actually had $10K to pay forward!

3. What was the hardest thing about your teenage years? The best thing?

Me, all dressed up for the high school semi-formal dance.

Me, all dressed up for the high school semi-formal dance.

I think the hardest thing about my teenage years was the crappy jobs I worked.  I knew that university was going to be expensive, so I had one (sometimes two) jobs throughout my teen years (actually, starting with my paper route at about age 8, I’ve always had at least one job!).  The worst of the worst was working in the brake part factory where my dad worked the summer that I was 19.  I worked midnights (which sucked) on a 400 degree oven that cooks the brake parts in the heat and humidity of a southern Ontario summer (which really, really sucked).  Oh yeah, and the material used to make the brake parts contained absestos.

The best part… hmm… I guess the best part was hanging out with my friends.

Erin, me (dressed for my role as Miss Casewell), Sarah (dressed for her role as Mollie Ralston), Darren.

From a high school performance of "The Mousetrap." From left to right: Erin, me (dressed for my role as Miss Casewell), Sarah (dressed for her role as Mollie Ralston), Darren.

Despite having jobs and a volunteer position, I didn’t spend very much time during my teenage years doing homework, so had a fair bit of time to hang out with friends.  Mostly at Tim Horton’s (there really wasn’t a lot to do in the town I grew up in).  The semester I had all the same classes as my friend Sarah – that was good times.  Or when Sarah & I used to sign ourselves out of class, claiming we were working on the “gifted” program conference (in later years, we’d sign out younger students too). Or the time I packed the entire cast of our high school version of “The Mousetrap” into my parents’ Jeep to go watch a performance of “The Mousetrap” in Toronto.  Or the time I packed about a dozen people into my parent’s Jeep in front of my friend’s dad, who was a *cop*, to go to McDonald’s.  Yeah, so I guess the best thing in my teenage years was packing way too many people into my parents’ Jeep.

4.  What makes you sad?

Lots of things make me sad:  My Granny passing away.  Seeing how sad my niece was when my family dropped me off at the airport at the end of my recent trip to visit them (I miss her a lot!).  Seeing my friends or family in pain.  The song “Hate Me” by Blue October.  The thought that I may never pay off my enormous student loans.

Fortunately, many things make me happy too!

5.  Tell us about the last time you had an adventure.

Hmmm, define adventure. 

Getting home from Mexico was a bit of an adventure.  The 12 Bars of Christmas is always an adventure.  Surfing in Tofino in Januar was definitely an adventure, but that was almost two years ago now!

Damn, I really need more adventure in my life!

And now it’s time to meme:

Want to get in on the fun? You can be a part of it by following a few simple steps…
Send me an e-mail with the subject line “Interview Me”
I’ll respond within 24-ish hours with 5 questions directed to you (I promise to try and be unique)
Answer the questions on your blog (or Facebook or MySpace) and link back to this original post
Invite others to participate by re-posting these steps

Also, email me if you any good ideas for an adventure!

Image credits:



{January 1, 2009}   This Freaks Me Out

Having just gotten back from Cabos, this totally freaks me out:

Two Vancouverites shot in Cabo San Lucas



{December 31, 2008}   2008 – My Year in Review

Wow, it’s the last day of 2008. How did that happen?  Seems like only yesterday that it was New Year’s 2008 and now New Year’s 2009 is upon us!

So, in a blog posting that fits perfectly into my “rampant narcissism” category, I give you my personal 2008 summary:

The Good

  • I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress
  • I got to hear Gloria Steinem speak
  • Got laser eye surgery
  • I saw Madonna in concert
  • I saw Chris Rock live
  • I taught two courses at UBC (Nutritional Assessment & Topics in Food, Nutrition & Health)
  • I got hired to teach another UBC course (Research Methods) and my first SFU course (Human Anatomy) for the upcoming term
  • Tod got the greatest cat EVER1.

The Bad

The Ugly

Travels

Accomplishments

Books Read3

  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
  • The Pleasure’s All Mine by Joan Kelly
  • What to Eat by Marion Nestle
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  • The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
  • Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn (just started)
  • Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
  • Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind The Pay Gap-And What Women Can Do About It by Warren Farrell

Textbooks

  • Principles of Nutrition Assessment by Rosalind Gibson
  • Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches by John W. Cresswell
  • Best Practices for Teaching Statistics and Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences, edited by Dana S. Dunn, Randolph A. Smith, Bernard C. Beins
  • Philosophy And The Sciences of Exercise, Health And Sport: Critical Perspectives On Research Methods, edited by Mike McNamee
  • Brain-based Teaching For All Subjects: Patterns To Promote Learning by Madlon T. Laster. (only a bit, because it turned out to be about elementary school teaching, whereas I was expecting it to be about university teaching)
  • Conducting & Reading Research in Health & Human Performance by Baumgartner & Hensley (only partway through)

Misc

And what year in review blog posting would be complete without some nerd stats:

Nerd Stats 2008:

  • Blog postings: 423
  • Tweets: 2,2274
  • Visits to my blog in 2008: 32,4104
  • Average number of blog visits per day: 934
  • Most popular blog posting: Hockey Hotties (1062 views)
  • Busiest day on my blog: Friday, September 26, 2008 (460 views, thanks to the Hockey Hotties posting)
  • My first guest posting on a blog as a correspondent for Miss604 at BlogHer

1OK, I realize that *I* didn’t get the cat and this is supposed to be *my* personal summary. But he’s the best freaking cat ever and he’s sitting on my lap as I write this, so it counts.
2A “letter of intent” (LOI) is an application to be allowed to submit an application. Anyone can submit an LOI, but only the people whose LOIs get accepted are allowed to submit the full application.
3I’m sure I’ve read more than this and am just forgetting some of them. This list is based on ones (a) I can actually remember without prompting, (b) appeared on my blog and so I saw them when I went through my blog to write this year in review, and (c) I still have out of the library, so I saw them when I checked what books I have out of the library.
4At the time of writing this blog posting.



Miss604 is having her last contest of 2008 and this blog posting is my entry.  Supporting Canada Helps, a site that facilitates online charitable donations, the prize for this contest is one of two $25 e-gift cards that can be donated to the charity of your choice.  The contest requires that you write a blog posting about a charity that is close to your heart.  This is surprisingly difficult, as there are so many good charities out there.  But I’ve decided that the charity I would donate my $25 e-gift card to, should I win the contest, is the Pivot Legal Society.

Pivot Legal Society is a non-profit legal advocacy organization located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Pivot’s mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins.

We believe that everyone, regardless of income, benefits from a healthy and inclusive community where values such as opportunity, respect and equality are strongly rooted in the law. (From the Pivot website)

Pivot has been/is involved in a number of important issues, including addictions (including supporting the supervised injection site in Vancouver), homelessness, child welfare, policing, and sex workers rights.  I’ve had the opporutnity to meet with some amazing women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (and I have a number of inspiring colleagues who have done a great deal of work in the DTES) and I know that Pivot is doing really important work.



And now the conclusion of our harrowing tale of trying to fly on US Airways.  When we last left the story, our heroine and hero had spent SEVEN hours waiting in the San Jose del Cabos airport, been flown to Tuscon to walk through Immigration/Customs only to find out their luggage had been lost, then flown to Phoenix where they were put up in a hotel and given coupons for a horrible, horrible breakfast.

So.  Comparatively speaking, our flight from Phoenix to Vancouver was not nearly as bad, but still involved the following screw ups:

  • The pilot went to the wrong gate. Seriously. We were originally supposed to be at Gate B28 and then they announced that it was changed to Gate A23, so everyone started to walk over to the new gate. But then the person on the PA system said, “Wait. The pilot appears to have gone to Gate B23 instead of A23, so we’ll just have your flight to Vancouver board there.”  The fact that the pilot can’t even go to the correct gate does not give me confidence in the competence of this airline.  Not that I had much confidence left in them at this point.
  • Yet another maintenance “issue.” We were delayed an hour at the gate because, apparently, the maintenance people didn’t fill out the paperwork correctly.  The pilot announced, in a very annoyed tone of voice, “Maintenance has to come on the plane to straighten out some paperwork.  The TSA is really picky about having paperwork filled out correctly.” Oh yeah, those darn safety people wanting you take the safety seriously, how dare they?  I also find it rather suspect that it took them an hour to “straighten out the paperwork.” An hour? Really? Again, this did not fill me with confidence.
  • They didn’t have anyone at the lost baggage desk at YVR. They had lost baggage there – plenty of it.  Just sitting out in the open where anyone could have walked away with it.  We waited for 20 minutes for someone to show up.  We called their support line and the person we got on the phone tried calling someone to figure out why no one was at the desk, and then claimed that they couldn’t make any outgoing calls when we suggested that they get the airport to page the missing lost baggage person (you may recall from earlier in this sentence, they had already made an outgoing call).
  • They left forms with people’s confidential information on it sitting right out on the desk for anyone to see. Seriously. I saw six forms with people’s names, home addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, flight information, signatures and the approximate value of the contents of their lost luggage1. Eventually, someone showed up at the American Airlines desk next to the US Airways one and, after repeatedly telling us “I don’t work for US Airways. I don’t know what the other airlines do,” looked behind the counter and found our luggage, which apparently had been put on an earlier flight to Vancouver than us.  The person from American Airlines refused to put the forms with people’s confidential information out of sight, despite the fact that I asked her to do so very nicely three times, again with the “I don’t know what the other airlines do” line. Like, seriously, would it have been that hard to take the forms and put them under the desk?  At that point, I gave up on the whole thing and we left the airport, finally home in our beloved Vancouver.

So, to recap, here is a list of all the ways that US Airways screwed up on one trip:

  • FOUR planes with “maintenance issues,” including two that were unfit to fly altogether
  • a total of ELEVEN hours of delay2 (not counting the two hours delay waiting to leave Vancouver, which was due to weather (i.e., the need to wait for the de-icer), which is not their fault; and also not counting an overnight stay in Phoenix, which was their fault3)
  • They lost our luggage
  • They don’t have a person at their lost luggage desk
  • When luggage does eventually arrive at its final destination, they leave it out in the open where anyone could steal it
  • They left several people’s confidential information out in the open, also available for stealing

Additional things that suck about US Airways:

  • They charge you if you have ANY checked bags.
  • They charge you for a can of pop or a bottle of water on the plane.
  • They don’t have any food at all on their plane. Not even the over-priced crappy sandwiches or bags of chips that other airlines carry.

In conclusion, I will never, ever fly US Airways again and you shouldn’t either.  I feel lucky to have arrived home alive after that trip, quite frankly.

1In fairness, this desk was also for a few other airlines and there were forms from people who flew on Air Transat & Continental sitting on the desk as well. So whoever had been at that desk for all those airlines totally sucks. And I bet it was a US Airways employee.
2One hour of them fixing our plane in Phoenix, waiting to go to Cabos; seven hours waiting for our plane in Cabos as they had to replace two non-functional planes in a row; about a two hour detour to Tucson because our flight was so late that we couldn’t clear Immigration in Phoenix; one hour of them “straightening up the paperwork” waiting to leave Phoenix to get to Vancouver; plus having to stay overnight in Phoenix
3Ironically, the only flight segment of our entire journey that didn’t have a delay was our originally scheduled Phoenix to Vancouver flight, which we missed because we were still in Cabos. It left Phoenix right on time.



{December 29, 2008}   OMGIhateUSAirways!

So. I’m in friggin’ Phoenix.

After waiting for SEVEN hours in the San Jose del Cabo airport, we *finally* got a flight to Phoenix. Most people on the flight had bailed by this point, with only 17 passengers remaining to take the flight. This was an Airbus A320 plane, which seats 179 passangers, and it had been full. Until we had to wait SEVEN hours.

By this point,we were kind of starving. Because, of course, everything in the airport had closed down. And we asked the flight attendant what there was on the plane that we could buy and she said, “Oh, we don’t carry any food.” (US Airways, by the way, sucks.) Um, what? No food on the plane? I remember from the flight down to Cabos that you have to pay for your lousy can of pop (did I mention that US Airways sucks?), but you can’t even buy food on their plane? wtf? Then we asked what kind of mechanical problems they had that had delayed us for SEVEN hours and the flight attendants said, “Which one?” Apparently there were two non-functional planes (the first one wouldn’t pressurize, the second had some door locking problem) before they got this third, functional plane. So, counting the mechanical problem on the way from Phoenix to Cabos (which caused a few hours delay), that’s THREE major maintenance issues in one trip. Somehow,this does not give me confidence in their ability to maintain their planes.

The next ridiculous thing to happen was that they announced that we had to fly to Tucson to clear customs before we could go to Phoenix. Wait, what? Apparently, our flight was so late that the Phoenix customs people had all gone home. So we had to go to Tucson (which has 24 hour customs), get off the plane with all our luggage, clear customs, go back through security, get back on the plane and fly to Phoenix. No, really. And then we get to Tuscon and find that they have lost our luggage. Lost. Our. Luggage. They had SEVEN hours to get our luggage on that plane. SEVEN! (Did I mention that US Airways is the suckiest airline ever? Did I?) I have never, in my entire life, had my luggage lost. I was starting to think that lost luggage was just a myth. But no, US Airways lost our luggage. Way to go, US Airways!

Once we got to Phoenix, they put us up in a hotel (14 of the 17 people from our flight were on the shuttle to the hotel) and gave us little coupons for their horrible hotel breakfast buffet. And I’m not even making this up, the coupon said it was for an airline “distressed” passenger breakfast.

OK, I’ll have to continue this story later, as I need to go board my plane. Keep your fingers crossed for us to actually make it home before 2009!



{December 28, 2008}   Mi Navidad Mexicana

My Christmas vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico went a little something like this:

10:45 a.m. Wake up1.
10:55 a.m. Arrive at breakfast buffet restaurant.  Acquire coffee, refried beans, papaya and pineapple. Big decision of the day #1: French toast, omelette or fried eggs.
11:30 a.m. Grab beach towels. Apply sunscreen. Order non-stop delivery of Coca-Cola Light2 with a slice of lime from poolside server.
11:35a.m. Lay in sun. Alternate between reading, chatting with people and swimming. Reapply sunscreen as needed.
2:00 p.m. Have lunch, where lunch = french fries, onion rings, nachos with fresh guac and salsa.  And Coca-Cola Light.
2:30 p.m. Tod’s naptime. Big decision of the day #2: Decide between having a nap, reading, or going for a walk on the beach.
5:00 p.m. Nap (if not already napping)
6:30 p.m. Shower.  Dress up pretty.
8:00 p.m. Big decision of the day #3: where to have dinner.
10:30 p.m. Go to the disco, possibly followed by hot tub.
2:00 a.m. Order sandwiches from room service.
2:45 a.m. Re-order sandwich because they put bacon on my vegetarian sandwich.
3:15 a.m. Sleep.

Repeat for six days.

Seriously, I could get used to a life like that.

Highlights of the trip:

  • Los Cabos is gorgeous. Gorgeous!
  • The people we met were very friendly. Friendly!
  • Being a Vancouverite, I’m not used to sunshine, especially not in December.  Los Cabos was sunshine-y almost the entire time.
  • In Los Cabos, I didn’t have to think about work at all.
  • Standing on the beach, listening to the waves break3 and feeling myself sink into the sand as the waves rolled in and then back out.
  • 3 a.m. room service sandwiches. So. Tasty.

Lowlights of the trip:

  • Apparently, I’m the first vegetarian to ever set foot in Mexico.  To the point that on Christmas Eve, I was told that they couldn’t make me anything for dinner. After talking with one of the guest services peeps (who said, “Oh, would you like them to make you something special?” to which I replied, “No4, I just want something vegetarian!”) they agreed to make me… a salad. Because, you know, us freaks only ever eat salad. And who wouldn’t want a salad for Christmas dinner? In the end, I  managed to convince them to give me both the salad and a turkey dinner, hold the turkey.
  • Sitting in the San Jose del Cabos airport writing this blog posting. Our flight was supposed to have left 5:30 p.m. and it’s now, as I type this, 8:30 p.m.  The plane we were supposed to be on hadn’t even left Phoenix by 5:30 p.m. And apparently they can’t get us any other plane. And so now we are scheduled to leave here at 9:20 p.m. Which is going to make it rather difficult to make our 8:59 p.m. connection from Phoenix to Vancouver. So. Looks like I’ll be staying either in Phoenix (given that the 8:59 p.m. is the last Phoenix to Vancouver flight of the day) or here in Cabos5 (if this stupid plane decides never to arrive).

Books Read on This Trip:

  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (start to finish)6
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks (about one-third of the book)
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn (about half a page)
  • Research Design by Creswell (the chapters I hadn’t yet read) and Conducting & Reading Research in Health & Human Performance by Baumgartner & Hensley (bits and pieces – since I’ve been stuck in this airport)

Things I Learned On My Trip:

  • Spray on sunscreen, which starts out invisible, turns green. The towel you lay on while wearing said sunscreen will look like it has grass stains on it.
  • Coffee whitener is highly flammable7.
  • Broken bones don’t hurt until you move them8.
  • Los Cabos airport appears to be a tent.

1Important, as they stop serving breakfast at 11 a.m.
2Which is what they call Diet Coke in Mexico. I didn’t see diet Pepsi anywhere.
3Of course, being a Vancouverite, I can easily get to the ocean. This was a reminder that I should make a point of doing so more often.
4Seriously. I’m not asking for the moon here. I’m like, “just give me the veggies from the turkey dinner, hold the turkey!”
5Kicking myself for joking in my last blog posting about deciding to stay in Mexico. Staying sounded nice, but not if it means staying in the airport!
6Thanks to Sarah & Dave, who gave this to me for Christmas.
7Didn’t actually have the opportunity to see this in action, but we were assured that it is true.
8Didn’t learn this firsthand, but one of the people we were hanging out with broken his toe playing beach volleyball. I was sure it was just dislocated, given that it didn’t hurt and bones have lots of nerves in them. But when the doctor showed up, he said it was broken (as he was able to move the joints normally, meaning the joints couldn’t be dislocated) and that it didn’t hurt because it wasn’t moving.



et cetera