Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{April 30, 2008}   Tweet 800

Yesterday I hit my 800th Tweet. In commemoration of this momentous occasion, and because I am putting all my mad writing skillz into writing this big ole report from my recent work in Yellowknife and thus have none left for blogging so I decided to steal my previous writing from Twitterland, and besides, everyone loves a list, don’t they?, I give you a list of my favourite Tweets:

  • Nutrition pop quiz: What would be worse for me to get for a lunch: a Tim Horton’s cheese scone or a Häagen Daaz ice cream bar?
  • Had a meeting this morning, followed by a post-meeting debrief meeting. Now, to change things up a bit, I’m going to go run a meeting.
  • Rest in peace, green pen I was using to mark exams. You will be missed.
  • Just knocked half a cup of coffee onto the floor, on top of a pile of papers. Awesome.
  • Summarizing a 500 page Senate report. You know you are jealous.
  • Parts of me that hurt: groin injury, neck, left triceps.
  • My amount-of-work-to-do to motivation-to-do-work ratio is waaay out of whack.
  • Flickr search for photos to use in my nutrition lecture reveals a surprising number of cats are named “Scurvy”
  • Best line from the meeting I was at tonight: If there’s one thing that this group needs to do, it’s… something.
  • @touchyoulast When is the movie marathon? What movies are you watching? Crimetime? Crimetime? Have you thought about watching Crimetime?
  • Not enough hours in the day. And my thigh highs are being less than cooperative.
  • I dropped my earring in my coffee this morning. And my very first thought was “I need to Twitter this.”
  • The Canucks *finally* listened to my advice to use a Sedin in the shootout. And by “advice,” I mean “yelling at the radio.”
  • Drowning Canuck-related sorrows with chocolate chip cookie dough.
  • Feeling pressure to Twitter something now that I’ve joined. I have Twitter block!

In an attempt to prove that I’m only partially, and not completed, ego-centric, here are the three Tweets written by other people that I’ve favourited:

  • touchyoulast Currently taking care of business. Every day, every way, it’s all mine, and working overtime. Also: work out.
  • todmaffin BREAKING: Parliament recommends funding increase for CBC. In related news, pigs have been reported flying and a cold snap in hell begins.
  • audihertz Aww… Adam Foote hurt his arme

Also, I just wanted to show y’all that I have 69 followers. Tee hee… 69.


{April 22, 2008}   Happy Earth Day… sort of

I went to Starbucks at lunchtime for a wee bit o’caffeine to get me through the afternoon and when I handed over my travel mug and asked for an Americano, the dude¹ said, “But it’s Earth Day. You get a free drip coffee.” My response, “But… [long pause]… I don’t like your coffee.” The long pause was because I was trying to decide if it would be too offensive to say “Your coffee tastes like you burnt the coffee beans in the seventh level of Hell for a few millennia before you brewed the coffee. I would rather eat poison than drink your coffee.” And so I got, and paid for, an Americano in my travel mug.

Anyway. If you like the taste of burning, go to Starbucks with a travel mug today and you’ll (probably) get a free coffee. A free coffee that you’ll sweeten with tiny packets of sugar or sweetener (since they don’t have a bowl of sugar) and then stir with a disposable wooden stir stick (since they don’t have reusable spoons for stirring) throwing out the packets and stir stick into a plastic garbage bag.

Also, for every Starbucks card you buy today, they’ll donate 5 cents to some eco-charity. Every plastic Starbucks card.

I mean, I’m totally down with raising awareness and having people use travel mugs and such, but I think, for the most part, “green” and “earth” are just marketing buzz words to many people.

¹I can’t bear to call them “baristas.” I’ve only just recently been able to order by saying “tall/grande/venti” instead of the proper words: “small/medium/large.”

{April 12, 2008}   Ramblings about Coffee

As I grew up in Ontario, and even spent a few years in Hamilton, home of the original Tim Horton‘s store and more Tim Horton’s per capita than anywhere else¹, I have a special place in my heart for Timmy’s. Many a high school class was skipped so that my friends and I could hang out in one of the local Timmy’s, of which there were several nearby, with Sarah inevitably spilling her double-double down her white Catholic school² uniform blouse.

But now that I’m a Vancouverite, having spent the last 7+ years deep in the heart of Starbucks-land, where there are also wonderful independent coffee shops in every store that isn’t a Starbucks or a sushi joint, I’ve finally come to admit the truth. As hard as it is for me to say this… Tim Horton’s coffee just doesn’t taste that good. Heresy, I know, but it’s true. I still purchase, and enjoy, a Timmy’s coffee now and again, especially on my way to play hockey, but I know that I enjoy the nostalgia of it, not the flavour. Now, that’s not to say that I like Starbucks coffee, because I don’t. It tastes like someone burnt the coffee beans in the seventh level of Hell for a few millennia before they brewed the coffee. But an Americano³ from Starbucks with a little bit of vanilla sugar in it sure tastes better than a cup of Timmy Ho’s. Even better, though, is a coffee from Beantown Coffee House on Dunbar, poured with a smile by the owner, Jeff, who always remembers that I get my breakfast bagel with no meat or mayo, or a cup of the fair-trade organic Bolivian Cafe La Paz that I buy, on sale4, from Stong’s and brew at home myself.

OK, wait, now I don’t even remember where I was going with this. Oh yes, I went to get some breakfast this morning and picked up an Americano at Starbucks, only to discover that they were out of their veggie breakfast eggwiches, so I had to go across the road to get a Timmy’s breakfast bagel. Here’s a comparison of what it cost:

  • Starbucks Americano: $2.15
  • Timmy’s Breakfast Bagel, no meat: $2.09

So my *meal* at Timmy’s cost less than my *drink* at Starbucks. And I got one of the cheaper coffees – not a $5+ venti, extra-hot, half-sweet, non-fat soy, caramel vanilla honey, easy foam, double caffeinated, extra shot, mochacino macchiato with whip.

In conclusion, I’d like to share with you this photo that I took at one of the Starbucks on campus yesterday. Pot Doughnuts. Only in Vancouver.

¹Anyone who has ever lived, worked and/or gone to school in Hamilton, Ontario is required, by law, to know and tell anyone and everyone that will listen, this ever important fact.
²Yeah, I went to a Catholic school. Kind of hard to believe, eh?
³Which is, in truth, just watered down espresso in what I’m sure is a European joke on the weakness of American coffee.
4And it’s *always* on sale. I’ve been buying it for over a year now and have never seen it being sold for the regular price.

{February 3, 2008}   What’s Up With Receipts?

Why does the default on cash registers seem to be “print receipt,” even though most people don’t want one?

Cash registers everywhere I go seem to just automatically spit out a receipt.  I see it when I buy something at the caf at work or at the Tim Horton’s or the Starbucks or… well, you get the picture.  In fact, at the caf, the cashiers automatically assume that you don’t want one and so they just grab the receipt from the machine and throw it a big pile unwanted receipts without even offering it to you.  If they know that most people don’t want them, why not set the machine up so that it won’t print receipts automatically and only print them when the customer asks for one?

What set me off on this rant today was this receipt from Blenz.  This receipt isn’t even a real receipt in the proof-of-purchase sense of the word.  This is a receipt that just lists what you bought.  Because, you know, it takes about 2 minutes to make that steamed vanilla milk and in that 2 minutes, you might forget what you ordered.  So when they put the steamed vanilla milk up on the bar and say “steamed vanilla milk,” you’ll be able to look down at that receipt and know it’s yours and not someone else’s.  Except THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE IN THE STORE!

Perhaps they think we have too many pesky trees here in Canada and this seems like a good way to thin out the forests?

{November 29, 2007}  

I hate numbers. I hate crunching numbers. I hate writing reports, with minuscule page limits for the actual report and multitudinous pages of appendices, to be submitted in triplicate.

I am SO glad that I have vacation days next week! You have NO IDEA how excited I am about that.

Also, I don’t care what my waistline says, I need a mocha. NEED!

So, I get into work this morning and the hallway is abuzz with the fact that our computers aren’t working. No email. No Internet access. No access to the one drive where everyone in our Centre saves all of our files. Nothing.

Two and a half hours later, when they finally got around to fixing the problem, I find this email in my inbox:

From: IT Services


Who is affected? All XXXXX clients across all XXXXX agencies.

What has happened? A power disruption occurred sometime this morning in one of the server rooms at XXXXX.

What is affected? Access to Outlook email servers may be intermittent.

However, the following applications are currently unavailable: X, Y and Z.

Other applications may be affected. XXXXX IT is currently in the process of identifying which applications are affected and will provide a further update as soon as more information is available.

You just emailed me to tell me that my email isn’t working? Seriously??

So, without access to the Internet, email or any of my computer files, I did the only thing I could. File all the paper that’s been piling up all over my office since the last time the computers weren’t working.

This computer outage lasted so long, however, that not only did I file everything, I also wiped down all the coffee spills on my desk (of which there were many) and took apart my keyboard to get the crumbs out. Seriously, it was disgusting the amount of crumbs and dust and unidentifiable gunk that was in my keyboard.

While I had my computer apart, I took this photo for y’all:


{November 7, 2007}   Flu Shot Bribery

On my way to purchase a celebratory1 extra-hot-soy-mocha-with-whip yesterday, I walked past a grizzly scene in the hallway. People rolling up their sleeves to voluntarily be stabbed in the arm with a needle. A NEEDLE!!

Ya, so, they are trying to get people at my workplace to get the flu shot. Getting the flu shot at this hallway-based “clinic” will serve as your entry into a draw for:

  • Running Room gift certificates
  • a digital camera
  • an iPod
  • fancy pants treatment at Spa Utopia
  • a 3 hr charter sailboat trip2

This presents a conflict for me – a conflict between my desire for free stuff and my sheer terror of being stabbed with a needle. In this case, however, I’m coming down firmly on the side of “for the love of god, don’t stab me in the arm!!!” But it’s not just that I would like to avoid blubbering like a little baby, as I usually do when confronted with a needle, in front of co-workers. Generally speaking, I’m in favour of vaccines. I’ve had my MMR, tetanus and all those other delightful stabs in the arms that prevent much more painful conditions. But I’m not overly confident in the flu shot. The thing with the flu virus is, it mutates. A lot. And so every year when they design the flu vaccine, they try to predict what this year’s flu will be. Sometimes they get it right (or at least close), but other times, not so much. As a healthy, immune competent adult, I don’t feel it’s worth getting a needle, possibly getting the “flu-like symptoms” as a side effect3, all for a vaccine that might be against a strain of flu that doesn’t even exist.

What do you think? Do you get the flu shot? Would you if your workplace bribed you with fabulous prizes?

1Celebrating (a) finally, at 2:30 in the afternoon, getting through the backlog of email/snail mail I had upon returning from my trip and (b) being awarded 3 assists in my Sunday night hockey game, two of which I remember actually getting4.
2A three hour tour. A three hour tour.5
3They always make a point of saying that you can’t get the actual flu from the flu vaccine, since it’s not made from a live virus. But if you are getting “flu-like symptoms,” isn’t that pretty much just like having the flu?
4 In fairness, I got screwed out of an assist that I clearly made a few games ago that the ref didn’t record, so this just evens things up .
5Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Photo attribution: That photo of a big scary needle was stolen from this guy, from here. But it had a Creative Commons license on it, so it’s all good.

{October 16, 2007}   Blog Action Day

Although my previous post was, at least in part, about the environment it was not actually intended as part of Blog Action Day. I actually didn’t know about Blog Action Day until Darren mentioned it in the comments on that post.

In his post, Darren asked “what is your big eco-sin?” Like most of his commenters, I try to be good to the environment:

  • I don’t own a car – I take the bus to work and for most of my transportation around the city, and I joined the car co-op for getting to hockey games
  • even when I do take a co-op car, I usually try to do multiple things on a given trip (such as go to the grocery store after my hockey game) in order to minimize the number of car trips I take
  • I’m a vegetarian and I don’t wear leather
  • I use a travel mug1 to avoid using paper cups and I bring my own Tupperwear container to the cafeteria to avoid using Styrofoam containers
  • I bring my own bag to the grocery store so I don’t have to take plastic ones
  • I recycle anything that can be recycled2
  • I turn the lights out in the bathroom, the kitchen and the photocopy room at work when I leave them3
  • I use the back of old printouts as note paper before I recycle them
  • I don’t buy anything new if I can get it used instead and buy almost all of my clothes in consignment & thrift stores
  • I rarely fly anywhere4

But I do have one big eco-sin. I leave my computer on. All the time. 24/7. Even when I’m at work all day, my computer at home is on. And the main reason I do this is a rather ridiculous one – when I come home, I like there to be messages waiting for me. Even though I haven’t had my landline and it’s accompanying answering machine for months now, my natural inclination when I walk in the door is to look for the little flashing red light telling me that someone cared enough to call me! And since I don’t have that anymore, my msn serves that purpose. With my computer on, people can msn me all day long and when I get home, I have messages waiting for me. OK, now that I write that down, I see it’s silly. Starting tomorrow, I’m shutting my computers off when I leave.

On a related note: why, since the librarians have been on strike for four months, were all the lights on in the local library branch when I walked by there tonight?

1A friend of mine said that he feels if he can’t have his act together enough to bring his travel mug with him, then he feels that he doesn’t deserve a coffee. I think this is a good philosophy
2and in light of the 4 month garbage strike that has, mercifully, just ended, this is a real sacrifice as I can barely fit in my kitchen because I have so much recycling piled up in there!
3and have noticed that some of my co-workers have started following my example
4Although, truth be told, this has more to do with my lack of money (thanks, $70,000 of student loans!) than with a conscience choice to fly less

{October 10, 2007}   Foot vs. Brain

In the battle between my injured foot and my brain’s adenosine receptors, the adenosine receptors reigned supreme. Faced with the choice of hobbling all the way to the Tim Horton’s on the other side of the building for an afternoon cup of coffee or resting my foot but forgoing my caffeine fix, there really was only one clear choice.

So, I’m feeling much better today – my jaw is only a wee bit achy so I’m off the T3s which were making me all loopy and unable to type properly all day yesterday.

My adventure at the oral surgeon’s office started off with the unpleasant discovery that they lied to me about the cost. I was told that my insurance covered most of the cost, I just have to pay the specialist fees1 – they had gotten a pre-approval for the cost of what an extraction would be if I went to a regular dentist and for the deep sedation. They told me that since the sedation is through my extended health benefits, rather than dental benefits, I had to pay the $190 for that upfront (despite the insurance company pre-approving this, they said they “didn’t trust” that the insurance would actually pay for it), and then they would pay me it back once they got the money from my insurance company (as opposed to the rest of the cost, which is covered by the dental benefits and so they would just charge to my insurance directly, trusting insurance would cover it). But when I go to pay for my part of the fees, I notice on the receipt that they’ve charged me $375, not $190 as I’d been told. And when I asked them about it, they are like, “Oh no, the insurance covers all except $190, you have to pay that. But we charge you the full amount and then reimburse you the difference when we get it from them.” And so I’m like, “That’s not what I was told and, in fact, I have it written down on this piece of paper exactly what you guys told me and that was that sedation costs $190 and my insurance will cover it.” So they begrudging apologized that I “was given the wrong information” and so I told them that I supposed that it’s too late to do anything about it now, but they should make sure they aren’t giving people incorrect information like that, because $200 is a lot of money to suddenly be out of pocket.

Then I went and sat in the waiting room and caught up with Rachel, who I hadn’t seen in ages, and it was good that we had the chance to do that because I couldn’t talk much after the surgery (although the poor other guy in the waiting room sure got an earful about all my drama and our ensuing analysis of said drama). They finally called me to go into the surgery room and then I got to act like a big baby about the fact that they were going to be stabbing me with a needle. And putting a blood pressure cuff on me. I hate those, they make me feel so confined! And why, when you tell a nurse “I’m afraid of needles” do they always say “it’s not that bad. It’s just like a little bee sting”? Is this really supposed to make me feel better? I mean, seriously, am I supposed to say, “Oh good! Bee stings tickle!” So I say, “Um, I’m terrified of bee stings too. But thanks.” So she takes my blood pressure and that gets me all freaked out and then even putting the little heart rate monitor on my finger freaks me out, so they strap my arm with the blood pressure cuff on it to the arm of the chair “too keep the blood pressure cuff in place” (translation: “to keep you from flailing around, you big baby”) and by the time the surgeon comes in and puts the tourniquet on and tells me to open and close my hand to pump up my vein2, I’m literally curled up in a fetal-like position (except with one arm strapped to a chair and the other arm raised as I make feeble attempts to open and close my hand without totally passing out from the queasiness of it all and saying, “how long until I can be unconscious?” and “I promise I’ll be more compliant once I’m asleep!”

The thing with me and needles is that I have to watch the needle go in. My imagination of how big the needle is, and my terror at not knowing the exact moment they are going to stab me, make me more of a basketcase than just watching it happen. So when I say, “I have to watch” and the surgeon literally turns my face away, saying “look at this lady over here,” I wanted to scream “you paternalistic bastard, I know myself and I have to watch”… but I restrained myself and left out the part about him being a paternalistic bastard. So the needle goes in fine and doesn’t hurt too bad and then he says, “This will feel like a cold drink being poured into your hand when I put the medicine in,” and I say, “Yup, that feels cold”, followed shortly by, “that feels really uncomfortable” and then the next thing I know is some vague feeling that something is going on in the bottom left side of my jaw and then they are telling me to wake up, it’s all over, get the hell out. OK, maybe they didn’t say “get the hell out.” It was more like, “we are taking you to the recovery area, be careful, you’ll be pretty wobbly.” So I stumble to the “recovery area,” which is literally a bench, and they bring Rachel in and she’s like “I can see why they insist on an escort, they really rush you out of here. You were only in there for 20 minutes.” And that had to include 10 minutes of blood pressure taking, needle stabbing and my being a big wussy baby. Then the nurse proceeds to explain a bunch of instructions to us and thank god Rachel was there for that because I was so doped up, I totally felt like I was extremely drunk and the only thing I remember was some vague comment about not having caffeine. Of course, even in a drug addled state, I pick up on the caffeine comment. At this point, I can’t feel my face, because of the local, but I notice that my hand, where they IV had been, was killing me and, despite the Dora the Explorer band-aid, is covered in dried blood. So I put some pressure on it with my opposite hand to try to lessen the pain a bit and that takes about all the brain power I have at the time.

We get a cab to the Shopper’s Drug Mart by my place so we can pick up my prescriptions and the pharmacist is like “There are several people ahead of you, it will be at least 15 minutes and Rachel is like, “She just had her wisdom teeth out, can’t you possible let us jump the line” and the pharmacist is like, “No. Besides you have 3 prescriptions.” And why the hell does it take so long to fill prescriptions? I mean, you have to count 8, 15 and 18 pills out big bottles and put them into little bottles. My 2 year old niece could do that! So anyway, Rachel decides to bring me home and she’ll come back for the drugs, ‘cuz it’s just a few blocks. I decide to buy some juice in Shopper’s ‘cuz the nurse said to try to get some sugar in me as soon as possible, since I wasn’t allowed to eat since midnight the night before. And as I take the change back from the cashier, I realize that my hand, with which I’d handed over my Shopper’s card and my cash to the cashier is covered in dried blood, from having used it to put pressure on my IV wound. It takes a minute for this to register as my brain is still all messed up on the sedation and I feel really bad for the poor cashier, and a bit surprised she didn’t say anything like, oh I don’t know, “Um, you are covered in blood.”

Anyway, Rachel gets me home and gets my drugs and I take my Tylenol 3, which was quite challenging because they said to take it when the local starts to wear off, which you will know is happening because your nose will feel tingly, but at this point your mouth and tongue are still frozen and I have trouble swallowing pills at the best of time. But, after several attempts, I manage to get the pill down somehow and spend the rest of the day in the following routine: take a T3, try to email or chat or read blogs but go all loopy, then get all drowsy and fall asleep on couch with laptop on lap, wake up when someone calls/texts/pings me on msn/google talk to see how I’m doing, feel better, watch something on the internets, notice my jaw is sore, realize that I was supposed to take another dose of T3 an hour ago, so then take another T3. And repeat. Always repeat. Oh yes, and rotating ice packs on my face – take one out of the freezer, strap it to my face, replace it with an alternate when it loses it’s coldness. For the entire day. During one of my less loopy phases, where I could actually figure out how to send an email, I emailed Rachel to find out what exactly they had said about caffeine, and it turned out that they said to just not have caffeine in my first drink. Which is a relief, since I was afraid they were going to have said, “don’t have caffeine for the next week”. Or something equally insane.

I end up watching 2.5 movies and a bunch of clips of Stephen Colbert, catching up on most of my blogs and even watching an episode of good ole Young & the Restless. My friend Clayton brought me pudding in the evening, because I discovered that the pudding mix I bought to make for myself had gelatin3 in it and I’d somehow missed that when I read the ingredient list when I bought it and somehow noticed when I took it out of the cupboard to make it. I had taken a T3 just before Clayton got here and apparently I was in my loopy phase, but didn’t know it. I totally thought I was acting normal until he said, “You are on T3, aren’t you?” And I was like “Why? I am acting weird?” and he laughed “Yes.” But I really, totally didn’t think I was! The T3 seemed to make me act like I had ADHD or something – I’d be like “I really should write down that I just took that T3… hey, what is that shiny thing?” And I also didn’t notice that there was blood on the hand towel in my bathroom, which may have been from my IV wound, or possibly from when blood was dripping out of my mouth, but most certainly was not appropriate to have hanging on my towel rack when someone was over!

I took my other meds with my dinner (mango pudding), which is what the nurse had said to do. My other meds are an antibiotic, which apparently “should only be used for serious infections because infrequently there are severe, rarely fatal, intestinal problems,” (which seem like an odd choice for a prophylactic antibiotic) and a corticosteroid, which may decrease my immune response (which seems like an odd choice for someone who is trying not to get an infection) and may stunt my growth (which is an odd choice for someone who is clearly due for a growth spurt any day now). And I followed Ann-Oni Mouse’s advice and sprayed my gauze with Chloraseptic, which seemed to work well for killing pain and I’m hoping will contribute to infection prevention.
I took my last dose of T3 just before I headed to bed with Stephen Colbert, at about 12:30 am, figuring I would wake up about 5 hours later in need of another dose, but I slept right straight through until 11:30 am. And my jaw only had a dull ache, which seems to be the most prominent in my lower left side of my jaw, which is appropriate because that’s the only place I remember feeling anything happen during the surgery, so I’m guessing that was the most difficult one to get out. Anyway, since the pain is fairly minor, I haven’t even taken a single T3 today. I figure I’ll be careful about taking my other meds as scheduled (I set the alarm in my Palm Pilot to remind me when to take it and then record that I took it… I’m kind of like that guy in Memento), gently clean my teeth as my surgeon recommends and keep my fingers crossed that I don’t get any infections. My mother thinks I have inherited my father’s propensity to heal really fast. I think that time I accidentally stabbed myself with that needle contaminated with rat blood in the lab, I took on the rat’s super immune system capabilities4. Because we all know that super powers are gained by science lab mishaps.

I spent most of today sitting in the sun, either goofing around on the internet or talking on the phone (and then having my landlord make fun of the amount of times I used the word “like” in my conversation with Sarah… “not that I was listening in on your conversation, ” he says, “but I counted that you used the work “like” 75 times since you came outside on your phone. Stupid, really, that everyone uses the word “like” so much.”) Went for Frappuccinos with Kalev, who came to hang out a bit after he finished work and before the movie he was going to.

And to top off my crappy week, I did some laundry, during which I pulled the genius move of putting my bluetooth headset through the wash. Like I said, genius. I’m going to give it a few days to completely dry out before I try turning it on again. Which I’ve heard works for when you dump an entire bottle of water into your purse and soak the hell out of your cell phone5. But August 2007 Crapweek started last Saturday, so I figure that it’s scheduled to be over in 7 minutes6. And, so long as I still feel as good tomorrow as I do right now, I’m hitting the town with some friends tomorrow night. ‘cuz I so need a night on the town right now!

OK, probably time for little Bethy to take her med (need to check my notes to remember which one!) and hit the hay. Beth sleepy. Beth has comfy bed with soft, freshly laundered sheets in which to sleep.

OK, I just went to take my night time meds and discovered that I took the wrong med earlier today. I’m supposed to take my antibiotic three times a day (like morning, midway through the day, and night), and my steriod twice day (morning and night). But, for some unknown reason, I took my steroid in the middle of the day instead of my antibiotic. I think I can kiss that growth spurt goodbye.

1I figure if someone is going to be messing with my face, it’s really worth the extra money to go to the best of the best.
2For the record, just typing that out made me queasy.
3Since I’m a vegetarian, I don’t eat gelatin, which is made from horse hooves and cow bones. Ick.
4Lab rats seems to have ridiculous awesome immune systems.
5For the record, this was
not me.
6It was 11:53 pm on Friday night when I typed that.

{July 28, 2007}   Freebee Friday

I love free stuff. The offer of free stuff appeals to both my pack rat tendencies and my cheapness gene. And this week was a banner week for free stuff. As previously mentioned, I got to see TWO free movies this weekend – Arctic Tale (my movie review: meh.) on Monday and Skinwalkers (my movie review: I heart things that bite!) on Wednesday.

But Friday brought the motherload of free stuff! First, I got a free textbook from a publishing company. Publishing companies love to give instructors free textbooks, because if you like their book and make it the required one for your course, that’s 1001 kids who have to buy the overpriced thing. When I used to teach introductory nutrition, I received no less fewer than four textbooks and two diet analysis software packages for free! After going to campus to pick up my free textbook, I headed out to the Georgia Straight office to pick up a prize package that I had won through one of their online contests. This prize pack consisted of 5 books, seen here sitting on my bedside bookshelf:


The book that had most appealed to me when I saw this contest was the Raw Shark Texts. I’d seen this book on a recent trip to the UBC Bookstore and it caught my eye because (a) I like sharks and (b) it had the shape of a shark cut out of the cover:



…so I read the back of the book and it sounded intriguing! I wasn’t familiar with any of the other books, but I checked them out while waiting for the bus after picking them up and they all sound really good! So now I have a big stack of books to read – I’m just starting Infinite Jest3 though, which is about 2 million pages long, so it may be a while until I get to my new free books.

As an added bonus, I also got this free, snazzy new Georgia Straight bag, in which to carry my new books home:


And on the way home, I stopped by to see my hair stylist to get a free bang trim. I’m coming to discover that having bangs requires more than a once a year haircut.

OK, now as I was composing this posting, I just got a free bottle of water! I’m sitting at a coffee shop and the dude at the counter forget to make my toasted bagel so, as an apology for making me wait, he gave me a free bottle of water! It’s my lucky week!

1well, 100 kids in the case of my class, ‘cuz that’s about how big the class will be. If you teach one of those monster 500 student courses, that’s a total goldmine for the publisher!

2the Georgia Straight, a local newspaper, was also the source of the Skinwalkers tickets.

3which I picked up at a used bookstore a while ago

Seeing as how I’ve been done school for almost an entire year, you’d think that I wouldn’t have that nightmare where I’m supposed to write an exam but only discover this fact at the time of the exam – I don’t know where the exam is being held and I certainly haven’t studied for it, as I only just found out that I am even in the course! I haven’t even taken an exam in over 3.5 years! To make it even weirder, it was an English exam… and I haven’t had an English class since 1995!

In other news, I just listened to the best Hump at the Pump ever! Billed as “Hump for the Hip” as the participants won tickets to the Tragically Hip concert, as well as a catered suite where they get to meet the Hip, this H@tP involved a threesome (complete with man pagent to chose the lucky boy who got to partake) and police witnesses. I’ll post a link to the video when it’s up on the CFOX website.

In other, other news – it’s freaking hot out. Already, at 8:13 am. And I live in a basement, where it is usually nice and cool. I guess that’s what happens when it’s the hottest day ever in the history of Vancouver, which is what today’s forecast calls for. Yesterday was also one mofo of a hot day – I decided to sit outside in the sun (because I’m a masochist, apparently) and drink a Frappucino (because they are tasty, albeit calorific) in the afternoon while doing some reading (did I ever mention that I *love* my job?)… today may call for a repeat of that, if I don’t melt first. Then I have a softball game. Let’s consider the Frappucino carbo-loading and/or pre-hydration, k?

And speaking of work, I should go there now. Catch ya later.

After work tonight, a trip to the mall in search of wedding shower presents. I very rarely go to the mall, as I much prefer to buy stuff at consignment stores. So I decided to take advantage of the mall trip and finally replace the coffeemaker that I broke1. Spent an inordinate amount of time in Zellers trying to decide if it was worth double the price to get a coffeemaker with an alarm function so that I can wake up to a freshly made cup of coffee. I do so like to wake up to the smell of my organic, fair-trade Bolivian coffee brewing! But double the price?? Finally, my friend Linda arrived2 to point out that I could buy the non-alarm coffeemaker and plug it in through a timer, so that it would function as an alarm, but without paying double the price. Linda is smart like that. So I get the cheap coffee pot, lug it around the mall as we grab some dinner and then head to the Bay in search of wedding shower presents. Spend an inordinate amount of time trying to decide what to get, then inspecting the items to ensure they are perfect3. Have attention drawn by giant yellow signs that read: “CLEARANCE! 50% OFF!” “That coffeemaker looks like a spaceship!!” yells Linda. And it really does. And it has the alarm function. And, at half off, it’s the same price as the alarm-less one that I’m holding at the time. So I buy the spaceship and then lug *two* coffeemakers across the mall4 to return the first one. But it was so worth it! Check it out:

You know you are jealous!

Of course, by choosing form before function, I have the slightly inconvenient problem that this coffeemaker is too wide to share my meagre counter space with my (also over-sized) toaster, which was already fighting for space with my kettle. Meaning that I will need to do some creative rearranging of the kitchen (I’ve re-deployed the kettle to live next to the microwave, which sits under the stereo, but need to find a new home for the toaster). But the rearranging is long overdue, as evidenced by this note I had to put up for myself, after blowing the circuit one to many times:

Hmmm… maybe the toaster could go on top of the microwave and the stereo could go into the living room.. or on top of the other kitchen cabinet… which would require the liquor to be relocated… or… oh well, I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Of course, I should probably unpack all my boxes of books, which would give me more room to do stuff. Which of course would require me to get a bookshelf on which to put those books… which would require someone with a vehicle…

1I’ve given up looking for a replacement pot, as it’s clear that I’m just never going to find the one that fits and they have long since discontinued that model. Now that I’ve bought the new coffeemaker, I’m certain that I will find the perfect pot the next time I go into a thrift shop.

2She had been delayed by the minor problem of having locked her keys in the trunk of her car. D’oh!

2I can’t tell you what we got, on the off chance that the intended recepients of the gift reads this posting. I don’t think they will, but my postings are imported into Facebook, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility. I’ll tell you later, ‘cuz, if I do say myself, this might be the COOLEST. GIFT. EVER.

4OK, to be honest, Linda lugged one and I lugged the other. ‘cuz she’s a good friend like that.

I was talking to my sister today and she was telling me about how she really wants an iPhone, but she is hestitant to get one when they come out since she is “dropper of all things valuable.” I think this trait must be genetic, because I am also a DoATV. I drop my iPod on a regular basis (thank dog for the protective rubber case I have on it). I’ve dropped my digital camera a couple of times (always onto my carpeted floor though, so it’s been ok so far). I even dropped my beloved new phone on the bus the other day (can anyone say “heart attack”?)! And then tonight, I broke the pot for my coffeemaker! Now, that might not seem to meet the V requirement of DoATV, especially when you consider that I had partially melted the handle of that pot in a previous episode of airheadedness, wherein I had left it sitting on the oven and then turned on the wrong burner1 when I went to cook something, resulting in fire and melted plastic all over the stove. And so the handle was only very tenuously attached to the pot itself and I was pretty sure that I would one day spill a pot full of boiling hot coffee all over myself. So really, it’s probably better that I knocked the pot off the pile of dishes in the dish drying rack, as opposed to getting third-degree burns over significant portions of my body. However, it does leave me in a bit of a predicament. I have a perfectly good coffeemaker, but no pot in which to make said coffee. What’s a girl to do? Can you replace the coffee pot? I mean, you’d need to get the exact right model, or it wouldn’t fit. But do they sell just the coffee pot part? If so, where? It would seem quite environmentally unfriendly to trash a perfectly good coffeemaker and get a new one just because you went and smashed the pot. People of the internets, I need your help! What do I do??

Also, on the topic of my airheadedness, I lost my key no fewer than once per day for the last three days. On Sunday I went for a run and so I had taken my key off the keychain to carry it in this little wrist band keyholder thing I have. I returned home from my run, absentmindedly put my key down and went about my day without thinking about it again until I went out. At that point, I checked my purse to make sure I had my keychain, which I did. But I had forgotten that the key was not attached to the key chain. So I locked myself out. Had to borrow the landlords’s key to get back in. Spent hours looking for my key. Which turned out to be sitting underneath my laptop the entire time. *Sigh*

Oh man, it’s so late right now. I’m up way past my bedtime. I have to be up in five and a half hours. And, of course, I won’t be able to make myself any coffee in the morning!! Arrgh!

1I constantly, despite my best efforts to avoid it, turn the wrong burner on. If I want to turn the front burner on, 9 times of out 10 I’ll turn the back burner on. I believe I suffer from stove dyslexia.

{May 1, 2007}   Tying Up Some Loose Ends

Remember how I once accused my apartment of eating things? I was completely sure that it had eaten my favourite sweater. As it turns out, however, my apartment did not, in fact, eat my sweater. Rather, it mailed my sweater to my sister’s apartment in Toronto. Why my apartment would do such a thing, I have no idea. It’s sneaky. But how else can you explain how my sweater ended up there? Surely I did not forget it there when I visited last June! At any rate, my sister has mailed it back to me and now I have a nice sweater to wear to work*.

Remember how I sprung on you out of nowhere that I’d been working on a systematic review for “ages,” even though I’d never mentioned it here ever before? I just got word that it’s accepted for publication.

Remember when I told you about all the airheaded things I do? Add “pokes self in eye with mascara wand. On a regular basis.” I forgot to add that to the list when I wrote that posting.

Remember how the bank didn’t want to let me consolidate my 14 individual student loans and was telling me that I would have to make fourteen individual payments each month? Well, they went and consolidated them anyway, but now there appears to be no way for me to pay them through my online banking. There used to be an option to pay them in my “pay bills” section of my online banking, but now that they’ve consolidated my loans, that option is gone. It’s almost like they don’t want me to pay these damn things back**.

Remember how I complained that holding my coffee on the bus was just too taxing? My mom sent me this cool travel bag that has a million and one pockets, including a water bottle holder pocket that works perfectly as a coffee cup holder. I’m pretty sure my life is complete now.

*After I washed it to get all the cat hair out, of course.

**Which would be fine by me!!

et cetera