Not To Be Trusted With Knives











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:

Advertisements


{June 13, 2008}   Climate Action Dividend

Here in BC, we are each getting a cheque for $100 from the provincial government.  It’s called the “Climate Action Dividend,” and you are supposed to put it towards doing something eco-friendly.  It feels more like a vote-buying scheme to me, ‘cuz really, what can you do with $100?  And I already have travel mugs to use instead of disposable cups, rechargeable batteries, canvas bags to bring my groceries home in instead of plastic bags,  etc. So anyhoo, I’m thinking of putting mine towards my laser eye surgery. I figure that not throwing out a pair of contacts, plus associated packaging, every month, and the packaging for contact lens solution (not to mention the energy costs of producing and transporting those contacts & solution) is eco-friendly, right? I mean, seeing as $100 is not going to buy me that eco-friendly Smart Car I have my eye on.



So, I think I’m going to go with the expensive place for my laser eye surgery. I really did like the doc there and a few things about the cheaper place kind of freak me out. First, on their website they explain that the reason they are so cheap is because they do a “high volume” of surgeries. They spin it as “high volume = more experience = better surgery,” but “high volume” suggests “assembly line” to me. The second strike against the cheap place was an email exchange I had with them. I emailed to ask for their success rates and rates of complications, since this information is not provided on their website. The email I received back was atrocious. They provided limited success data and completely ignored my request for complication rates. Then they told me to phone if I had more questions, with the tone of it making me feel as if they were really put out by my having emailed. I’m sorry, but you are in customer service and if the customer prefers email, you should provide courteous, accurate answers by email and make them feel welcome to email back if they have more questions. And, for the love of all that is good in the world, your email should be professional. In their 9 sentence reply, they committed the following grammatical transgressions:

  • hyphenating “with-out”
  • hyphenating “thank-you”
  • spelling the word “merit” as “merrit”
  • not capitalizing the first word in a sentence (twice)

This email does not give me confidence in their clinic. I realize that it is not the surgeon who is writing such an atrocious email, but in my opinion, it reflects the unprofessional nature of the place1. In a last effort, I emailed back to ask, yet again, what their complication rates are. Their reply: “We have done over 46,000 procedures and we have never had a serious complication. The pre-operative screening eliminates those patients that might be a complication. Our turn down rate is about 4%. Phone if you have any other questions to [number redacted].” First of all – I didn’t ask if they had any “serious” complications. Their definition of “serious” may not be the same as mine. Twice avoiding my request for complication rates makes me feel like they are hiding something. Secondly, I don’t think they really meant that the patient might themselves BE a complication2. And third, wtf is up with their not wanting email? “Phone…” is a command. And it’s not inviting at all. I consulted with my mom and she agrees that I shouldn’t let anyone with such poor grammar anywhere near my eyes. So expensive surgery it is!

And since I’m going with expensive surgery, I’m following my friend Dan’s3 advice:

Definitely don’t go cheap on your peepers. Maybe you should start a “fund raiser for Dr. Beth’s Peepers”. After all, you have been entertaining many of us in the internets for a while now. Plus, if you can’t see how are you supposed to blog? So really, it’s not about your eyes so much as it is about our entertainment. (Dan’s comment on my recent bog post)

So now I’m putting a “donate” button on the sidebar of my blog – all proceeds to go to the “Fund raiser for Dr. Beth’s Peepers.” A button that looks like this:

Also, I’m going to follow Dave‘s suggestion and live blog the surgery. No, really.

1sort of like that whole “if the bathroom in a restaurant is dirty, you can bet their kitchen is too” kind of thing.
2Although that is kind of funny.
3You may remember Dan as my co-author on the Snow, Snow & Gillis (2007) paper about the Count and mathematics.



et cetera