Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{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.


{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.

{December 18, 2007}   Why Do I Find This Hard to Believe?

Just received this message in my Facebook inbox:

Attention all Facebook membeRs.

Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated,There have been many
members complaining that Facebookis becoming very slow.Record shows that the
reason isthat there are too many non-active Facebook membersAnd on the other
side too many new Facebook members.We will be sending this messages around to
see if theMembers are active or not,If you’re active please sendto other users
using Copy+Paste to show that you are activeThose who do not send this message
within 2 weeks,The user will be deleted without hesitation to create more
space,If Facebook is still overpopulated we kindly ask for donations but until
then send this message to all your friends and make sure you sendthis message to
show me that your active and not deleted.

Founder of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg

  • Call me crazy, but don’t we all know that Facebook tracks everything you do and has a wealth of information on our every move? Why would they need me to send an email and then have to check every email to see if this specific one had been sent to see if my account is “active”? Don’t they already know that I’ve posted on your wall, bit your zombie and Scrabbled your Scrabulous?
  • And isn’t Facebook keeping every piece of data ever entered for some nefarious, but as of yet unspecified, reason? Why would they make me sign over the rights to my every status update, book preference, top friend, picture and first born child only to then want to delete it?
  • Isn’t the whole point of Facebook to have as many people on it as possible? Why would they want to delete people? More people on Facebook = more ad revenue, no?
  • Speaking of revenue, you really expect us to believe that Facebook wants donations?
  • And what gives with the weird capitalizations and punctuation errors?

OK, clearly, I have way too much time on my hands today. It’s not like I’m leaving on a jet plane tonight and haven’t packed, wrapped my presents or planned the course I have to start teaching in January.1

1I had a nightmare on Sunday about this. I was in my classroom for my first lecture and I hadn’t prepared and I had NO idea what I was supposed to be teaching. Perhaps I sign that I should learn the stuff I’m supposed to be teaching, eh?

{December 1, 2007}   Procrastination

Sure, I could be working on, say, planning the course that I’m teaching in January, about which I know very little thus far1. Or, say, developing the activities for the class of grade 3-5 students that I’m working with in January. Or even, say, doing my Christmas shopping. Or hell, I could be getting ready to go out for my pre-12 Bars brunch, followed directly by the 12 Bars itself.

But no. I’m playing this. Repeatedly. If I could last for at least 5 seconds in this game, I think I’d be satisfied. But I have yet to last longer than 4.8 seconds. Bah!

Update: The problem was I was trying to use my touchpad mouse thingy on my laptop. This does not work. Playing with a real mouse: 16.3 seconds!

1Yup, it’s true. Your university instructors have to teach themselves the material before they teach it to you. Only I get paid to do it, and then you pay for the honour of learning from me that which I taught to myself. Seriously.

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:


{September 3, 2007}   Addicted to Scrabble

My name is Beth and I’m addicted to playing Scrabble online. And the thing is, I’m terrible at it. I don’t have the patience, the vocabulary or the inclination to do math that Scrabble requires. Jorge was giving me tips the other night, but I’m still no good. Yet…. I. can’t. stop. playing. it. As I type, I have 8 games on the go.

Perhaps I keep playing because I do things that amuse me, like this:

sex scrabble1

Hee hee. I played sex for 10 points.

Also, amusing is:

sex scrabble2

Hee hee. My rack.

It helps that I have the sense of humour of a 12 year old boy.

I will say, however, that I’m improving. As evidenced by this screenshot:

sex scrabble3

That’s right. I played sex for 30 points this time. I’m now officially 3 times better at playing sex. It must be true, because it’s on the internets.

Dave from Touch You Last has returned from his lengthy, unexplained absence from the blogosphere, bringing with him his latest find: Sucks/Rocks. Now, don’t be confused like I was when I first read that title… I thought it was a site about things that “Suck Rocks.” In fact, determines if something “sucks” OR “rocks.” Dave’s explanation of the process:

“the site will search for all instances of positive phrase relating to your term versus negative phrases relating to your term (‘Peanut Butter Cups are wicked!’ as opposed to ‘I can’t stand me no goddamn Peanut Butter Cups!’) It then takes these positive and negative hits, factors in some complicated maths, and comes back with a ranking from 0 to 10, with 0 being a black hole of sucking, and 10 being something that rocks more than anything that has every rocked before.”

Now, being a scientist, I can’t just go using any tool without first performing an assessment of reliability and validity. First, reliability demands that the tool give a consistent answer. Dave’s analysis indicated that toques rock (with a score of 10) and american beer sucks (with a pathetic 0.3). As you can see from Figure 1, my analysis yields the same results:

Figure 1: Reliability Analysis

Thus, we can conclude that Sucks/Rocks is a reliable tool.

For something to be considered a valid tool, we have to make sure that it is accurate – in this case, that when Sucks/Rocks says that something sucks, it does, in fact, suck; and when it says that something rocks it does, in fact, rock. Since we know that things that suck, suck, and things that rock, rock, I decided to use the word “suck” as something that sucks, and “rock” as something that rocks for my validity assessment. Figure 2 demonstrates that Sucks/Rocks is a valid assessment tool:

Figure 2: Validity Analysis

Now that I have conclusively proven that Sucks/Rocks is a reliable and valid measure of that which sucks and that which rocks, I can use this new breakthrough in scientific analysis to test a few hypotheses. I decided to start out with an example for which we all know the answer, which will further strengthen my case that Sucks/Rocks is an accurate measure of suckiness and rockitude:

Figure 3: Canucks are superior to Leafs

Yup, as we all knew, the Canucks rock while the Leafs suck! I was a bit surprised that the Canucks only scored a 7 (as we all know that they are a perfect 10… I hope that my use of the word “uglification” near the word “Canucks” in my in-depth trade analysis didn’t decrease their score!). I suppose there is bound to be some margin of error.

Another thing we already knew:

Figure 4: Females are better than males

Interestingly, when I tested the phrase “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” I received this:

Figure 5: The Flying Spaghetti Monster works in mysterious ways

I’m pretty sure that this means that either (a) the FSM rocks so hard that he cannot be quantified, or (b) he used his noodly appendages to interfere with the tool, just because he can. I’m currently working on a grant proposal to investigate this line of research.

OK, so now that we know that Sucks/Rocks is an accurate way to make measurements and comparisons (except in cases where the Flying Spaghetti Monster chooses to interfere, which, of course, is true of all measurement tools), I feel confident that we can use it to determine definitively the answer to the age old question: Ninjas vs. Pirates?

Figure 5: The answer to an age old question

{February 19, 2007}   Why Do *I* Blog?

Jorge tagged me, in my first ever blog tagging, with this question: “What are five of your reasons for blogging?” This is very reminiscent of Darren‘s “Why Do You Blog?” Survey (perhaps he, or one of his readers started this meme*?). So, while I did fill out Darren‘s survey, I never shared with you, gentle reader, my reasons for blogging**. So here they are, in conveniently numbered list format:

1. Procrastination

This is the main reason that I started my blog. For some reason, doing things that I don’t *have* to do is always way more fun than things that I’m required (by contract, law or social convention) to do. In fact, the original tagline for my blog was “I’m not procrastinating, you are procrastinating.”

2. Rampant Narcissism

I’m relatively certain that everyone on earth wants to hear about me. They want to hear that I went for a 10K run today (true), added “jumping over puddles” to my half marathon training program (also true), and am having Marc Chouinard‘s babies (not yet true, but hopefully some day).

3. Sometimes There Isn’t Anyone Around to Hear My Various Witty Remarks***

If you walk around talking to yourself, people think you are crazy****. If you take those same thoughts, type them up on your computing machine and post them on the internets in a weblogging format, fewer people call you crazy. Moreover, people will actually read and respond to said thoughts, meaning that you can use your blog for the following purpose:

4. To Make Friends and Influence People

No, I’ve never actually read that book. But it is an apt description of why I blog. I blog because I like the community you can build. I meet people online that I’m sure I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I’ve learned the benefits of being open, and vulnerable and sharing myself with others, in part, through blogging.

5. It Would Be Awfully Silly for Me To Have This T-Shirt If I Didn’t:

Now I’m supposed to tag 5 people, yes? Jody, Phillip, Rebecca, Stacy and any of the regulars on Wasted Time – TAG, YOU’RE IT!! Of course, who ever does this on Wasted Time has to (a) blog it while drunk (in keeping with the rules of Wasted Time) and (b) you have to explain your reasons for partaking in a drunk blog.

*Please say “meme” is the right word here.
**I have a feeling that this may differ slightly from what I wrote on the survey.
***10 points to the first person who identifies where I stole the phrase “various witty remarks” from.
***Believe me, I know this from experience. I have had more than one person ask me why I’m talking to myself.

So, I finally got off my butt and scanned the grad photos that I finally got. I had originally hoped to send my grad photos out with my Christmas cards, thus saving a bunch of $$ on mailing, but when I got the proofs in mid-December, the photographer informed me that it would take 5 WEEKS to print my photos. I’m not sure why I can walk into Shopper’s Drug Mart and print digital photos in a matter of minutes, but it takes these guys 5 WEEKS to print their digital photos, but, hey, I’m not a photographer, right? But, seriously, 5 WEEKS?? No one will even remember, let alone care, that I graduated by 5 WEEKS after the proofs are in… at least as evidenced by the fact that no one wants to hire me. Hmph. Apparently I am in a mood today.

OK, so back to the main point of this posting, which was not, despite all evidence thus far to the contrary, to complain about the slowness of digital printing these days. The point was this: to share with you my two favourite photos from the shoot. I love these photos because of the sheer ridiculousness of them.

First up, we have Beth and the pole.

Why I am standing like this? Am I in love with this pole? Why am I caressing it? Did the photographer actually position my hands like that, since apparently I am incapable of knowing how to hold my hands against a pole? Where does one find such a pole? Why is there no background in this pole-centric location? What am I looking at? What is behind that mysterious smile? Why is my robe so very, very pink? And, of course, what’s the deal with the puffy hat? Clearly, this photo raises more questions than it answers.

Second up, is Beth sitting on a throne-like chair. I’d like to point out (not that it is strictly necessary, as how could you miss it really?) the sheer number of props in this photo. The big leather chair, the book I’m holding, the globe in the background, the puffy ha, the bookcase full of books behind me… and they are *real* books, not a facade and not a pull down screen with a picture of books on it. *Real* books… JUST LIKE THE GREAT GATSBY!! I was highly disappointed when I got this photo back, as the proof had a clock on one of the higher shelves behind me, but it was cropped out in the final print. Because I really feel that this photo needs one more prop. I like to think of the props as each representing something. The books represent the large body of knowledge that I learned over the years and then forgot. The globe represents all the places in the world that I didn’t visit because I was spending all my time and money on school, the book that I’m holding, but clearly not reading represents all the procrastinating that I did. The leather chair represents… um, can someone help me out with what the leather chair represents? And the clock, well the clock represents how friggin‘ long it took me to do the Ph.D. (or, as phrased ever so eloquently by my supervisor, “Don’t you think you are getting a little long in the tooth?). So really, without the clock, it loses the full effect, don’t you think?

{January 9, 2007}   Meez

Darren got himself a Meez avatar and, like everyone else who reads his blog, I just had to have one.

I had made a cool one of me doing some wicked stick handling, but then discovered that I would have to pay “5 Coinz” to have my Meez hold a hockey stick. Kind of surprising, given that I didn’t think Americans were all that into hockey, so I wouldn’t imagine that it would be a popular item that they’d want to charge for. Perhaps they had to pay a Canadian to tell them what the heck a hockey is?

Also, most of the animations made the avatar look like they are having a seizure, so I chose this relatively low key “drinking coffee” animation. And I also happen to drink a lot of coffee. I couldn’t figure out how to change the hair colour (I’m sure it was right there in front of me, but I couldn’t find it), so I just left it with brown hair, even though my hair is more red now since I tried to dye it blonde).

Oh ya, and I’d like to point out that I’m wearing platform shoes.

Update: I figured out the hair colour thing (as you can see, I know have my red hair). I know you must all be terribly relieved by this.

{November 27, 2006}   Snow Day

Snow? In Vancouver? WTF?

It started on Saturday night and it’s still falling. 80,000 people are without power. My roommate was stuck on the I-5 for 7 hours on her way back from running the Seattle half marathon yesterday due to a 16 car pile-up. And since Vancouver has a grand total of 1 snow plow*, this means the city is pretty much closed. This was the conversation my roommate and I had earlier:

Her: I was supposed to have a presentation in one class, a really important lecture in another, a paper due and a meeting tonight, but classes are cancelled.

Me: Sweet. We should build a snowman.

Her: Yeah. I should get some work done too.

Me: Yeah, me too. I have to do the revisions on my paper. Oooh, I want to build a snow rat!

Her: Yes, you would.

Me: We don’t get snow that often. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Her: Yes. We must utilize our available resources.

We decided to walk to the store, first as we had almost nothing to eat at our house. And, being the photo-crazed individuals that we are, we took some photos of the winter wonderland.

But when we got to the store, it turned out that it was:

So we went home and, despite being hungry because we still had no food, we made our Snow Rat. Isn’t he cute?

*I don’t think this is actually true. But it’s the rumor, so I’m going to propogate it anyway.

{July 5, 2006}   A couple of things…

I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to Cobs Bread. Specifically, their Country Grain. I got a loaf the other day that was fresh out of the oven — ohmigod, it was to die for! I also discovered that they have opened up shop in Ontario! And, of course, I discovered this *after* I got back from Ontario! I could have been having Cobs-y goodness on my vacation! Anyway, if you happen to see a Cobs Bread in your travels, I *highly* recommend stopping by.

On the bus today, there was this guy picking his nose. I swear, right there, out in the open on the bus! And it wasn’t even an old guy! He was probably in his early 20s, listening to an iPod, semi-cute (at least until he started picking his nose — as soon as I saw that, he instantly became ugly). I mean, wtf??

The volume on my stereo has a mind of its own. I’ll be listening to the radio and it will just decide “hey, I’m going to really, really loud now, right out of the blue, just to fuck with you.” Or another time I’ll turn it on and have to jack the volume up to max just to hear anything. Sometimes I can make it louder by lifting the lid on the record player part and then putting it back down.* I think it may be possessed.

I recently read an article on Mary’s blog about procrastination — and how we procrastinators need to practice stopping! So I did that today – I made myself stop working on my paper. Now my plan is to go to bed so I can get up early in the morning, go for a run and then get back to work at a reasonable hour. Let’s see how that goes!

OK, I’m rambling here, so I think that means it’s time for bed!

*Yes, my stereo has a record player. It is 18 years old. Come to think of it, it is *exactly* 18 years old today, as my sister got it for her 13th birthday (I inherited it when she moved out of our parents’s place, way back in the ’90s). But it couldn’t possibly be that it is starting to wig out because it’s so damn old — it’s definitely possessed.

{May 16, 2006}   I Want Cookies

It’s past 3 am and I’m still up working*. I am bound and determined that I will have my chapters 2 and 3 finished and sent to my supervisor before I go to bed. I’m almost done proofreading chapter 2 and then will proofread chapter 3… which means I probably won’t actually go to bed tonight, as I actually do have to get up and go to campus tomorrow morning. And for someone who has spent the majority of the past week wearing her PJs and chained to her computer into the wee hours of the morning, that will actually be a little weird, having somewhere else that I actually have to be. This is the state of my life right now. Two words: gong show.

Earlier this evening I was totally jonesing for some tea and, to my chagrin, I had run out of soymilk. And I just can’t abide tea without soymilk. Or at least regular milk. Some kind of proteinaceous milk-like substance, of which I had none. So I made the trek to the grocery store, got my soymilk (which was on sale! Go Safeway!), lugged it all the way home, and by the time I got home, I was too hot for tea and decided to have a diet Pepsi instead. I told you, my life right now = gong show.

However, now it is many hours later and the desire for tea reared its ugly head, but this time I was prepared for it! So now I am sitting here, writing this blog, drinking my tea with soymilk and totally jonesing for some cookies! Did I think to get cookies when I was at the store? No, of course I didn’t!

Oh yea, I should probably also let you know that the few times I’ve found excuses** to leave my dank, mouldy basement apartment during the hours in which the sun is shining over the last few days, I have worn my new shoes! And they are spectacular! I LITERALLY stopped traffic in those shoes. LITERALLY! I was waiting to the cross the street (not at a crosswalk) and a car stopped, right in the middle of the street, the driver gesturing for me to cross the street as if to say “let me stop here so I can take a good look at those spectacular shoes!” And a woman on a patio*** at a restaurant on Broadway that I walked by stared at my shoes — she actually turned her head to continue looking at my feet as I passed by… it was pretty funny. Oh yes, I think I’m going to enjoy wearing these shoes all summer long!

Update: It’s 5:24 am and I just emailed chapters 2 and 3 to my supervisor! Woo hoo!

*OK, so by virtue of the fact that I am writing this posting, I am not, in fact, actually working. But I have been working and will return to working once I finish this post. I just needed to give my brain a wee break and thought that spilling all the random thoughts in my head out into cyberspace might be a good way to do that.

**Excuses like, my printer ran out of ink and I must buy more. Or, I must have a bag of chips RIGHT NOW!!

***Vancouverites are ecstatic that patio weather has finally arrived!

{May 10, 2006}   I heart Irony

Checking out my favourite blogs, I saw this book review on Academic Coach’s blog. It’s a book about procrastination. More specifically, it’s a book about how not to procrastinate. I immediate thought, “I need to get this book and read it immediately! I must drop all the work I’m doing right now and read this book in order to learn how not to procrastinate anymore.” If I were to write a book about how not to procrastinate, it would just say “Put down this book and get back to work!!” Ah… I really do heart irony.

In the interests of actually getting my thesis revisions done on time, I present you with the list of:

Things I’ve Had to Ban Myself From Doing:

  • watching clips of any TV shows on the net
  • looking at Mugglenet updates
  • reading archives of my favourite blogs
  • looking up anything on Internet Movie Database
  • playing around on Urban Dictionary
  • updating my weblinks page (which gives me easy access to all the things I like to do to procrastinate)
  • checking my email more than once per hour
  • initiating any conversations on messenger*
  • basically anything to do with the internet that doesn’t involve downloading academic papers from the library’s website
  • ever buying another black shirt**

In other news, congrats to the Vancouver Giants, the 2005-06 WHL champions! And Gilbert Brule, the WHL Playoff MVP! Go Giants!***

OK, I need to get in a solid 2 hours of work before I head out for my friend’s birthday dinner… although I do think I should call my sister, clean my kitchen and check out the archives of all my favourite blogs….

*I will, however, chat if someone messages me… it could be something important that they need to talk to me about!

**this has nothing to do with procrastinating… I just own way too many black shirts and way too few shirts with actual colour in them!

***Bandwagon jumper — I’m guilty as charged!

{May 4, 2006}   Work Is For Jerks

I don’t wanna do my work! [stomps feet] And you can’t make me!!

I have forbidden myself from watching any clips from Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report or I-Film until I’ve finished revising my lit review chapter. You’d think that the looming deadline of needing to have the whole thesis revised by May 19 would be motivation enough to keep working, but I’ve had to resort such punitive action to keep myself from procrastinating*.

Plus, it’s sunny out. And a balmy 16 degrees! I’d much rather be outside doing… well, pretty much anything other than sitting in my dank, mouldy basement apartment doing thesis revisions. Boo!

OK, I’ll go back to work now. But I’m not happy about it.

*Writing this posting, of course, is not procrastinating. You’re procrastinating.

et cetera