Not To Be Trusted With Knives











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!

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{December 8, 2008}   Random Photos On My Camera

So, I snapped this pic on my camera phone in Superstore the other day.  Because it’s the stupidest product ever and I just had to share that with you.

Photo_120708_001

This is a “tea bag squeeze.”  As in, a gadget that you use to squeeze out your tea bag.  Seriously.  Am I the only one who thinks that there is something wrong with someone who would own a gadget the sole purpose of which is to squeeze out tea bags?

When I went to upload that photo to Flickr to share it will all y’all, I discovered a whole bunch of photos on my phone that I’d taken thinking, “that is so bloggable,” but for some reason (probably because I got distracted by something shiny), I’d neglected to blog them.  Such gems include this sign that I saw in a restaurant:

Not exactly environmentally friendlyNot exactly environmentally friendly

… just a bit different than your usual “you only have one mouth, just take one napkin dammit!” signs.

Also, these Pride cupcakes, whose picture I took this past summer when I was in T.O.:

Pride Cupcakes

Mmm, cupcakes.  And contrast those with this:

Photo_112507_002[1]

A package of powdered poutine mix.  Powdered? Sacrilegious!  Mon Dieu!

And speaking of French, does “dressing” really translate to “farce”?

Photo_112507_001[2]

Weird.

French item #2.  I took this photo in an airport somewhere (although I don’t remember where).

Hors Taxes

Whores taxes. Hee hee.

And, finally, my camera phone allowed me to capture a series of photos which show why you can’t get work done with a cat in the house:

“Here, I’ll just sit here while you work”

Photo_090608_003

“I know, I’ll work the mousepad for you!” (This is when the cursor starts jumping wildly around the screen):

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“You are working too slow! Let me do it!”

Photo_090608_007Photo_090608_005

And that is why you got that email from me that said, “as;oidfhjaskdf55555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555.”



OK, I have to say this because it’s been driving me crazy.  The election of the first African-American president is an historic event.  I can’t count how many times I have read and heard in the last two days that it was an historical event.  Now, technically it is true that it was an historical event, in that it occurred in the past. But the people saying/writing this are trying to convey that it was a signficant event in history, not merely an event that occurred prior to today.

Historical means something that happened in the past.  So, yeah, the election of the first African-American president was an historical event because it happened last Tuesday. I also drank a cup of coffee on Tuesday, so that’s an historical event too.

Historic means something that happened in the past that is significant.  Like, say, the election of the first African-American president.    The fact that I drank a cup of coffee on Tuesday, while historical, not so much on the historic.

The American Hertiage Dictionary notes:

Historic and historical have different usages, though their senses overlap. Historic refers to what is important in history: the historic first voyage to the moon. It is also used of what is famous or interesting because of its association with persons or events in history: a historic house. Historical refers to whatever existed in the past, whether regarded as important or not: a minor historical character. Historical also refers to anything concerned with history or the study of the past: a historical novel; historical discoveries. While these distinctions are useful, these words are often used interchangeably, as in historic times or historical times.

But just because they are often used interchangeably doesn’t mean they should be used interchangeably.  People use “it’s” and “its” interchangeably, but that doesn’t make it right!

The only reason I even know the difference between these two1 is because of Grammar Girl’s recent podcast on exactly this topic.  If I hadn’t heard that, I would never have known the difference. But since I do, it’s driving me crazy!

</rant>

1Historic and historical, not it’s and its. I’ve know the difference between it’s and its for a long, long time. Also, there, their and they’re! And to, too, and two!



{September 12, 2008}   $40 “plus other fees” WTF?

Saw this at a bus stop the other day:

Let’s take a closer look:

Doesn’t the “plus other fees” make the “$40” kind of meaningless?  Why don’t they just say “$1 plus other fees”? That would be just as meaningful.  How much are these other fees?  For what are you paying these other fees?  My guess is they mean at least that $6.95 “system access fee” they always charge, but isn’t it rather ridiculous to say you are getting a certain number of minutes, browsing & incoming (but apparently not outgoing) text messaging for $40, when obviously you can’t use those features without “accessing the system.”



{August 11, 2008}   I HATE wearing my glasses

I know it’s only been 3 days of glasses wearingness, but I have to reiterate that I HATE wearing my glasses.

  • They aren’t the correct prescription, so I have trouble reading things like, say, street signs when I’m on the bus, making figuring out my stop a little challenging.
  • They are kind of scratched up, making them extra hard to see through.
  • They don’t sit properly on my face because the arms are bent, making them crooked, which makes me look even worse than if I were just wearing non-crooked glasses, which is already bad enough.
  • They do not protect my eyes when I cut onions, which I was painfully reminded of this last night when I was cooking dinner.  When I wear contacts, they make me eye-invincible to the painful, tear-producing evil that is chopping onions.  Glasses leave my eyeballs naked and, thus, vulnerable to the onions.
  • They get in the way – you have to take your glasses off when you get dressed. Or brush your hair – but then, of course, you can’t see how your hair looks when you are brushing it!
  • Alternating between my glasses & my prescription sunglasses is a right pain the butt. When I wear contacts, if I’m going in and outdoors repeatedly (such as when I  go window shopping along Broadway), I merely have to put my sunglasses on top of my head when I enter the (relatively) dark store, then pop them down onto my face when I go back in the sunshine.  When I’m wearing glasses, every time I go into a store, I have to reach into my bag, find my glasses’ case, and then swap my sunglasses for my regular glasses. And then vice versa when I leave the store to go back out into the sunshine.  Pain. In. The. Butt.
  • It’s not a problem right now, but I remember from back in my youth, before I first got contacts, that wearing glasses in the winter sucked because your glasses always steam up when you go inside.
  • I don’t look like me in my glasses – I can’t even tell you how many people at the AdHack Launch Party on Friday said, “I didn’t recognize you with your glasses on!”

There is, however, one benefit to wearing glasses: It gives you the opportunity to do the sexy “holding glasses up to your mouth” pose:

Is it time for my laser eye surgery, yet?



{August 2, 2008}   Dear Cashier

Dear Cashier,

When you hand me back my credit card and my receipt, don’t wrap the receipt around the credit card. (Do you really think I’ll want to put my credit card back into my wallet with the receipt wrapped around it?) Don’t stick the credit card in between the two receipts before you thrust it at me. (Again, I’m only going to have to extract the credit card from in between the receipts to put it into my wallet, so why go out of your way to put the card there to begin with?) And don’t tuck my credit card in between the two items I bought that are stacked on the counter, after I refused your plastic bag. (Seriously, do you honestly think I will make my way home with my credit card stacked between my box of laundry detergent and my chocolate bar?) Just hand me the credit card.

kthnxbai,

B



{July 30, 2008}   My BlogHer/Feminism Rant

Wow, I’m like totally the captain of late blogging. BlogHer was like eleventy billion weeks ago and I’m just getting around to blogging my rant.

First of all, a picture of all the cards I brought home from BlogHer:

I don’t even have time to keep up with the blog feeds that I currently subscribe to, so I have no idea how I will find time to check out all of these. In fact, I haven’t yet checked a single one of these yet! But I *swear* will get to them, because there were definitely some cool people with cool sounding blogs that I need to check out!

Secondly, an obligatory feminist rant. Or rants, really.

Rant#1: I’ve already mentioned that the majority of the people I met at BlogHer were mommy bloggers, most of whom had little or no interest in talking to you if you had no kids1. When I’m at a conference, the first things I ask when I meet someone new are “What’s your name?” and “Where are you from?” but I can’t count how many women I met whose first question was, “How many kids do you have?” or “How old are your kids?” And, seriously, many of them didn’t want to talk to you if you weren’t a mom.

I noticed on the conference agenda that there was going to be a session called, “Who We Are: Women Without Children and the Blogosphere” and I thought, “Hmm…, maybe that’s where the non-mommy bloggers go.” But then I read the description, which said:

You might be childfree by choice because you always knew you didn’t want children, or it might have snuck up on you, and you decided or work to be content as you were. Either way there are definitely times when it’s like being a fish out of water in this society…online and off. Lisa Stone likes to say that “the only thing harder than being a mother in this culture is being a woman who chose not to be a mother.” Join Laurie White, Teri Tith, Suebob Davis and Laura Scott, who have a lot to say on the subject!

To me, that sounds like a “Hey! Did you decide that you never, ever, ever want kids? Or did you accidentally get old and barren when you weren’t paying attention and totally missed the boat? Come to our bitter fest where we complain about how people are mean to us because we are and forever will be childless!” Now, I realize that I’ve been complaining (some might say “bitterly”) about people being less than hospitable to me because I’m childless, but (a) I’m not (necessarily) childless for ever, so I don’t fit into that group any more than I fit into the mommy bloggers groups and, more importantly, (b) why do women have to be categorized by their uterine-status? Do men get categorized, judged and in- or excluded from things because they are daddies vs. childless?2

Which brings me to my Rant#2.  Specifically, a rant about swag. In the various swag bags that I picked up over the weekend3, there was not 1, but 2, samples of laundry detergent. At a blogging conference. Seriously. I mean, do you get samples of laundry detergent at your average (i.e., non-gender specific) blogging or tech conferences? Do men not do laundry? I know that, on average, women do more housework than men do, so I can see why laundry soap companies’ marketing departments, target women, but it doesn’t make it right! Shouldn’t we be demanding that men do their half the housework?? And what about single men? Don’t they do their own laundry? The single men that I know do, so why isn’t there laundry detergent in their swag bags?

And then there was iRobot, the makers of the Roomba. You know, the robot vacuum cleaner that cleans your carpets & floors. Now, I will admit that I TOTALLY want a Roomba. Because I, like any sensible person, hate vacuuming. But again, does Roomba show up at the exhibitor’s room at other blogging conferences? Well, I asked their rep and the conversation went something like this:

Me: So, do you go to other blogging conferences, or just this one?

Her: <pause> Well, this is the first one we’ve been to. We are going to see how it goes and then maybe we might consider going to some others…

Me: <pause> Really?

Her: Well, our target audience is what we call the “C.H.O.” – the Chief Home Officer. So, whoever is responsible for the home.

Me: …

Her: Yeah, women with kids. <pause> But, well, I’m single so I’m the Chief Home Officer at my place, because…

Me: Because you are the only one there.

Her: Yeah.

Me: What about single men then? Aren’t they a target audience for this?

Her: <shrugs>

Chief HOME Officer?? Really??! <barf!>. But what really ticked me off was the brochure that they handed out, which, citing a University of Wisconsin study4, said, in part:

Did you know that Women [sic] spend an average of 31 hours per week doing housework while men spend 14 hours – a ratio of slightly more than two to one? […]

Even in households where both the husband and the wife work full-time, paying jobs, the wife does 28 hours of housework and the husband 16 – a ratio just shy of two to one.

Said Sampson Lee Blair, associate professor of sociology at the University of Buffalo, ” – (Even) where she has a job and he doesn’t… where you would anticipate a complete reversal, you find the wife doing the majority of the housework.”

With the touch of a button, iRobot can help you even the score. Let our home robots help with the dirty work so you can spend more time doing… anything you want!

(emphasis mine)

That’s right. The solution to this injustice is not to strive for equality, but for women to accept that vacuuming is their responsibility and buy their product.  Notice that no one is telling men that they have to solve the vacuuming issue before they do “anything they want.” They can just go do as they please and the women need to make sure the “dirty work” is done. Not. Impressed.

And speaking of lame things about Roomba, they were giving out these bracelets that open up to reveal they are USB memory sticks:

That, in itself, is not lame (although I would never, ever wear it as a bracelet). What is lame is what is included on the USB memory stick. Specifically, a song.  A song about the Roomba.

No, I’m not kidding. A song about the robot vacuum cleaner.  A friggin’ song about a friggin’ robot vacuum cleaner!  And it’s not even remotely good. Not even listenable, really.  And not even in an amusing way, like this song.  Just an awful, awful, awful Roomba song.

Thankfully, through the magic that is YouTube, now you too can hear the Roomba song!

Fortunately, in addition to the cleaning supplies that make me angry, there was some good swag, including I USB memory sticks from Smilebox and from some military thing. They had crap loaded on their sticks too, but didn’t appear to have any songs that I could mock, so I just deleted the crap and now I have a some free USB sticks.

I also got this thingy from topix that turns a power outlet into three power outlets – a great idea for a blogging conference which, surprisingly, I didn’t see a single person using. Instead, everyone just asked me if they could plug into my power strip that I had brought with me.

There was also this button. It made me laugh.

IMG_3816

And for any of the swag that you didn’t want, Zwaggle, a site that facilitates parents passing along “gently used” kids stuff to other families, has a swag recycling room where you could drop off any swag that you would otherwise chuck into the landfill, and grab stuff that other people left for recycling.  Like if you were just dying for more laundry soap.  They gave out cool t-shirts, so they get my thumbs up and my link love.

Of course, the most amazing piece of swag I got disappeared from my purse before the end of the first night.  But I don’t think I have the strength to talk about it right now, so that will have to be a blog post for another day…

1So many thanks to the lovely women I met who were moms (some mommy bloggers, some bloggers who happened to have kids) who *did* talk to me after I admitted I was currently barren.
2Perhaps you do and I just don’t know about it because I’m not a male. Male readers – what’s been your experience with this?
3And you know how I feel about free stuff.
4In truth, they cited a New York Times article which cited the actual study.



{July 7, 2008}   Adventures in Laziness

So I’m in the grocery store tonight and I see the latest innovation in the world of laziness.  Pillsbury “Ready to Bake” cookies:

This pre-made cookie dough is already portioned out into “cookie rounds,” so you just throw them onto a cookie sheet and bake.

Because, you know, baking cookies from the regular pre-made Pillsbury cookie dough:

… where you have a tube of o’dough that you have to take 5.2 seconds to cut the dough into “rounds” before you throw them on a cookie sheet… well, that’s just too insurmountable a task.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to say that I’m much more in favour of eating cookie dough raw than I am of baking the dough into cookies proper and, compared to my homemade dough especially, Pillsbury cookie dough raw is barf-tastic.  That’s right, I said it.



{May 8, 2008}   Veggie Marshmallow Update

These Sweet & Sara veggie marshmallows are the bomb¹.

Since it costs a freaking fortune to have them shipped from the US², I decided that it was high time that I once again emailed the local fru-fru organic grocery stores to tell them that they really, really should carry this product.

One grocery store has, thus far, ignored my email.

The other, at first, told me that “this product is not available in Canada yet.” Hmm, really? Ever heard of a little thing called “importing”? I mean, I know that we hardly do any trade with the USA, so it might be complicated. So I wrote back and informed them that the Sweet & Sara website says that other BC companies stock this product, but just not ones that are in Vancouver and I’d like to be able to get them here (translation: your competition is getting this product). That got their attention and I received not just one, but two, emails informing me that they will be looking into this ASAP.

Lesson learned: squeaky wheel gets the marshmallows.

¹Remember when everyone used to say things they liked were “the bomb”? Ah, those were the days.
²And, since Canada Post has “issues” with bringing them to my house.



Yesterday, I got this notification, telling me that my delicious, delicious vegetarian marshmallows that you can only get by buying them on the internets and having them shipped from the States at an exorbitant rate are waiting for me at the post office.  Usually, you get these little notification cards to tell you that they came by your house with your package and no one was home and so now, as punishment, you have to go to the post office to pick up your package instead of them just leaving it for you.

But this particular notice was a little different:

The didn’t leave my package because the road was closed?  I mean, yeah, there were construction peeps digging up the road for some unknown reason, but clearly the letter carrier was able to get to my house, because he left the notification card there! What, the *marshmallows* were too heavy to carry half a block?  They are marshmallows, for crying out loud!

Anyway, I’m going to the post office now.



At last! Someone has combined two of my biggest pet peeves – pointless, annoying Facebook apps and ridiculous spelling errors!

All they needed to do was make this “Is spiders and the Calgary Flames really ment to be yours?” and it would be perfect.

Name and profile pic have been blurred to protect the annoying.

</Monday morning bitching>

Also, my apologies for not posting this week’s installment of my prime ministerial series, which I know you are all dying to read, yesterday. I blame (a) too much exam marking this weekend, and (b) my first hockey game of the spring season¹. I’ll try to get it up posted tonight, although I have a nerd meeting to go to, so we’ll see.

¹The game, which was an exhibition game, ended tied 2-2.



{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.”



{March 26, 2008}   I have bad hair dryer karma

I’m not making this up. I turned on the hair dryer in my hotel room and was thinking “Hotel hair dryers *always* break when I use them.” And then the hair dryer stopped working. Seriously.



At 11:30 p.m. last night, I got ALL the text messages that were sent to me during the day yesterday. Apparently those texts couldn’t get through to me when I was sitting around Vancouver airport… or Edmonton airport. Or for the first 2.5 hrs I was in Yellowknife. Despite the fact that I was sending texts all that time and they went through just fine.

I hate you Telus.

Hate.

You.



Warning: This video is not for the squeamish.

If you weren’t brave enough to watch the video (and believe me, I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t), Richard Zednik of the Florida Panthers had his carotid artery slashed by a fellow player’s skate during a game yesterday. Thanks to immediate, on-site medical attention and emergency surgery, he survived.What I totally don’t get is why NHL hockey players don’t wear neck guards. I mean, seriously, why on earth would you want to leave your neck, with your precious, precious carotid artery in it, exposed? I also think it’s stupid that hockey players don’t wear full face shields, but I can at least understand that a face shield does impede your vision; but a neck guard? A neck guard in no way hampers your play, so why don’t they wear them? I wouldn’t dream of playing without mine1 but I would say that the majority of people I’ve played with don’t wear them. I’ve asked people why and usually get the answer “it bothers me” or “it’s not comfortable.2” You know what else isn’t comfortable? A slashed carotid artery.

P.S. You can go to the Panthers’ website to send Zednik a “get well” note.

1I also wear a full face shield because I don’t care if it impedes my vision, I’m far too beautiful to risk anything happening my face!).
2And I can honestly say that when I play, I never even notice that I’m wearing a neck guard.



et cetera