Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{February 17, 2008}   Dildos in Texas

So I just saw over on that a federal appeals court has overturned a Texas law banning the sale of sex toys. This video1explains a number of the rules that Texas had about sex toys:

Highlights include:

  • You could buy a dildo, but only as long as you didn’t call it a dildo. You could only have it for “educational purposes” – such as using it to demonstrate how to put on a condom.
  • You could buy a vibrator, but only as long as you didn’t call it it a vibrator. It’s a “personal massager.”
  • You could buy a butt plug. And you could even call it a butt plug because, and I quote: “The anus is not defined as a sexual organ by Texas law. So you can buy whatever you like to go there.”

Which, of course, makes me wonder if they ever sold the baby Jesus butt plug in Texas.

1For some reason, WordPress keeps eating the embed code when I try to embed this video in this posting. Even though I’m sure the code is correct. So, I’ve given up and now all y’all2 will have to click on the link to see the video.
2I said “all y’all” ‘cuz this is blog posting about Texas.


{February 13, 2008}  

So, I’ve been writing a big long blog posting, but I’m just too damned tired to finish it up today. It’s gonna be good, but I need more time to write it and polish it and make it all lovely and shiny for you to read and right now my brain is fried after a long day and all I want to do is go to sleep! In the meantime, you’ll have to just be happy with this photo of what I did with the “Word Whammer” toy on my sister’s fridge when I was visiting her at Christmas time”:

{February 5, 2008}   I can haz Flickr photoz?

While searching through Flickr for some photos with Creative Commons licenses to use in an online course I’m developing, I came across this photo, which totally cracked me up. (Hint: that’s a picture of Ivan Pavlov):

Photo by Naufragio

I also noticed during this search that a hell of a lot of people have named their dogs and cats “Pavlov.” Also, a lot of mofos put up pictures of spiders and tag them with innocuous words like “Pavlov” or “baby.” Which means innocent Flickr searchers, such as myself, end up looking at photos of spiders against our will!

Also, I found this image during my Flickr travels. I can’t remember what I was searching for, but I can assure you it was a totally legitimate search.

Photo by procsilas

“Why wearing stilettos could boost your sex life” in the Daily Mail news

This weekend was the Taboo Naughty but Nice Sex Show. It’s held every year and I’ve always wanted to go and so yesterday I finally got around to doing just that. And, I have to say, I was kind of disappointed. I’m not sure what I expected exactly. I guess I just expected more variety. Every single booth seemed to have the same thing – if you were in the market for lube, vibrators, lube, a sexy Catholic school girl outfit or lube, you were in luck. But how many vibrator-lube-sexyCatholicschoolgirloutfit-and-lube booths can one person really look at in an afternoon?

The show is supposed to be like a trade show. And aren’t trade shows supposed to be about showing the newest 1 innovations? I have to say that, based on this show, there really isn’t any innovation in vibrator technology… with the notable exception of the vibrator that attaches to your iPod and then vibrates in time with your music. Seriously.

Other “highlights”2 of the show include:

  • A show on the main stage that I didn’t actually watch, but more was subjected to as I walked by. A show by Blyssful Productions – “Home of Blyss, the World’s Only Dominatrix Clown.” You know, Blyss, there’s a reason why there aren’t any other dominatrix clowns in the world. Because who the f@$#^ wants to watch a dominatrix clown???
  • At one booth, they were selling what were essential baby wipes for grown ups. The product was not so much what was interesting here as the explanation about this product’s usefulness given by the saleswoman. And I quote: “These are great to keep in your car. You know, like if you have a quickie and he comes inside you, these are great for cleaning up.” That’s just not something you hear everyday. She also explained that they smell really good. Because you know, you smell bad. Similarly there was a cream to help “tighten” you up3. Can’t you just see some guy buying that for his girlfriend? “Here honey, I bought you this cream ‘cuz you are kinda loose. Oh ya, and you smell bad, so I bought these wipes.”

All in all, I’d have to say that it would be better to spend an afternoon having sex than going to this show.

1I’ve never been to a trade show, but that’s what I always thought they were about.
2And by highlights I mean, um, lowlights.
3Honestly, I’m not making any of this up!

{December 11, 2007}   Second Only to Sex….

… that was how the goalie who played for our team last night described hockey1.

Also heard in our locker room yesterday:

  • Spit or swallow?2,4
  • I can eat 6 men.3, 4

We won 6-0, after losing the past two weeks (our first two losses of the season, after 9 straight wins). And *I* got an assist. I managed to get open in front, took a pass from the centre and shot a mighty shot6 which the goalie just barely managed to stop… it was too hot for her to handle and she let it rebound, a rebound that was then picked up by the other winger who shot it in the net. And the crowd7 went wild.

This entire posting was not just a lame excuse to talk about my assist, why do you ask?

1although she did also say something to the effect of “my husband would kill me if I said hockey is better than sex,” which makes one wonder, really.
2This was allegedly in reference to the Skittles gum that was being passed around the dressing room before the game. Gum which I, upon reading the label and seeing that it contained shellac5, declined to chew.
3This was allegedly in reference to gingerbread men. Allegedly.
4For the record, it wasn’t me who said either of these.
5So I just learned something new! I didn’t want to eat shellac because I have memories of spraying it on paintings in art class as a kid to preserve them. But when I just read that Wikipedia entry, I saw that it’s made from bugs! Ick! Glad I took a pass on the squished bug gum!
6“Mighty” may be translated as “I actually shot it at the goalie”
7There may or may not have been a crowd that may or may not have gone wild.

Photo by notanartist on Flickr

{November 9, 2007}   Hockey Terms That Sound Dirty

Listening to Canucks games on the radio, I’ve noticed quite a few terms that the commentators use while describing the game that sound dirty1, including:

  • “he’s got good hands”
  • “he stuffed it in”
  • “poke check”
  • “making moves”
  • “gets his stick in there”
  • “scoring”
  • “two on one”
  • “hitting from behind”

Any other ones that I’ve missed?

1Proof, yet again, that I have the sense of humour of a 12-year-old boy.

{October 12, 2007}   Palmasutra

Yes, it’s what you think it is. And it makes a great conversation starter, like when you are out for dinner, out clubbing on Saturday night or around the water cooler at work: “Hey, what did you do this weekend?” “Well, let me show you!”

Exciting features include:

  • full colour pictures of each position
  • detailed description of how to do the position, in case you find the pictures confusing
  • checkboxes to keep track of which positions you’ve tried
  • note pages to record important information about each position (like, “tried this with so-and-so,” “I <3 this position,” and “causes serious injury; do not attempt”
  • searchable by posture (including “standing,” “sitting,” “kneeling,” “from behind,” and “preliminaries”)

The Palmasutra – d ownload it to your Palm Pilot today!

{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.

{July 18, 2007}   Adventures in Packaging

A few packages have made me go “WTF?” lately and so I thought I’d share them with you, gentle blog reader. First up, Veggie Patch Spinach Nuggets:

I was in the grocery store the other day, looking for some delicious and proteinaceous foodstuffs and as I was checking out which of the Yves Veggie pretend-meat items were on sale, I noticed a package of spinach nuggets that looked tasty. I started reading the packaging, as is the habit of the nutritional scientist (how many calories? how many grams of protein? are there any trans fat? for the love of all that is good in the world, tell me if there are any trans fats!!!) and saw a picture of the new – and, in my humble opinion, infuriating1 – American Food Pyramid. Being that I’m in Canada, I found this a little strange – shouldn’t it have Canada’s Food Guide on there? And then I read what was written next to it – it actually does talk about Canada’s Food Guide there. But that’s not a picture of Canada’s Food Guide!!! Canada’s Food Guide is a RAINBOW, people, a RAINBOW! What is up with that???

Next up, Reversaflex tabs.

In the cupboard where the stationery items live in in my office, there was a box of those clear plastic tabs you use to label hanging file folders… you know, like this kind of thing:

Photo courtesy of some random on Flickr.

In one of my “I’m going to be organized” moments, I decided to use them file away some of my papers in an orderly fashion2. I just printed up labels and stuck them on the tabs, but check out how the instructions suggest you deal with them:

A *typewriter*? Are you serious?? Or a *tapewriter*?? Do you remember those things? My parents had one and I thought it was sooo cool. Like when I was 5 years old. Sure, I found these in a supply cupboard and do not know how long they’ve been there so, in theory, they could have been produced in 1981, but I should point out that my program has only been in existence for like 4 years. And the organization in which my program is based for like 10. So really, they can’t be older than that3. And I’m pretty sure that typewriters and tapewriters were not prevalent in 1997.

And now, my favourite of the packages that made me go “WTF” this week. This one is from a lipgloss that my mom sent to me:

Hook up lip color? My *mom* sent me something called hook up lip color?? I can only conclude that she either did not read the packaging or she does not know what “hook up” means. Seeing as this is a woman who referred to S&M as M&M, I’m betting on the latter.

1infuriating because pretty much the only thing that people understood about the US Food Pyramid was that it’s big on the bottom and small on the top… so the groups on the bottom (Grains, Veggies & Fruits) are what you should have more of and the ones on the top (Meat, Milk, Oils) are what you should have less of. People couldn’t get their heads around portion sizes or figure out the specific numbers of servings from each group they should be getting or pretty much anything else about the damn thing, but at least they knew that you should eat more Veggies & Fruits than Meat. But in this latest incarnation of the Food Pyramid (as seen on the package above), they changed it so that the food groups run vertically instead of horizontally, with the (barely discernable differences in the) width of the groups representing which (unlabeled) groups you should have more of and which you should have less of. And the fact that the groups are each wider at the bottom means that some (unspecified) types of, say, Meats & Alternatives are better than other (also unspecified on the Pyramid) groups. And somehow you are supposed to get that from the unlabeled, different coloured slices in the Pyramid. Like I said, infuriating!

2As opposed to my usual method of throwing papers haphazardly on any available table, counter top or deskspace.

3unless, I suppose, they were somehow inherited from another organization, but that’s a pretty unlikely possibility

{June 10, 2007}   Binaries

I was at a women’s health event on Thursday and we spent most of the morning talking about the defintions of “sex” and “gender.” Sex and gender, you may be surprised to hear1, are not the same thing.

Sex is a biological construct – based on our genes/hormones/anatomy/physiology, we are classified as “male” or “female,” although research shows that things are not quite as clear cut as this. For example, we tend to think of sex chromosomes as being XX = female, XY = male, but there are people with different chromosomal combinations (e.g., XO, XXX, XXY, XYY); similarly, we think of vagina = female, penis = male, but there are people born with indeterminate genitalia, or both sets, or incongruous external and internal anatomy.

Gender is a social construct, something that we humans create. We can think of “gender roles” (the way that society expects us to behave) and “gender identities” (what gender we personally identify ourselves with). We talked a lot about how there are many genders, not just “male” or “female”, and even within the groups “male” and “female”, there really are multiple “masculinities” and “feminities)2.

We spent a considerable amount of time exploring these concepts of multiple and complex sexes and genders, specifically regarding how this complexity affects our research.

What happened at the break after this enriching and thoughtful discussion really struck me as rather funyy. The women’s health field is, not surprisingly, dominanted by women researchers. The group at this event was made up of probably 100 or so participants, of which there were maybe 2 or 3 males. At the break, many participants, myself included, headed to the bathroom. As I walked down the hall, I noticed a large lineup of women at the door to the “women’s” washroom, and no one going into the men’s washroom. Hadn’t we just discussed that “male” and “female” is a false binary??

So I knocked on the door to the “men’s” room (because I realize that societal norms do dictate that it would be “strange” for a woman to walk in on a man at the urinal and that might make some men uncomfortable), and getting no response, I said something nonchalant to the women lined up for the “ladies’s room” and marched on into the unoccupied “men’s” washroom. I’m not sure if any of the other women saw the poignancy of my actions and certainly no one followed me. I guess it’s easier to talk the talk than walk the walk sometimes.

Wow, this posting turned out far more cerebral than what I usually post here. It’s almost like something you’d expect to see here or here or here. Perhaps I should nerdify it a bit by adding in a few more big words4 and post it on my “professional” blog… yup, I’ve started a professional blog for work/education purposes… I’m trying to inform others of the benefits of blogging for reflective practice/educational purposes/community building, so I figured that I should be practising what I preach and blogging my own reflections on my professional practice. But I’m not linking it to this blog which, if you know what I did for a living, would probably make a lot of sense to you.

1or maybe not, depending on your background.

2As an aside, this issue of “masculinities” and “feminities” got me thinking about how I have never really felt that I fit into any predefined gender roles – when asked “are you a girly girl or a tom boy?”3, I’ve basically come to the point of giving the answer “I’m a tom boy who likes to dress like a girly girl.” In many ways, I have some very stereotypically “male” characteristics. I love both watching and playing sports, although I think it is somewhat outside of the “male” gender role to want to bed your favourite NHL hockey player. Another example – I’m very career focussed, but I like to wear short skirts and high heels while I go about my career. Hell, I wore CFM boots to my PhD defence!! I like pretty, sparkly jewellry and wearing makeup, which I think contrasts nicely with my pig-sty of an apartment and my trucker mouth. We are all aware of my obsession with pretty shoes , but are you aware that I will wear my pretty shoes to watch action and horror movies but wouldn’t be caught dead watching a chick flick? It’s never actually bothered me that don’t fit into some stereotypically “female” roles, while I do partake of other “girly” behaviours that would make some feminists look down their nose at me… I actually like picking and choosing my behaviours regardless of what society feels I should do. But it was an interesting phenomenon to think about in a group of predominantly feminist scholars and strengthened my confidence in being who I am, regardless of whether mainstream society accepts it or not.

3Which I’ve been asked more times that you’d believe.

4and remove the part about bedding Taylor Pyatt.

So, my most recent Facebook status has garnered some raised eyebrows and several demands that I explain what the f, how the f and why the f someone would pay me $20 to watch porn. So I suppose I should explain. It wasn’t really “pay”, it was actually an honorarium. That should explain it, right?


OK, the deal is, on Friday I took part in a research study on sexual arousal and testosterone in females. They are interested in finding out if testosterone levels are correlated with sexual arousal in women – studies have been done in men, of course, but (like many areas of medical research) not so much in women. So, as a feminist, I felt that I should participate in this important research endeavour. And when they told me that I got to watch porn and would get paid $20, I was sold!

I was told that I would be filling out a few questionnaires on sexual history and current practices, and would give saliva samples (to measure testosterone) before and after watching some porn. “You’ll be in a locked room, completely private.” Oh ya, and they are measuring blood flow during this whole thing, so that they can actually quantify your level of turned on-ness. Because nothing really sets the mood for sexual arousal like being hooked up to a machine so that the researcher in the next room can quantify your level of arousal in real time. Hot, I tell you, hot.

After I filled out the questionnaires and spit in a tube (and they even give you a piece of gum to encourage saliva production) for my pre-porn baseline testosterone sample, I got all set up to watch the movie. There was another questionnaire to fill out about your mood before you watch the film, where you have to rank your level of different moods (1 = “Not at all” to 7 = “Intensely”) such as “anxious,” “worried,” “excited,” “bored,” and, my personal favourite, “dirty.” Then the film starts – they don’t want to just throw you right into the porn, so first the word RELAX appears on the screen, in capital letters. Because nothing makes you relax like ALL CAPS. Of course, no one who has ever seen Zoolander can look at a screen with the word “relax” on it with breaking out into fits of laughter – all I could think of was Will Ferrell in a bonnet, licking an oversized lollipop and saying “little kid things.” I’d been warned that any movement on my part would register on the blood flow monitor, so I tried to suppress my giggles, which only made me giggle more. After the RELAX screen, a travel video came on, again part of the pre-porn show that is supposed to be neutral, to get you to relax before the actual “experimental treatment” (i.e., porn*). The “travel video” they chose to show was on Hawaii, specifically on the practice of making leis. “Lei,” of course, is pronounced “lay.” And when you are already suppressing fits of Zoolander-induced giggles and are about to watch some porn, hearing someone saying the word “lei” repeatedly can really put you over the edge. “The best way to make a lei is…”, “the best leis are…”, “a really good lei is…”

Now, so far, so good — filling out questionnaires, hooking up to machinery, free gum. Unfortunately, however, once the porn starts, it all goes downhill. Inexplicable, the research team who wants to study sexual arousal in women chose as their stimulus: the world’s most boring porn. They must have had to watch hours and hours of porn in order to find the most boring pornographic film ever made. “We’ve carefully chosen porn that appeals to women,” the research assistant had told me several times. Apparently then, they think that women like porn with (a) a plain looking, middle-aged man having boring sex with (b) a plain looking middle-aged women who goes out of her way to (c) show the camera that she’s wearing a wedding ring. Because clearly women only want to see a married** couple “making love.” They made sure to choose porn where they guy goes down on the woman, but not the other way around. Of course, I have no problem whatsoever with the guy going down on the woman***, but didn’t it occur to them that some women might actually enjoy giving head and so might want to see that in their porn? Or that some women might want to see a couple fucking rather than boring missionary sex, with a just a little bit of doggie style thrown in at the end? Or perhaps we’d enjoy seeing a guy with rock hard abs and 24″ biceps? Or maybe we’d like to actually see a penis in our porn?? Most offensive of all, however, was the fact that the woman in the film didn’t have (ok, fake) an orgasm. The guy did, but the woman didn’t. Porn where the woman doesn’t get off — how, exactly, is this supposed to be appealing to women??

After the boring porn was over, I had to fill out the mood questionnaire about how I felt while watching the porn**** and take the post-porn spit sample for testosterone (and remove the, uh, apparatus for blood flow measurement*****). Then I tell the research assistant over the intercom that I’m done, so she can come back into the room and give me my $20. When she enters the room, she excitedly asked me, “Did that shock you?” And I was all like, “What? Shock? I found it really tame actually.” She seemed pretty disappointed when I said that, but quickly recovered, “Oh ya, I found it tame too. But some women say, “I didn’t know it was going to be like that!!” after they see it. They didn’t know it was going to be like what? That there would be people with no shirts on? That bad actors would pretend to have boring sex? How shocking!

All I can say is – at least they paid me $20.

*Yes, I’m trying to use the word “porn” as often as I can, so as to garner more hits from Google searches to artificially inflate my stats. Like this woman I met at Northern Voice who constantly gets hits on her blog for her posting called “Beaver Shots“…

**And I’d just like to say that, as a recently divorced woman, wedding rings are not really what I’m looking for in my porn.

***Especially because it meant I didn’t have to see his ugly face anymore.

****And you can bet that I ranked “bored” as a 7! I am intensely bored by your lousy porn!!

*****Is this too much information? I feel like this is too much information.

{March 15, 2007}  

I still haven’t figure out how the hell I’m supposed to get anything done when I’m spending most of my day at work! So today’s blog posting is another bulleted list of random thoughts… I can finn the time to compose a few random thoughts (on my Palm Pilot on the bus seems to be effective, but I live quite close to work, so the bus ride isn’t quite long enough to compose a coherenet single postings. I see that Dave has been resurrected from the dead and is also writing in random ideas in bulleted list form, so perhaps this is a trend…

OK, here goes:

  • We have these really funky paperweights at work that have been given out as presents from our program. But it really begs the question: is paper flying off of people’s desks really that much of a problem?
  • apparently today was “Steak & a Blow Job” day. Allegedly the idea is that since Valentine’s Day is supposed to be for women, so exactly one month later, guys are supposed to be getting what they want (i.e., S & a BJ). First of all, I was unaware that women getting oral sex was the traditional way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. What’s that you say? On Valentine’s Day women are giving chocolate, flowers and cards? Hardly seems like a fair trade!! No wonder young girls think that they are supposed to be giving unreciprocated oral to every guy in school!! Secondly, this so-called holiday hardly seems vegetarian friendly. Why not “Tempeh and a BJ”? “Tofu and a BJ”? Better yet, “vegetarian maki, a BJ and some reciprocated oral” day!
  • I’m sleepy.

I have a thing for funny t-shirts. In addition to my fan favourite blogging it shirt (from, I also have this one that my sister gave me for my graduation (from

and this one that my neice gave me for Christmas (not sure where she got it from):

If I ever get a job in a lab again, I’m totally getting this Evil Genius lab coat from ThinkGeek:I’m such a fan of funny t-shirts, that I’ve decided to spread the funny t-shirt love to my wee neice, buying her such shirts as:

And I know that Sarah & Dave are big fans of the T-shirts over at

Well, just the other day I stumbled across a T-shirt site that blows all the other T-shirts I’ve seen out of the water: T-Shirt Hell. Here are a few of my favs:

Although I don’t think that map is to scale… Canada looks awfully small relative to the size of the States… I’m guessing this map was drawn by an American.

This one made me laugh:

This one *really* made me laugh:

This one had me rolling on the floor laughing:

And I haven’t stopped laughing about this one since I first saw it the other day:

So if anyone is interested in buying me a present, any one of those shirts would be acceptable. I’m just saying.

In addition to the adult shirts, T-Shirt Hell also has a baby line. If I ever have a kid, I am *totally* getting them this shirt:

and possibly this one too:

Believe it or not, I’m totally not being paid by this site to advertise their wares (although I’m sure it sounds like I am!)… I just thought these shirts were damn funny and had to share them.

{February 16, 2007}   O.O.T.S.S.O.E.R.A.A.A.P.

Got an email from Jody yesterday:

I hereby award you the “I blog about science” badge. Congratulations.

these scouts sound fun.

Thanks Jody!!

Man, I’m sooo special! Check out the shiny badge I get:So, being the internet junkie that I am, I needed to further investigate this organization from which Jody had bestowed me this honour. They are the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique. And being that (a) I am a scientist, (b) my repute is exemplary, (c) my physique, above average, and (d) I meet their criteria for membership*, I have applied for official membership.

Perusing the badges on their site, I have decided to award myself the following:

The “talking science” badge:

This badge is required for all members and commemorates the fact that I talk about science. All the time.

Along the same lines, I give myself the “destroyer of quackery” badge:

“In which the recipient never ever backs down from an argument that pits sound science over quackery.” I totally, totally deserve this one.

Next up, I think I should get the “sexing up science” badge:

“In which the recipient has had experience with things such as selective breeding, crossing, mate selection, prokaryotic conjugation, fertility studies, STD related microbiology, and/or any other acceptable interpretation of the badge.” I feel like I should get this for another “acceptable interpretation of the badge” based on the following: I once gave a speech at closing banquet at a conference of science educators where I said, “Saying “I’m a scientist” is a great pickup line. No, seriously. Try it at the bar tonight!” I think this qualifies.

And finally, I wanted to give myself the “knows how to collect semen from more than one species“:

Although I never technically collected rat sperm per se, I did have check under rat breeding cages for dried semen (the graphically named “vaginal plugs”). But it doesn’t really matter if that qualifies me for this badge or not, as when you read the fine print you see: “That’s two species not including humans”.

*I will fulfill my committment to spreading the truth in a future posting.

et cetera