Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{August 11, 2006}   D-Day

When we last left off, our intrepid young doctoral candidate and her trusty PPP had just had dinner at the Eatery. As expected, I did not get much sleep that night, as I was waaaay too nervous to sleep. I did some last minute reading/cramming and even found a crazy typo as I was reading through my thesis*. I finally laid down around 3 a.m., but only to enter a continuous cycle of dozing off and the immediately waking up in a panic. Around 7ish I decided I may as well get up and get ready. I had a friend in my undergrad who always showed up to exams with her hair and makeup done and a nice outfit on (while the rest of us looked like we hadn’t slept or changed our clothes in days). Her theory was that if you were going to go down in a spectacular train wreck of an exam, you might as well look good doing so. In that spirit, I did my makeup and hair and dressed up all spiffy-like (even wearing my kickass boots, seen here). Sarah and I caught the bus (surprizingly, we had no transportation misadventures on the way) and made it to the Grad Student Centre, where the official doctoral exam room is, with plenty of time to spare.

Now, I mentioned in a previous posting that when your examiners show up to your defence in Hawaiian shirts, you know things are going to go well. My theory being that if the examiners wanted to fail you, they’d be showing up in a suit to exert their authority. So when examiners showed up in biking gear, my spirts were buoyed.

The process for a doctoral defence is that you give a 20-30 minute presentation on your research and then the examiners, who have all had at least 4 weeks to read your thesis, get to ask questions. They get 20 minutes each for the first round, then the audience is given an opportunity to ask questions, then another round of questions from the examiners (if they so desire). There are 6 examiners in total – 3 from your supervisory committee**, one from your department who is not on your supervisory committee, one from another department (also not on your committee) and an external examiner, who is from another university (the external doesn’t actually come to the defence – he or she just emails their questions and their ranking of your thesis). After that they kick you and the audience out of the room so they can deliberate and then call you back in the room to give you the verdict.

As for my defence, I thought that my presentation went quite well (some of the examiners even commented that they felt the presentation was well done and really made the findings of the thesis very clear), but I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked on the questions. Some of the questions I handled alright, but there were a few where I really did know the answer but couldn’t quite recall the details that I needed. I really think the stress was getting to me… I’m usually much better under pressure, but the stress of not just the defence itself (which is bad enough) but of all the many and varied personal and professional catastrophes I’ve been experiencing in the past year all seemed to pile up on me and the strain was just a bit too much for me to perform as well as I would have liked. But apparently the stuff I did answer, and my handling of the stuff that I didn’t know, was good because I passed! And with very minimal revisions to do! So now I just need to make those revisions, show my supervisor that I did what they asked for and I can hand it in and then I’m totally done! Woot woot!

After the defence, there were many congratulatory hugs, “I told you it would be fine!”s and photos taken. Then my supervisor took a bunch of my friends and colleagues to lunch at the Banana Leaf in Kits. After that I had to meet with her to go over the revisions, as she was leaving the next day for a week long camping trip. When I returned home, Sarah showered me with cards (from her and Dave, and from her parents) full of money*** and double Amaretto & diet Pepsis. I called my parents to tell them the good news, and then I called my sister, who, along with my neice, was in Halifax visiting her friend****. My sister said to my neice, “Say “yay Aunt Beth”! Aunt Beth got her Ph.D.!!!” To which my neice confidently replied, “Tomato.” As if to say, “Ph.D., Ph.schme. I would like to eat one of those delicious looking cherry tomatoes!” Leave it to a 20 month old to put things into perspective!

After the phone calls, there was lounging and chatting and then, due to my ineptitude (and probably the effects of the dA&dPs setting in), we missed the bus that was supposed to take us to meet Kalev by about 30 secs, so we had to walk 17 blocks (and it would be the first day it had rained on Sarah’s entire trip here!) rather than wait for the next bus, which wouldn’t be until 20 minutes later. Meeting up with Kalev on Broadway, we hopped on a bus to take us to the dinner that Sarah had organized (as I had refused to organize my own dinner, as such presumptious behaviour on my part would undoubtedly have jinxed me). Kalev & Sarah didn’t tell me where we were going and despite my valiant efforts at guessing, it wasn’t until I could actually see the restaurant that I figured out we were going to Habibi’s. Despite the fact Kalev had introduced me to this source of Lebanese deliciousness a mere week earlier, I got off the bus going, “Where are you taking me? There are no restaurants around here!” For the second time that day, I had Kalev ordering for the whole table (since we decided to order a bunch of dishes to share). There was a slight panic when we were informed that the keg wasn’t working and we couldn’t get any beer, but they later informed us that they’d fixed it, much to the relief of Rachel, who I thought might actually die from the shock of not being able to have a beer with dinner. The next big shock came when I was presented with a scrapbook – a brilliant idea of Shalu’s. It was full of all kinds of pictures from my friends (including a few pictures that I hadn’t seen before!) and which everyone who attended the defence and/or the dinner had signed and written stuff in. I was totally shocked when I opened the first page and saw pictures of me that had been taken right after my defence that morning*****! Also shocking was that I had no idea that everyone was sneaking out during dinner to sign my book, which was sitting on a table on the patio right in plain view!! I’d noticed people going outside during dinner, but hadn’t been paying much attention and kinda thought they were just going outside to talk on their cell phones… closer to the end of dinner I sort of noticed that someone was at a table outside writing something, but at that point it was kinda dark out, so I wasn’t even sure that it was someone from our group and, if it was, I figured maybe they were signing a card. So I was totally surprized – and very touched! – that my friends had done this for me!

After dinner, a bunch of us went downtown to find a club. Seeing as it was a Tuesday, there weren’t a lot of options, so we opted for the Roxy. Not the fanciest of clubs, but it had a lot of people in it, the music was good and, unlike Celebrities, the boys there are straight. Rachel bought the first round of drinks, which included Jager Bombs for all! Yay Jager Bombs******! And thereafter much dancing, drinking and debachery followed.

The next day was kind of a blur, but I do recall lunch at Sodas and a quick trip to the Liquor Store to procure some delectable BC wines for Sarah to bring back to Ontario. And then a cabbie came and whisked her away to the airport! =( And I missed her as soon as she was gone! Sarah, I can’t thank you enough for coming all this way to support me during my defence! You are the best PPP, post-defence-party-planner and friend that a girl could ever ask for! You rock!!!

The next day I got a lovely surprize – my parents, sister and neice had sent me some beautiful flowers! Check them out!

*In one of my citations I had referenced an article that, apparently, was published in 1007 (rather than 1997). Man, that’s one OLD article!

**You can have 2 or 3 from your committee… I had 3. And I will just add that I had the best committee ever, so I was perfectly happy to have 3… heck, I’d have had all 5 if I could have! (OK, not really… but I did really like all my committee members!)

***Money which is being put towards the digital camera I keep whining about not having!

****readers of Touch You Last will know her friend as the intrepid commenter, BRNQ

*****God bless 1 hour digital photo developing!

******for the uninitiated, Jager Bombs are a shot of Jag dropped into a glass of Red Bull. And they are currently my favourite drink.


Well, it’s been a whirlwind of a week! And since Dave wasn’t here to chronicle the adventures this time, I have to actually do my own blogging. Fortunately, Sarah has a photographic memory and, before she left, she wrote down a list of everything we did while she was here, otherwise this posting would read something like, “um.. we did a bunch of stuff… I remember going to the Eatery… ya, and some other stuff”.

Sarah’s transportation misadventures, of which there were several, started even before she got here. While she was supposed to arrive at 11 pm, she didn’t get here until after 1 am, owing to lightning at Toronto airport, where she had to transfer planes. Apparently they don’t like to have the workers out on the tarmac during storms, ‘cuz it would be a bitch of a lawsuit if one of them got struck by lighting. I whiled away the extra time waiting for Sarah by going to see some no-reason fireworks – the show, put on by the Czech Republic was, in my humble opinion, the best of the series. After her 11 hour trip (which followed a full day at work) and arriving at what was past 4 in the morning her time, Sarah was tired for some reason, so we went off to sleep, only to have to rise early the next morning for my practice defence session. After making sure that I knew how to use the Grad Studies laptop and projector and that my PowerPoint slides all worked (and getting feedback on my presentation from the people who came to watch), my friend Erika joined Sarah and I for lunch at One More Sushi in the Village. As One More is conveniently located near the campus Liquor Store, Sarah quickly rushed to buy as many cans of Granville Island Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale as she could carry (having brought an empty suitcase in which to return said cans to Ontario). Taking the bus while carrying 24 cans of beer made us look in no way like a couple of alcoholics.

After a much needed nap, we headed out to dinner at one of my favourite Indian restaurants, Indian Oven, and then downtown to meet Kalev and some of his friends at Celebrities, where we were horrified to discover that a new by-law means that the minimum price for hiballs has been raised from $2 to $3… Vancouver university students will now be 1/3 less drunk and will be none to happy about it. Other highlights from Celebrities included the bouncer requesting 8 pieces of ID and her T4 after he saw Sarah’s Ottawa-based ID, the amazing* entertainment, and dude in (and later out of) the kilt. Oh ya, and the guy snorting coke in the middle of the club.

The next of Sarah’s transportation misadventures occurred the next day on our bus ride to Stanley Park. Shortly after a women with a cart full of bottles got on the bus, a woman got on the bus in her scooter, declaring, “It’s my first bus trip on my scooter!!”. The bus driver informed her “it’s easier to get on the bus if you back in,” to which she yelled, “WHAT??” as she drove forward on the bus. Then it took her 20 MINUTES (no, I’m not making that up) to try to turn her scooter around to get properly placed on the bus. The whole procedure was complicated by the women with the bottles who was standing right in the way of the woman trying to turn around on her scooter. Apparently it didn’t occur to her that she was right in the way and it didn’t appear that she spoke any English and so couldn’t understand the bus driver’s requests to get out of the way (and apparently this woman is often on this bus, as the driver said, “Why do we have go through this EVERY day?!”). Also, the woman had taken her shoes off. That didn’t add to the complication of getting the other woman and her scooter on the bus, but it was just a weird thing to do on the bus. Then, to top things off, the woman on the scooter got off the bus a mere 4 stops later… it would surely have taken her half the time to just scoot there!

After this long and harrowing ordeal, we FINALLY got to Stanley Park, where we met up with Sarah’s friends Deepa and David (who were in Vancouver on a househunting trip as David is starting at UBC and Deepa is transferring to Van) at the Aquarium. After eating outrageously priced sandwiches at the snack bar, we marvelled at size of the sea lions**, ooh and ahhed over the adorable sea otters, and ran screaming from the snakes & spiders*** in the Amazon Rainforest exhibit. Once we’d had our fill of marine life, we checked out Prospect Point, which Sarah hadn’t been to on her previous trips to Stanley and which I haven’t been to since I was 17. That was followed by a ridiculously long search for a parking spot downtown, as we were meeting Sarah & Deepa’s friends Etienne and Eve at the Banana Leaf on Denman for dinner. Word to the wise: the Banana Leaf on Denman is no Banana Leaf in Kitsilano. When we proceeded to tell Etienne & Eve our story about the woman with the bottles on the bus, they sighed, “Oh, her.” Apparently she’s quite the fixture in the world of Translink travellers. We followed up dinner with coffee at some coffee place whose name I can’t remember where I had the surreal experience of sitting in a coffee shop in Vancouver with 5 people all speaking French around me. I believe this is the first time that 5 French speakers have ever been in Vancouver at the same time, let alone at the same table, and surely is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

The next day was Saturday and since Sarah needed to get more bus tickets, we stopped at Safeway and picked them up, along with some surprizingly tasty sandwiches that we ate on the bus on the way downtown. We met up with Deepa & David, as Sarah had forgotten her camera in their car the previous night. The Mac-Mc family doesn’t have much luck when it comes to not losing their digi-cams, so we were very glad that it had just fallen out of her purse in their car. After a quick chat with D&D at Starbucks in Gastown, it was off to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see Raven Travelling, an exhibit of Haida art. They also had some other exhibits, including an exhibit about contemporary prefabricated homes… now, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking “prefab homes? wtf? that’s not art!” And you know what, you are right, it’s not. So we were glad that we spent most of our time on the Haida art, of which Sarah and I are both big fans. Dinner was at everyone’s favourite hippie hangout, the Naam. And since it was the last night of the Celebration of Light (aka the no-reason fireworks) we decided to add a little something extra to our diet Pepsi bottles and hop on a bus to Kits Beach to watch the show. Now, the plan was good. We checked the bus schedule. We knew that we needed to go quite a bit early because EVERYONE in Vancouver goes to the fireworks and EVERYONE takes the bus ‘cuz there’s no parking within a hundred mile radius of the beaches. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. The time at which the bus was supposed to arrive came and went. The time at which the NEXT bus was supposed to come also came and went. Finally, pretty much when Sarah (who had quite enough of her transportation misadventures by this point) said, “I don’t even want to go to the fireworks anymore!” the bus arrived. 40 mins late. On a route where buses are supposed to come every 20 mins. On a night when Translink claims they have extra buses because they know so many people are taking the bus to the fireworks. Pretty much everyone on the bus had a bottle of “pop” or “juice”. There were even a few people with “bottled water” that was an awfully strange shade for water. And Sarah was all like “I thought the stage in my life where I had to surreptitiously drink my alcohol from a pop bottle were over!” Apparently, not so much. On the way back we decided it was just easier to walk home than to wait for a bus, which gave me the excuse to stop at the Tim Horton’s on Broadway for a coffee. Where I impressed an American with my vast knowlege of American and Canadian politics****. And his friend was like, “Wow, this is one well-educated young lady.” Seeing as this was 3 days before my Ph.D. defence I was like, “Dude, you don’t even know the half of it.”

Sunday was one of the few days where we had actually made plans more than a day in advance. The day started off with a pre-Pride brunch at Kalev’s friend Craig’s place, where Craig made Eggs Benedict and wicked awesome champagne and Alize drinks (which I managed to spill on myself). Now, believe it or not, I’d never had Eggs Benedict before and, after trying it, I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on! After brunch we found ourselves a nicely shaded spot to watch the Pride Parade, where we boo-ed the Conservative Party of Canada car and cheered Hedy Fry, Jack Layton and, especially, the Celebrities float. After the Parade, we lost Kalev & Co in the throngs of people at the Sunset Beach Festival, so we headed back across the bridge to Kits, where we found ourselves back at Sophie’s for burgers. After that we headed back to my place to try to touch base with Shalu, with whom we had tentative plans to do something that night. After about six thousand phone calls in which we dithered and dithered and dithered on what we wanted to do, we finally decided to go to Andrew’s post-Pride party and then head over to Wild Coyote for FUBAR. By the time Shalu arrived, Sarah and I had broken into the bottle of port she had picked up at the Liquor Store. Port which I managed to spill on myself. We arrived at Andrew’s with a bottle of wine and a bunch of beer, so Sarah declared, “We BYOB’d” and everyone thought she said, “We brought weed.” Oh, Vancouverites. In a surprizing twist, I managed to spill my wine on myself. We got to chatting with everyone and before we knew it, it was totally late and we never did get out to FUBAR. But we had a great time at the party, so it was all good.

After our fun-filled Sunday, Monday hit me hard. Monday meant there was only one day left before D-day. Panic started to set in. Sarah entertained herself with my collection of Harry Potter books while I got in some last minute studying and practised my presentation for my defence. The day was punctuated with good luck emails and phone calls from family & friends and with Sarah keeping me from ever getting to full-blown panic mode*****. Lunch was some mexican food at Mexacali’s, where I had a passable meal and Sarah’s was inedible. We made up for the lackluster lunch by going for a late dinner at the Eatery. Mmmm, the Eatery. If you are ever in Vancouver, I highly recommend you go there.

OK, so this posting has gotten really, really long, and it is getting late… and I think the defence itself warrants it’s own posting, so I’m going to end this posting now (has anyone actually read all the way through this thing?)

*where is a sarcasm font when you need one?
**I actually know someone who works with those sea lions for her research
***OK, this might have just been Deepa and I. And we didn’t so much run or scream as just refuse to look and got the hell out of that exhibit ASAP.
****My vast knowledge consisted of “I dislike Stephen Harper because he is a fundamentalist wacko” and “I dislike GWB because he is a fundamentalist wacko.” When pressed for more details, I added, “He’s a war mongerer who cares more about oil than he does about human lives.”
*****henceforth Sarah was known as my PPP (personal panic preventer).

{August 8, 2006}   Ph.Dizzle

Oh ya baby! My defence is over and I PASSED!! Woot woot!

{June 3, 2006}   Blast From The Past

Well, for better or for worse, my thesis is in the hands of my committee! I think I am single-handedly keeping Copyright afloat by repeatedly printing this behemoth… but at least it’s a student-run business, so the money isn’t going into the hands of a greedy corporation*.

So, after making the trek to all the far-flung corners of campus to distribute my baby to my committee members, I celebrated by NOT being on my computer all day! I went to the public library and got a pile of books to read for fun! I went and got fresh produce and made a REAL meal (not a microwave burrito, nor take-out) for the first time since I moved into my new place! I unpacked all of the boxes I wanted to and have stored the boxes I want to leave packed in various nooks and crannies. My apartment now looks like an apartment and not a storage room! Yay!

Also, in the move, I discovered some cool things I’d forgotten that I had. Like this cute little sunhat that I bought a few summers ago in London, ON**. And some really cute baking things***. And a sterling silver cup from when I was a baby! And some Pendelfin figurines. And, most importantly, I found these photos:

This is me, circa early 90’s. I believe this may have been pre-Snowflake Ball, the annual winter semi-formal dance at my high school. Seeing this reminded me of last year’s “First Annual Mega-Mall-Hair Off” between Kris and Jurgen. Not that I would dare compare myself with those two preeminent virtuosoes of ’90s hairdom – I pale in comparison. But I do find my bangs a bit humorous.

In grade 12, we did a production of
The Mousetrap. Sarah, who inexplicably is the same height
as me in this pic (Sar, did you really keep growing after grade 12?), starred as Mollie Ralston and I played Miss Casewell, described by the Literary Encyclopedia as “a mannish looking young woman” — which explains why I look so freakin’ terrible in this photo — apparently our make-up artists were superb.***

In high school, I used to volunteer in the chronic care ward at the local hospital. Every Thursday after school I would spend the afternoon visiting with the patients, helping them make phone calls, feeding them dinner and just helping out in whatever way was needed. Since this was the chronic ward, it meant that the patients there were never getting out – they were going to spend the rest of their days there. This was one of my patients who was always a joy to see on my weekly visits – her name was Mrs. Godley and she was really a lovely woman. I believe I received this photo one Christmas and I can’t believe that I had forgotten that I had it.

This is my Great Granny, Sarah Snow. I remember visiting her in Montreal as a kid — she had this player piano and my sister and I would be endlessly entertained when she would pump the pedals to make the piano play on its own… it was like magic to us. When I was in high school, she fell and broke her hip and died shortly after, at the age of 98. I was in Kingston with Sarah at the time — I have a silver locket that she gave me as a kid, which I was wearing and the chain of which broke the same day she died. When my family went to the funeral home, I remember walking into the building and thinking it sounded like a party was going on, rather than a viewing… everyone was laughing and telling stories of all the funny things Great Granny used to do and say. It was truly a celebration her life. That was the first funeral I ever went to.

This is a picture of my dad and my uncles Bob and Greg from when they were little. I don’t know who is who in the photo. My uncle Bob died at the age of 21 in a boating accident on the Lachine Rapids. My grandfather is an avid hunter and used to take my dad and uncles hunting. Uncle Bob once said that if he died before his brothers, he wanted to be reincarnated as a duck and that, while hunting, they would try to shoot him, they’d be sure they had the duck in their sights, but they’d miss and he’d laugh at them. My dad swears that this happened exactly as Uncle Bob described after Bob died… he had a duck in his sights, shot and somehow the duck didn’t get hit, and then the duck started to quack and it sounded just like laughing.

This is my Grandpa and Grandma Griffin. Grandma died of cancer when I was 3, Grampa died of a heart attack when I was 5. I don’t remember my Grandma, but my sister remembers my aunts sneaking us under a fence so that we could sit outside the window of Grandma’s ICU room so we could wave at her (kids weren’t allowed in the ICU). I do remember my Grandpa – he had this little plastic tea set for us to play with when we visited; we used to take it to the park and play with it in the sandbox. He also gave us the foam off the top of his beer and told us it was ice cream. I remember my sister and I being very upset that we weren’t allowed to go to Grampa’s funeral. Our babysitters that day took us to the park and to the penny candy store to try to distract us, but we still remembered that everyone was at Grampa’s funeral, even despite getting those chocolate cigarettes. When my Grandpa died, everyone in the family got a framed copy of this photo and whenever I think of my grandparents, this is how I picture them. My sister and I were the only grandchildren that my grandparents lived to see (they have 9 grandkids now).

*which will be small consolation when I go bankrupt from all the money I’ve spent on printing these past few months.

**now all I need is some sun!

***I’m slightly obsessed with kitchen paraphernalia.

****At least that’s what I’m telling myself, as I refuse to believe that I really, truly looked this awful!

Why, oh why, did I not notice that my bread expired two days ago until 3 am? All I wanted was a lousy peanut butter sandwich to help me through this long, long night of thesis revisions. Oh thesis revisions, how I hate you. And I’m not the only one:

Thanks to those sweethearts who made their messenger names and tag lines reflect my misery. You give me the strength to go on, knowing that you care!

And thanks to all the sweethearts for their kind comments about the much awaited photo of me & my shoes… your stroking of my ego is much appreciated!

Have you ever been so tired that every bone in your body aches?

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately — have been working frantically to try to get the thesis revisions done, with no time for such things as eating proper meals, sleeping or blogging. Still working on the revisions, but getting there. Was very burnt out and so actually did some partying this weekend (full report on that to come once I’m done with the revisions). But I just HAD to make this quick posting because I now have, as requested, a pic of me in my new shoes!

{May 23, 2006}   Done and done

I’m typing this posting from my new apartment! I moved! And I survived the move! Sure, I’m surrounded by piles and piles of boxes, into which has been folded/squished/stuffed virtually everything I own, which will probably take me all summer to unpack. And sure my apartment contains the possessions of no fewer than 4 people. And sure my countertop dishwasher is about 16 feet too tall to fit on my new counter. But I’m in my new home and I love it!

Many thanks to Erika, Shalu & Deepak who helped me move all my stuff and did it with smiles on their faces. And to Erika’s dad, who lent his truck! I’m so lucky to have such wonderful and generous friends!

OK, now it’s back to these damn hell thesis revisions, despite the fact that I did not sleep last night. I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead, right?

{May 19, 2006}   Misery Loves Company

Long weekends don’t mean a lot when you are a grad student. Especially a grad student with such a sporadic schedule as mine. When I have experiments going, I’m in the lab 7 days a week, usually for anywhere between 8-14 hours a day. I usually forget to eat until about 4 pm, when Shalu and I both nearly pass out from hunger. When I’m in a writing phase, I will usually work everyday, late into the night, drinking copious amounts of coffee/tea/diet Pepsi, and then sleep in ’til noon. And repeat, with each night getting progressively later until I end up working ’til 7 am and sleeping ’til 3 in the afternoon. Or maybe I’ll take a week and just goof off. I often lose track of what day of the week it is, since days melt into nights, weekdays melt into weekends – it’s all the same to me.

And as much as I love what I do and the flexibility that my career (sometimes) affords me, when I hear people who have regular jobs, with regular schedules talk about their plans for the long weekend and realize that they can actually enjoy their “free time” without the nagging voice in the back of their mind saying “you should be working right now!”, I feel a pang of jealousy*.

This long weekend will be filled with more working on the thesis (of “Thesis Writing is Hell” fame), punctuated by packing to move. All of which will take place inside my dank basement apartment. The apartment I’ve spent so much time in working on the damn hell thesis lately that I think I’ll go mad**.

So, since I’m in a bitter and angry place right now, I was pleased to see this weekend’s forecast:

It’s been gorgeously sunny and warm for about a week, but in typical Vancouver fashion, it will raining throughout the entire long weekend. Except on Sunday, when apparently the weather will be Not Applicable***. Enjoy your long weekend, Vancouver! ****

On a completely unrelated topic:

As per Dave’s request, I’m posting a link to the funniest video EVER! Calgary Flames. Singing. Seriously. Watch this video and tell me that anyone who is a Flames fan isn’t a complete freak. You can’t touch a flame when it’s red hot!

*when I hear about how people actually get paid a living wage (or more) for their work, I experience another pang of jealousy. But that’s a whole other issue.

**thank god for the friends who have invited me out for dinner lately, giving me an excuse to get out of this place once in a while! I owe them my sanity (such as it is).


***I know. That is mean and spiteful and I’m going to hell. Please send me beer, as it will be hot there. I hear that beer is an acquired taste, like red wine.

{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.

{March 10, 2006}   My Doppelgangers

The problem on the “Schedule of Upcoming Doctoral Examinations” has been solved, so I am no longer an anthropologist and/or sociologist. It turns out that Grad Studies had just linked to the info about the wrong Beth Simpson in their database, a Beth Simpson who apparently graduated in 2000.Which is good, ‘cuz I think I would have had a hard time defending that thesis. Especially because I’m so busy these days… you wouldn’t believe all the stuff I’ve been up to. Here’s just a sampling of the many things I’ve been doing lately, at least according to Google:

No wonder I’m so tired!

{March 8, 2006}   Cool People
Cool People Who Are Coming to My Defence*
(in alphabetical order)
  • Jennifer Bedford
  • Danielle Billey
  • Shalu Duggal
  • Kalev Hunt
  • Jenny Lee
  • Laura Leemon
  • Sarah MacDonald-McLean
  • Kim Mayes
  • Dave McLean
  • Larry Mroz
  • Candice Rideout
  • Craig Smith
  • David Simpson
  • Ziba Vaghri

Cool People Who Will Be With Me In Spirit

  • Daniela (Whitehorse)
  • Jorge (Toronto)
  • JWo (Toronto)
  • Kaede (Toronto)
  • Nancy (Toronto)
  • Rebecca (Sudbury)
  • Steph (writing an exam! boo-urns!)

People Who Haven’t Yet Decided If They Are Cool Enough to Attend

  • Angela
  • Dave B
  • Dave K
  • Erika
  • Jordy

Uncool People Who Are Refusing to Come to My Graduation

My dad

*I’ll add people to this list if anyone else tells me that they are going to attend

{March 7, 2006}   The Countdown Begins

If you are using Mozilla Foxfire to view my blog, you will see that I now have a snazzy new countdown clock in the sidebar, counting down the days to my defence (thanks to Kalev, my genius friend who did that for me!).

If you are using Internet Explorer to view my blog, you will see that Internet Explorer sucks.

Update (7Mar2006, 12:08am): A few things: First, Kalev, my genius friend, now has it working in both Firefox & IE. Three cheers for Kalev!! Second, did you know that you can find and download Firefox even if you think it’s called “Foxfire” (see above)? And finally, I just noticed that this is my 77th post (77 rocks because it’s my birth year and it’s Anson Carter’s jersey number. And Anson Carter is my fav Canuck!)

{March 7, 2006}   Curiouser and curiouser

I just checked the “Schedule of Upcoming Doctoral Examinations” on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website and apparently on the same day that I’m defending my thesis, at the same time and in the same room, someone named Beth Simpson is defending her Ph.D. in Anthropology & Sociology on Environment, Economics, and Consumption: Conflicting Cultural Models. How curious!

et cetera