Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese



So it’s taken me three weeks, but I’ve finally gotten all the photos from my Australia trip uploaded1 – all 1,120 of them!

Here are some of my favourite ones:

Quokka selfie:

Quokka selfie!

I caught that Australian-specific Pokémon before I even got to my hotel in Perth:

I caught a Kangaskhan on my first day in Australia!

Didn’t actually end up going here for a drink, but couldn’t resist taking a picture of the sign at the Lucky Shag Waterfront Bar:
The Lucky Shag Pub

Absolutely no dog picnics at Bootleg Brewery in Western Australia:
Bootleg Brewing

Mammoth Cave in Western Australia was amazing:
Mammoth Cave, Western Australia

I saw a lot of lighthouses on my trip, of which this was the first one:
Lighthouse in Western Australia

I did actually go to Australia for a conference. Here’s proof that I went to it!
Conference nametag selfie

These toys were used in an activity in a workshop that I went to:
Little toys used for an activity in the pre-conference workshop I went to

I’m not even sure what to say about this one:

Freemantle, Western Australia

Just living the thug life, where “thug life” = disobeying signs in low risk situations:

Freemantle, Western Australia

This little house on Rottnest Island, Western Australia, had the name “Stark” on it. When I saw it, I yelled: “The king in the south!!!”

The King in the South!

This building in Perth had cool colour lights and the lights were changing2:

Perth, Western Australia

Sign at a Mexican restaurant in Byron Bay:

Hilarious sign

Found this dead jellyfish on the beach. Until I saw it, I had completely forgotten hat I should be worried about being stung by a jellyfish!

Jellyfish I found on the Beach in Byron Bay

I’d been to the most easterly point of North American in June, so going to the most easterly point of mainland Australia seemed like a thing to do:

Most easterly point of the Australian mainland

I like the trees in Australia – then have interesting shapes”

Byron Bay

Cool tree

Sydney Opera House:

On the Ferry to Watson's Bay

Can’t sleep. Amusement park will eat me. (Luna Park in Sydney):
Luna Park's entrance is the creepiest clown ever

At the Peak in Hong Kong. The view wasn’t as spectacular as it could have been that day due to cloudiness/smogginess/smoggy cloudiness:

The Peak

Hong Kong is big. This photo really doesn’t do it justice:

Hong Kong

The whole photo album, should anyone actually want to look at all 1,120 of them, is on Flickr.

  1. Mostly because I’ve been too busy with other things, like catching up on work and my other work. And I had to find some spare time to get rid of duplicates and photos that turned out fuzzy, and then edited them to do things like tone down shadows or turn up the brightness so the photos looked good. And then upload them all! []
  2. I got a video of it, but haven’t uploaded it yet. []


Being Injured Is For Suckers

Hey remember that time that I ran a half marathon while slightly injured and ended up a whole lot more injured and then went away on a vacation for 2.5 weeks so that I couldn’t get physio done for said injury and also walked all the kilometers on said injury? Apparently none of that was a good idea.

Once I got back from said vacation, I decided to book a physio appointment at a place that specializes in sports medicine, but I couldn’t get in until last Thursday. So last Thursday, I hobbled my way into the clinic and she did a whole bunch of assessments and found that in addition to my bursitis, I have a bit of impingement on my hip, probably because my muscles are all messed up from having such a bad limp for the past month and a half. Also, my muscles are all messed up from having such a bad limp for the past month and a half.

Treatment she gave me included stretching my quads (& other muscles in that general vicinity), deep tissue massaging them, stabbing them with needles1, ultrasounding my bursa, and making me sit in a cold bath for 10 mins. Have you ever sat in what looks like a hot tub, but the water is 10 degrees C? I highly don’t recommend it.

For home treatment she suggested icing my hip, heating/stretching/foam rolling the tight muscles, and getting a cane to stop me from limping. Limping is making things worse, so she figures that if I can stop limping, it will help. Or at least preventing me from doing further damage. So for the next little while, if you see me, instead of just hobbling around, I’ll be hobbling around looking like an old person, or possibly a pimp.

I picked up a cane on my way to work on Friday, and it was quite interesting because when I was just limping, a lot of people were either teasing me (good naturedly, of course) or making comments of concern2, but when I showed up with a cane, almost no one said anything about it. Two people did ask me “what’s the deal with the cane?”, but most people just stayed completely silent. I’m assuming it’s because having a cane makes it seem like it’s in the range of a disability than an injury, and people are very uncomfortable with disabilities. You can tease someone for an injury, but you can’t tease them for a disability.

Having the cane has also caused people to give me their seat on the Skytrain or the bus every time I’ve gone on transit so far3. That might be the most helpful part of having a cane, as standing on transit has been murder on my injured hip as the bus or train jerks you around a lot more than I’d realized prior to being injured.

Anyway, I’m hoping that by following my physiotherapist’ treatment plan (I go back for another session of torture treatment this Thursday), l’ll be back to healthy soon. Hockey season has started and it’s killing me to be missing games!!

P.S. Blog postings about my Australia trip are coming. I’m using little bits of time here and there to get through processing all my photos, which I want to do before I write up blog postings so that I can have photos to go with them. I will get them done eventually!

P.P.S. I got an email today saying that the half marathon I’d registered (and paid for!) to run in San Diego in November but wasn’t going to be able to run because of my aforementioned injury has been cancelled due to not being able to get the permits they need to host the race. I feel badly for anyone who registered for and was training for (and maybe even booked a hotel and flight for!) the race, but the silver lining for me is that I get my money refunded!

  1. a.k.a. IMS []
  2. Like, “you are still limping??” []
  3. Unless there is already an empty seat for me. That didn’t even happen when I had my sprained ankle bandaged! []


I’m Back!

I’m back! (Actually, I have been for almost a week!) I have so much to blog about from my trip but I’m afraid I won’t be able to get to the big blog postings for a while as I’m teaching a new course this semester so that is going to take up most of my outside of work time. But I figured I could jot down a few quick thoughts on my Skytrain ride to work1 so that you at least know that I made it home in one piece. (And then I haven’t gotten around to actually taking this posting off my phone and putting it on my blog until now!)

Some things they don’t believe in in Australia:

  • Coffee makers in hotels or AirBnBs. None of the three places we stayed at in Australia2 had a coffee maker3. It’s not like they don’t drink coffee there – several of the Aussies that I met described themselves as very proud of the high quality coffee in Australia and how it is so much better than North American coffee. I guess they figure that coffee making is best left to the professionals.
  • Diet pop. Especially Diet Pepsi. A few times when I ordered a Diet Coke, I was asked “Is Coke Zero OK?” (No. No it is not.) And a couple of times I got “We are all out of that.” Given that an individual size bottle of pop cost $4, I guess it’s not that bad that I didn’t drink very much of it there.

Some things that surprised me in Australia:

  • I only saw one kangaroo (and even that was just a glimpse of one hopping along the side of the road as the bus I was on whizzed by). I also saw zero crocodiles, koala bears, and venomous snakes. Apparently movies have lied to me that such creatures are all over Australia! (Mercifully, I didn’t see any truly enormous Aussie spiders – I saw one rather large one on the ceiling in a restaurant on our last night in Sydney, but it wasn’t bigger than ones I’ve seen here). So I’ve official seen as many kangaroos in Toronto as I saw in Australia!
  • It was freaking cold in Perth. I mean, I knew it was technically still winter when we arrived (we were there for the first day of spring), but I wasn’t expecting it to get down to just 4 degrees overnight! Everyone there did say it was unseasonably cold, but it’s not like it’s usually 30 degrees there in the winter. I guess I had thought of Australia as just being hot all the time – as silly as people thinking it snows all year round in Canada, now that I think of it!
  • The toilets did not flush clockwise as taught to us all by Lisa on the Simpsons. In fact, all the toilets seemed to flush in a random chaotic pattern, not clockwise or counterclockwise. I can’t believe an animated TV show led me astray!

Anyhoo, there will be more to come on my epic trip, but I make no promises about the timeliness of such postings!

  1. Because I’m all about efficiency and also there no cell phone service on parts of the track which means I can’t play Pokémon. []
  2. Nor the place we stayed at in Hong Kong! []
  3. One place did had a French press, so at least there was that. []


In the Sydney Airport

So now I’m in the Sydney airport, waiting for a flight to Hong Kong1. My gate is disappointingly devoid of Pokéstops, so I’m actually going to try to get some work done. But the TL;DR version of Sydney was: it’s a lovely city, we got to see numerous lighthouses2, caught many Pokémon3, walked all the kilometres4, and I’ll blog about it all in more detail when I get home.

  1. We decided that rather than do another 20 hours of flying in one day, we’d break the flight home up by stopping into Hong Kong on the way home. Neither of us have been there before, aside from our brief layover on the way to Perth. []
  2. As I’m apparently on an unintentional worldwide lighthouse tour this year – having been to lighthouses in St. John’s and Salt Spring Island prior to this trip, then ones in Western Australia and New South Wales on this trip. []
  3. Including several new ones that I didn’t have before. []
  4. My hip is considerably better than it was at the start of this trip, though I’ll still need to do some work on it when I get home. []


At the Ballina Airport

Now I’m at the Ballina1 Airport. I have much to blog about, but I think that will have to wait until I get home, as I’m having far too much fun sightseeing and Pokémon-ing and whatnot to spend my time on my computer. But probably the most exciting thing about our time here was that there was a great white shark attack at the beach over from the beach we were boogie boarding at2 – they are big beaches, so it was about 20 km away, but I’m sure a great white could swim 20 km no problem3. The least awesome thing was the two giant cockroaches (like about 1.5 inches long) that showed up in our kitchen yesterday. Apparently having a banana on the counter was not a fantastic idea4. Also, we didn’t see a single kangaroo here, despite driving through a “kangaroos next 5 km” area twice5. The best part of the trip was that my friends from high school Tanya and Greg joined us – they are currently living in Melbourne and came out to Byron Bay to hang out, which was super awesome! But I will blog about our adventures more later – looks like it will be time to board the plane soon!

  1. Pronounced Bel-in-ah, and not Ba-leena, like I assumed before I came here. []
  2. My injured hip wasn’t up to surfing, so this was the next best thing. []
  3. Don’t worry, Mom, we didn’t see any sharks and we are leaving now! []
  4. Thank the FSM that this happened on our last day and not the first day. Neither of us slept well last night, even though Andrew killed them both and we took the banana and the garbage can outside. []
  5. But during the day, so they were probably all sleeping. []


Happy Birthday, Watson & Crick

It’s my kitty cats’ 5th birthday today! Because I’m the worst cat mom in the world, I’m on the other side of the planet. Fortunately, they are cats and don’t know how to read a calendar, so I can spoil them when I get home and they won’t know the difference. Special thanks to their Aunty Heather, who is looking after them when I’m away, with help from Uncle Dwayne and from Aunty Ellen!





Happy birthday, my sweet baby kitties!


In the Perth Airport

I’ve been in Australia for an entire week and haven’t yet blogged anything! Usually I’d blog from the airport while I wait to leave on a trip, but when I was in the Vancouver airport waiting for my flight to Perth, by way of Hong Kong, I was frantically trying to get a reference letter done for a colleague and also had a slew of other work to do1 Preparing to go away for 2.5 weeks takes *a lot* of work – you basically have to do all the work you would have done during the 2.5 weeks before you leave. Hence, no blog posting.

Now I’m in the Perth airport – having completed the first part of the trip: a conference2, plus a few days of seeing the sites in and around Perth3, I’m now waiting for a flight to Byron Bay, by way of Sydney. It’s 11:15 pm Perth time as I write this, which means it’s only 8:15 am back home in Vancouver. It’s very strange to have lived a whole day when everyone back home is only just starting their day. We’ll fly through the night, then have a few hours layover in Sydney, followed by a flight to Ballina airport. Then I’ll get to try my hand at driving on the opposite side of the road than I’m used to. Wish me luck!

My flight is boarding, so I gotta go! See you on da flip side.

  1. E.g., lecture notes and slides for my course, putting together a CV for thing I’m applying for (Not a new job, in case you were wondering), etc. []
  2. Which was awesome! []
  3. Also awesome. I’ll blog about it all in more detail later. []


Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon

So I ran a half marathon last Sunday. And despite it being my second worst finish time of the 14 half marathons that I have run, it turned out to be the one that required the most perseverance and I am actually proud to have finished, yet a bit mad at myself for even having run it. As I mentioned previously, I was suffering from a gluteus medius issue that was so bad it was causing me to limp and it hurt to run. And nothing I was doing was working – it was like it was too tight to even get it to stretch at all, no matter how much I tried. Then I went out for dinner with my friend Linda and she told me about a physiotherapy treatment called intramuscular stimulation (or dry needling1.). This technique uses acupuncture needles, but instead of poking the needles into things that have never been scientifically demonstrated to exist, they insert them into tight bits of muscle. It seems like the idea is that your muscle is confused and thinks it should be shortened into this tight piece of agony and isn’t getting your message to just chill the fuck out already, so you poke it to sort of reboot the system.

Have you tried turning my muscle off and then turning it back on again?2

I did a (very) quick look at the research literature and, unlike acupuncture which has definitely been shown not be any better than a placebo, there really isn’t much research on IMS to know if it’s effective or not (at least as far as I can tell from my quick look). So I figured that it at least has some biological plausibility and I was desperate, because I knew I couldn’t run the race if something didn’t give. So I decided to try it as a Hail Mary pass.

It’s a very interesting sensation to have someone poke a needle in your muscle. It doesn’t hurt, but it feels… unusual. Also, when I told the physio that I wanted to be able to run a half marathon in 3 days, he decided to do electrical stimulation with the needling. So in addition to stabbing the muscles, he also electrocuted them. That felt in some cases like he was just flicking my leg and at other times it just made the muscles twitch repeatedly. Oh yeah, and a lot more muscles were messed up than just the glut med. The TFL ((a.k.a., Tensor Fascia Latae.)) was solid like a rock (which my massage therapist had also noted) and the quads and hamstrings were too. So he stabbed and electrocuted a whole bunch of parts of all of those muscles.

After the treatment, I could immediately stretch my hip more than before the treatment3 and it continued to loosen up a bit more each day. Could it have been a placebo effect? Entirely possible. Would it have loosened up in those days even if I hadn’t had the IMS. Maybe they would have, been there’s no way to know!

The physiotherapist’s advice was to try a little 1-2 km jog on the Saturday and see if it was loose enough to run. So we made our way to Kelowna on Saturday and then I went for a 2km jog, which I was able to do, but with a shooting pain with every step. It would get a teensy bit better, but if I stopped, say, to catch a Pokémon, when I restarted, it would hurt as much as the start of the run. What to do? What to do? I was of two minds: the one that said “Maybe it just needs a bit more jogging to loosen it up4. If it loosens up as much over tonight as it has the last few days, I’ll be fine. What if that happens and I don’t do the race – I’ll be walking around all fine and then I’ll want to kick myself! I can’t miss another race this year!” And then the other one that said, “What if you injure yourself more by running on this injury? That’s how you got this injury – running on the not fully healed sprained ankle! Do you really want to jeopardize your upcoming trip to Australia? The race fee is a sunk cost!” So Andrew made me an offer – I’d  start the race and if after 5km, I’m still in pain, I could call him and he’d come and pick me up. So that’s what I did.

Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon route 2016

Long story short: my hip was considerably looser the next day and combined with the race day adrenaline, the first 15 km were slower than I’d usually run a race, but faster than I’d expected given the circumstances. My hip didn’t hurt, it was more just uncomfortable. As I passed the 15 km marker, I thought “I’m glad I did this, I’m going to finish much sooner than I thought, maybe I should text Andrew to let him know as he might not go to the finish line in time to see me” and no sooner did I think that than a pain shoot through my hip – pain that would continue to shoot on every step of the remaining 6 km. Every volunteer I passed gave me a look of genuine sympathy and a kind encouraging word that I could do this. As I crossed the finish line, I was glad I was wearing sunglasses because maybe that would make the tears of pain streaming down my face less noticeable.

Kelowna half marathon 2016 - finish line 2

Me at the finish line. You can see the pain on my face.

Some thoughts on the race itself:

  • The route itself was gorgeous – it officially replaces Victoria as the most beautiful race route I’ve run. It started in the Vibrant Vine vineyard, ran through some wine country and farm lands, down a giant hill, through some neighbourhoods, and finished up in a park by the lake, where a wine festival awaited. I’d really like to run this race again when I’m not injured so I can more fully appreciate it.
Kelowna half marathon 2016 - actually smiling

This is me at some point before the 15 km mark, where I was only in mild discomfort. Or as I call it now “the good ole days”.

  • While the race as beautiful, the logistics weren’t the best thought out. For example, the website mentioned nothing about a shuttle bus taking runners to the start line, so we expected Andrew to be able to drop me off there, but then out of the blue the road was closed and they said I had to go wait for a shuttle bus. Since people weren’t expecting this, they didn’t allot time for it and they had to delay the race start to allow for more people to arrive on the shuttles. Even with that, I heard that some people didn’t get to the start line until after the race started because they had to wait for the bus they didn’t know they’d have to take.
  • Another example of poor planning was that the place to pick up your gear that you’d checked and your wine glass that was required for the wine festival tastings was at the very end of the festival compound, which meant you had to walk all the way to far end to pick up your stuff and then all the way back to the entrance to the festival to go to wine tastings. This was particularly bad for me since I was in a lot of pain and walking was not something I was wanting to do at that particular time.
  • It was different to run a race at the back of the pack. I mean, I’m not a top finisher by any stretch, but I’m used to being in the top half to the top quarter. Being at a slower pace meant I did have more time to look around and enjoy the scenery – though I guess that part of that was also the I chose to do that to try to distract myself from the pain.
  • I also had more time and attention to think about things. Who were my fellow runners? For how many of them was this their first half? Their 50th? Who else was running hurt, pushing through despite the pain? I thought about the saying that you should “Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” What battles were my fellow runners fighting, physically or psychologically, that you just can’t see from the outside? What motivated them to run today? And conversely, who was having the best race of their life? And who else was in this for the wine?
  • I also thought about my dad. I find I do that often when I’m running, because I know he was a runner before I was born. Also, my dad was very stubborn and I was being stubborn too, by running this race.
  • The race medal was awesome. When I first saw it, I didn’t clue into what it was and just thought “It’s huge!” But it turns about that it’s a coaster for your wine! It’s easily detachable from the ribbon so you can actually use it! Though I’m sure I’ll just hang it on the wall with my collection5


    I do love a good race medal.

I’ve spent the past week since the race limping around – I saw the physio on Wednesday and he said I have acute bursitis and maybe acute tendinitis – and I saw the massage therapist today. I had to skip my hockey game today because I can barely walk, let alone skate. Here’s hoping the 16 hours of flying I have coming up on Wednesday doesn’t kill me!

The one silver lining – well, in addition to the awesome race medal and all the wine – was that I finally caught the damn Mankey that had been eluding me in Pokémon Go. Mankey isn’t that rare of a Pokémon – I just could never seem to catch one, until now ((Of course, once I caught one, I ended up catching a few. Now I just need to keep catching them so that I can evolve one into a Primeape!)!


  1. As opposed to “wet needling”, i.e., injecting you with stuff []
  2. Props to Kalev for coming up with this line in a convo we were having yesterday []
  3. By which I mean to say – I could then stretch it more than 1 mm. []
  4. I had some bad shin splints earlier this year that took about 5 km of jogging before they disappeared, so this wouldn’t have been unprecedented. []
  5. Speaking of which, my medal rack is too full – I need a new one. But I don’t have time to deal with that right now, so that is after-Australia Beth’s problem. []


Introducing My New Cleaning Crew

So, Andrew is something of a neat freak1,2 and suggested that perhaps I should clean my algae-adorned frog tank more often than once a century. And while I sort of agreed in principle – i.e, I agreed with the notion that the frog tank should be cleaned, but disagreed with the notion that *I* should personal do any more cleaning than is absolutely necessary. So I have decided to outsource this work to three otocinclus catfish.


One of my three new ottos

These little guys are algae-eaters who can happily co-habit with Tyrion Froggister, Copernicus the Third, and Timbit.

The only thing they need now are names. My initial thought was to call them Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar, but I feel like it’s a little too trendy and once the PokéCraze is over the names will seem dated. So if anyone has ideas of a better trio after whom to name them, I’m willing to take suggestions3


Three little otto fish!

  1. Given this, why he’s dating me is something of a mystery. []
  2. He’s an accountant, so this is to be expected, I suppose. []
  3. Except Larry, Curly, & Moe. That’s a non-starter. []


I’m In It For The Wine

So I’m one week away from my next half marathon – the Kelowna Wine Country half. When I set my goals for 2016, I had big plans to really focus on my training to finally Posterior Hip Muscles 3.PNGbreak the 2 hour barrier that stayed just out of reach in my races last year. But a series of annoying illnesses and sprained ankle have hampered my training and forced me to recalibrate my goal. After taking three weeks off due to my sprained ankle, I did manage to do 1 long run in July (16 km) and 3 long runs in August (a 17 km, an 18 km, and a 19 km), but I didn’t manage to fit in any speedwork. And in the last week I’ve been dealing with an insanely tight gluteus medius muscle. Like so tight that I’ve been limping and have been unable to run without a lot of pain. And so I haven’t run. My massage therapist theorized that it might be from the fact that my left ankle was not 100% so I was compensating and putting extra pressure on my right gluteus medius and now I’m in this state. So I had some massage and I’ve been stretching and foam rolling and I had an Epsom salt bath yesterday and I tried running again this morning and it definitely still hurts, though not as bad as it was. I’m hoping that if I continue to stretch and roll it for the rest of this week I’ll be able to loosen it up enough to get through the half marathon next Sunday. So that’s basically my recalibrated goal: I would like to be able to finish the race. I figure that I’ll just try to enjoy the scenery and be motivated by the fact that there is a wine festival waiting for me when I cross the finish line! Wish me luck!
Image credit: CC BY-SA 3.0,