Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Kitties Annual Report, FY2014

Kitty Annual Report 01
Kitty Annual Report 02
Kitty Annual Report 03
Kitty Annual Report 04
Kitty Annual Report 05
Kitty Annual Report 06
Kitty Annual Report 07
Kitty Annual Report 08
Kitty Annual Report 09

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Nerd Stats 2014

Here is a quick summary of my blog and Twitter stats for 2014, in delightful Google spreadsheet form:

My blogging and tweeting stats are continuing their downward trend, which is not at all surprising, given that my blogging was very inconsistent this year. Case in point, I only blogged twice in the entire month of November – and I didn’t even remember that November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) – the month when I usually blog every day- until the past few days when I was writing up my year in blog postings! Ah well, apparently I was having too much fun this year to spend my time blogging! And it’s quality over quantity, right?

Also, if you are interested, you can also check out my blogging annual report from WordPress.

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Twelve Months of NTBTWK

As I’m doing a bunch of year-end type postings, I figured I’d do the “twelve months” one where you post the first line of the first blog posting of each month of the year (and the name of the month is a link to the full posting). But I like to post the first *two* lines of every posting, because it’s my blog and I’ll post the first two lines if I want to.

January 2014

As you know, I love setting goals. And what better time than New Year’s Day to do some goal setting!

February 2014

For the next week, I’m going to be curating the @PeopleofCanada Twitter account! From the @PeopleofCanada Tumblr blog:

About

A rotating crew of Canadians sharing their lives in with Canada and the world.

March 2014

So, I totally thought that I’d written a blog posting about this before, but apparently not. Sometimes I compose blog postings in my brain when I’m not in a position to write stuff down and then forget that I never actually wrote them down

April 2014

Hey, remember that time I played hockey for 10 days to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis? Well, yesterday when I picked up a copy of the Royal City Record (my local paper), I saw a familiar face from that game: Bill Markvoort.

May 2014

Today marked the first time since before my MBA program started that I *wasn’t* in class during the BMO Vancouver International Marathon. Since I just ran a half marathon less than a month ago, I didn’t think it was wise to run another half marathon so soon, and thus I registered for the 8 km race instead.

June 2014

Last Wednesday, I attended my fourth – and final – university convocation as a graduate1, receiving my hard earned MBA2. It’s hard to believe that just 28 months ago3, me and 50 other brave souls embarked on the intense and life changing journey that is the part-time MBA program at UBC.

July 2014

Hey, remember that time I bought a condo? That was pretty awesome and also stressful but mostly awesome.

August 2014

Apparently I’m really into theatre all of the sudden, as last night I saw Red Rock Diner at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage.

Here the trailer.

September 2014

Last week was a bittersweet one1. Sweet, because I started my awesome new job.

October 2014

Photos of my running shoes tend to be some of my most favourited photos on my Flickr account. So my all the running shoe aficionados, here are some photos of my newest pair of running shoes.

November 2014

So here I find myself on a plane heading to Toronto and I realize that I haven’t even mentioned a thing about my trip here on ye old blog! But now I’ve got 4+ hours on a plane and, sure, I have work I could be doing, but my brain is pretty fried from all the work I’ve been doing of late, so I figure I’ll write this blog posting now and leave the work for later, as there will be plenty more flights and sitting around in airports in the next week!

December 2014

My going away present from my coworkers at my old job was two tickets for a tour of three breweries – obviously, my former coworkers know me very well! The tour company,Vancouver Brewery Tours1 picks you up at Waterfront Station, takes you around to tour three different breweries – going behind the scenes to see all the cool equipment and learning about all the cool techniques of how they brew their beer – and then drops you back at Waterfront, so you can enjoy all the beery goodness – a flight at each brewery – in a responsible fashion.

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Can’t Stop Learning

As previously mentioned, I recently started taking some hockey lessons, because apparently 2 years of MBA school on the weekend got me addicted to learning stuff on Saturday mornings. The lessons are going great – the coach is excellent at breaking skills down into easy-to-understand parts and because we only have 5 people in the class (and not everyone shows up to every class), we get to do lots of reps of the different drills. Repetition is very important to learning new skills – you have to do something enough times that it’s just hard-wired into your brain and you aren’t thinking about it anymore1.

Well, apparently I’m not content with just learning stuff on Saturdays mornings. Because, as you may recall, my MBA classes also included Friday nights2. And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I’ve signed up for a Friday night class. Starting this week, I’m taking beginner’s salsa dancing lessons.

This will be me soon:

The Perfect Moment

Image Credit: Posted by Vineet Radhakrishnan on Flickr.

Footnotes:

  1. So, really, in addition to the lessons, I need to get out to some stick-and-puck sessions to work on these different skills that I’m learning. []
  2. As well as Sundays, but I’m hoping that learning stuff on Fridays *and* Saturdays will fill my learning needs! []

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Kitties Report, Q3

Introduction

This report covers Q3 of FY2014 for Snow Industries, Cat Division.

Assets

There were no new asset acquisitions this quarter. The Procurement Department is on the look out for a cool piece of furniture inside which the litter box can be hidden, but have not yet found the right item.

Expenses

The primary operating expense continues to be food, comprising 97.3% of all expenses for this quarter. See Figure 1 for a breakdown of expenses by category for Q3.

Figure 1

R&D

Advanced box research continued through Q3 at Snow Industries, with ample evidence supporting the the preliminary conclusion of “boxes are awesome to sit in or on” (see Figures 2 to 7).

Watson

Figure 2

Crick in a Box

Figure 3

Watson in a Box

Figure 4

Crick in a Box

Figure 5

Watson in a Baskete

Figure 6

Crick in a box

Figure 7

But bags were also found to be fascinating (see Figures 8 to 10).

Crick

Figure 8

Crick checking out my new wheeled bag for work

Figure 9

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Figure 10

Also registering on the excitement-o-meter was the laundry machine (Figures 11 to 12), trying to grab each others’  paws from opposite sides of the bathroom door (Figure 13), and pigeons on the neighbour’s balcony (see Figure 14).

Crick watching the laundry

Figure 11

Crick is helping me do laundry

Figure 12

Cat games

Figure 13

Cats Watching Birds

Figure 14

It was also discovered by one member of the R&D department that the man who came to install the screen doors at HQ was absolutely terrifying (see cat hiding under couch in Figure 15), though the other member of the R&D department completely disagreed with this conclusion (see cat looking at camera like “what’s wrong with the guy under the couch?” in Figure 15).

Cats

Figure 15

Return on Investment

As expected, the ROI, in the form of cuddles, cuteness, and love, continues to be strong through Q3.

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Sloth Beth Strikes Again

And while I’m re-purposing old photos here on ye ole blog, I think it’s time to bring back this one:

Sloth Beth

Sloth Beth!

I have been such a sloth of late. I started the year off well – I went from the running study right into training for the Hollywood Half Marathon right into the BMO 8 km right into training for the Scotibank half marathon. And then I stopped running. Entirely. If it weren’t for a couple of bike rides to work recently and the fact that I’ve been playing hockey once a week this summer, I think I’d just be a giant puddle of formlessness due to my slothitude.

I can point to a lot of reasons for my lack of running, including my many vacations and the fact that I was spending time on real estate wheeling and dealing and packing and moving and unpacking and getting a new job and the extreme heat wave sucking up any scrape of energy one might have and, quite honestly, being a little bit bored of just running. But that’s not what’s important now. What’s important now is what I’m going to do to get rid of Sloth Beth. Because being Sloth Beth doesn’t feel as good as being Athletic Beth.

Step #1 was that I went out for a run this morning. And OMG, did it feel amazing. It was just a short run – a mere 5.27 km along the Quay – and it wasn’t fast. But it felt so good!

Next up, I need to sign up for a race. Because I know that if I’m not training for a race, I just don’t hit the pavement. I noticed that my friend Julie tweeted about signing up for the Night Race – where you get to run around Stanley Park (either 5 km or 10 km) in the dark and you get a free headlamp. And you know how I feel about free stuff. I’ve wanted to do that race for a while, but the past two years it has fallen on a night when I had MBA class, so I wasn’t able to do it. Seeing that I don’t have MBA classes any more – well, there’s no reason not to! I’m going to check in with my work running buddies1 on Monday to see if they’d be up for doing this race with me!

As well, I’ve been thinking really seriously lately about doing a triathlon. Doing so much running over the first half of the year has caused me to crave a little variety and I think a triathlon is just what the doctor ordered. My friend Candace is a triathlon veteran, so I have plans to meet up with her to get some advice on what triathlon I should do and how to start training!

I also took a look at my physical activity tracking spreadsheet – because you know how much I love a good spreadsheet – and discovered that though we are 63% of the way through the year, I’m only 57% of the way to my goal of running 800 km this year2. So I’m behind, but not so very behind that I can’t catch up. This makes me feel a bit better about my ability to recover from this slothiness – I’m not too far gone!

I’ve now got it in my calendar that I’m going to bike to work two days next week and I have at least one hockey game – two if we win our game on Wednesday3. I’m going out dancing with Kalev tonight4 and tomorrow I’m going salsa dancing, so I think I’m doing all the right things in terms of getting rid of that pesky Sloth Beth!

  1. Though I guess they will be my former work running buddies by the time this race happens. :'( []
  2. But let’s not talk about my progress towards my goal of biking 800 km this year! I’m currently at only 8.77% of that goal! Yikes! []
  3. It’s the playoffs and we are in a best of two series to see if we move on. We won last Wednesday’s game 8-2 (and I got 2 assists!), so if we win this Wednesday, we move on to the next round and play on Friday night. If we lose, it will go to goal differential, so that 6 goal lead we have on that front puts us in a nice position. But the plan is to just win again on Wednesday so there’s no need to worry about anything else. []
  4. Yay New West Pride! []

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Bard BBQ!

And speaking of BBQs, I went to one last night. But not just any BBQ. A Bard-B-Q!

One of the things that has been on my 101 things to do in 1001 days list since it’s very first iteration1 has been to go to a Bard on the Beach show. And for some reason, every summer goes by and I don’t manage to get my butt down to Vanier Park for a performance. It’s very strange, because I really did want to go. I quite like Shakespeare. Hell, I did an entire class on “Acting Shakespeare” in my undergrad as part of my minor in Drama. I can still recite this monologue that I memorized in *high school*.

Well, as luck would have it, I got some serious motivation to attend a Bard on the Beach performance of Cymbeline as I won tickets as part of a crazy awesome prize package!

A few weeks ago, someone tweeted about a contest that Lonetree Cider2 was having on Facebook. A typical “like our FB page, enter our contest” type of contest. But I noticed that at the time, which was only a few days before the contest ended, there were fewer people entered in the contest than there were prizes, so I figured my odds were pretty good to at least win one of the 15 pairs of tickets to see Cymbeline at Bard on the Beach 3. And then as soon as I entered the contest, I promptly forget about it. Until they called to tell me that I won the grand prize! The grand prize consisted of:

  • two tickets to Cymbeline
  • for the special Bard-B-Q event, where you get to see the show, then have a salmon BBQ dinner
  • then you get to stick around to watch the Celebration of Lights firework show as you enjoy coffee and dessert
  • a one night stay at the Granville Island Hotel, which is within stumbling distance of Bard, so you could enjoy some wine, beer, and/or Lonetree Cider with your dinner
  • breakfast at Dockside Restaurant at the hotel

Not a bad little prize pack, if I do say so myself!

Bard on the Beach

First and foremost, the performance of Cymbeline was awesome. I’d never seen, read, nor heard *anything* about this play before. I even had to go read the Wikipedia entry on it to make sure I’d have an idea of what was going on in it. The cast, however, did such an amazing job that I’m sure even if I hadn’t read it, I would have been able to follow along with no problem. To make things even more interesting, there was a very small cast, so each actor played multiple roles, yet you were never confused as to who was who – even in the scenes where Anton Lipovetsky, the actor who played both Posthumus and Cloten, played Cloten dressed up as Posthumus – thanks to Lipovetsky’s fantastic acting. He conveyed each character so well that you felt like you were watching different people when he changed roles. There was even some hilarious stuff at the end when actors were changing from one character to another *on stage*, ripped off one sash and putting on a different cloak, their mannerisms changing as quickly as the costume! All in all, a fantastically produced play that I highly recommend you check out if you get the chance!

The rest of the evening also did not disappoint. The salmon BBQ was excellent, the view of the fireworks was great (though the music wasn’t all that fantastic, but the fireworks themselves were super cool), the hotel was lovely and breakfast at the Dockside Restaurant was the perfect way to cap it all off!

Image Credit: Posted by Mandy Jansen on Flickr. Several years ago. But since I was too lazy to take my own photo, I just search Flickr for Create Commons licensed photos and that’s what I found!

  1. i.e., since Jan 12, 2009! []
  2. Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the companies I’m mentioning and linked to in this posting, other than having won the contest to get stuff from them for free. But since I liked all the stuff I got, I should share the love! []
  3. I will also now admit that I selfishly did not re-tweet the contest or link to it on my Facebook page, as I wanted to keep my odds as high as possible rather than increase my competition. Because, when you think about it, there’s no incentive with a contest like this for me to share the info! Good lesson in social media marketing, now that I think about it. []

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Framed

One of the many ways in which I was spoiled by my mother for my MBA graduation was that she bought me a frame for my diploma1. But not just any frame. No, I needed a fancy pants Sauder School of Business frame. In my defence, my PhD is also from UBC and I already have a fancy pants UBC frame, so I wanted something that would make this degree look different than that one.

Anyway, while my mom was here, we ordered the frame and then I dutifully waited 10 business days for shipping… and it turned out they sent the wrong frame! Well, technically they sent the right frame with the wrong mat. Instead of sending me the mat with the Sauder logo and the Robert H. Lee Graduate School wordmark – I was in the graduate school, after all – they sent me one with just the Sauder logo. Like as if I were an *undergrad*! The horror!

I emailed the company that sells the frames and they quickly shipped me a new mat and then I waited something less than 10 business days and then all was right with the world. Here is my newly framed MBA:

MBA frame

And here is a close up of the Sauder School of Business logo *AND* Robert H. Lee Graduate School wordmark:

MBA frame

It also came with this swanky Sauder logo medallion at the top:

MBA frame

Also, I was surprised to discover that the frame was made in Canada:

MBA frame

Except then I noticed that the frame was made in Italy:

MBA frame

So I guess the “made in Canada” refers to the mat and/or medallion? At any rate, I have a lovely frame for my hard-earned degree. Thanks, Mom!

Perhaps hanging things on walls should be my task for this weekend?

  1. Being that I’m the type to lose and/or spill things on important documents, I wanted to get my diploma into the frame to protect if from me. []

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Kitties Report, Q2

Introduction

This report covers Q2 of FY2014 for Snow Industries, Cat Division.

Assets

Asset acquisition was minimal in Q2, including only one item: a food dish with a timer-released lid, which allows food to be put out for the cats in a sealed compartment, the lid of which opens at a pre-set time. This asset was acquired since the CEO spent time traveling away from headquarters during Q2 and the timer-released lid allowed her to pay a cat sitter to attend to the cats only once a day, instead of twice a day. Thus, this asset was a significant cost saving acquisition.

Expenses

Primary operating expenses in Q2 comprised food and cat sitting services, due to the aforementioned CEO trips. Food products were diversified by trying out some high quality, grain-free dry food that could safely be left in the aforementioned timer-released dish (as leaving out wet food for 12 hours didn’t seem like a good idea). Dry food will be reserved for only such times as food needs to be left out in the new dish, much to the dismay of the cats, who lose their little kitty minds over this crunchy food. They have informed management that they will be consulting with their union rep on this matter.

Expenses lumped together in the “supplies” category the Q1 report were broken down into the more precise categories of “food,” “litter”, and “equipment”1, as the accountant felt guilty about her lazy accounting. See Figure 1 for a breakdown of expenses by category for the first half of FY2014 (i.e., both Q1 and Q2).

Figure 1

Developments at Snow Industries

In keeping with our luxury brand, Snow Industries relocated headquarters from rented space to owned space in a prime sub-penthouse location. The expense of this purchase was not included in the financials above because (a) the total would overwhelm all other expenses, making the graphs much less interesting to look at, and (b) the accountant is far too lazy to do the amortization calculations.

The process of moving provided significant excitement for CATpital investment Watson and CATpital investment Crick, mostly in the form of boxes, but also in the form of lying on the moving blanket that the movers accidentally left behind. See Figures 2 to 14.

IMG_5850

Figure 2

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Figure 3

IMG_0027

Figure 4

IMG_0036

Figure 5

IMG_0042

Figure 6

IMG_0054

Figure 7

IMG_0099

Figure 8

IMG_0065

Figure 9

IMG_0089

Figure 10

IMG_0199

Figure 11

IMG_0236

Figure 12

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Figure 13

IMG_0097

Figure 14

Another highlight of Q2 was a visit from Grandma and Great Auntie Eileen, who spoiled the kitties with love and toys. Toys, I might add, that the kitties completely ignored until Grandma and Great Auntie Eileen went home, at which point they started playing with them. Especially at night. Especially the ones with bells in them.

Risk Management

The teeth-related risk described in the Q1 report came to fruition with the destruction of a perfectly good, brand new pair of headphones (see Figure 15). Though security footage from headquarters did not reveal the culprit, the Security Department has their suspicions as to who was at fault. To avoid future property damage, it has been suggested that perhaps the CEO shouldn’t leave her headphones with their delicious looking cord poking out of her purse on the counter where a curious kitty might go looking.

IMG_0353

Figure 15

Marketing

The Marketing Department has been prototype testing a variety of cat nicknames, mostly because that’s what happens when you live alone with only cats to talk to. Some nicknames are generally applied to both cats equally (e.g., Muffin, Munchkin, Destructo-Kitty), whereas some are specific to a given cat (For Watson, they include but are not limited to: Dr. Watson, Big W, Watskipoo, Brother Cat, Kitchen Cat2; for Crick, they include but are not limited to Dr. Crick, Cricky, Crickskipoo, Crickerella, Sister Cat, Office Cat3. Future testing of cat nicknames is required to determine the best fit with Snow Industries overall branding strategy.

Return on Investment

ROI, in the form of cuddles, cuteness, and love, continues to be strong through Q2. The Finance Department remains baffled as to how to appropriately monetize these returns, as numbers big enough to represent the return do not appear to exist. Forecasts continue to anticipate ongoing positive returns for the foreseeable future.

IMG_0310

Figure 16: Snow Industries employee group photo

Footnotes

  1. “Equipment” comprises such items as toys, dishes, and scratching posts. []
  2. Watson loves to watch me when I’m working in the kitchen. []
  3. Crick loves to hang out with me when I’m in the office. []

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How Many Hours Does One Spend on Homework in a Part-time MBA Program? The Final Analysis

Hey, remember that time that I did an MBA? That was pretty awesome. And remember how I’m a huge nerd and was tracking all the hours that I spent on said MBA? Also pretty awesome. Anyway, the last time that I provided an updated summary, it was of the data up to the end of summer 2013. So, for completeness sake, I’ve analyzed the full data set, from the beginning of the pre-core program until I handed in my industry paper, the final thing I had to do in my MBA. (Spoiler alert: the final analysis is not much different from what I saw in the preliminary analysis). A few caveats about these data:

  • I completed the program in 24 instead of 28 months, so the amount of time I spent per week is higher than it would have been if I’d completed the program as scheduled
  • The part-time program, as scheduled, consists of a full weekend of classes roughly every third weekend, except July & August, plus work on a business plan and industry project that spanned several months and was done outside of class weekends. I took some courses from outside my program (e.g., full-time MBA classes offered in the evenings, EMBA courses offered on different weekends, some online/distributed learning courses). This makes my time spent in class less regular than it otherwise would have been.
  • My industry project was a project that was related to work, so some of it was done on work time. Since this was work I’d have been doing anyway, it was not counted as school work time (Though anything I did that was extra for the industry project was conducted on my own time and is counted in the data).
  • Transit time to and from school was not counted, unless I happened to be doing homework (e.g., reading while on the Skytrain) during that time.

And now, to the juicy data!

Overall for the two years, I spent:

  • 831 hours on homework
  • 641 hours in class
  • = 1472 hours total

If my next best alternative use of that time was to do freelance work and I charged $100/hr as a consultant, that would mean my opportunity cost for that time was $147,2001.

Overall2:

Hours spent on homework per week, on average  7.95
Hours spent in class per week, on average  6.14
Total hours spent on school per week, on average 14.23
Hours spent on homework per hour of class time 1.3

When you break it down to core3 vs. post core, you get the following:

Core Post-Core
Hours spent on homework per week, on average   7.95  7.96
Hours spent in class per week, on average   6.85  5.64
Total hours spent on school per week, on average 14.80 13.82
Hours spent on homework per hour of class time   1.2 1.4

The above tables tells us that:

  • I spent more time per week in core than in post-core
  • I spent the same amount of time per week doing homework in core as in post-core (regardless of the fact that I had more class time in core))
  • I spent more hours of homework per hour of class time in core than in core

Now, because I, along with all my classmates swore to our business statistics professor that we would always graph our data, here are some swanky graphs (click to embiggen)!

Time spent on MBA program per day

Time spent in MBA - daily totals (FINAL)

Time spent on MBA program per week

Time spent in MBA - weekly totals (FINAL)

So, in conclusion, I spent a heck of a lot of time on the MBA program. However, you should note that this was my experience, but it differs from others. For example, I spoke to a classmate at graduation who told me that he spent 40 hours per week total, for the whole 28 months of the program4. And I’m sure there are students who spent less time and in different patterns, given what was going on in the lives at various points – a lot can happen in two and a half years! Basically, I’m pretty happy with my time allocation because while it was a huge amount of time and required a lot of sacrifice, I invested the time that was needed to learn what I wanted to and needed to learn, but I still managed to have some fun along the way5. But mostly, I’m happy that it’s done!

  1. Of course, that assumes I could find 14 hours per week of freelance work for 2 years. If my next best alternative use of that time was to sit around eating Doritos, the opportunity cost would be significantly less. []
  2. Note that if I’d taken the full 28 months to do the program – assuming that the total number of hours spent on the modules I would have taken would be the same as the total number of hours spent on the modules that I did taken – I would have spent an average of:

    • 6.68 hours per week on homework
    • 5.29 hours per week in class
    • =12.26 hours per week total []
    • When I say “core” here, I’m actually including the pre-core, which was three optional weekends immediately before the core, as well as the 10 months of the core program itself. []
    • Or possibly he finished a month or so early – so 40 hours per week for 26 or 27 months. I can’t quite remember for sure. []
    • Three half marathons and a trip to Europe come to mind! []