Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Look at me! I’m A Talking Head

A colleague of mine was making a series of videos1 for a class that she teaches and interviewed some experts on relevant topics. One of those topics was evaluation and one of those experts was me!

I’m totally breaking my “I don’t talk about work on my blog” but (a) the job title listed in the video is my old job, so I’m technically not talking about my work in its current form and (b) rampant narcissism requires that I share this video with everyone. Also, I think I come across as a little bit more professional than the last time I was interviewed as an expert… on drinking beer and eating nachos while watching Canucks playoff games

  1. I posted this on Twitter the other day, but I figured I’d post it here so that I’ll be able to find it again when I want to. Twitter is like a black hole that all my various witty remarks disappear into, never to be seen again. []

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Hooray for Composting

I was sure that I’d posted this blog posting back in mid-January, but I just discovered it sitting in my “Drafts” folder, so apparently I did not. At any rate, I’m posting it now!

As of January 1st, it has been illegal to send any organic waste to the landfill in Metro Vancouver 1. Apparently, for the first six months, residents and business who break this rule will just be issued warnings, but after that there will be fines. I was a little concerned when January 1st came and went and nothing had been mentioned in my building about getting compost bins for our places, but then a few days later a memo went up in the elevators saying that on Jan 15 our waste management company would be set up in our lobby with information and free compost bins for everybody.

I’m unnaturally excited by this.

My sister lives in Toronto and they’ve had city-wide compost pick up for years. When I went to the University of Guelph, the city of Guelph was piloting what they called at the time (if I recall correctly), wet/dry garbage pickup, where you had one bin for wet garbage (like food waste) and another for dry garbage. That was back in 1999/2000. So it’s nice to know that Metro Vancouver has caught up only 15 years later.

When I think back even further, I remember in elementary school there was a competition that my gifted class went to where we competed against other gifted classes from other schools in a sort of case competition. I don’t remember all the details but I do remember it had something to do with making some sort of plan around environmental stewardship and when my group presented and we talked about composting (which no other group had thought of) all the teachers went crazy over how brilliant we were2. Anyway, the point of this half remembered and seemingly pointless story is merely to point out that composting is really not a new idea and it seems like it’s taken a long time to get to the point where it’s finally part of our garbage pick up system. But here we are , it’s 2015 and I have a my very own compost bucket:

My new compost bin

The people giving out the buckets claim that the bucket’s lid has some sort of magical sealing property that prevents odours and fruit flies, but from talking to others who have already had their compost bins for awhile, I’m not holding my breath that this will be true.

Also, I was checking out the City of New Westminster’s webpage on food scraps collection (because, did I mention, I’m unnaturally excited by this?), and this sentence made me laugh: “Each residential unit (apartment or condo) was provided with a kitchen container to collect pre and post consumed food scraps.” I don’t think you really want my “post consumed” food scraps. I mean, I’m assuming what they actually mean is food that’s leftover and you are getting rid of after you’ve consumed the rest of the food, but any “post consumed” food will be taken care of by the sewage system, thank you very much.

That site also has this useful diagram on how to origami some newspaper to make a liner for your compost bucket, if you are too cheap to buy the paper bags with corn-based plastic-like lining:

I like how they specify that you should use your “community newspaper” to line your compost bucket. Not sure if this is meant to be a commentary on how the city feels about their community newspapers… At any rate, I am cheap so I think once I’ve used up my free paper bag with corn-based plastic-like lining that came with my bucket, I might just give this whole origami thing a try3.

  1. “Metro Vancouver” is the name of a “political body and corporate entity […] that delivers regional services, policies, and political leadership to” the group of municipalities/a treaty First Nation/an electoral area that make up the greater Vancouver area. Apparently one such policy is what is allowed to go into the landfill. New West is part of Metro Vancouver, so we all have to get onboard with the composting. []
  2. I also remember that we didn’t win and our teacher took us to the store and bought us ice cream bars and told us that even the winning team’s teacher said to her that the judges were wrong, our team really should have won. I’m sure it was more than just the composting idea that we had done well, but I totally can’t remember what else it was all about. All I remember is composting, injustice, and ice cream bars. And I think our presentation involved aliens in some way. []
  3. Update, since I’m posting this more than a month after I wrote it. I’ve tried the origami thing. It seems to work just fine. []

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My Weekend

Spent the weekend on the Island, as my friend Rachel invited me to give a guest lecture on stats in her research methods class1.

On the ferry on the way over to the Island on Friday night I was pleasantly surprised to run into my friend Bronwyn, who I haven’t seen since graduation back in May. It was awesome having a chance to catch up with her and the ferry ride was over in a flash!

Friday night, we just chilled, as Rachel had been teaching prior to picking me up from the ferry and we had to get up the next morning to teach. Teaching was fun, as I’m a nerd and love talking about stats and her students were very engaged – asked lots of great questions. I remember the same thing happening the last time I taught her class, but I’m always a little concerned when I start teaching about stats because many people aren’t stats-loving nerds like me, so I always fear having a room full of disinterested people staring at me. Happily, those fears were unfounded in this case.

After my guest lecture, we grabbed lunch and then Rachel continued teaching while I went off to do a 11 km run2. And then we got to spend the weekend celebrating the survival of having worked on a Saturday. Celebrating included such things as getting to see Rachel’s adorable 21-month-old son (who had been asleep by the time I’d arrived the previous night), hanging out with some other peeps who were also visiting for the weekend, lovely wine, a delicious dinner, an amazing chocolate raspberry trifle3, and a rousing game of Apples to Apples (a.k.a. Wholesome Cards Against Humanity), at which I did disastrously bad.

Today we spent a super relaxing day – had some breakfast, went to a beach in Parksville, lunch at a local pub, playing in the backyard, a walk around the neighbourhood, a delicious dinner – all of which time we got to spend catching up, which was awesome because it’s been a long time since we’d had a chance to do that.

And now I’m heading back on the ferry feeling rested and relaxed!

  1. I gave this same type of lecture 4 years ago, but haven’t been back to do it since then as I got busy with that whole MBA thing, so I couldn’t make it over on a weekend when she was teaching as I was always in class. []
  2. Half marathon training cares not if you are having a weekend away. []
  3. Made as a Valentine’s Day dessert but happily shared with all the visitors, as Rachel mused that had she made that trifle for just her and her husband, it would have been a crazy amount of rich dessert to have! []

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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

IMG_0729

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. []