Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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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.

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Figure 2

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Figure 3

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Figure 4

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Figure 5

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Figure 6

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Figure 7

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Figure 8

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Figure 9

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Figure 10

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Figure 11

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Figure 12

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Figure 13

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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.

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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.

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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! []

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MBA = Most Bad Ass

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. Taking an program like this – super intense in both the amount and type of work – while also holding down full-time jobs4 takes a special5 kind of person. I knew I was going to learn a lot in this program, as I had no background in business whatsoever, but when I look back on it, I’m still stunned by how much I learned. Entire fields that I knew nothing about – accounting, finance, economics, marketing, just to name a few – are now not only comprehensible to me, but also fascinating. This program has provided not just content, but also new skills that I apply every day in my work and personal life and it has expanded my worldview.

And I feel very privileged to have traveled these past 28 months with the most fantastic group of people. I met people from all sorts of different sectors and backgrounds and learned as much from them as I did from my professors and textbooks. We worked hard together through countless classes and group meetings and Skype meetings and lunch meetings, through study groups and running simulated businesses and writing business plans and doing Friday case nights and the seemingly endless hours of capstone weekend. There were papers and exams and presentations and celebrations. There was a lot of laughter and some tears and some rants and all the things that life-long friendships are made of.


The day of graduation, though they were calling for rain, actually turned out to be sunny and beautiful! One of the graduates from the full-time MBA cohort with whom I had a class6 and next to whom I sat at grad (due to us having surnames that are alphabetically similar) noted that this was because he’d worked his skills from the MBA – Master of the Black Arts. The convocation ceremony was nice, full of all the pomp and circumstance that a university convocation entails – the speeches were great and since I knew all of the part-time MBAs and a bunch of the full-timers (as I’d taken a couple of classes from the full-time program and some of them took some of our part-time classes) the seemingly endless parade of graduates crossing the stage was more interesting to me than my previous graduations, where I’d known far fewer of the people graduating.

This is the sea of graduates as seen from the balcony of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC, where convocation is held:

MBA Graduation 2014 - A Sea of Graduates

You can spot me in the fifth row by the fact that I’m in a pink robe instead of the black MBA robe – one of the perks of having the PhD7.

In other news, I totally underestimated how long I’d be on stage when I said 7.4 seconds – it actually turns out that I was on stage for nearly 20 whole seconds! Here’s the video to prove it:

Here is 4/5ths of D2NA, my group from school. One of our big project in the Core part of our program was to write a business plan and our company was D2NA, and our product was the Double Device (you may recall our mascot, Marty The Moose.)). From left to right we have Bronwyn, me, the guy who holds the ceremonial university mace8 (not part of our group), Emily, and Tyler. Missing from the photo is Edmond, who wasn’t at the ceremony.

D2NA at MBA Grad!

And here’s a photo of me with Fran, the most helpful person EVER! When I first started my MBA, UBC had some difficulty in figuring out how to process my scholarship, as it’s a rare type of scholarship9 and they didn’t appear to have ever had a student with one of these before, so no one in the finance area could figure out how to deal with it. But Fran came to my rescue and after about a billion emails with Finance, she was able to get it sorted out for me so that I could get my scholarship money and thus be able to pay my tuition fees. She came up to me after the ceremony and introduced herself because, despite the aforementioned billion emails, we’d never actually met in person. Needless to say, I gave her the biggest hug!

MBA Graduation 2014

Because I’m spoiled, my mom and my Aunt Eileen came out from Toronto for my big day:

My mom, me and Aunt Eileen

They were here for the whole week and we had many adventures, which will have to be the subject of another blog posting as this one is already getting way long!

Speaking of spoiled, I was spoiled by my mom and aunt, who not only came all this way for my grad, but also showered me with gifts, including the beautiful shoes I wore to grad10 and the beautiful flowers that you see me holding11

And as if I weren’t spoiled enough, my Aunty Gwen sent me this MBA grad present – a gorgeous blanket that she crocheted herself, made specifically to go with my beloved purple chair:

Handmade afghan - an MBA grad present from my Aunty GwenThe picture does not do it justice – it’s an exquisite stitch that she used an the colours in it as so beautiful and it totally completes the chair!

All in all, it was a lovely day and I am very pleased that I can now officially put the “MBA” behind my name. For the record, I am now legally entitled to write my name thusly:

Beth Snow, BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, MBA, CE

So that’s 18 letters after my name – and only 8 letters in my name! Even if you were to use my full legal name “Mary Elizabeth Snow” instead of just “Beth”, that’s only 17 letters in my name – still one fewer than all the ones I’ve earned the right to be put after my name!


Image Credit: Specially thanks to my Aunt Eileen and my friend and classmate, Emily Graham, for the photos and video!

Footnotes:

  1. If I get any more university degrees, they will have to be of the Honorary Doctorate variety, as I have no plans to actually do work for another degree. Though apparently you have to do something honourable in order to be granted an Hon Doc, so I guess I’ll have to figure out something honourable to do now. []
  2. A.k.a., graduating from grade 25 []
  3. And three years ago I don’t think I’d even started studying for the GMAT yet! []
  4. Not to mention having families, social lives, etc. By my count there were 11 babies born or conceived during the 28 months of our program, along with 6 weddings. []
  5. Translation: Crazy. []
  6. Healthcare Management. []
  7. You can spot the other PhD from my class – Keith – in the bottom left of that photo. []
  8. I have no idea why the university has a ceremonial mace. []
  9. Mostly because you can only get it if you hold a health sciences-based PhD and are doing an MBA, and there aren’t many people who have done a PhD that want to go back to school! []
  10. See photo above. []
  11. The flowers, sadly, have had to live on my balcony as the cats seem to think they look most delicious and I have no idea if these particular flowers are poisonous to cats, so to be on the safe side, I’m keeping them outside. []

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My Graduation – Live Stream

Even if you can’t be there in person, you can still have all the fun of watching hundreds of strangers graduate in order to catch the 7.4 seconds that I’ll be on the stage getting my fourth – and final – university degree1.

Just follow this link and select the May 28th, 11 am webcast. And remember, that’s 11 am Pacific Daylight Time, so for those of you in Ontario, that’s 2 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

I should be pretty easy to spot, as I will be one of only two people getting an MBA who will be wearing the pink & blue robes and puffy hat of a PhD, while the other MBAs will be wearing black robes and mortar board style hats. The other MBA graduate who will be wearing the PhD robes is a man who is about 6ft tall, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to tell the two of us apart.

  1. Unless a university – or universities – want to give me an honorary doctorate(s). I’m done with working for my degrees, but I’m more than happy to take free ones! []

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Vacay

The first of several mini-vacations I’m having over the next ~month started at 5 pm on Friday. So, naturally, a wicked sore throat started at about 4:15 pm on Friday. Because why get sick during work time, when you can be sick on the weekend and vacation1? I’m trying very hard to kick this sore throat’s butt, with copious amounts of lounging, tea, water, kitty cuddles, and Buckley’s mixture. My throat was feeling significantly better today than yesterday, so I went for my scheduled 18 km run today, which I can only assume helped me sweat out the virus/bacteria/prion/evil spirit that has taken up residence in my throat. Because my mom and aunt Eileen arrive to visit me tomorrow and I want this sore throat gone by then! But I digress.

This upcoming week is my first of three mini-vacations. As I just mentioned, my mom and aunt Eileen2 are coming to visit me. And they are coming to visit me to attend my GRADUATION! That’s right, though it seems like forever ago that I finished my MBA, graduation comes but twice a year at UBC, and so I will be graduating on Wednesday! I’m really looking forward to this graduation, as the MBA program is cohort-based, so unlike the graduations for my previous degrees, I will actually know a tonne of the people who are graduating3 and even the valedictorian is from my cohort! Plus, I get to wear the awesome bright pink robes and puffy hat of the PhD again! Long live the puffy hat!

After this week off, I’ll be back at work for a week, and then I’m off for mini-vacation #2. Specifically, I’ll be heading to Toronto to visit my family, then catching a ride with Sarah & Dave to Ottawa, where I’ll be going to a conference. Then I’m back at work for 5 days out of 6 possible work days (I’m taking one day off in there to move into my new condo!) and then I head out on mini-vacation #3 – a 4-day weekend in San Fran for Kalev‘s birthday!

Hooray x3!

  1. Incidentally, I think this may be why I have like 800 hours in my sick bank at work. []
  2. You you make recall from our fabulous European vacation last summer! []
  3. In addition to my part-time cohort, there will also be the full-time cohort, the Executive MBA cohort (and I’ll know a few of these people), plus a few other programs graduating. []

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Wait. What Did You Just Call My Cats??

When I first got the kitties, I bought them a bag of freeze dried raw duck treats, which they absolutely loved. So I checked out the website of the makers of said duck treats, to see where I might purchase them closer to home than the store in which I originally bought them. While on said website, I saw that you could sign up to get a coupon for a free package of treats and, since I am nothing if not a cheap, cheap woman, I decided I wanted that free package of treats. Now, while I’m clearly fine with letting a company know all my contact information so that they might spam me relentlessly in order that I might save $3, I apparently draw the privacy line at divulging my pets’ names to said company1, as I balked when I got to this question on the form:

Pet's name question

So I wrote in this answer:

pet's name - my answer

Then I got my coupon and promptly forget about the whole thing. That is, until I got this email a month later:

email #1

Obviously, they just wanted to put my pets’ names into their customer database so that they could customize the spam they send to me – had I put in their names, it would have just said, “Do Waston & Crick love Nature’s Variety?” Upon receiving this email, I (a) thought it was funny that they don’t have any sort of filter or a person reading the data that goes into their database to catch such errors and (b) instantly realize that I needed to fill that form out again, with a different answer, just so that I could get this email:

What did you just say about my cats?

The best part (for me) is that they send you the email 30 days later, which is just long enough for me to have forgotten having done it, until I received that email, which actually made me laugh out loud, in public, when I read it on my phone. Ahh, I amuse me.

  1. Of course, I have my pets’ names plastered all over my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and basically just shout their names from the rooftops because, did I mention, they have awesome names? []

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Kitties Report, Q1

Introduction

The cats were acquired by Snow Industries on 18 January 2014, such that the initial cat fiscal year runs from 18 Jan 2014 to 17 Jan 2015 (henceforth referred to as fiscal year (FY) 2014. This report covers quarter 1 of FY2014.

Assets

A capital investment1 of $225 was made to acquire said cats. Other fixed assets included a scratching post, litter box/scoop/mat, food and water dishes, and cat carriers. These non-biological capital investments are categorized as “supplies” for accounting purposes, because our accountant is lazy. See Figure 1 for a breakdown of expense by category2

Figure 1

Operating Expenses

Primary operating expenses for said cats comprise food and litter, with additional variable costs including treats, cat nip, cat grass, and toys3. Cost savings have been realized for food by the R&D department’s discovery that First Mate Cat Food and First Mate Dog Food are identical products4, but the dog food costs 34% less (see Figure 2). A consistent feeding program results in highly accurate forecasting of food consumption, allowing for optimal inventory management.

Figure 2

The R&D department is actively investigating suppliers for litter. Initially, pine pellets were used, as this was the litter the cats were using prior to the acquisition and using the same product was recommended as the cats acclimatized to the organization. That product performed well on the characteristic of not smelling bad, but performed poorly on the sawdust-getting-tracked-all-over-the-apartment characteristic. The next supplier to be tested was Natural Cat, which is grain-based, clumping, and flushable. The product does not appear to perform quite as promised, it is more sticky than clumpy, retains a slight ammonia-y odour, and though it tracks less than the pine pellets, it does tracks across a large mat in the litter box area. An external consultant conducted an independent audit5 and has recommended investigation of World’s Best Cat Litter. The R&D department will be conducting further research on this topic in Q2.

Our innovative sustainability program includes re-purposing packaging from our suppliers as cat containment/entertainment devices, resulting in significant cost savings (see Figure 3).

Dr. Watson, The Cat

Figure 3

Risk Assessment

Major risks for this endeavour include claws and teeth, but the sweet nature of the CATpital assets mitigates this risk. However, CATpital investment Watson loves to rip the crap out of cardboard, causing a minor inconvenience for the janitorial staff. The anticipated risk of the cats eating the Frog Department seems to have been quelled, as the cats rarely pay any attention at all to the tank, unless the CEO is interacting with the frogs, at which point both cats stare up at the interaction.

Social Media Marketing

The cats have embarked on a social media marketing campaign by handling their own Twitter account. (See Figure 4 for monthly Twitter activity). In addition, the cats are regularly featured on the Snow Industries Twitter account, and were highlighted during the CEO’s reign as the Curator of the People of Canada Twitter account. Market research indicates a strong positive reaction to Watson & Crick, though this is not surprising given the overall trend of appreciation for cats on the Internets.

Figure 4

Return on Investment

ROI was strong in Q1, coming in the form of cuddles, cuteness, and love. (See Figures 5 to 8 for representative examples of cuteness). Forecasts anticipate ongoing positive returns for the foreseeable future.

Dr. Watson, The Cat

Figure 5: Dr. Watson, The Cat

 

Dr. Crick, the Cat

Figure 6: Dr. Crick, The Cat

 

Crick is helping me blog

Figure 7: Dr. Crick and CEO Snow in the social media command centre

 

Watson

Figure 8: Dr. Watson in the trademark purple chair at Snow Industries headquarters

 

IMG_5123

Figure 9: Drs. Crick & Watson, tired out for a long day of being adorable

  1. Or should I say CATpital investment? []
  2. Get it. CATegory! []
  3. Watson is also a huge fan of any green vegetables – lettuce, asparagus, green beans, and especially cucumber, but these come out of existing Snow Industries inventory and are sufficiently small as to be ignored for cat accounting purposes. Crick, on the other hand, looks at the supplier as if she is crazy when offered lettuce []
  4. Including the addition of taurine, which is a required amino acid for cats. []
  5. Thanks for cat sitting, Steven! []