Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

By

NYC

Hey, remember yesterday when I said of my mother: “Who knows where her world travels will take her next?” The answer was me and my sister. We knew where my mother’s world travels would take her next because we’d already booked a trip to take her to New York City as her birthday present! We wanted to do something extra special for her extra special birthday and we figured that her first trip to NYC would fit the bill1. She’s never been to NYC before and it will be all decorated up for the holidays, so that’s pretty cool. I’ve also never been to NYC before, so it’s also kind of a gift to me too! I also think it’s cool because my sister went to NYC for her 40th and now my mom is going for her 70th and it will also be just weeks before my 40th!

We’ve got tickets to a couple of shows (Wicked and the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular) and reservations for a couple of fancy dinners (I can’t remember where. My sister booked them because she’s the good daughter who does all the work of planning and suchlike.). We are very excited to see the big Christmas tree and the big skating rink and Central Park and countless other NYCesque things! If you have any suggestions on must-see/must-do things while we are there (keeping in mind we are only there for 3 days), let me know!

  1. The recent thing that happened south of the border made us a bit less excited at first, but I would like to point out that Obama will still be the president while we are there, so there’s that. []

By

1,120

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. []

By

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. []

By

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. []

By

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. []

By

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. []

By

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

    Untitled

    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!)!

Untitled

  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. []

By

Weights

My exercise comes primarily in the form of cardio (i.e., running, hockey, skiing) and not so much in the form of strength training. I know that strength training is good for your health. I know that strength training would help me be better at my other sports. I know that toned muscles look good. Yet I generally don’t seem to be motivated to get down to the exercise room in my building1 to pump some iron. Or should I say, I haven’t been motivated until now.

Remember how I’m going to Australia next month2? And remember how I said I plan to do some surfing in Australia? Well, my traveling companion, Andrew, has pointed out that surfing – or more specifically getting from lying on the surfboard to standing on the surfboard – requires some upper body strength, so maybe, just maybe, I should do something about that. Hence this:

Gym selfie!

I’ve got 6 weeks until I leave for Australia – here’s hoping I can get strong enough to pop myself up to a standing position on my surfboard!

  1. Yeah, my building has an exercise room with all the weights that I could ever need, open 24 hours a day, for free. So it’s not like I can say that inconvenience is a barrier! []
  2. Omg, I can’t believe it’s next month!!! []

By

Various Updates

Life seems to have gotten extra busy, so I’m resorting to writing this blog posting on my phone during my morning commute [and then posting it tonight, now that I’m home from my hockey game, with a few edits made and photos inserted!], despite just yesterday saying to my sister “I don’t know how you can write a journal article on your phone!” I stand by my sentiment that this is not the ideal way to type out a long piece of writing but (a) my evenings for the foreseeable future are booked up and (b) when I tried to turn on my ereader just now, the battery was dead so what else am I going to do on this Skytrain ride?

Foot Update

  • It’s been a month since I sprained my ankle. It’s not 100% healed, but it’s mostly there. Been sporting this awesome kin tape – I have no idea if it actually does anything, but figured it can’t hurt. I’ve gotten back to hockey (after 2 weeks off) and a running (after 3 weeks off), though on my runs on Saturday and Monday my left knee was bugging me, so I’m probably compensating for the ankle even though I don’t feel the ankle. I‘m going to get got it checked out today after work to see if it needs adjusting or strengthening or something [and I got some work done on it to work some of the edema out – because it was still a bit swollen today – among other things. Hopefully that will help me get to 100%.
  • As if having a sprained ankle wasn’t bad enough, last week I did this to my toe at hockey:
    Hockey injury But I didn’t do it *playing* hockey. I did it by stubbing my toe on my hockey bag after the game. It looked much worse than it felt, thank goodness!

Garden Update

  • For the most part, my garden is doing quite well, with the notable exception of my tomato plant, which died. When I was away in St. John’s I had to put my whole garden inside as my strata decided that that was the exact perfect time to power wash and paint my balcony and so I couldn’t have anything out there. The tomato plant did not survive that. I just bought a new tomato plant to replace it – hopefully there are no more unforeseen upheavals of my garden this summer.

    My new tomato plant

    This is the new tomato plant I bought. Wish me luck getting it to tomato!

  • When I put my garden inside my condo for a week, my jalapeño plant had two little jalapeños and many little buds. The buds never ended up blooming, but the jalapeños that has started kept going and now about a dozen more buds have budded. I can’t wait until the first ones are ready to eat.
    My first two jalapenos

    My first two jalapeños

    Jalapeno buds

    Jalapeño buds

  • Prior to the Great Upheaval of the garden being moved indoors, my cilantro plant had bolted. I didn’t even know that was a thing until it happened – my cilantro plant shot up to about 2 ft I’m height and the leaves went all feathery. Dr. Google explained to me that cilantro plants don’t like it when it is hot, so when the temperature gets too high they start to bud, then shoot up I’m height and go to seed – the idea being that the seeds will fall and the plant will regrow when conditions are better. If you catch the buds early enough you can cut them off and keep your plant going, but I knew nothing (Beth Snow) of this until it was too late. So I let it go to see and then harvested the seeds and have now planted them. And now we wait to see if they will grow.
    Coriander seeds that I harvested after my cilantro plant bolt4ed

    Freshly harvested coriander seeds

    I did manage to get this parsley to grow from seed1, but it was seed that I bought rather than seed that I harvested.

Goals Update:

I’ve tried out making quite a few new food items towards my goal of making 16 new food or drink items I’ve never made before.These include this grilled zucchini salad:

Country-style pork ribs:

Country style pork ribs

Garlic Scapes2 – I made them both sautéed and BBQ’d:

Garlic scape

Homemade Salsa:

My first batch of salsa

Smashed potatoes ((These are delicious. I’ve made them several times now because they are good!)):

Smashed potatoes

I’ve made a total of 11 so far and since it’s only just past halfway through the year, I’m ahead of schedule.

Another goal for this year is to knock 16 items off my 101 list and so far I’ve only done 3 in 2016, which means I’m way behind schedule on that one! The most recent of the 3 was to “go for a ride in a float plane”, which I did when I returned from Salt Spring Island to Vancouver last week. It was super cool!

Tangent: While on Salt Spring, we played a fair bit of tennis. I tracked it with my GPS watch to see how far I ran – here’s a map of one of our matches:

Tennis, as tracked by my GPS watch

We also saw some goats and chickens at Salt Spring Island Cheese:

Goats at Salt Spring Island Cheese

Chickens at Salt Spring Island Cheese

Cat Update

My cats are still the most awesome cats who have ever catted. Even despite the fact that Watson is kind of a jerk who never lets his sister on the cat tree. You know the giant cat tree that I bought them that is big enough for like 10 cats? Watson seems to think it’s not big enough for more than 1 cat. And if the 1 cat is not him, then it’s not even big enough for 1. If Crick tries to go to there, he chases her off. Sometimes he doesn’t even stay on the tree – he just doesn’t want her on there. Like I said, he’s kind of a jerk. But I still love him.

Watson won't let Crick onto the cat tree

Poor Crick is relegated to siting on the fireplace mantle, since Watson will not share the cat tree.

Lord Commander Watson Snow, the Watcher on the Wall

Lord Commander Watson Snow is the Watcher on the Wall

Crick gets him back by eating his food. I always put their food in two dishes and usually, Watson will have a few bites and then wander away to clean himself. Meanwhile, Crick eats her entire dish and then starts in on his. She’s a little piglet. And I love her.

Crick is hiding under the open dishwasher

Crick is hiding from her brother

Watson

Watson is keeping up with the news

Crick thinks she's a shoe

Crisk is disguising herself as a shoe

It's too bright in here!

It’s too bright in here!

  1. All my other herbs have been from seedlings. []
  2. Why has no one ever told me about garlic scapes before? I got them at the New West Farmer’s Market, w It’s the top part of the garlic, is only available for a short period each year, and is like a mild garlic taste without the bite. Very cool! []

By

Welcome to the World, My New Passport – I Have Big Plans for You!

PassportsMy new passport surprised me by arriving 12 days before its expected due date. It’s a 10-year passport, which means it’s got lots of pages (which I’m eager to fill up with stamps!). The pages are fancier than my previous passport1, which all contained a big maple leaf with a bunch of little maple leaves2 in the background; the new passport has a different image of Canadiana on each page – there’s Terry Fox and Nellie McClung and the last spike in the railroad and parliament buildings and symbols of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, just to name a few. This version of the Canadian passport also contains a “contactless integrated circuit” – so it’s pretty much a cyborg.

Unlike when I got my last passport, when I had no specific plans of where I was going to go with the passport, I actually have a big international trip planned, which I just realizing that I haven’t blogged about at all! In the fall I’ll be going to Australia! I have a conference to attend in Perth3, and then my travelling companion and I will be heading to Byron Bay for some surfing, then Sydney for some citying, and then on the way home we have two days in Hong Kong. Because we have to fly home via Hong Kong, so why spend 2 hours in HK when you can spend 2 days there?

Passports

Old passport on the left, new passport on the right. Enjoy your retirement, old passport! You earned it!

In addition to getting my passport renewed, I also had to get something known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) – everyone (unless they are from New Zealand, has to get one in order to be able to enter Australia. It was a simple online application and then you don’t even need to put something in your passport; apparently you end up on some list that the airline can check before you board a plane to Australia and the borders peeps Down Under can check when you get there. So I’ve done that, booked flights, registered for the conference, booked hotels and AirBnBs in the various locations we are going to be, and researched fun stuff to do. Perth, which is in Western Australia, has all kinds of cool things we can do, including (but not limited to): desert tour with sandboarding, winery tours, visiting a haunted prison, and Rottnest Island, home to the cutest animal in existence: the quokka! Seriously guys, look at this freaking thing:

World happiest animal, Quokka

Byron Bay was chosen as our surfing location as apparently it’s a good place for beginning surfers to learn.

And speaking of surfing, let us not forget that January is a certain someone’s certain special birthday and everyone has been invited to join me for a surfing trip to Hawaii! I have done zero planning on that trip so far, despite having 7.5 years of planning time! I haven’t even figured out what part of Hawaii to go to – anyone who knows Hawaii well, I’m open to suggestions!.

My other upcoming trip on which I will be taking this new passport is to go to San Diego in November to run in the USA Half Marathon Invitational! This race is one that you have to qualify to get into – and since my Vancouver BMO half & Montreal half last year were both good enough, I was able to register! I’ve also made zero plans for that trip, though I have some Air Miles that I need to use up before next year, so I’ll likely be using those.

So, it looks like my new passport is going to get quite a workout in the first 6 months of its life with me! I wonder what other places I’ll take it in the subsequent 9.5 years?

Image Credit: Quokka photo posted by Jin Xiang on Flickr.

  1. And, if fact, all three of my previous passports, which look just like my most recently retired one. []
  2. I nearly just typed that at “maple leafs”! []
  3. Which means that I get to check item #37 off my 101 list: “Present at a conference at an international location (not including USA)” []