Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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So apparently there’s a provincial election coming up

When I asked “Does anyone even know we are having a provincial election in a few months” in the office lunch room the other day, I was met with one “I know, right?” and a chorus of “We are?” and “Really?” and one “I did not even know we had elections at the provincial level. I thought they were just appointed.” While that last one is an outlier of a response, the responses of surprise seem to be pretty widespread. This is probably because there’s been almost nothing in the news about it and no one seems to be campaigning whatsoever. I have’t seen a single lawn sign or flyer or anything. I mean, it’s not like I want a years long campaign like they have down in the states, but I feel like at 83 days and counting, I should be hearing something happening.

I just did a quick Google search to find out the exact date of the election (to write that last sentence with the number of days left until the election) and found this article about how the opposition party (the NDP) have only nominated 58 candidates for the election that is, did I mention?, only 83 days away.

Ok, now I’ve done more Googling and apparently the election period usually last only 51 days, so the writ won’t be dropped for another 32 days and I guess that means I’m totally jumping the gun on worrying about the fact that no one knows there’s an election coming up. I guess I’ll just have to sit tight for another month and see what happens.

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Whistler

So I went skiing up at Whistler on Saturday. It’s pretty freaking awesome to live somewhere where you can get up in the morning and in less than 2 hours be on the slopes of some of the best skiing in the world. You can spend the entire day skiing and still get home in time for dinner! This is something that I really should take advantage of more often!

The conditions were decidedly spring skiing conditions – the temperature in the village got up to a high of 19 degrees C and even up at the peak it was above 0. It made for a variety of conditions, depending on if the snow was in the sun or the shade, including rather icy for the first couple of runs (as the peak did hit 0 degrees overnight), somewhat soft in some places/at different times, and downright sticky in yet other places.

We spent the morning on Blackcomb and the afternoon on Whistler, during which time we made our way over to the Flute Bowl and I went down my first ever black diamond at Whistler! I say “went down” as opposed to “skied” because, while I skied most of it, there were parts that I fell down and after my second fall, where I was having trouble even getting back up on the steep part of the slope that I was on, I sort of slid down sideways. I’d fallen twice because my legs were pretty fatigued by this point in the day, what with me being a super sloth these past several months1, and the snow was rather heavy, making it difficult for me to get my back leg to follow my front leg when I was turning, which I needed to do a lot to slow myself down because it was really steep! I could manage it on my strong side, but my weak leg just couldn’t do it, and it tripped me up. After the second fall, once I had retrieved my one ski and two poles that I’d lost in the fall (though thankfully all within reaching distance), I was having difficulty even standing up on the steep slope and as I tried, I started sliding down. After a couple of attempts, I thought “Fuck it” and just let myself slide down until I wasn’t on such a steep slope anymore and could then get up and ski the rest of the way. Not the most graceful move and somewhat embarrassing, but it worked.

Also, during the whole time we were in that bowl2, there was not a single other skier or snowboarder there. I mean, the mountains weren’t super busy because it’s spring and the weather in Vancouver was fabulous, so most people have moved on to spring activities rather than hitting the slopes3, but there were lots of other people on all the other slopes we went on, so it was a bit surprising that no one else was there – anyone who is a halfway decent skier/boarder and who is in better shape than me would have had an awesome time there. But it was actually pretty cool to feel like we had an entire mountain to ourselves!

After that, I was pretty much too tired to handle anymore particularly strenuous runs, so we made our way back to the Peak-to-Peak gondola via a relatively easy route and then down Blackcomb, which took us to the end of the day.

On the way home I realized I forgot to take any pictures other than this one, of our après-ski beers4. I had an Uncommon Lager from Whistler Brewing – it seemed appropriate.

Apres ski

Goals for next year:

  • ski more than once – maybe even like 3 or 5 times
  • take more photos
  1. And not having skied in over a year. But mostly due to the slothiness. []
  2. Which was a long time, given my falling and attempting to get back up was not a quick thing. []
  3. In fact, when we got back to Vancouver there were still tonnes of people on the beaches! []
  4. And which I only thought to take because I was checking in on my beer app. []

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Long weekend report

The long weekend festivities started on Thursday with the world’s easiest Easter egg hunt at my office:

World's Easiest Easter Egg Hunt At My Office

World's easiest Easter egg hunt

The office Easter bunnies left lots of treats for everyone and they certainly didn’t make them hard to find!

Then on Friday I headed over to Salt Spring Island. It was my first time going to any of the Gulf Islands and it did not disappoint. Here are just a few of the lovely views I saw:

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

There was also time for a tasting at the Salt Spring Island Brewery:

Salt Spring Island Brewery

And then on the ferry ride home there was a double rainbow!

Double rainbow as seen from the Victoria to Vancouver ferry

I wasn’t the only one taking photos of it:
People taking photos of the double rainbox

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Who Wants To Go To A Fundraiser?

The Arts Council of New Westminster1 is having a fundraiser next week and you’re invited!

When: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM (you don’t have to be there right at 6 –  you can show up anytime between 6 and 10 pm)

Where: MATCH Eatery & Public House (at Starlight Casino – New Westminster, 350 Gifford Street, New Westminster

What: Ticket includes Burger and Beer (or wine)

Join us for an celebration of the arts including a silent auction, live painting from local artists Danielle Bobier and Pierre Kaufman, music created by local musician, HARGOW. (Wes Koopmans), and visual projections by local artist Tetsuomi Anzai.  Funds raised at this event will be used to bolster the delivery of our outreach and education programs, including ArtsToGo and LitFest NewWest.

How:

LIMITED AVAILABILITY. ONLY 60 TICKETS AVAILABLE!
Tickets are $25 (+ $2.11 Eventbrite Fees)
TICKETS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR. PURCHASE IN ADVANCE.

Go to EventBrite to get your ticket!

  1. Full disclosure: I’m on the board of the Arts Council. []

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Whistler!

“Ski at Whistler” was on my very first list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, which I wrote in the old timey days of 2009. Somehow, I went through those 1001 days without managing to ski at Whistler. Then I totally thought I put “Ski at Whistler” on my second list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, but now that I look at it, I totally didn’t. At any rate, I managed to go through those 1001 days without skiing at Whistler either. Thinking that “third time’s the charm” (because, as you may recall from earlier in this paragraph, I thought I’d put it on my second list), I put it on my third list. Happily, Daniel perused my third list and got me a pair of Whistler lift tickets for Christmas! And then, capitalizing on the momentum, we decided to book a couple of days there to make a nice little trip out of it1. Which brings us to Tuesday, January 21st, the day that I finally skied at Whistler2.

We spent the morning skiing on Blackcomb Mountain. For the uninitiated, Blackcomb Mountain is right next to Whistler Mountain (you’ll often here the whole place referred to as Whistler-Blackcomb) and both can be accessed from Whistler Village, which is where we were staying. Pretty awesome to just walk out of your hotel with your skis and right onto a couple of gondolas that take you up two spectacular mountains. The conditions were fantastic – apparently they had just got a big dump of snow on the weekend, but by the time we were there on Tuesday, it was nothing but sunny skies on the hills.

On Blackcomb Mountain

On Blackcomb Mountain

We skied all morning, had an overpriced lunch (they really have you captive up there when it comes time for eating) and a chance to warm up (it was -7 degrees up there!), then skied a bit more on Blackcomb, and then headed over to the Peak-to-Peak. For the uninitiated, the Peak-to-Peak is a gondola that connects the top of Blackcomb Mountain with the top of Whistler Mountain so that you can easily ski on both mountains on the same day3. Given that taking the Peak-to-Peak is also on my 101 list and given that it was “ski at Whistler” on my list rather than “ski at Whistler-Blackcomb” and I didn’t want to be called out on a technicality, doing this ensured that those two items could be definitively crossed off my list.

On the Peak-to-Peak Gondola

Daniel and I on the Peak to Peak

The conditions on Whistler were equally spectacular and we enjoyed the rest of our afternoon of skiing there. I was surprised to learn that the lifts stop running at 3 pm as there are no lights on the mountains and since it takes half an hour to ski down from the top of the mountain back to the village, they stop the lifts that early so everyone gets off the hills before nightfall. As someone who took skiing lessons at night in my youth, it didn’t even occur to me that there would be no night skiing! We took our last ride up the lift around 3 pm and it took nearly a half an hour to ski all the way back down to the Village. After a day of skiing, a dip in the hotel hot tub, watching the Canucks game, and having a nice dinner a pub in the Village rounded out a perfect day.

Something not so nice happened at our hotel, but we didn’t hear about it until we got back to Vancouver. Apparently on Tuesday morning, someone died in after an altercation in the east wing (we were staying in the west wing). There was a cop car out in front of our hotel on Tuesday morning when we went out to go skiing4 and Daniel commented on it still being there when we came back at the end of the day, but we really didn’t think too much about it. But it wasn’t until we got home on Wednesday that we found out why. Apparently this is only the third homicide in the history of Whistler!

Anyway, despite that unusual circumstance, we had a great trip and I definitely want to go back again!

  1. And then he got us a nice hotel room to stay in for my birthday. I’m so spoiled! []
  2. For the record, from the time I moved to Vancouver until the day I finally actually went skiing at Whistler was a mind-boggling 5,254 days! The first many years of that I blame the fact that I was a starving PhD student, and then there were several years of being a starving student-loan-paying-off-er, and then I was just lazy for a bit, and then there were two years of being a (non-starving) full time worker + MBA student who had no time to do anything. And then I was lazy again for a year and then Daniel came to the rescue. []
  3. You may have heard of the Peak to Peak when some guy forced open the gondola door and base jumped out. Which, of course, is totally illegal. And then he posted the video on Youtube, showing both his own face and that of his accomplice. []
  4. If you click on the link to the news story, you’ll see that cop car in the photo. []

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Help @TheTyee Go National!

First of all, watch this video:

Canada needs more independent voices from The Tyee on Vimeo.

So, I’m sure you can see why this campaign appeals to me. Facts – I’m a big fan of those. In depth, well-researched investigations into news stories instead of sound bites of 140 characters or less – that sounds pretty cool to me. The world is complicated and nuanced and I appreciate having a news source that gets that. And yeah, maybe there’s a bit of BC pride in there – we’ve got something pretty cool, and it’s time the rest of the country got to join in too. And supporting The Tyee to go national is something where I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.

They are trying to raise $100,000 and are well on their way, but there’s only 14 days to reach their target. I hope you’ll consider support them and/or spreading the word!

And there’s an added bonus for any Canadian politics nerds out there that’s not mentioned in the video, but that you can see if you go to their campaign page: if you sign up to support them at a level of $15/month or more, you get paper dolls of the Canadian political party leaders, complete with multiple outfits. (Spoiler: Yes, the Stephen Harper one comes complete with kittens!)

In related news – expect to see some blog postings featuring those paper dolls here on NTBTWK sometime soon!

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Half Marathon #8 – a.k.a., who put all these hills here?

This will be brief, as I have a ridiculous amount of homework to do this week, but I thought that a blog posting to let you all know that I survived the Edge-to-Edge half marathon was in order. And I do mean survived, as this was by far the toughest half marathon route I’ve even experienced!

Alicia and I headed over to the Island on the ferry on Saturday morning and spent the afternoon enjoying the sights of Tofino & Ucluelet and, most importantly to a women with two small children and a women doing an MBA, we took a nap. A glorious, glorious nap.

Beth & Alicia, on the ferry

Alicia and I on the ferry, on our way to the race. So unsuspecting of the insane hilliness that awaited us!

I may also have done some homework and Alicia may also have enjoyed some uninterrupted reading time, powering her way through the book “Born To Run”. We are so extravagant! We then headed to the “carb loading” dinner and, since Tofino & Ucluelet apparently shut down everything by 8 pm on a Saturday night, we just enjoyed the sunset by the water and made it an early night.

Ready for my race!

Me, right before the race. Still completely unaware of the evil hills that awaited me!

We knew that there would be some hills on the route, given that we drove a chunk of it on our way from Ucluelet to Tofino and saw that there were hills. But driving the hills makes them seem so much less than they are when you have to run them. For 2+ hours. Also, we didn’t know that the hills would start almost immediately and continue non-stop for pretty much the entire 21.125 km.

Edge to Edge half marathon route
The race map. See that elevation profile at the bottom? Apparently you are supposed to pay attention to that!

There was about 4km of the race that was in the Wild Pacific Trail, which we’d not been in before, but we discovered upon entering it during the race, with the faint hope that maybe, just maybe, the horrible, horrible hills of the past 14 km would be over, that it was not only superhilly, but also was a rocky trail, so you had to not only run up and down hills for 4 km, but you also had to be super careful not to fall and break your neck on loose rocks! Oddly, this was actually my favourite part of the race1 – it seemed to go by much faster than the parts on the road and you got the occasional glimpse of the ocean, which was spectacular.

All told, according to my Runkeeper app2, we did a total of 362m of climbing on this race. To put this in perspective, that’s like running up nearly 1/3 of Grouse Mountain or 65% of the way up the CN Tower!

I should also mention that my IT band has been really tight of late and even the drive from the ferry to Uclulet resulted in my IT band feeling like burning3. And since hills are what seem to aggravate it the most, it made the race that much worse, as ever time I ran up a hill, my IT band would scream at me. Several of the hills I had to walk up, just to make it bearable. So I feel completely justified in blaming the evil hills and my evil IT band for my terrible finish time of 2:22:35. Not my insufficient training nor my insufficient stretching and foam rolling to keep my IT band in check or my extra 15 lbs of weight I’m carrying around. Nope, definitely the fault of evil hills!

Half marathon finishers!

Alicia and I with our finisher medals. Proof that we did, in fact, finish the race!

However, I do have to remind myself that I set out with a simple goals of experiencing a new race, finishing the race (without actually being too concerned with my time) and having a nice time hanging out with Alicia for the weekend, so really, it was mission accomplished. Also, race day would have been my Dad’s 68th birthday and I like that I got to do a race on his day.

In related news, Alicia and I were chatting with a lovely couple from Santa Barbara at the carb-loading dinner who told us about the Hollywood Half Marathon. It’s a flat course and you get big sparkly Hollywood star-shaped medal at the end. Sounds like a pretty fantastic way to celebrate, say, someone being done an MBA, doesn’t it? April 5, 2014 – who’s in?

  1. Where by “favourite” I mean, “the part where I least wanted to die”. []
  2. Which was slightly off, since it only registered me as having run 20.64 km, when I did, in fact, run 21.125 km. Nevertheless, it was pretty close, so I’m confident that the climb amount is close to correct. []
  3. I guess holding my leg in the same position on the accelerator for 3 hours wasn’t the smartest idea. []

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It’s Time to Renew

I got this in the mail before the holidays:

Time to Renew Your Driver's License

and promptly decided this was much too boring to worry about over the holidays. But now is solidly “after the holidays” and it’s time to deal with such mundane things as making sure that I continue to be licensed to drive.

The annoying thing about having to renew my driver’s license by this Friday – well, other than the actual renewing of the license part – is that the BC government recently announced that they are going to be amalgamating the current BC driver’s license and the BC Care Card1 into a single “BC Services Card”. But they aren’t starting that until Feb 15 – one month and 4 days *after* I need to renew my license. And since license renewals last for 5 years, I won’t get one of these swanky new BC Services Cards – and thus will be carrying around two cards like a sucker! – until 2018!!!

More of a travesty, however, is that I will have to give up my pretty driver’s license card – the old school one with the nice water and mountains in the background – for the new ugly one2.

The other thing that this whole issue reminds us – and probably this is the most important part – is that it’s only two days until Bethmas!

  1. I.e., the card that you use to get your wonderfully free universal socialized medical care in the province []
  2. Although there is some consolation in the fact that the new BC Services Card are also ugly. So I’m not missing out on card beauty by being one month and 4 days too early to get a BC Services Card. []

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Half Marathon #7 – Complete!

Given my complete absence from the blog since the day before the half marathon, you are probably thinking that I collapse in a giant heap along the route. Well, I am happy to report that this was not the case1! I did, in fact, complete the Victoria half marathon on Sunday, the seventh time I have accomplished such a feat2!

Victoria Half Marathon 2012

Given my limited amount of training3, I went into the race with a goal of just finishing, rather than trying to have a really stellar time. And so I wasn’t close to my personal best or anything, I did manage to finish in 2:18:01, which is respectable enough, if not anything to write home about.

Also, despite it not being my best race every performance-wise, it was one of the best races I’ve had enjoyment-wise. The day was sunny and warm – which is pretty much a miracle for Victoria in October – and the route of the Victoria half is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, it’s been gorgeous the two times I’ve run it in the rain, but running it in the sun was out of this world. I spent pretty much the entire race with a giant grin. My legs had a mind of their own for the first ~14 km – they just ran and ran and ran without me thinking twice about it. After that point, they kind of felt like lead, but I didn’t care. By that point, my brain was in full “let’s get this thing done!” mode and anytime I noticed myself slowing down, I just concentrated on my stride and kept on going. I didn’t have as much left in the tank at the end of the run as I usually do, but I managed a sprint for the last 100m or so.

Victoria Half Marathon 2012

Devon also ran the race, and he would have easily beat me if not for his pesky IT band, which decided at ~the 16 km that it didn’t want him to run anymore, so he limped the last 5 km. I’d seen him earlier in the run at a place where the route doubles back on itself, so you see some of the runners who are ahead of you4 and he had a giant grin on his face and looked like he was having a blast. Then I passed him at ~19 km where he was sadly limping along and looking much more grumpy. But he still managed to finish in 2:22:14, so I’m sure the next race he’ll kick my butt. In my defence, he is almost an entire foot taller than me.

Two other things of note from this race:

  • before the race, I saw a women who was about 8 months pregnant getting ready to run the half. She had a headband that said, “Suck it up, cupcake!” When my legs started to feel like lead, I just reminded me self of exactly that!
  • some lawyer from Victoria set the world’s record for the fastest marathon run in a business suit, finishing the full marathon in 2:35! I saw him running at a point where the marathon route and the half marathon route merge and he was in about 6th place at that time, which is where he ended up. 6th freaking place running in a business suit! I may have started cheering for him as he ran by. I really need to learn how to do a wolf whistle for exactly this type of occasion.

Victoria Half Marathon 2012
I’m addicted to race medals!

  1. You are probably sick of hearing me whine about being too busy to blog, so I’m only putting the whining here in the footnote. Footnotes are smaller and, thus, less annoying! []
  2. Well, technically it’s the 8th time I’ve run a distance of 21.1 km, because one time when Alicia and I were training and set out to run our 20 km run, we got lost and ended up running 22 km! But it was the 7th time I’d done it in an actual race. []
  3. And the extra 15 lbs that I’m carrying around with me and just can’t seem to lose. []
  4. And then later you see the runners who are behind you. []

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Research It!

Where in this case, the “it” is me!

Item #81 on my 101 list is: participate in five research projects (as a research subject, not a researcher) and I recently heard about a very cool research project called the BC Generations Project that I’m eligible to participate in.

From their website:

“With five regional study teams and hundreds of thousands of Canadians participating, the project may help researchers better understand why some people develop cancer and other chronic diseases. The main funder of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project is theCanadian Partnership Against Cancer, with regional funders contributing additional paid and in-kind support.

In many cases, the known risk factors for cancer and other chronic diseases (such as heart disease or diabetes) are similar. By following a large group of people over a long period of time (known as a prospective cohort), this initiative will help researchers learn much more about how environment, lifestyle and genes contribute to both cancer and related chronic diseases.”

When you join up, you fill out a questionnaire about all sorts of lifestyle factors, family history, personal health history, etc. There’s also an option to go to an “assessment centre” where they will measure your bone density and body mass index1 and they may ask you for a blood and urine sample.

The project is slated to go on for 25 years (i.e., until 2037!), and the researchers will be contacting participants to do other assessments in the future, as well as tracking health care usage and such.

Being a science nerd such as I am, as well as someone who loves the fill out surveys, this gets me giddy. And knowing that I’m contributing to our understanding of the interaction of genes, lifestyle, and the environment on chronic diseases is just icing on the cake.

If you are between the ages of 35-69 and live in Canada, I encourage you to check it out and consider participating ((The link is to the BC Generations Project, but I’m sure you can find information about how to sign up in your province on their site somewhere.))!

Also, you can like them on Facebook and follow their tweets!

  1. BMI is calculated from height and weight, which you self-report in the questionnaire. But self-reports of height and weight aren’t always accurate (people tend to report themselves as taller and lighter than they are), so having it actually measured by a researcher gives better quality information. []