Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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RIP Kobo

My kobo1, appears to be no longer capable of holding a charge. I plug it in overnight and it seems like it’s charged, but then a few hours later (during which time it isn’t being used) and I see this:

My kobo won't hold a charge :(

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, as it is more than 4 years old and in electronics time that’s like 1000 years old. Plus I’ve not been able to get it to connect to my computer for quite some time now, which means that I haven’t been able to put any new books on it. I was hoping to read the books that I already had on there that I hadn’t yet read though. I’m in the middle of reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker. Though I can’t tell you exactly how far because my goddamn kobo won’t hold a charge. Guess it’s time to start looking at what’s happened in eReader technology in the last four years…

  1. Which I had named Luna, after Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. []

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Books I Read in 2016

I set my goal to read 16 books in 2016 and I started off strong with books I was reading for fun, but the decision to take on teaching a new course meant that come the summer, when I did my course development, the type of book I was reading was predominantly textbook. Also hampering my reading was the launch of PokémonGO, as I used to do a lot of reading on my commute to work, but once I got hooked on trying to catch ‘em all, I ended up spending much of my commute either catching Pokémon or grabbing stuff from PokéStops as I whizzed by them on the bus or train1 or doing my Pokémon inventory management2.

Anyway, I did manage to surpass my goal of 16 books:

I read 21 books in 2015!

The books were:

2016 Books

2016 Books 2

2016 Books 3

This list includes:

  • 4 fiction books
  • 8 non-fiction books
  • 9 textbooks

I think my goal for next year should be to read fewer textbooks!

Looking at the list, the book I most enjoyed this year was the Voodoo Killings, followed by Dear Committee Members, and the books I learned the most from were the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and The Spirit Level. The book I liked the least was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking3

In terms of stats, I read 7,711 pages of books4 in total, with book lengths ranging for 181 pages to 704 pages.

2016 books - stats

Not surprisingly, the most popular book I read was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the least popular book was the textbook I assigned to my class. Apparently only one other person on all of Goodreads read that textbook, which I’m hoping means none of my students are on Goodreads!

I’m not planning to teach any new courses next year, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be reading more books for fun!

  1. Back before they changed the game so that you can no longer get stuff from Pokéstops when you are travelling at fast speeds. []
  2. For the uninitiated, you only have room for 250 Pokémon in your PokéBox, so once you’ve caught that many, you have to free up space by transferring some of the Pokémon to the professor in exchange for candy. This takes some work, as you need to figure out which Pokémon you have extras of and then figure out which is the lowest value Pokémon so you know which one to get rid of. []
  3. And that includes all the textbooks I read! []
  4. I also read some unholy number of pages of journal articles. I wish there were a site like Good Reads where I could track all my journal article reading! []

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All the Books I Read in 2015!

I started tracking the books I’m reading on GoodReads this year and it made a nice summary of the 18 books I read (i.e. surpassing my goal of 15 books), so I just stole screenshots from that report. #Efficiency

GoodReads 2015 - part 1
GoodReads 2015 - part 2

The above list includes:

  • 4 books that I read for one of the courses that I taught
  • 5 books that I read for my book club
  • 1 book that I read for work
  • 8 non-fiction books that I read out of interest

Wow, I just realized there isn’t a single fiction book on that list that I just chose to read myself. Good thing for my book club or I wouldn’t have read any fiction at all!

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OK

Speaking of LitFest, I’ve been meaning to write a blog posting about Olga Kotelko since I learned about her at LitFest 2015… back in May!

One of the events at LitFest 2015 was a talk byOlga’s co-author Roxanne Davies and her editor Michele Carter about the book “Olga – The O.K. Way to a Healthy, Happy Life“. I’d not heard of Olga before this talk, but I learned that she:

  • started competing in track and fieldwhen she was 77 years old
  • competed around the world in track and field events until she died at the age of 95
  • won more than750 gold medals and broke more 30 world records!

Talk about an inspiration! Just check this out video of her competing at 95:

And here’s her telling the story of how she got into track & field:

In related news, here’s a story about Harriet Thompson, a 92 year woman who finished the San Diego marathon, becoming the oldest woman ever to do so!

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Books I Read in 2014

Making this year’s list of books that I read was much easier than last year, since I started using GoodReads to track my reading1

Fiction books I finished in 2014:

  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
  • Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
  • Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
  • The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh2
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo3

Non-fiction books I finished in 2014:

  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall4
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot5
  • A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout6
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Catalan7
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi8
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Books I’m currently reading:

So I read 14 books this year with 5 more in progress – the exact same numbers as I had last year 11 – which surprises me, since I was still in school in 2013 and I figured that in 2014, with both not being in school and the addition of my Skytrain commute to work, during which I do a lot of reading, that I’d have read a lot more books this year. Perhaps I’ll make one of my 2015 goals to read even more books!

  1. If you know me and we aren’t yet friends on GR, feel free to friend me! []
  2. A book that I read with my book club. []
  3. Final book club selection of the year – for January 2015’s book club meeting, but I finished it a couple of weeks ago. []
  4. This was a Christmas gift from Sarah and Dave a few year’s ago, but which I didn’t get around to start reading until last December thanks to all that pesky school I was doing. Finished it early this year. []
  5. Another Christmas gift from Sarah & Dave. They know me well, as I loved both this and Born to Run. []
  6. Another book club selection, but this was a memoir rather than fiction, which all the other book club books have been. []
  7. Borrowed this one from Daniel. Totally fascinating! []
  8. This is an amazing book and everyone should read it. []
  9. I went to the book launch for this as Kalev is friends with the author, so I have a signed copy! []
  10. This book was funded by a Kickstarter – the first and only Kickstarter I’ve ever taken part in. []
  11. Though I suppose there are still a few more days in the year so I might complete some of those “in progress” books in 2014. []

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Books I Read in 2013

Because of school, I didn’t get to do as much fun reading as I would like to have in 2013, but I did manage to read a few during my breaks (i.e., before classes started in January, over the summer, and this Christmas). For school, I did a lot more reading of journal articles than textbooks (which my bank account is very thankful for!), but for those classes that did have textbooks, we did tend to read almost the entire book.

Here’s the breakdown of what I read in 2013, as far as I can recall1

Fiction

  • The Passage by Justin Cronin
  • The Twelve by Justin Cronin
  • World War Z by Max Brooks2
  • Momo by Michael Ende
  • Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach
  • Bridge to Teribithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (in progress)

Non-Fiction – for school

  • Essentials of Negotiation by Lewicki, Barry, Saunders, & Tasa
  • The Leadership Moment by Michael Useem
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice by Boardman, Greenberg, Vining, & Weimer
  • Business Ethics in Canada, 4th edition, edited by Deborah C. Poff

Non-Fiction – for fun

  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
  • The Myth of the Garage: And Other Minor Surprises by Chip and Dan Heath
  • Systems Concepts in Action by Willsions & Hummelbrunner (in progress)
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (in progress)
  • Born to Run by (in progress)
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (in progress)

So that’s 14 books read completely, with another 5 in progress. Not bad for a year where I was in school in addition to working!

  1. I wasn’t tracking my reading, so I’m probably forgetting some. Will be able to do a better job of reporting on my 2014 reading as I’m going to track everything on Good Reads! []
  2. I might have actually read this at end of 2012 – I can’t quite remember. []

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Reading Fiend

Two parallel stacks of books on blue backgroundNow that I have copious amounts of time on my hands, I’m doing what I did the last time I suddenly had copious amounts of time on my hands – reading all the books ever!

Since finishing school, I’ve read one complete book (The Bridge to Teribithia – which I read for the book club that my friend Shalu just started), started two other books (Ender’s Game and A Short History of Nearly Everything) and nearly completed another book (Born to Run). To give you a sense of how bad my ability to read for fun has been while I’ve been in school, Sarah and Dave gave me Born to Run TWO Christmases ago, and I’ve only now gotten around to reading it! I also started reading Thinking, Fast and Slow near the end of the summer, as it was a recommended book on the syllabus for my Internet Marketing class (and it sounded super interesting), but once my classes, including Internet Marketing, started, I didn’t have time to finish it. So I’ll get back to that soon!

As I’ve now returned to the land of reading things other than textbooks and Harvard Business Review articles1, I also finally gotten around to joining Good Reads, where I will track all the stuff that I’m reading because in addition to loving to read, I love to track things! So you can friend me over there is you want to follow my reading adventures, which you totally know you want to.

Image Credit: Posted by Horia Varlan on Flickr using a Creative Commons license.

  1. Not that I intend to stop reading stuff from HBR – I *love* those articles! []

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Nerd Stats 2012

Here is a quick summary of my blog and Twitter stats for 20121:

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 % change from 2011
Blog postings: 423 357 344 380 201 -47%
Tweets: 2,227 1,815 2302 3,625 8752 -76%
Visits to my blog 32,410 45,153 44,689 60,560 63,844 +5%
Average number of blog visits per day 933. 1264 122 166 175 +5%
Busiest day on my blog: Sept 26, 2008 (460 views)5 July 25, 2009 (1,181 views)6 Feb 9, 2010 (233 views)  Oct 10, 2011 (374 views) Feb 13, 2012 (350 views)7 -6%

It’s pretty clear from the above that I was a lot less active on my blog and on Twitter this year – which is pretty much what I expected would happen once I started school. I was pleased to see that despite the decrease in blogging, I still managed to squeak out a slight increase in visits to my blog and I’m approaching my goal, as per my 101 list’s item #82 “up my blog readership to an average of 200 readers a day”8. Also, if you are so inclined, you can also check out the blogging annual report that the helper monkeys of WordPress were so kind as to compile for me.

Also, perusing through some of my old postings, I noticed that when I first started blogging my Nerd Stats for the year, I also included a list of all the books I’d read – or at least the ones I could remember – in the year. I’m sure I’m not going to remember all of them as I haven’t been tracking them, but to the best of my knowledge9, I read the following books in 201210:

  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg11.
  • Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchn Rubin
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  • Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
  • Your Brain at Work by David Rock

Textbooks:

  • Financial Accounting in an Economic Context by Jamie Pratt
  • Corporate Finance by Berke et al
  • Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour by Langton et al
  • Managerial Economics (Custom Edition)
  • Management Ethics by Bowie & Werhane
  • plus countless journal articles and course notes!

And that, my friends, is my final blog posting for 2012! See y’all next year!

  1. To see previous years’ nerd stats postings, click the year in the table. []
  2. note to self: You started Tweeting in 2008, so you get these totals by simple subtraction, not by some fancy pants program or anything. I hope this helps you when you write your “Nerd Stats 2013” posting when you think “how the hell did I figure out how many times I tweeted in a given year??” []
  3. not sure why this value is not equal to the number of visits to my blog divided by 365 days. Probably some some of rounding error []
  4. ibid []
  5. thanks to the Hockey Hotties posting []
  6. thanks to the Blogathon! []
  7. This makes me sad, because the posting that drew this attention was my dad’s obituary. []
  8. Which should really say “views” per day, not readers, as the blog stat tracking thingy tracks viewers, not individual readers. []
  9. Where “my knowledge” = anything I wrote about on my blog, is sitting on my bookshelf that I can see and remember that I read, and was recorded by my e-reader. []
  10. In no particular order. And for the textbooks, I didn’t read all of them from cover to cover – just the required chapters []
  11. In progress. []

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R-E-L-A-X-I-N-G, That’s What Boxing Day Means To Me

open book pagesAfter the gruelling year that I’ve had, I have really been looking forward to my Christmas holidays and I have to say, they have thus far not failed to deliver. Where by “deliver” I mean “involve me relaxing and not thinking about work or school”. Case in point – I’ve spent virtually all of today reading – if you can believe this – a novel! A novel, I will have you know, that contains no supply and demand curves and no operations triangles and nary a balance sheet in sight. In fact, I’m on the second non-school/non-work book of the holiday season, though the first was a very small one1. The book I’m in the middle of is J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, which I’m really enjoying so far. And next up after this one is the book that Devon game me for Christmas: The Passage by Justin Cronin, which I only just days ago heard of for the first time on Cath’s blog.

Happily, I still have six more days before I head back to work and school, so I foresee much of them being filled with more reading, lounging, reading while lounging, and perhaps enjoying a a pint or two of my favourite Vancouver Island brew. But because I don’t want to be a total sloth, I will also be going for a few runs2, and doing some organizing to get ready for the new year. And, of course, composing my requisite year-in-review type blog postings.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, my book awaits!

  1. Christopher Hitchens’ Mortality []
  2. I did one on Christmas Eve and was going to go again today, but yesterday’s dump of snow hasn’t yet fully melted, which has hampered those plans. []

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Any resemblance to actual persons, living or undead, is purely coincidental

Somewhat spoiler-ish. I’m too lazy to do an actual thorough review or anything, but if you are planning to read the book and don’t want to know anything, I suggest you skip this posting.

I just finished reading World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. At the very end of the book there was the typical disclaimer, “Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.” I think you can see why this made me laugh.

The book itself was quite good. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to read this book because, while I love zombie movies and TV shows, I thought, “A book about zombies? How scary can that be?” But it was. Not scary the way a movie would be, but definitely frightening to think about what it would be like if the zombie apocalypse were to actually happen. What was also intriguing was the exploration of what it would be like in different countries – zombies freezing in northern climates and then thawing in the spring, more militarized countries having different capacities to fight hordes of the living dead, how countries might go about repopulating the Earth once the zombies were beaten.

I’m interested to see how this will turn out as a movie, which apparently will be coming out next summer1.

  1. After some delay due to them having to refilm the ending on account of the first version of the ending sucking. []