Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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10 of 13

I have officially been to all of the Canadian provinces! And before you ask, no, I haven’t been to all three territories… yet – I’ve only been to one of them – but that’s why I said all of the provinces1. Some of the provinces I’ve spent a lot of time in, others I’ve just driven through. But I have set foot in every single province and none of them were only in airport stopovers, which, I understand, is the only way many people have experienced a given place2. For the record, here are my experiences of the 10 provinces (and one territory… so far) in the order that I’ve been to them:

  • Ontario: I was born in this province, so I have spent of time there, both in the 23 years that I lived there and on many, many trips to visit family and friends (and occasionally for work meetings in Ottawa) since I left.
  • Quebec: Both of my parents grew up in Montreal, so there was many a family vacation to La Belle Province in my childhood. I’ve also been there on work trips and, mostly recently, the run the Montreal demi-marathon last year.
  • Prince Edward Island: My childhood best friend moved to PEI, so I went on a trip there in the summer after grade 8. I remember liking Cows Ice Cream and the Anne of Green Gables house. I also met my first boyfriend there – he lived in my hometown and his family was visiting my best friend’s family at the same time as I was visiting.
  • British Columbia: My first trip to BC was with the man who would later become my ex-husband (MWWLBMEH), to visit his Mom, little brother, and little sister who were living in Chilliwack, when he and I were living in Ontario. I ended up moving there to do my PhD (mostly because the MWWLBMEH grew up there and wanted to move back) and liked living here so much that I stayed.
  • Manitoba: I drove through the province of Manitoba when I was moving from Ontario to BC. We only stopped in Winnipeg to grab something to eat, as we decided to drive from Thunder Bay, ON to Regina, SK in one day; thus, the only thing I know about Winnipeg is that it has a Pizza Hut (or, it did in Aug 2000 anyway).
  • Saskatchewan: Also have only been here on my moving trip across the country, when we spent a day in Regina, as the MWWLBMEH had friends there that we wanted to visit.
  • Alberta: My first time in Alberta was on the cross country move and we had a less than fantastic time in Calgary (the car we were towing behind our moving truck came off its trailer and we had to get help from a grumpy tow truck driver whose driveway we were inadvertently blocking. This would be a harbinger of future trips to Calgary – suffice it to say that Calgary is not favourite city. I’ve also been to Edmonton for work and Kananaskis for someone else’s work – Kananaskis was amazing! As was driving through the Rockies on my initial trip through Alberta, now that I think of it.
  • New Brunswick: I went here for a conference – the conference was good but I was underwhelmed by New Brunswick, though admittedly I was in Fredericton and have been told that St. John is much nicer.
  • Nova Scotia: I went to Halifax (which is, coincidentally, my mother’s birthplace) for a conference last year – I was expecting Nova Scotia to be more quaint, though I’ve since been told that you need to leave the city of Halifax to find the quaintness.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: My 10th and final province, that I went to for a conference. My great grandmother (my dad’s, dad’s mom) landed in Harbour Grace, NL when he immigrated from England to Canada, so it was kind of special to be able to go there.

Bonus: 1 Territory

  • Northwest Territories: I went to Yellowknife for work in 2008. I was teaching a course at UBC at the time, so I could only go for the two days of meetings that I had to be at and then had to come right back to teach. Wished I’d had a chance to see more than just the meeting rooms at the hotel and a tiny bit of the city when I walked to the store (though I was very cold!)

So now I just need to get to the Yukon and Nunavut. Living in Vancouver, I feel like tit should be relatively easy to get to the former, but the latter will probably prove to be a bigger challenge!

  1. I can’t count how many times I said before my trip “Once I get to St. John’s all have been of the provinces!” only to be greeted with “And all the territories??” as if having traversed the second largest country on the planet isn’t cause enough for celebration! []
  2. For example, lots of Vancouverites have told me they’ve only been to Toronto airport (which isn’t even in Toronto). I’ve been to Switzerland twice – once in the Zurich airport and another time in the Geneva airport, so though I’ve technically been there, I don’t think it *really* counts []

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One Week Today….

… I’ll be co-presenting a workshop in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador with my sister! I am very excited about this for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to) and in no particular order:

  • the content we are presenting on is very cool and I’m excited to share it with colleagues
  • the conference that we are presenting at is a good one – I always learn a lot, meet great people, and have a lot of fun
  • I get to hang out with my sister
  • Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province I’ve never been to, so when I go there I will have collected the entire set of provinces in my travel history

The one thing I’m not excited about is the weather forecast. St. John’s is going to be cold while we are there:

St. John's forecast

And in the meantime, I’ll be missing out on summer weather in Vancouver:

Vancouver forecast

I’ll have to make sure to pack some warm sweaters and my coat!

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I Challenge You

So I read this on CBC’s website today:

B.C. author challenges Canadians to sign up for TRC reading challenge
Jennifer Manuel wants 1,000 people to pledge by National Aboriginal Day

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a commission “organized by the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement” and “was part of a holistic and comprehensive response to the charges of abuse and other ill effects for First Nations children that resulted from the Indian residential school legacy” (Source: Wikipedia).

Jennifer Manuel launched an online campaign to encourage people to read the Summary Report from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which is “nearly 400 pages long and documents the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system, which the report says is “best described as ‘cultural genocide””(Source: CBC).

I remember first hearing about residential schools shortly after I moved to BC – someone gave a presentation on it at UBC and I remember thinking “How did I get to be in my 20s, with two university degrees and I’m working on a PhD and I have never before heard about this horrible part of my country’s history?” Since then, I’ve learned more about residential schools, as well as Indian Hospitals and about racism experienced every day by Aboriginal people in Canada through having met and worked with a number of Aboriginal organizations (mostly in my previous job) as well as taking an indigenous cultural competency training. But I know that I have only scratched the surface and I have much to learn. So I’ve signed the pledge to read the TRC Report and I’m challenging each and every one of you to read it too.

Basic principles underlying this challenge

You care genuinely about the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada.

You believe that improving this relationship requires meaningful, respectful, mutual dialogue, and that you cannot contribute to this dialogue unless you have first listened to the truths expressed by First Nations people.

You prefer to read the TRC Report yourself, rather than letting others interpret it for you, especially since they may not have actually read it themselves. (Source: TRC Reading Challenge)

Jennifer Manuel’s goal was to have 1,000 people take the pledge by June 21st – Aboriginal Day in Canada. She has already surpassed this goal, but that shouldn’t stop you – the more people who read the TRC Report, the better.

To sign up for the challenge, go to http://trcreadingchallenge.com/ (and let me know if you signed up by leaving a comment!). On the website, she provides access to the document as a .pdf and as a series of audio files (which cover the History section of the Summary), in case you prefer to listen to the report.

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Halifax

Item #46 (Go to Nova Scotia) has officially been knocked off my list of 101 things to do, as I am currently sitting in a hotel in Halifax writing this posting. I am here for a two day conference, during which I will be presenting some of my research. But since I left last night1 , I arrived here at 11 am2, which gave me a whole afternoon to explore the city.

I spent a long time walking along the boardwalk, which is adorable, enjoying the amazing weather and checking out the little shops. This one was my favourite:

Rum Cake Factory.

Apparently there were a lot of rum runners here back in the day.

Once I reached like what seemed to be the end of the boardwalk (other than a casino), I headed up Citadel Hill, atop of which sits Fort George, a fortified summit that was first established in 1749.

Citadel Hill in Halifax. Source. Creative Commons licensed

I took a guided tour where they tell you about how the site has been fortified four times over its history and going into the intricate ways that it was built to ensure it could be extremely difficult to attack so that it could do its job of protecting Halifax Harbour and the Royal Navy. It turns out, however (spoiler alert!) – Halifax was never once attacked. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Citadel Hill was the deterrent that kept enemy forces from attacking, since they knew it was too well defended to ever defeat.

Also on the tour, we learned that the re-enactors at the site today use actual antique guns from the 1800s – not replicas – and we got to see a demonstration of one of them firing a rifle.

Re-enactor gives a rifle demo at Citadel Hill, Halifax, NS

Re-enactor gives a rifle demo at Citadel Hill, Halifax, NS

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Me, atop the rampant at Citadel Hill

After I left Citadel Hill, I walked back along the waterfront and met up with my colleague for a lovely dinner. We opted to order two meals and trade half, because so many things on the menu at the pub we went to looked good. We had a blackened salmon with tequila lime cream and corn salsa, which was lovely, and a cajun halibut with pineapple, which was to die for! We also tried a local craft beer – Garrison Nut Brown Ale – which was pretty decent.

After dinner, I checked out the hot tub at the hotel, but it was disappointing in its lack of hotness of said tub. And now I’m back in my room, where my luxuriously luxurious hotel bath robe and am starting to nod off at my laptop. Despite it only being 10:30 pm Atlantic – which means it’s 6:30 pm back home – I’m totally exhausted. I blame the fact that I got a minimal amount of sleep last night due to having to sleep on a plane and having to change planes. So I’m going to take advantage of this tiredness to go to bed now, so that I’ll be able to get up in time for tomorrow conference opening at 8 am Atlantic!

  1. My flights were uneventful, other than the three people ahead of me in the security line up, who (1) appeared to have unpacked everything from their copious amount of carry on luggage into several bins and then held up the entire line as they slowly re-packed everything without moving their bins from the conveyer belt, so no other bins could get through the x-ray, (2) forgot they had a butter knife in their backpack, and (3) tried to bring 5 large jars of cranberry jelly in their carryon and then claimed that they didn’t think that jelly counted as a gel. []
  2. with a 2 hour stopover in Toronto and a 4 hour time zone difference, I arrived here 12.5 hours after I left Vancouver []

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Goals and 101 Update

So, I’m staying up until 4 am to watch the men’s hockey Olympic gold medal game – Go Canada!

My sleeping pattern is totally messed up right now – for various reasons, I didn’t get a lot of sleep this week and have been sooo tired all week and then last night after work I went out for drinks for Cath’s birthday, stayed out fairly late and so I fell asleep on the Skytrain ride home and missed my stop. I woke up when the train stopped due to mechanical problems, totally thinking that I was at one of the stops before my stop, like Joyce or Edmonds, but after dozing on the not-moving Skytrain for about 15 minutes I heard another passenger make a comment about walking to King George Station and so I asked the person where we were and it turned out that we were at Gateway, 3 stops *past* New West! GAH! So I got off the train and had to wait another 10 minutes or so before a train came going the other way to take me back home. Being stuck at a Skytrain station in Surrey at 1:30 am on a freezing cold day – not my idea of a good time. I had a 16 km run with Alicia scheduled for 11:15 am on Saturday, so I managed to get an OK amount of sleep despite not getting home ’til 2 am. And then it turned out to be *snowing* for our run, so it was a pretty tough and freezing cold run, what with the tiredness and 3 beers and a shot of Tequila that I had the night before, but we managed to complete the run, which is the main thing. My running jacket turned out to be less waterproof than I would have liked and that, combined with having run through some puddles that soaked my running shoes mean that on the Skytrain ride on the way home from Alicia’s, I proceeded to get colder and colder; by the time I got home, my hands were so frozen that I could barely move them. I don’t remember my hands been so cold since that time I went surfing in Tofino in January! At least I didn’t fall asleep on the Skytrain and miss my stop this time, and a nice long, hot shower fixed me up just right. And then I followed that with a nap for 5 hours. That’s right, 5 hours. Apparently, I was extremely tired. When I woke up after my 5 hour long nap, both the kitties were curled up at my feet. So cute!

Since I slept for so long this afternoon, I’m now awake at nearly 1 am, with puck drop only 3 hours from now. So it seems to make sense to stay up for the game and then have a nap again before my own 7 pm game. I’m sure this will in no way come back to haunt me tomorrow night when I’m trying to get to sleep at a reasonable hour for the workweek.

Anyway, being awake, I decided I may as well write a blog posting and so here I am. And I had a blog posting halfway written, so basically these first 4 paragraphs are the longest and most irrelevant preamble I’ve ever written! Now, on to the topic of the actual posting!

Without even realizing it, I knocked two items off my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days in January!

5. get a cat

I forgot this was on my list when I got Watson & Crick. When I was living with my last boyfriend, I couldn’t have a cat as he was allergic, so I kind of forgot that it was even on my list. And by the time I thought about getting kitties again, it slipped my mind that it was on my list, until I just noticed it the other day. Hooray! And really, I should get to check this off the list twice, since I got two cats.

101. publish 501 blog postings in this 1001 day period

This happened on January 4 and at the time, I didn’t even notice that it was my momentous 501st posting since I started my 101 list.

On the more deliberate front, I made a concerted effort to knock this item off my list of goals for 2014:

14. Find a solution to my spice situation.

As part of the 52 weeks to an organized home, I finally got around to coming up with a solution for my disorganized collection of spices. I thought I took some photos of the before and after, but I can’t seem to find them, so I’ll have to write a posting about it later, but I have all my spices in either my test tube rack or in neatly labeled jars in a jar, where they are very handy to grab while cooking. This makes me very happy.

And just now when I went to make the link to my goals for 2014 posting, I noticed this goal, which I’d completely forgotten that I’d set as a goal for this year: 13. Find a reliable cleaning person …but which I just achieved last week! I’ve been looking for a cleaning person for awhile, but finally found one through my friend Tig. I tried out this cleaning lady last week and she did an amazing job and her prices are reasonable, so I’ve now gotten into her rotation for a cleaning every 2 weeks. Especially with the cats, someone needs to keep this place clean and it certainly wasn’t going to be me. So cleaning lady it is. This also makes me very happy.

In addition to those updates, I can also inform you that I’m now past the halfway mark of the 90 Fitness & Accountability Challenge and so far I’ve managed to keep up with my weekly goal of 6 workouts of at least 30 minutes per day. This week was by far the most challenging for me, due to the being so tired and having so many after-work things to do, so I decided to be kind to myself and let one of those be a half hour of deep stretches while I watched the most recent episode of the Walking Dead. I actually felt pretty good after that – sometimes I forget how much good some yoga/stretching can be!

OK, it’s now 1:13 am – less than 3 hours ’til the game starts. Maybe I’ll spend some time playing with my blog theme – I’ve been meaning to do that for a while!

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That’s A Lot of Drugs

Spent this evening reading and writing about the pharmaceutical industry – the topic of a paper and presentation that I have due on Monday. Just realized I hadn’t blogged anything yet today and since I’m too tired to actually think of anything new, I’m going to share with you some data about pharmaceutical sales in Canada. Like, for example, did you know that in Canada we spent $12.8 billion dollars on patented drugs last year? And that represented 59.3% of all pharmaceuticals sales (with the other 40.7% spent on non-patented and generic drugs)? Meaning that in Canada we spent a total of $21.6 billion dollars on pharmaceuticals in 2012! That is a lot of drugs.

These data, and much more, can be found in the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board’s 2012 Annual Report. Just a little light bedtime reading for you!

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Support Independent Media AND maybe win a weekend in Tofino!

So remember when I told you that you should support the Tyee, the award-winning Vancouver-based independent news magazine, to go national? Well I hope you have been procrastinating on actually doing that because have I got an offer for you!

If you go to this link to sign up to support the Tyee, then both you and I get entered into a draw for:

  • Two nights for two at BriMar Bed & Breakfast.
  • $150 gift certificate for Tofino’s popular Sobo restaurant.
  • A daytrip for two to Hot Springs Cove from Ocean Outfitters.
DSC02093

This is Tofino. Isn’t it gorgeous? Don’t you want me to go to there? Or maybe you could win the trip and then you could take me there!

Seeing as I’ve only been to Tofino to (1) jump into the freezing cold ocean in January and (2) run the most hilliest of half marathons ever, I think I really deserve a relaxing weekend there, don’t you? Of course you do. That’s why you are going to go to this link to support the Tyee.

So go to this link. Go there now!!

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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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Happy Canada Day!

Don’t you just love when a holiday falls on a Monday? And don’t you extra super duper love it when it falls on a Monday and the entire long weekend has been super hot and sunny?

In honour of this glorious holiday, I give you a picture of me at the Pacific terminus of the Trans Canada highway.

Beth at the Pacific Terminus of the Transcanada Highway

I hope to visit the Atlantic terminus someday soon!

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Important Issues in Canadian Politics – Is Canada a Safe Haven for Zombies?

From the Canadian House of Parliament:

Props to Kalev for bringing this important piece of Canadian politics to my attention!

For those who are interested, here’s a link to the CDC’s zombie preparedness plan, as referred to by the Honourable Pat Martin in the video.