Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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The Penultimate Night of the Year in Our Nation’s Capital

Spent the day driving to Ottawa with my family, as we are going to a friend’s wedding tomorrow night. The invitation says it’s a fancy-schmancy attire sort of occasion, so I’ve got a fancy dress, impractically tall shoes, and even some full length gloves for the occasion. My friends Sarah and Dave and their crew will also be in attendance, so it will be nice to ring in the new year with them. My niece baked the wedding cakes and I hear there’s a late night pierogie bar! Rock on!

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I need a story about “power”!

So I’ve had a bit of a change of plans for my holidays and I’m going to be going to Toronto to spend it with my family1. One of the things I’ll be doing in Toronto is going to a Stone Soup supper. You can read the long version of what a Stone Soup supper is here, but the gist of it is that it’s a potluck dinner where people tell stories around a given theme. Unlike Fight Club, if it’s your first time, you don’t have to fight tell a story, but since I have the gift of the gab and am an attention whore, I would like to tell a story if I can come up with one.

Stone Soup

The theme for this particular evening is “power”. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a story that fits. I mean, my go-to story, when I’m in need of telling a good one, is the story of my epic typo. But I’m not sure how I’d fit that to the theme of “power”. The power of a single letter? Seems a bit weak.

Anyhoo, I’ve decided to see if I can crowdsource a story. Does anyone have a good story related to power? Or can you think of any of my stories that you could link to that theme in some way?

Image Credit: Posted by Theresa Thompson on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

Footnotes:

  1. Lest any burglar types be reading this, a friend will be staying in my apartment and my vicious attack cats and attack frogs will bite your face if you try to burgle here []

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Beer & Bling

I’m stealing this directly off the website of Working Silver, a silversmith who offer silversmithing supplies, classes, and silver jewelry for sale. They are having a Christmas shopping night that is paired with beer drinking, which is also a fundraiser for the Arts Council of New Westminster, a nonprofit organization of which I’m on the board of directors. You should check it out!

BEER & BLING Christmas Shopping Night!

Dec 10th 5-10pm

Sample Craft Beer made by our friends at Steel & Oak and do your Christmas Shopping at the Arts council LOGO same time!  Hand made sterling silver jewellery by local artisans, Jewellery making Classes, and Gift Certificates make wonderful Christmas gifts!!

At the Workingsilver store and teaching studio, we are all about hand made sterling silver jewellery and supporting local artisans.  Partial proceeds from the Beer Tasting will go to the New Westminster Arts Council.

Workingsilver: 131 E Columbia Street, New Westminster

  • Driving: 5 minutes from Hwy 1.  FREE off street parking available behind the building for this event
  • Walking:  5 minute walk from the Sapperton SkyTrain Station
  • Free Parking available behind building after 6pm

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OMG, it’s December tomorrow

So, it’s December tomorrow. How, exactly, did that happen? Wasn’t it January just like 5 minutes ago? Looking at my calendar for the next month, I see that December will also be flying by, because I have an insane amount of things in my calendar, including:

Plus a variety of other meet ups with people I haven’t seen in ages and, you know, Christmas and New Year’s! Let the festivities begin!

  1. This is how you can tell that the 12 Bars of Christmas crowd has gotten old. []
  2. Where DDG = Drinks/Dinner with Dr. Girls – where me and my PhD grad school buddies get together to catch up []

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Happy 11th Birthday, Madeline!

Happy birthday to my niece! I’m glad you enjoyed your crazy sleepover party on Saturday and that you had delicious cake and got some cool presents today. Love you!

Beth and Madeline at Montreal race

Madeline and I after our respective races at the Montreal marathon in Sept 2015. Yes, she is nearly as tall as me!

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Conferences and Conferences and AGMs, Oh My!

PrintToday was the Canadian Evaluation Society BC and Yukon (CESBCY) chapter’s conference. Now, I may be biased given that I was the conference Program Chair, but I think we had an outstanding program of presentations this year! Now, before you think I’m being too arrogant, I will state for the record that the outstanding program was 100% due to the fantastic presenters – my job as program chair was easy given that incredible proposal we received from evaluators and non-profit organizations from around the region1.

I decided to take on the role of Program Chair for this conference because I’m also a Program Co-Chair for the 2017 CES National conference, which is being held in Vancouver, and I thought that gaining some experience on the provincial conference would be a good idea before leaping into the national one2. I quite enjoyed working on the program for this conference – the whole conference committee was fantastic and we had a lot of fun while also putting on a great conference, if I do say so myself3. In fact, I’m already starting to think about what we are going to do for next year’s conference. As well, I’m really enjoying working with the 2017 National Conference committee – we’ve already been meeting for several months, as pulling off a national conference requires *a lot* of planning!

And apparently I’m really enjoying being engaged with the evaluation community, because at the CESBCY Annual General Meeting that was held after the conference this evening, I got myself elected to the Executive Council as a member-at-large! Now, I realize that I do have a tendency to do all the things, which I’ve been attempting to moderate to “do most of the things”4, but I made a wise and considered decision to accept the nomination of my colleague for this position, because this is my professional organization and so it’s a totes good career move. Also, did I mention how much fun these people are?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, they just announced the call for workshop and presentation proposals for the 2016 CES National conference in St. John’s and I need to start brainstorming some presentation ideas!

  1. If you are so inclined, I’ve put all the notes that I took in the session I attended over on my professional blog. Note to self: my professional blog really needs a makeover! []
  2. I was on the conference committee for the CES national conference in 2010 when it was in Victoria, but I was the Volunteer Coordinator and only took that position quite close to when the conference happened, so I wasn’t involved in much of the planning for the conference. []
  3. There is a conference evaluation happening – because of course there is, we are evaluators! – but the feedback I heard from people at the conference, my impression of the sessions that I attended, and the fact that the conference was sold out and had a waiting list all indicate that the conference was a success! []
  4. Like, remember that time I went to my strata AGM and didn’t run for strata council? That was a big accomplishment for me! []

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I came here to kick ass and eat donuts – the Inaugural PNE Donut Dash 5k race

PNE Donut DashExcept that I didn’t really go to the race to kickass. Because I was really there for donuts. And cotton candy. And a race medal with an adorable running donut on it.

This morning my friend Julie1, her friend Jen, and I participated in the first ever PNE2 5km Donut Dash. The premise of the race is that you run through the PNE fairgrounds before the park opens and you will “be reenergized with tasty Fair treats throughout the course, including mini donuts, cotton candy and more!” (source). Having now done the race, I would like to contest both the phrases “throughout the course” and “and more!”

Before the race, I wasn’t too sure about the idea of eating a donut in the middle of a run – I find it hard enough to stomach my electrolyte/fuel gummies on a run, let alone having a pile of deep-fried dough in my belly, so I probably shouldn’t complain that there wasn’t a tonne of treats on the race course. Actually, if anything, what they really needed more of was water stations on the route – given that we are in the midst of a summer-long heat wave here in Vancouver, a single water station on a 5 km route was definitely not sufficient. I thought I was maybe going overboard bringing my water bottle belt on a mere 5 km run, but in retrospect I was quite glad I did!

PNE Donut DashThe race started on a track at Empire Field, but you quickly veered off that and onto a pathway, and then it was off through the park. I was originally hemming and hawing about whether I was going to run by myself at a fast pace or run with my friends who were planning on a slower pace with some walk breaks. In the end, I choose the latter and I was glad I did because not only is it nice to hang out with friends, but there were apparently 1300 runners in the race and the pathway was quite narrow for the entire route, so I think if I’d tried to run at a faster pace, I’d have been frustrated the entire time being stuck behind slower runners and walkers.

PNE Donut Dash

It was kind of fun running through the park – I haven’t been to the PNE in ages, so it was neat to see the different booths and rides and games and dinosaurs. Because there are dinosaurs there apparently. There were also bunch of kids dressed up as pirates and mermaids and some sort of showgirl-type thing but with hot pink Converse hightops, all of whom were ready and willing to high-five the passing runners. Somewhere around the middle of the race we finally reached our first treat station – cotton candy! There were people handing it out in plastic bags (see the photo) – I insisted on getting the blue cotton candy, which for some reason seemed much more rare than the pink. Then we didn’t see another treat station until the 4.4 km mark3, where we finally reached the mini-donuts, which were also being handed out in little bags4. And from there it was just over a 1/2 km that we had to carry our haul to the finish line, because seriously, who can eat a donut and also run?

When we came to the finish line, I decided to go for a little “sprint”5. I passed a little boy who was maybe 6 or 7, who then decided he was going to race me! So he and I ran for the finish line and he actually veered at me to try to cut me off! Fortunately, despite being short, I still have significantly longer legs than a 6 or 7 year old and managed to get aside to avoid being run into but it only took a couple of strides to catch up and run alongside so that we ran across the finish line at the same time6.

At the finish line, they were giving out the medals and all of the people holding medals at the start of the line had medals with red ribbons, but I could see the guy at the back had blue ribbons. So, because I do always like to be different, I bypassed all the medal giver-outers at the front and went to the last guy in line and asked for a blue one. I said “Does the blue ribbon mean anything?” and he just shook his head, and handed it to me. Then he ran off because he noticed the little boy who I’d crossed the finish line with had walked right past all the medal giver-outers without getting a medal. So the little boy also got a blue ribbon.

PNE Donut DashAfter the finish line, they had fancy mini-donuts – dipped in chocolate with sprinkles on them – that they were handing out one of to each runner. Sadly, they were a bit on the dry side and we honestly wondered if they were just day olds that they dressed up! The sugar-covered mini-donuts that we were given along the race route were much better. Happily, the cotton candy was delicious! I’m sure it was because I insisted on getting the blue kind.

All in all, it was a pretty fun time and I have now earned 3 medals towards my goal of earning 5 medals this year. Next up: Montreal half marathon – more than 4x the distance of today’s run and significantly fewer donuts expected… though I do plan to indulge in some poutine, a Montreal smoked meat sandwich, and some glorious, glorious spruce beer while I’m in Quebec – just not during the race!

  1. You may recall Julie from the zombie obstacle course race and the Longest Game for CF. Clearly, our friendship is based on doing awesome sporty things together! []
  2. That’s the Pacific National Exhibition for my non-BC readers. For my Ontarian readers, it’s like the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition), except more Pacific. I was about to say “except we understand there is more to Canada than just our city *cough* Toronto *cough*”, but then I realized that it has the word “national” in it, so maybe we are saying we are the whole country expect not because it’s just the Pacific part? Or that Toronto is being redundant because it’s says “Canadian” and “national”? Anyway, my heads hurts now, so suffice it to say that the PNE is like the CNE – a big fair with all sorts of exhibits and games and food and whatnot and this footnote is way longer now than a footnote should be. I think I’m still on a sugar rush for the donuts and cotton candy that I had for breakfast. []
  3. hence my comment that it wasn’t really mini-donuts “throughout” the race course. []
  4. And that was it for treat stations, hence my contesting the phrase “and more!” []
  5. I say “sprint” in quotation marks, as it wasn’t *that* fast, but it was faster than we had been going. []
  6. I was going to let him win, but after he tried to knock me off course, I changed my mind! []

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Paint Nite – Take 1

A little while ago I got the idea that it would be fun to get some friends together to do a Paint Nite. For the uninitiated, Paint Nite1 is where you go to a restaurant and they have all the supplies you need to do a painting – a canvas, paint, brushes, smocks – and an artist who gives you instructions on how to paint a particular picture. I emailed around to a bunch of friends to see who was interested, but given that people need to align on available dates, locations they can get to, and taste in art (since everyone is painting the same picture), I didn’t manage to get a group together. I did, however, find a date/place/painting that worked for both me and Cath (this past Monday) and another date/place/painting that worked for me and Amy (late August). And so it was that on Monday after work, Cath and I found ourselves at Nuba2 in Kitsilano wearing smocks and ready to paint!

To set the stage, this is the painting that we were trying to imitate:

Paint Nite

Now, I should point out that the disclaimer on the Paint Nite website notes:

Paint Nite makes no representations or warranties about the quality of your painting or individual experience. Every painting will be unique, and the expectation that your painting will be a facsimile of the painting depicted on the Website is patently absurd. (emphasis mine)

I can only imagine the situation that lead to a frustrated legal writer penning this statement!

At any rate, we were told that the instructor would show us how to paint this painting, but we were free to change things up as we liked.

I feel like things were going OK for me as I painted the sky and the mountain – I decided I wanted to go with a darker sky and a blacker mountain than the original – and even the land on which the trees would sit. I didn’t love my trees at first – the instructor wasn’t giving very clear instructions at that point… he was mostly just saying “Do this with your brush” but not explaining what “this” was.  And then when it came time to paint the water, things went totally off the rails. I had *no idea* what he was talking about and he seemed to be doing it all very fast, so I need up getting, well, this:

Paint Nite

Then things went from bad to worse, as we were supposed to be painting some yellow (i.e., moonlight) on the water, but mine turned out way too yellow:

Paint Nite

Yes, I realize that this looks like I have more of a wavy stream of urine than some moonlit water on the bottom of the painting!

I know that one evening does not a painter make and so I’m not just making excuses here, but I would like to reiterate that the instructor could have been a little bit more effective than he was. I would have appreciated some more specifics and, quite honestly, fewer cliché sentences like “Just feel the tree emerge from the brush”. Also, I know that this is supposed to be a “fun” and “nonjudgemental” good time, but I also could have done without comments like “These all look amazing! You are all doing such a great job!” because that, to borrow a phrase, was patently absurd. My painting is not, by any measure, amazing, and it wasn’t by any stretch the worst painting there. I’m not saying the instructor should tell us that our paintings look terrible or anything, but he just came across as completely insincere by doing that.

Anyway, I don’t think we did half bad for two people who haven’t picked up a paint brush in decades and, as Cath pointed out, we each reconfirmed that we made a good career choice in becoming a scientist.

Paint Nite

Cath and her masterpiece

Paint Nite

Me and my masterpiece

And, most importantly, we had a blast! I’m looking forward, to Paint Nite 2, The Repaintening. I’m hopefully that the instructor is a little better at the next one, though I think I’ll check out some YouTube videos on how to paint before then just in case!

  1. As per usual with blog postings where I talk about companies, I have no affiliation with Paint Nite. I paid for the event like everyone else, so I’m not receiving bribes to blog about it! []
  2. I also have no affiliation with Nuba. I wish they would give me bribes – their food is delicious! – but alas, I paid for my own drinks and dinner there. []

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Happy Birthday, Nancy!

Beth & Nancy Christmas 2013

Apparently the Earth has gone around the sun a significant number of times since my sister was born. How many times that was, I will not say!

But if it makes you feel any better, Nancy, you were born two months early, so if we are talking gestational age, you aren’t [redacted] years old until September!

Happy birthday, sis!

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Another Day, Another Jet Plane On Which I’m Leaving to Blog About

It’s been a whirlwind last few days. On Monday, my big real estate deal (i.e. the condo that I bought) completed. On Tuesday I took possession of my fabulous new home and on Wednesday I moved (including getting my Internets hooked up and having the carpets in my old apartment steam cleaned so I could give my keys back to my landlord, which I did yesterday evening). And now I’m at the Vancouver airport, awaiting a flight to Portland where I will have a brief stopover on my way to San Francisco for Kalev’s big birthday celebration! I will blog more about the new condo when I get back1 and will worry about all the unpacking and setting everything up when I get back too2. But there will be plenty of time for that after I return – right now, I’m excited to be heading to California for the second time in three months3 and to San Fran for the first time in far too long4. There’s a group of us going down to celebrate Kalev’s big birthday and we have lots of fun stuff planned – a fancy dinner on Saturday night, a bunch of partying (it is Pride Weekend, so there is no lack of partying opportunities), Kalev and I are taking in some short films at the queer film fest this afternoon, along with lunch at Lucky Creation, the best veggie Chinese restaurant in the world!

Excitement!!

  1. Was far too busy with moving to even contemplate blogging it at the time. []
  2. Right now my place is stacked with boxes everywhere, which Watson & Crick are loving as it gives them lots of high perches on which to nap. []
  3. Hollywood Half Marathon, I’m looking in your direction! []
  4. I can’t remember for sure when it was and I’m typing this on the WordPress app on my iPad and I’m far too lazy to go search my blog to find out. If I had to guess, I’d say it was probably around 2008? []