Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Books

So speaking of books, I have been absolutely pathetic at reading this year. I just looked on Good Reads to see how close to my goal of reading 17 books this year and discovered to my dismay that I have read a mere *two* books this year. TWO! I mean, I feel like I must have read more books than that, but I can’t for the life of me think of what they would be.

I blame my lack of reading in large part on the fact that partway through the year, my work team and I were moved to an office that is not easily accessible by transit and so I’ve been driving to work. Given that I do the lion share of my reading when I’m on the Skytrain or bus, this really cut into the amount of time I spent reading1. In addition, I didn’t really go on any vacations where I could do a bunch of reading and my kobo died and it took a little while before I bought a new one.

Also hampering my total is the fact that I started reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker, which 800+ pages long. I mean, it’s no Infinite Jest, but it’s still been taking me a looooong time to read it.

I do have a few books that I’ve read parts of, varying from almost all of the book to just a chapter, including2:

I should probably finish some of them just to get my numbers up!

Plus I have a few that I have lined up to read, including:

Fortunately, I only have one week left of work for 2017 and then I’m on holidays and I’m really hoping I can get in some pleasure reading3.

  1. On the flip side, I listened to way more podcast, as I typically listen to podcasts when I’m driving. []
  2. Full disclosure: All the things in this posting are Amazon affiliate links. That means if you click on them and then buy something, I get some cash. So you should totes do that because I like when I get cash! Seriously though, you should totally buy Introducing Epigenetics: A Graphic Guide by Dr. Cath Ennis because (a) it’s a very interesting book (from what I’ve read so far), (b) my friend Cath wrote it! But mostly because of (a)! []
  3. I also have some serious vacationing planned for 2018, so hopefully I’ll get a strong start on my 2018 book reading goal! []

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Thanks, Past Me!

The great thing about having a terrible memory is that when you support a Kickstarter fundraiser, by the time the thing you are funding gets released, you’ve forgotten that you funded it and then you get a surprise package in the mail. It’s like a gift from Past Me to Future (Now Present) Me!

Case-in-point: I got a delivery card notice from Canada Post1 saying that they had tried to deliver a package but I wasn’t home and I could come to the post-office in the Pharmasave after 1 pm the next day to pick it up. But I hadn’t ordered anything, so what could this mysterious package be? After a long and drawn out saga involving some combination of Canada Post being misinformed/incompetent/way  understaffed for the holiday rush of packages, I finally got my hands on my package. As soon as I saw this stamp on the box, I knew what it was:

Zombies, Run! Board Game

That logo is from Zombies, Run! – my favourite app, where you listen to a zombie story while you are out for a run and you are taken on missions where you have to run for supplies, or outrun zombies, or outrun bad people2. It’s superbly written and not listening to these zombie stories is something that I really, really miss thanks to not running in more than a year, thanks to all my stupid injuries. Anyhow, quite awhile ago I got an email about the Kickstarter project by the makers of the app – a board game based on the running app. Given their talent for audio stories, the board game also has an interactive audio component, which you get via downloading an app. The app isn’t quite ready yet, but they wanted to send out all the packages before the holiday mail rush3 and then we’ll get an email notifying us when the app is ready for download4

So now I have in my hot little hands, this board game:

Zombies, Run! Board Game

Zombies, Run! Board Game

… that I can’t play! Who wants to bet that the app will come out when I’m in Toronto for the holidays??

In a related story, I pre-ordered a copy of the book Soonish by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith. It wasn’t a Kickstarter, but it was a pre-order that was far enough in advance of the release date that I totally forgot I ordered it until it showed up:

Soonish

I heard about this book on Zach Weinersmith’s webcomic page, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, which I read religiously because it’s hilarious. When he talked about the book on there, he said that it’s really important to have a lot of pre-orders because it shows the publisher and booksellers there is interest in the book, so they will print more copies, arrange for book signings, and do various other things that will increase the sales of the book. Since I get so much joy out of reading SMBC every day for free, I figured that buying the book would be a good way to support an artist that I like (and assuage my guilt for being such a freeloader.))

I haven’t started reading it yet, because the semester was so busy, but now that that’s over with, I might actually have some time to check it out.

  1. Aside: I feel like being a Canada Post delivery person who has apartment buildings on your route must be the most futile job in the history of jobs. You carry packages to a building where you have to buzz to find out if someone is home but (a) you don’t have a buzzer number on the package and most people don’t list their name on the buzzer directory and (b) it’s the middle of the work day, so of course no one is home anyway. So you carry all these packages to apartment buildings, look at a long list of “Occupied” on the building directory, then write out a delivery card and stick it on the building. And repeat. []
  2. As most zombie stories go, it turns out that the humans are worse than the monsters. []
  3. It came from England, so perhaps it missed the holiday mail rush there, but it definitely got caught up in it here! []
  4. I know all this because they actually do send emails about such things, but they sent it long enough ago that I’d forgotten about it by the time the mail delivery notice card arrived. []

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It’s Panic Time


panic

There are only 21 days until Christmas until Christmas and I have NO IDEA what to get anyone! Eep!

I went to the New West Christmas craft market on the weekend in the hopes of finding some good gift ideas, and while there was lots of nice stuff (and tonnes of people looking at it), there was nothing that jumped out at me as a good gift idea for anyone on my list1. Also, I hate malls all the time, but I hate them with a fire of a thousand suns during the holidays, so I really don’t fancy the idea of wandering aimless around a mall looking for ideas.

Does anyone have any good gift ideas for my mother, sister, brother-in-common-law, niece, nephew, and/or friends2?

Here’s a portrait of me, right now, thinking about Christmas shopping:

panic-1393619

Image Credits:

 

  1. Save for a couple of little items, like stocking stuffer type stuff, and something for the Secret Santa that my hockey team is doing that is unbelievably perfect for said hockey team. []
  2. True story: I started writing this blog posting earlier tonight and had “boyfriend” on that list, but before I finished writing this we decided that since we are planning a trip in the new year, that our trip will be our present to each other. Because neither of us knows what to get each other, nor do we have any idea of what we want. Other than a trip. []

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Advent Calendar

Early in November, my mom and sister sent me a present in the mail, but they said I couldn’t open it until December 1. So that present sat on a shelf until I put up my Christmas tree, at which time I put it under the said tree and it has been sitting there taunting me ever since then!

Advent calendar

But finally today was the day and I got to open it! And it turned out to be…. an Advent calendar with make-up!

Advent calendar

Advent calendar
Advent calendar

And today’s present was… eye shadow!

Advent calendar

Advent calendar

So first of all, I love the little tiny size! You actually aren’t supposed to keep makeup for very long after you open it because bacteria can get it in ruin it – but I end up keeping my make up for quite a while because packages contain so much and there’s usually so much left by the time you are supposed to through it away. With small packages, you might actually have a chance to use it all up!

Secondly, that little package has a magnet on the back, so you could actually attach all these little packages to a wall if you had a metal surface on which to attach them. I”ll havee to see what I can find – otherwise I’m going to be storing my makeup on the side of my fridge!

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NaBloPoMo – Day 30 – On A Roll

And so endth another National Blog Posting Month. As predicted, I mostly blogged about inconsequential minutiae, but at least it got me back in the habit of writing everyday. I just looked at last year’s end of NaBloPoMo posting to see what I wrote about and it reminded me that I should probably check out how I’m at writing blog postings relative to my 2017 goal:

  • when I hit “publish” on this posting, I will have published 68 blog postings1 so far this year
  • my goal for 2017 was to publish 117 postings
  • that mean I’ve only reached a mere 58% of my goal
  • and I will need to write 49 blog postings in December to meet my goal

So that would require me publishing 1.6 blog postings per day, or just a little more 3 postings every 2 days. It would be a lot, but it’s doable2. I’m kind of on a roll with writing now *and* I do have two weeks off at the end of the month, so I think I’ll give it a go!

  1. that means nearly half of my blog postings for 2017 were written in November! []
  2. I wrote 40 blog postings in Dec 2015 and a whopping 69 blog postings in Dec 2013. []

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NaBloPoMo – Day 29 – Playing D

" Go Habs Go "A few weeks back, I had to play defence in my hockey game. I usually play forward and haven’t really ever played defence1 and quite honestly, I find the notion of it a bit scary. It’s too much pressure! You are responsible for stopping the people on the other team from taking shots! And if they score, you feel bad. Playing forward, on the other hand, is all about the glory. Scoring goals or making a beautiful pass so that your linemate can score a goal – all about the glory.

Of course, I realize that hockey is a team game and even when I’m playing forward, I can screw up and feel like it’s my fault if the other team scores2. When the defence3 from the other team that you are supposed to be checking gets away from you and scores a goal – you feel bad! When you can’t get the puck out of your own end and the other team scores, you feel bad! But overall, I feel like the pressure is more on the D. So I’ve always steered clear of it.

However, one of my teams this year is a bit short on players who play D on the roster, so, depending on who shows up for a given game, occasionally some of us forwards have to go back on D for a game. And a few weeks ago, it was my turn. It was against a really strong team (they got moved up a division a few games later because they were winning so much in our div) and someone suggested I should play D because I’m a strong skater (which was a really great compliment! I feel like I’ve worked a fair bit on my skating over the past few years, so it’s nice to know that it’s helped!) and I knew I was going to have to work my butt off! And also have to figure a lot of things out on the fly – when I play my usual position (left wing or centre), I can go a lot on instinct since I’ve done it for so many years. But as D I really have to think about where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing! So much pressure!

Anyway, I actually thought it was a good experience, because playing defence gave me a totally different perspective on the game. I was able to experience the game from the D’s point of view and it helped me see how I can be a better forward. Often defence will tell us that in our own end, when the D get control of the puck, make sure to get open, keep moving, give them someone to pass to. It’s no use passing the puck to someone who is standing still, right next to an opposing player who is poised to swoop in and grab that puck, so the forwards need to get moving! And while that makes perfect sense, it’s one thing to hear someone say that, and it’s a totally different thing to experience being that D who has the puck and there’s no one to pass it to to get the play going in the other direction. And then to experience when the forwards are moving to the open ice, ready for the pass, and the you see how much of a difference it makes. It was so useful to see from the D’s point of view how the game unfolds when the forwards are doing different things and it really makes it real what you need to be doing as a forward. So in the end, I’m actually really glad I played that game as defence – I think I’m a better forward for having done it.

I’m pretty sure there’s an analogy in here to life – how it’s really worthwhile to see things from someone else’s perspective once in a while. Maybe even someone who is very different from you. How you can learn something about what their experience is like and maybe even learn something about yourself. But it’s past my bedtime and thus too late for me to get into such deep thoughts, so I’ll leave it up to you, dear readers, to give it some thought!

Image Credit: Posted by Guy Mayer on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. Other than in the 10 day long hockey game when everyone just played wherever position because we only had one sub at any given time, but playing was more just like trying to survive on the ice for *another* four-hour shift. []
  2. As we like to say on the ice, the puck has to get past all 5 of us before it ever gets to the goalie! []
  3. So it has just occurred to me that we sometimes call the defensive players “defencemen” – I usually use just “defence” because I play in an all-womens’ league, but  “defence women” just sounds weird to me. But it’s just occurred to me that we never say “forward men”. It’s just “forward”. You say “centremen” on occasion, but far more often you just say “centre.” But you never ever say “forwardmen.” I wonder why that is? []

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NaBloPoMo – Day 28 – It’s All Over But The Marking

Tonight was my last class of the course I’m teaching this semester. On my drive home from campus I was a little sad, because I know that I’ll not see any of my students again1! Despite having a class of 90 students, I actually got to know a fair number of them through in class discussion and chats on the break and after class.

The class is an intro to business concepts for students in food, nutrition, & health majors. The major assignment is writing a business plan together and we spent the last two classes having student presentations – which are Dragons’ Den style pitches where the students pretend they are pitching their business plans to room full of investors. Like last year, I was blown away by the creativity of both their business ideas and by their presentations, by the tough questions the students asked each other, and how much work and thought had gone into these projects, as evidenced by how well they dealt with those tough questions.

While I will definitely miss the students, I won’t be sad about getting my Tuesday nights back. And my Monday nights (when I did class prep). And my weekends (when I also did class prep). Teaching a class is a freaking lot of work. Well, once the marking gets wrapped up, that is.

  1. The trials and tribulations of being a sessional instructor who only teaches this one, fourth year course in that Faculty. []

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NaBloPoMo – Day 27 – WTF Photos

I have a bunch of photos that I’ve taken with the thought “I should blog this!” And since I’ve been an utter delinquent when it comes to blog posting this year (up until this month anyway), most of them have just been sitting in my Flickr account gathering virtual dust1. Well, today seemed like a good day to dust some of them off for your viewing pleasure!

First, up the Golden Girls colouring book, which I spotted in Michael’s craft store:
Saw this Golden Girls colour book at Michael's craft store

Wtf? Who buys something like that?

And speaking of WTF, next up is a bathroom stall that Kim and I saw at Steamworks pub in Vancouver. It has two toilets in one stall, separated by a little half wall:

Bizarre two-person bathroom stall at Steamworks Pub

We were initially alerted to the fact that something weird was going on when Kim spotted an oversized stall door with this sign on it:

Bizarre two-person bathroom stall at Steamworks Pub

So we peered inside the stall and saw the shared toilets. Which I’m reasonably sure have never been used by two people at the same time, because WTF?

Next up is the light switch in my current (temporary) office space, which is in a 70 year old building that is slated for demolition:Light swtich at my new office

1000 points to anyone who can figure out how that contraption works! We had to ask the facilities guy, who showed us and then said “Be careful with it. They don’t make those anymore, so if you break it, you can’t turn your lights on anymore.”

Speaking of my office, shortly after we moved to this space, one of the facilities people told us there was a delivery of a large box that was sitting in Stores (i.e., the place where stuff like packages that get mailed to the facility get stored) and they thought it might be for us. It was large – like big enough for me to easily fit in, was addressed to the Human Resources intern who had helped coordinate our move, had been shipped by a courier, was still sealed when we opened it, and when we opened it, all that was inside was a single piece of bubble wrap:

This giant box arrived at my new office

This was months ago and we have still not figured out who sent this, or why!

Speaking of things for which I could not figure out a reason, why would something put their McDonald’s coffee in the fridge? Is McDonald’s coffee really worth saving for later?

Someone has left this partially consumed McDonald's coffee in the fridge at work for days

This might be my favourite one – it was spotted at my previous (temporary) office and yes, it does speak to the quality of the coffee made by that office coffee maker:This sign in my office does, in fact, reflect the quality of the office coffee

And finally,no Autocorrect, I did not mean “asshomes”:

Stupid autocorrect. I did not mean "asshomes"

  1. Some of them I may have tweeted, but tweets disappear into the abyss, so I figured I’d get them here on ye old blog for posterity. []

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NaBloPoMo – Day 26 – Happy 50th Birthday to the Arts Council of New Westminster

Today was the Annual General Meeting of the Arts Council of New Westminster, followed by its 50th birthday party! For the past 50 years, the ACNW has been bringing community of New Westminster together through the arts and I’m proud to have been a small part of that.

Name tag. Arts Council of New Westminster

I joined the board of ACNW back in June 2014, at the encouragement of my friend, Tig. It was shortly after I finished my MBA and it gave me my first experience of being on a board of directors. For the past year, I served as the secretary on the board. I got to work with a fabulous group of people, got to contribute to an organization that supports artists in the community and runs many of the amazing events that makes New West such a cool place to be. I learned a lot, made some great friends, and am proud of what we’ve accomplished over this time. I made the tough decision to step down from the board after 3+ years – with my day job getting busier and busier and my new role on CESBCY, I felt like I should not spread myself too thin and that it was a good time to make way for some new blood on the Arts Council board. I will continue to be a supporter of the ACNW, but now as a cheerleader on the side rather than as a member of the board. Looking forward to seeing what amazing things the ACNW does in the next 50 years!

Happy birthday, ACNW and thank you to all the artists, art enthusiasts, donors, staff, volunteers, board members, and ACNW members who make it all possible!

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NaBloPoMo – Day 25 – El Presidente

Yesterday I was elected at the President of the Canadian Evaluation Society’s BC & Yukon chapter! Yay!

We have a really amazing group of people on our council and I’m really excited about continuing the great work of this organization. Here we are (minus a few people on council who weren’t able to be at the AGM yesterday):

CESBCY Council 2018 at the AGM

I hope I’m better than that other President Snow.