One of the closing plenary speakers at the conference I was at showed this video. Hilarious!
It reminded me of this video, which anyone who has ever tried to help someone to use any computer software program will appreciate:
So I’m back now from my trip to F-ton. And I didn’t even blog the whole time I was there! I must have been having fun or something.
I was there for a teaching & learning conference at the University of New Brunswick, where I gave a presentation & a poster on my work from my former job. The original plan was to have Tod meet me in F-ton after my conference and take some vacation time to tour around the Maritimes, but between the time when my conference proposals were accepted and the time of the actual conference, I got my new job and had to be back in Vancouver for a conference here this upcoming week, so there was no Maritime vacation for me! But I’ve at least knocked New Brunswick off my list of provinces to visit, and off my 101 things to do in 1001 days list!
Random things from my trip:
Seriously, who wants the word “DIE” on their license plate?
Unfortunately, there was no lentil bib for the vegetarians! We were also sitting with a girl from the Netherlands, who had never tried lobster before. I’ve never tried lobster, even before I became I vegetarian, so I asked her what she thought. Her reply: “It tastes like nothing.”
I also gave a concurrent session, which I now get to write up to publish in the journal issue that will be generated from the conference sessions! It likely won’t be as entertaining as Snow, Snow & Gillis, 2007, but it will be good.
‘cuz seriously, how much time do we waste doing things that are highly urgent, but not really important?
1The banquet was referred to as a “Maritime Kitchen Party,” but it seemed like pretty much every banquet I’ve ever been to other than (a) they served lobster, (b) people were dressed causally instead of in formal wear and (c) they had a live Celtic band. (The band was really good, for the record). I guess it’s hard to replicate a true kitchen party with 475 people.
2Props to Tod for the design work on that poster!
Tomorrow, I shall add one more province to my list of provinces I’ve visited, bringing the total to 8 out of 10 (and 9 out of 13 provinces + territories). For tonight, I leave for Fredericton, NB! Being that New Brunswick is on the other side of the country and is 4 time zones ahead of Pacific Time *and* I have a two hour layover in Toronto, I’m leaving here at ~10 p.m. tonight and arriving in F-town at 10 a.m. tomorrow!
I’m heading there for a conference being held at the University of New Brunswick. I’m actually going there on my former employer’s dime, as I’d applied to give – and had accepted – a presentation and a poster about the program I used to run long before my new job was even a glimmer in my eye. I have a kick ass poster (thanks to Tod who took my vague ideas and made them look super awesome and professional-like) and the workings of a decent presentation (that’s what the plane ride is for, right? Polishing1 one’s presentation, yes?)
Anyhoo, I guess I should get back to my packing2. What does one wear to a “Maritime Kitchen Party” anyway?
1And I may be using the word “polishing” liberally here. I may actually mean “create from scratch.”
2And by “packing” I may mean “trying to decide which pairs of shoes I should bring with me.”
So, despite the fact that I’ve lived here for almost nine years, I know surprisingly little about the geography of the Lower Mainland. This is in part due to my terrible sense of direction1 and in part due to the fact that I rarely left the City of Vancouver (save for occasional jaunts to North Van for hiking and skiing) until I got my new non-Vancouver job. I could count the number of times that I’d been to Surrey on one hand before I started working there! And now I’m not only working in Surrey, but my job involves driving to meetings all over the Lower Mainland! Since I started work three weeks ago, I’ve been to meetings in Surrey, New Westminster, and Abbotsford (twice) and have been to three different hospitals (Surrey Memorial, Peace Arch & Royal Columbian) that I’d never been to before for workshops and such. A few of my coworkers have suggested I invest in a GPS, but I’ve decided that I’m holding out until my cell phone contract with Telus ends (next March) so that I can get an iPhone with its built-in GPS and compass. Oh iPhone, how I long for you! In the interim, I’m now BFF with printing directions from Google Maps.
My observations about driving thus far:
1And by “terrible” I mean “complete lack of.” Kalev and Tod both tell me that most people can actually sense direction. Like, they can intuitively feel north-south-east-west. This concept is completely foreign to me. And, I’m willing to bet, to Dave, who shares my directional sensing deficiency and relies on his wife, the human GPS, to get where he needs to go.
2Shortly after I crossed the Port Mann, a semi jackknifed on it which tied up traffic for SIX HOURS! Needelss to say, I took a different route home!
3For the record, that’s killer tan lines from my watch. Not tan lines from my killer watch.
Image credit: Copyright Kalev. All rights reserved. He granted me license to use it for anything I want, in perpetuity, in all forms, real and imagined, forever and ever amen.
I have somehow managed to smash the screen on my digital camera. When I turn the camera on, it looks like this:
Sorry for the blurriness of this. I took it with my cell phone camera. Because, really, how else are you going to take a picture of your camera?
I have *no idea* how I managed to smash the screen. I’ve been carrying my camera around in my bag for *years* and it’s always been fine and then one day I take my camera out of my bag and it’s all smashed! It’s really annoying because the camera works totally fine otherwise, but the point of having a digital camera is that you get to see the photo you just took right away and you can’t really do that with a smashy smashed screen.
So I’m looking for recommendations for a new digicam, since apparently it will cost more to fix the screen than it will to buy a new camera! This one is a Canon PowerShot A540 and my two major complaints with it are that (a) it takes a long time to reset in between photos (I mean a looooong time) and (b) it sucked the life out of batteries – to the point that I would put in freshly recharged batteries (it takes two doube A batteries) and it would tell me it had “low batteries.” And even if I bought the super-mega-specially-made-for-cameras-that-suck-the-life-out-of-batteries batteries, they wouldn’t last very long. So, does anyone have any recommendations on what digital camera I should buy that won’t suck the life out of batteries and won’t take 27 hours between shots to reset?
In tangentially related news, while retrieving that photo of my camera, I discovered a few other photos that I’d taken on my cell, clearly with the intention to blog them, but then totally forgot. Until now.
First up is this photo of the first load of groceries I got in my Smart car:
Notice my responsible use of reusable bags and my feeding of my diet Pepsi addiction.
Second are photos of a book that caught my eye one day in Chapters. Apparently this is what is “new & hot” for 9-12 year olds:
Let’s take a closer look at that:
I’m sorry, what? Am I the only one who is thinking of this when they see that title? I think I just thew up a little.
Look at me – posting in my BC Premier series two weeks in a row! Go me!
This week’s installments gives us James Dunsmuir, the 13th person to be Premier of BC and (possibly) the guy that Dunsmuir Street is named after.
|Born:||July 8, 1851 in Fort Vancouver|
|Died:||June 6, 1920 in Cowichan Bay, BC|
|Held Office:||June 15, 1900 and Nov 21, 1902|
“With his eldest son devoting his life to globe-trotting in an alcoholic stupor, a second son a victim of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, and his daughters, who generally had married into British-based, upper class, military families, leading frivolous lives, there was to be no worthy third generation of Canadian Dunsmuirs. The lifestyle and Old World pretensions so carefully cultivated by the family disintegrated before his eyes. After his death at his fishing lodge in 1920, the children squandered the fortune in one generation.”4
Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. w00t!
19 girls, 3 boys
2after he discovered a bunch o’coal
I seem to have received a heck of a lot of nice presents lately!
First up, this Calathea plant, given to me by the trainees on my last day at my old job. They said it was for my new office! So sweet!
That same day my then-boss gave me these roses to thank me for all my work with the program:
And then, to welcome me to my new job, my new boss gave me this plant for my office:
I didn’t know what kind of a plant it was (and nor did my boss), but the interwebs came to the rescue when I posted the pic on Flickr and asked, “what the heck is this?” Turns out, it’s a Kalanchoe. Wish me luck keeping my plants alive, as I totally suck at plant keeping alivery.
And the final gift I’ve received lately, which I’ve also used in decorating of my new office is this:
This is a thank you present from the class of grade 3 and 4 students that I spent six Friday mornings teaching science to. I had soooo much fun teaching those guys – I told them that I would put this up in my office and every time I see it, I will think of them!
Seriously, I have no memory of taking two blue highlighters from the supply closest. Yet there are two blue highlighers on my desk!
1I was originally assigned an email address with my real first name, Mary, in it. But since I’ve never, ever, ever gone by Mary, no one would ever find me in the directory with that name and it would cause no end of problems, so I submitted an application to have my email account changed to say “Beth” instead.
So Zaphod finally got her new rear window today. When I brought her into the car hospital for a diagnosis last week, they confirmed that she did, indeed, need a new rear window. At first they thought that they’d have to have one shipped in from the factory (which is in France), but they were able to find one that was out east and had that shipped here instead. And so now that’s she’s had her original rear window replaced, she’s a part-car, part-machine cyborg.
I still love her though.
Zapod before her surgery.
Zaphod the post-surgery cyborg.
So remember a million billion years ago when I offered to interview people? Kalev took me up on the offer, even though he doesn’t have a blog on which to post said interview. So I told him that not only would I be the interviewer, but I’d even post it here on my blog as a guest post. ‘Cuz that’s just the type of swell gal I am. Anyway, it may be months and months later, but here it is!
So months and months ago, I asked my friend Beth if I could participate in her interview meme as documented here: http://www.nottobetrustedwithknives.com/2009/01/02/
On 2009/01/03 11:58 AM, Beth Snow wrote:
oh em gee, are you actually going to post this on your BLOG??
Beth is always teasing me that I don’t have a blog and I don’t blog–even though I was writing blog-type things on the Internet while she was still in grade school. 😛
1. So, you have an academic paper in press, which is totally insane for an undergrad. Tell us what the paper is about, without using the words “problematize,” “hegemony,” or “trajectory.”
Hey! Your hegemonic derailing of my jargonistic trajectory problematizes this whole interview thing! *LOL* What?! You say sociology is the most jargon-riddled social science (where social sciences are known for their jargon-filled goodness)? I don’t know what you’re talking about!
That’s extremely flattering of you to combine praising me with an opportunity for me to brag. It should be pointed out to anyone who might be reading that Beth is the person who set me on the crazy course that led to my being published. Or my “going to be” published, since apparently getting published is a process that takes MONTHS, years even. She sent me the call for submissions for the special multinational/cross-cultural issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: The Journal of the NSRC [National Sexuality Research Center], an online, peer-reviewed journal published by University of California Press where my “article” (it’s still funny for me to use “official” academic journal terminology like “article” give that this started out as a term paper for an undergraduate course and was then referred to as a “manuscript” during the submission and review phases) will appear. This started WAAAAAY back in August 2007. That’s right: nearly TWO YEARS ago. And the special issue (which is now going to be TWO special issues, quite possibly single-handedly because my article is so frickin’ long) will not be showing up until September of 2009, so that will basically mean it’ll have been OVER TWO YEARS from start to finish.
Wait, you still don’t know what my (paper) article is about? Well, it’s entitled “Saving the Children: (Queer) Youth Sexuality and the Age of Consent in Canada.” As jargon-free as possible, it’s a comparison of how the debates about age of sexual consent in both Canada and the UK proceeded in recent years based on how the concept of youth sexuality is framed. In the UK, the debate on lowering the age of consent for anal sex was framed as a matter of equality, whereas in Canada, the debate on raising the age of consent for all non-anal sexual activity was framed as a matter of protection. This led to decidedly different debates and different results with respect to how the age of consent was changed in the two nations.
Beyond that, I look at how considering sexuality as identity (the now-traditional way sexuality tends to be viewed in the public sphere) leads to a very different result than if sexuality is considered as performance (put overly simply, if sexuality is considered to be something that results from people stringing together a series of acts that collectively get recognised as a particular “sexuality”). The legal regulation of sexuality in Canada and the UK often has more to do with specific acts (anal sex, “public” sex) than with types of people (gays, lesbians, bisexuals) but to complicate things, “sexuality as performance” is not just as simple as “oh, he fucked some guy so that makes him gay.” And the laws that govern sexual activity in Canada are not really as much about prohibiting certain acts as they are about helping to define the boundaries of “normal” behaviour and people, and by doing so, that effectively helps create the sexual identities most contemporary people are aware of and recognise.
Beyond that, it’s effectively a treatise on how the Harper government sucks and youth get shafted (and not in the good way) by sexual regulation in Canada. *grin*
The final irony? UBC Library does not have a subscription to SRSP.
2. When you were little, what did you think you would be when you grew up?
You know, I can’t recall ever thinking “I want to be <blank>” or “I’m going to be a <blank> when I grow up” when I was little. I suppose initially I wanted to be a fantasy/scifi writer once I started reading that genre but that wasn’t until later in elementary (grade 5 or 6?). Maybe I thought I would be some kind of generic “scientist.”
In high school, I thought I would get two PhDs, one in chemistry and another in computer science. In retrospect, this was phenomenally ridiculous and over-ambitious. And even with that, I didn’t really give much thought to what having those credentials would lead me to “be.” Sure enough, after first year, I figured I’d just get the one PhD, in computer science (poor chemistry lost out because it wasn’t as financially lucrative a field and because UBC forces you to specialise). After 2nd year, I was content with the thought of a Master’s in computer science, and once I hit 3rd year, I just wanted to survive to get my damned baccalaureate!
I don’t when it happened but at some point I decided I wanted to “change the world.” Not that uncommon, but apparently I still feel the need, and I have no idea how to manage that.
3. What is the most illegal thing you have done?
Oh right… get me to incriminate myself in print!
So… I need to plead the 5th here. I will say that both episodes that sprang to mind involved other guys. *evil grin*
4. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I think more than anything, it’s watching stupid teen romance movies for the chance to drool over the invariably uber-hot cute guys.
5. What are five of your favourite books? Least favourites?
That’s TWO questions! Actually, it might well be TEN questions. To which I will, of course, give far more than 10 answers.
It’s also the kind of thing I could write another essay on, explaining all the personal meaning of the books. Let’s try for an abridged version:
Least Favourite (always save the best for last):
This is hard… I don’t read books that much anymore and I try to avoid reading books I dislike.
5. Any of the books I was forced to read during the summer while at St. George’s for the summer reading assignment we had to do once we returned in September, which includes several “classics.” Generally I hate “classics” because their being classics entails them being written before 1970 and the pacing of novels before the 1970s was GLACIAL. *shudder*
4. Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon, the 2nd Twilight book. It’s an excellent example of an unexpectedly popular relatively new author not having a strong/good editor who points out, “You know, maybe having the main, first-person character nearly suicidally depressed/catatonic for 3/4 of the book while the other main character is nowhere to be found is NOT a good idea.” I am certain that New Moon will be a stellar case of the film adaptation being FAAAAAR superior to the source novel, if only because no film audience will sit through 90 minutes of completely baseless teen girl angst, and so the “Bella is sad and blue” part of the novel will undoubtedly be cut to at most 20 minutes. Of course, now that I’ve said something less than complimentary about one of her novels, SM will have a nervous breakdown and vow never to write another word. See http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/midnightsun.html
3. Many (though not all) of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels. As if original overly-descriptive with nothing happening Tolkein wasn’t bad enough, Jordan’s WoT books, especially the early ones, are total Tolkien ripoffs.
2. The Great Gatsby–I had to read this in high school English and I remember despising it, although I couldn’t really tell you what it was about. I’m exceptionally good at blocking out things I hate.
1. I’m tempted to say “The Bible” because it forms the foundation of one of the most problematic aspects of our modern world. Or Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, which I simply could not get through when I had to get through it for an English class in university. But I’m going to go with Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Paul Monette for reasons I’ll discuss below in my list of favourite books.
Okay, there are going to be more than five of these–I tried but it’s simply too hard to reduce it to a mere five.
And if you want to have me interview you (for some strange reason), you can read the following:
Want to get in on the fun? You can be a part of it by following a few simple steps…
Send me an e-mail with the subject line “Interview Me”
I’ll respond within 24-ish hours with 5 questions directed to you (I promise to try and be unique)
Answer the questions on your blog (or Facebook or MySpace) and link back to this original post
Invite others to participate by re-posting these steps