For Christmas, my friend Clayton got me an iTunes gift card. He did so specifically because he knows I’m too cheap to buy any paid apps for my iPhone, but he knew I’d appreciate being able to get my hands on some sweet, sweet iPhone apps.
I redeemed my card to my account and then bought an app, but the app got charged to my credit card instead, which I thought was pretty annoying. So I took my credit card information out of iTunes, so that the only payment info they would have would be the gift card. And then I tried to buy another app, but iTunes asked for credit card info and there was no way to say, “Just use the damn gift card!” It was super frustrating, because I could see in the upper right of my iTunes that I have $50 worth of credit! So I tweeted my frustration, figuring that the geeks would know how I could fix this problem. And I got responses right away, but unfortunately it was not good news. Apparently in Canada you can’t use iTunes gift certs to buy apps due to some sort of “tax laws and commerce restrictions for software in Canada.”
Tomorrow is Hockey Day in Canada, the day that features a triple header of games featuring all Canadian teams on CBC. This year’s matchups:
Montreal vs. Ottawa
Vancouver vs. Toronto
Edmonton vs. Calgary
Given the Canucks vs. Maple Leafs match-up, my dad and I have our customary bet – when the Leafs lose, my dad has to buy me a lottery ticket. In theory, if the Canucks lost – which, of course, would never happen – I’d have to buy him a lottery ticket.
OK, before I tell you what I’m all excited about here, have a look at this picture of a license plate and tell me if you get why I saw it and thought, “I MUST PHOTOGRAPH THIS!!”1:
When I saw this license plate as I was driving up Knight St. today, I got super excited. I may have even yelled, “CHIRAL!!” And then I immediately thought, ‘that’s a pretty obscure thing to have on one’s license plate. I wonder how many people see that and know what it’s about.’
So here’s my informal, completely unscientific poll: If you saw that license plate while you were driving down the street, would you know what it was about?
You can’t see it in the photo, but this vehicle also had a UBC sticker in its window, so I’m guessing that it belongs to a chemistry prof.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go here.
for the record, we were safely stopped at a red light when I took the pic [↩]
When I was growing up, there was a drawer in the kitchen that was known as “The Junk Drawer.” It’s where the random drawer-dwelling type things which didn’t belong in any of the other categorized drawers (e.g., the cutlery drawer) lived. “Did you look in the junk drawer??” was often the response to the question, “Mooooom, where is the such-and-such?” When I was really little, I thought it was called “The Drunk Drawer.” Which is especially odd given that neither of my parents drink.
For most of adult life, however, I have been junk drawer-less. This may or may not be because I’ve had somewhat of a junk apartment (being tidy is not one of my strengths). But recently Tod was getting rid of one of the those racks of plastic drawers (see picture on the left) and I said I could use it to house my ever-growing shoe collection1. (I may never have mentioned this on my blog before, but I have a lot of shoes). But I have recently started using the top *two* drawers as “Junk Drawers.” Clearly I’m making up for all the lost time of being junk drawer-less.
So what does one keep in the Junk Drawer. Here are some pictures of what are in mine:
At my hockey game today, my goalie was showing off her shiny new blue tooth headset. Which she bought because she got a warning for driving while talking on her cell phone, something that was made illegal in BC as of Jan 1, 2010. You are allowed to talk on your cell while driving so long as it’s hands-free (either headset or speaker phone), takes only one touch to answer and is secured to your car. And no texting or emailing is allowed.
So, folks, take it from my goalie: don’t drive and talk!
Yesterday I got an email from the Canadian Public Health Association1, which is celebrating its centenary in 2010, telling me about the website they’ve launched to celebrate the successes of the field of public health over the last 100 years. Would you believe “that the average lifespan of Canadians has increased by more than 30 years since the early 1900s and 25 of those years are attributable to advances in public health?” Thirty years! That’s almost my entire lifespan so far in *extra* years of life!
As part of their celebration, they have listed twelve great achievements of public health in last 100 years – one to highlight each month:
Safer and healthier foods
Control of infectious diseases
Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard
Decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke
Healthier mothers and babies
Acting on the social determinants of health
And they even have snazzy badges to put on your blog (as seen above). And far be it from me to be able to resist a snazzy blog badge!
This month’s theme – Safer and Healthier Foods – is one that is near and dear to my heart, what with being a nutritional scientist and all. And the fact that it’s the theme of my birth month is just the icing on the cake2!
Some random interesting facts about food and nutrition:
the idea that vitamin deficiencies could cause disease was first published in 1912
Canada’s first food guide – The Official Food Rules – were first published in 1942 with the aim of preventing nutrient deficiencies during wartime rationing
goiter was eliminated in Canada by the mandatory fortification of salt with iodine (1949)
sometimes symptoms of food poisoning don’t appear for a month after you eat contaminated food!
the Canadian Community Health Survey (Cycle 2.2) in 2004 was the first time in 35 years (!) that we had national nutrition data
Canada was the first country to mandate labeling of trans fats
more than 10% of Canadians (that’s about 3 million people) experience food insecurity
Check out the cpha100 website to read about all the cool things that public health has done to make our food safer and healthier, from fighting foodborne illnesses to the creation and updating of Canada’s Food Guide to work on food insecurity.
being that I now work in Public Health, I joined the CPHA [↩]
the whole avoiding processed foods will help with that [↩]
I know that there is always lots of debate around the Food Guide, but the basics – eat real, whole foods; eat more plant-based foods; use reasonable portion sizes; get variety in your diet – and the fact that studies show that if you follow the Food Guide, you meet the nutrient recommendations, are pretty solid [↩]