Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Sleep Disorders Are So Misunderstood

Kalev and I are about to see the new documentary on sleep disorders. It’s called A Nightmare On Elm Street and, as far as I can tell from the trailer, it’s about the correlation between being young and hot and experiencing disordered sleep.

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Public Health Achievement #4: Vaccination

April great public health achievement badgeIn BC, we are experiencing an outbreak of measles, with 83 confirmed cases in the province as of May 10.  It is believed that measles came into the province from people who were visiting during the Olympics1 and has spread to unvaccinated (or partially vaccinated2) individuals in the province.  Which brings us to the topic of vaccination.

One hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide. In Canada, they now cause less than 5% of all deaths—thanks to immunization programs. (Source)

The MMR Controversy

There are, however, some anti-vaccination campaigns out there, most notably one against MMR vaccine in particular. In 1998 a study was published in the Lancet by Andrew Wakefield and 12 co-authors linking MMR to autism.  After that, rates of MMR immunizations in the UK decreased dramatically and, as a result, cases of measles and mumps increased.  Since we don’t see these diseases much in developed countries – thanks to vaccination – we tend to forgot how dangerous they can be.  Measles can and does cause serious disability, and even death, in some children.  The Wakefield paper has since been retracted by 10 of his co-authors and was then fully retracted by the journal after a General Medical Council investigation found Wakefield “to have acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” and to have acted with “callous disregard” for the children involved in his study.  For example, he failed to get ethics approval for the invasive procedures he used in his study and, what I find most interesting, he had filed patents for vaccines that rival the MMR one.  So, by discrediting the MMR vaccine he stood to gain a substantial amount of money by selling an alternative vaccine in its place3.  Despite all of this, however, there still remains a significant amount of fear that MMR can cause autism, and some parents will not vaccinate their children.

Some random interesting facts about vaccination:

  • immunization saves 3 million lives and prevents 750,000 disabilities per year worldwide each year (according to the WHO4)
  • still, 9 million kids age of 5 and younger die every year of diseases that could be preventable by vaccines. 9 million!!
  • Canada achieved one of the highest rates of H1N1 immunization (45% of the population was vaccinated, compared to 25% in Australia, 20% in the US and 7% in the UK).

Stuff you can do:

  • If you were born after 1956 and haven’t received two doses of the MMR vaccine – go get vaccinated!
  • Get informed about what vaccines are available and what ones need booster shots (e.g., you need a tetanus booster every 10 years)
  • Keep your immunization record up-to-date.
  • Traveling to another country? Visit your local travel clinic to find out what diseases are endemic to the area you’ll be visiting and if there are any vaccines you can get for those diseases.

For the record, I totally wrote something up for this back in April, but then WordPress eated it and I was too disheartened to write it all over again that day and then I forgot about it and now I’m posting it two weeks after April ended. (Though I’m backdating it so it will appear in my archives for April.  Because I’m awesome like that). Given that I have a problem with blogging about things things on time (see: BC Premiers series, abandonment thereof), I probably should stop creating “series” on my blog. I won’t, but I probably should.

  1. although another case appears to have come from someone returning home to the Interior after visiting India []
  2. to receive full protection from the measles, mumps & rubella (MMR) vaccine, you need two doses.  Receiving only one dose leaves you only partially protected []
  3. you can read the whole story over on Wikipedia []
  4. that is to say, the World Health Organization.   Not The Who. I have no idea what their stats on immunizations say []

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Random Thoughts

Since I don’t seem capable of writing an entire cohrent blog posting of late, here are a bunch of random things that have been floating around in my brain lately:

  • When I moved, I had my Internet service changed from my old apartment to my new apartment.  The service was changed, but not the billing address – they kept sending the bill to the old place1.  Doesn’t it seem stupid for them to not just automatically change your billing address when they clearly know that you have moved??
  • When we were little, my dad used to make grilled cheese sandwiches using a waffle iron for my sister and me.  I miss those waffle-shaped sandwiches!
  • I don’t think I’ve yet mentioned this on here, but I recently joined a money group.  We talk about money stuff.  But that’s the most I can tell you, because the first rule of Money Group is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT MONEY GROUP!
  • Awesome (imho) advice that just popped out of my brain recently: “Just be yourself.  Trying to be someone else is too exhausting and no good will come of it.”
  • This weekend I’m going to a wedding on a boat.  Then next week I’m going to another social event on a boat. Motherfucker, on a boat.
  • The second boat event is in Victoria, where I’m going for a conference next week.  So expect to read many a blog posting next week about Victoria and about evaluation (the topic of the conference).  And boats.
  1. thankfully, I’d paid Canada Post to forward my mail and got the forwarding straightened out relatively quickly when they screwed it up and were sending me someone else’s mail []

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There’s Not An App For That

Where is the iPhone app that reads my thoughts and records blog posting ideas that I have while I’m running, driving, or otherwise unable to record them?  I always have lots of *brilliant* ideas in these situations, but by the time I get to a place where I could record them, they’re gone.

Case in point: I had at least four brilliant ideas during my run after work today and the only one I could remember by the time I sat down to write this was that I wish there were a mind-reading iPhone app for this1!

  1. your definition of “brilliant idea” and mine may vary []

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Captain Productivity

Things I have done this evening:

  • went grocery shopping
  • made dinner
  • made tomorrow’s lunch
  • made tomorrow’s dinner
  • unloaded the clean dishes from the dishwasher1
  • loaded the dirty dishes into the dishwasher2
  • tidied the kitchen
  • took out the garbage
  • sanitized the garbage can lid, which for some unknown reason had some delightful mould growing on it3
  • emailed my sister about this very important product that she totally needs to buy
  • prepared the recycling to be taken out in the morning4)
  • hung my diplomas5

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  • downloaded and installed my scanner’s software/drivers6, though for some reason my computer can’t seen to find the scanner7
  • paid some bills
  • tidied the bathroom

And now I wrote this blog posting.  Far more productive than my usual evening… which consists of goofing off on the interwebs and then going “Holy crap!  How is it 11 p.m.??”

  1. Have I mentioned that I *love* having a dishwasher? []
  2. Love it long time []
  3. it’s a relatively new garbage can AND I took the garbage out last week, so I have no idea what I threw into the garbage that caused that. Come to think of it, I don’t want to know []
  4. Unlike the garbage, I can’t take the recycling out the night before garbage day because my landlord keeps the recycling bins in the garage and only brings them out in the morning on garbage day (whereas the garbage can, which has a lid and thus is impervious to the rain, can be left outside []
  5. I wanted to hang some pictures to, but I’m being indecisive about where to hang them. I don’t have enough art to fill up all the places that really need to have art and I feel like if I put up one picture in a given place, I might get other artwork and decide I need to put two small pictures in that place and then the hook will be in the wrong place!  Heaven forfend!!  Hmph. Spell check tells me “forfend” isn’t a word.  Also: “hmph” is not a word.  Screw you, spell check! []
  6. as I haven’t used my scanner since I got rid of my PC and have been solely using my Mac []
  7. It’s right there Chloe!  It’s plugged into you, for crying out loud! []

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See, I TOLD You!

Ice cream.

Looks like I need to go buy another box of those ice cream cones for Round 2.

Also, when I was out for my run today, I was running on Kits Beach and saw the monument to George Alexander Burrows that, every time I run buy it, makes me think “He spells his middle name wrong.”  And then Alexandre Burrows broke his 11 game goalless drought tonight.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

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Ice Cream Supserstition

So there’s this other blogger out there1 and I’m pretty sure we are twins who were separated at birth.  She’s a scientist and an uber-Canucks fan and blogs about dirty hockey terms2,  and is, as it turns out, superstitious.  Specifically, superstitious about the Canucks. Like me. Anyway, I made a comment on her blog about my Canucks superstitiousness… specifically, about the case of the cursed chocolate bar.  And my comment was so full of awesome, I even made it into her “Bragging Rights Central” – the place of honour where the most awesome of awesome comments on her blog go every week:

Screen shot 2010-04-24 at 6.29.36 PM

Which brings me to my new superstition.  As anyone who is anyone knows, the Canucks are currently playing the LA Kings in the first round of the playoffs.  Well, it just so happened that when I went out grocery shopping on the day of game 1, these were on sale:

Drumstick

And who am I to resist an ice cream sale, right?  During the game, I enjoyed one of said delicious sale-priced ice cream cones.  And the Canucks won game 1.  But then for game 2, I wasn’t at home and I didn’t have an ice cream cone and guess what happened?  That’s right, a Canuck loss.  I think you can see where this is going, right? Game 3 – again not at home, again no ice cream cone and again a Canuck loss.  At that point I realized – much like the cursed chocolate bar, it was the eating of the ice cream cones that were required to ensure Canuck wins.  And when I thought about it, it was so obvious. There are four cones in the box and you need to win four games to take the series.  How could I not have seen it before?  So game 4 I watched at home and ate an ice cream cone in the third period – and we got a Canucks win!  For game 5, I knew I’d be at Tod’s, so I brought the remaining ice cream cones there and ate one at the start of the game and we all know what happened – a 7-2 blowout for the boys in blue!  I think this is pretty compelling evidence that my gastronomic selections are directly responsible for the on-ice performance of the Vancouver Canucks.  It’s a good thing I’m doing a fair bit of running though – with 13 more wins to go, I don’t know if my waistline can handle that many ice cream cones!

  1. come to think of it, I don’t even remember how/when I started following her blog []
  2. see here and here for comparison []

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Don’t Look Here. Look Over There!

I’m taking a page out of The Bloggess‘ book for this posting.  Sure, I’m not writing anything on this blog today, but if you just can’t get enough of Dr. Beth, then check out stuff I wrote elsewhere recently:

Also, I’ve been working hard on the planning committee for the Canadian Evaluation Society conference, which is fast approaching.  You should totally go to the conference and you should totally volunteer to help out at the conference.  There is a boat cruise, people!  You know you want to hang out with me on a boat cruise.  And learn about program evaluation.  On a boat.

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The Hot Stays Hot

My sister was talking about the McDLT1 on her Facebook wall and I immediately pictured the commercial, with people dressed in very brightly coloured 80s clothes and with big 80s hair dancing around singing “The hot stays hot! The cool stays cool!”  Then she posted a YouTube video of the commercial. And it’s Jason freaking Alexander who stars in the commercial!

It was just too hilarious not to share!

  1. a burger that McDonald’s made back in the 80s, in case you have no idea what I’m talking about []

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My Fabulous New ‘Do

I got a phone call from my hair salon about a week ago. It turns out that the new stylist (Halina), who had been hired to replace my former stylist (Amie), who had left hairstyling to become a medical technician, has broken her ankle really badly and had to return to Ontario to get rehab for said broken ankle1.  But not to worry, they’d found a new stylist (Emily) who was much like Amie and Halina – young and fun and awesome and great with colour – and so they were very sorry that I’d been bounced around from stylist to stylist but they really hoped I’d be happy with Emily.  So first off – points to the salon (Image West) for their great customer service. I was totally impressed that they took the time to call me and explain what was going on and to go out of their way to find a stylist with the same spirit as the one who I originally started seeing there2.  And it made me feel even more guilty for having gone to a totally different salon in a fit of spontaneity and patriotism to get my Canada flag red hair for the Olympics3.

One of the reasons that I started dying my hair in the first place is because of my atrocious grey hairs.  I mean, I wasn’t even 30 and I had grey hairs!  WTF, Mother Nature? 4  Up until the Olympics, I’d always dyed my hair lighter, because in my head I seem to think I’m blonde, despite my natural colour being dark brown.  The nice thing about lightening my hair is that, even when the roots start to show, the greys blend in with the blonde and aren’t so obvious.  Sure the roots look pretty obvious, but I’d rather have it be obvious that I dye my hair than have it be obvious that I’m greying5,6 But when my roots started showing with the red ‘do, the greys were glaringly obvious next to all the dark red plus dark roots.  So it was off to see Emily to return to my pre-Olympics colour.

Now, when I dyed my hair red, I said, “It’s no big deal.  It’s just hair. I can always dye it back whenever I feel like it.” Apparently, this was not as easy as I thought.  I told Emily  that I just wanted to go back to the colour I had before. She looked at my red hair. She asked if I had a photo of my old colour on my phone. There was looking at photos in magazines to find what colour I wanted.  There was consultation with the salon owner about the best tactic to take. I believe there may have been some alchemy and/or calculus and most definitely some quantum physics involved. I started to get worried.  Then she broke the news to me: “We probably can’t get you to where you want to be in one session.  We’ll need to highlight the crap out of your hair to get the red out and we’ll colour the rest with a bit of brown.  Then the next time you come in we can try to get the rest of the way.”  Part of the uncertainty was caused by the fact that I’d had the red done at another salon7, so they didn’t know what product had been used and apparently different product lines act differently together8.   Also, since it’s “corrective colour”9, it’s going to take longer and cost more than usual.  She was very apologetic and kept saying “It won’t take this long or cost this much the next time!  I promise!” but I knew that this was my own doing.

So, we spent the next TWO HOURS applying bleach and colour to my hair, using more foils than any hairdo in the history of hairdos.

The most foils ever

My foils were also stacked perfectly. I think my stylist may be a bit OCD.

Also, two hours gave her enough time to convince me that she should have creative license to give me a new style10.  I said that as long as my hair wasn’t shorter than shoulder length, I was willing to trust her.

After the colouring was all done, all the stylists agreed that Emily is a miracle worker, because there wasn’t even a trace of red left in my hair.  Here are the befores and after:

This is what it looked like when it was first dyed red.

IMGP0681

This is what it looked like after a few weeks (since bright red fades quickly) and it is what I looked like when I went into the salon yesterday.

DSC_7286

And this is what I looked like after Emily did her magic.

And so I’m a blonde again!

Also, I promised Emily that I’d pimp her on my blog.  I didn’t receive anything in exchange for said pimpage11, but she did such a good job and so I’m very happy to recommend her.  Emily at Image West on Broadway near MacDonald.  If you are looking for a stylist – giver her a call!

  1. something about her insurance only covering Ontario rehab. I didn’t understand it, but this is what I was told []
  2. especially since, at the time, the atrocious customer service of the furniture place where I’d got my bedroom set (which I haven’t yet blogged about, but will) was still fresh []
  3. Doesn’t going to a different salon totally make you feel like you are cheating on your stylist? []
  4. When I was complaining about being too young to have grey hairs, Emily told me that most people go grey a lot younger than we think – she said when she was in hair styling school at 19, all the other 19 and 20 years old confessed that they had grey hair already! Everyone just dyes their hair to cover it up! []
  5. Yes, I do realize that all this is very shallow. This posting is tagged with “rampant narcissism” for a reason []
  6. And yes, I realize that I’m telling the whole world here that I’m greying. But I’m sure my six readers can keep this secret, right guys? []
  7. that’ll teach me to cheat on my stylist! []
  8. e.g., if you are trying to “lift” the colour from product line B using product line A, it will turn out differently than if you “lift” the colour from product line B using product line B []
  9. i.e., fixing the mess I’ve made []
  10. she also threatened that she was going to make me sign a contract to never, ever dye my hair Canada flag red again, because it’s just too much of a pain to deal with later. I told her I wouldn’t dye it red again unless Vancouver hosts another Olympics []
  11. Seriously, this wasn’t a cheap hair makeover and I paid for the whole thing! Which, given my notorious cheapness, says a lot! []