Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Survey Software

A little while ago I mentioned on The Twitter that I’ve been looking for a Survey Monkey-like service that keeps its data on Canadian servers.  So far I’ve found two – one company that responded to my tweet (Fluid Surveys) and another (Jitsulab) that had a booth at the conference I went to last month.  Jitsulab gave me a free trial, but June’s been a busy month so I only got to play with it a little bit before the trial expired.  Fluid Surveys have a free account, which limits access to some of the more advanced features (like skip patterns), but which at least lets you play around with it for a while to see if it is what you want.

Anyway, I’ve put together a little (completely unscientific) survey as I wanted to test it out, and to really test it out, I kinda need to see what it looks like when I get some responses.  Care to take a few minutes to fill it out?

http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/beth-3/blog-survey/

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BC Premier #23 – Boss Johnson

So, here I am blogging about yet another boring Premier of the Province of British Columbia.  But never fear, the next guy on the list is W.A.C. Bennett!  Ole’ Wacky himself!  So just get through this one and next week I’ll have something less yawn-inducing for you to read about.

File:Byron Johnson.jpg Name Byron Ingemar Johnson
Born: December 10, 1890 in Victoria, BC
Died: January 12, 1964 in Victoria, BC
Party: coaltion of the Conservatives and the Liberals
Held Office: December 29, 1947 – August 1, 1952
  • born Björn Ingemar “Bjossi” Jönsson
  • known as “Boss,” which apparently was just coincidentally to him being the boss of the province – it was an anglicization of “Bjossi,” which is a diminutive of Björn
  • served in WWI
  • was a Mason
  • 1933: elected as a Liberal MLA in Victoria City
  • 1937: lost his seat, returned to the building supply business he shared with his brother (or, he quit in 1934, returned to politics in 1937 but wasn’t elected (not sure how you “return” to politics if you aren’t elected), depending on which source you believe)
  • WWII: put in charge of building Royal Canadian Air Force facilities in BC
  • 1945: elected as an MLA in New Westminster, served as a cabinet minister in the Liberal-Conservative coalition government under Hart
  • 1947: when Hart resigned, Johnson took over as leader and thus became the premier
  • as premier he did a bunch of stuff (e.g., introduced compulsory health care and a 3% sales tax to pay for it, appointing the first female speaker in the British Commonwealth, Nancy Hodges)
  • 1949: stayed premier as the Liberal-Conservative coalition won the largest popular vote in BC history
  • 1951: the Conservatives pull out of the coalition, collapsing Johnson’s government
  • 1952: defeated by the Social Credit Party (the predecessor to the current day BC So-Called Liberal Party) (and lost his own seat to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the predecessor party to the New Democratic Party (NDP)). This marked the end of the Liberal-Conservative coalition and the beginning of the two-party system we have to this day

In summary, we can thank Boss Johnson for our provincial health care, but blame him for two-party system.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. w00t!

References:

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Fun With Advertising

My sister sent me this ad a little while ago:

HFCS1

She sent it because it made her think of me, as one of my pet peeves is people getting nutrition advice from people who have no idea what they are talking about – like from people working in a supplement store1. And this was my (highly artistic) response:

HFCS2

Because, rather unsurprisingly, the “Sweet Surprise” website is run by the Corn Refiner’s Association, a trade association representing the corn refining industry.  According to this website, they’ll all in a lather over people thinking that high fructose corn syrup has more calories or a different sweetness level or different simple sugar building blocks than table sugar.  Because, you know, this is a very important misunderstanding that must be corrected for people to live a healthy life! </sarcasm>

Of course, it totally ignores the fact that even if high fructose corn syrup has the same number of calories as table sugar and both are made up of glucose & fructose building blocks… well, no one considers table sugar to be healthy anyway!  I don’t know of any health professionals saying “be sure to include lots of added table sugar to your meals!”

I should point out that, despite my little joke above, when I looked at the site they do, in fact, have a video clip of a registered dietitian/PhD.  Her message is that high fructose corn syrup doesn’t contribute to obesity more than any other caloric sweetener. There are also clips of other people with MDs and PhDs saying basically the same thing.  But, really, is saying “Our product isn’t worse than other products that aren’t particularly good for you” that compelling of a pitch?

  1. Just today I was having brunch with a friend and she was telling me about a boot camp she was going to where they gave out a “healthy” meal plan that was full of processed foods! []

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Something I Hate, Something I Love

Hate

  • when people don’t have out of office auto-replies set up when they are away for an extended period of time

Love

  • Keyboard Cat:

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Stuff To Bake

As I mentioned a little while ago, I’m on a quest to bake new things.  There was one suggestion of a good place to get some bread recipes, which is cool because I’ve not done much in the way of baking breads.  Since I need to come up with at least 12 different things to bake over the next year, I figured I’d do a little brain storm of things I’ve never – or rarely – baked before, but would like to try.

  • bread
  • cinnamon buns
  • Baked Alaska1
  • lemon cake
  • angel food cake
  • vegetarian marshmallows2

Any other suggestions?

  1. come on, how fun would that be, eh? []
  2. which will kill two 101-list birds with one delicious stone []

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You know what is not fun? Running in a hailstorm. Seriously.

The wonderful thing about being a blogger is that no matter what crazy, #$%ed up shit happens to you, you can always think, “At least this will make a great blog posting!”  Which was, in fact, exactly what Alicia said yesterday when we were out for our 20 km run – the last of our long training runs before our upcoming half marathon – when we got caught in a hailstorm.  A hailstorm in mid June. WTF?

Now, I should add that when we started our run in south Vancouver, it was quite hot and sunny, and so we were dressed in our sunny weather running clothes and were all hot and sweaty for the first half of the run.  Then when we hit Kits beach, it started to cloud over. And then came the thunder and lightening.  And then it started to rain.  Now, we’ve had quite a few runs this season where it has started to rain the moment we got home and so when we felt the first few raindrops and we were several km from home we were all “I guess our luck has finally run out.  Oh well, at least it’s refreshing.  Wait a sec, is that HAIL?”  And then we were immediately drenched, as the rain started coming down *really* hard along with the hailstones that were pelting us.  I could feel the puddles in my running shoes and I could barely see because the rain that was pouring over me and bringing all that salty sweat into my eyes (I know, sexy, right?)  So there we are, several km from Alicia’s place with no options but to keep running, our clothes *completely* soaked through, our eyes burning with salt, our skin freezing from the cold, cold rain and being pelted with chunks of ice falling from the sky.  And we are all, “ISN’T IT SUPPOSED TO BE MID-JUNE???”

We took a photo when we got back to Alicia’s place, but it doesn’t really do justice to how completely drenched we were:

IMG_0608

The smiles in this photo are because we are finally done the run!

Our half marathon is in 12 days.  Keep your fingers crossed for us that race day is devoid of hail!

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Heads up to Shopper’s Optimum points holders!

Over on Kalev’s K-log, he posted an analysis of the devaluation of Shopper’s Drug Mart Optimum points. For my non-Canadian readers, Shopper’s Drug Mart is a pharmacy and “Optimum” is their loyalty program – you get points every time you buy stuff at Shopper’s and once you get a certain amount of points, you can redeem them for a cash value to be spent at Shopper’s.  I’m a fan of this program because it’s for stuff I would buy anyway and you get to spend your points on anything you want in the store which, again, is stuff I’d buy anyway1. Also, about once a month or so they have a weekend where you get 20X the Optimum points on whatever you buy as long as you spent at least $50.  I’ve taken to only buying stuff at Shopper’s when they have their 20X the points special on2 – the points add up ridiculously fast that way!  I make a point of never buying anything that I wasn’t going to buy anyway, but just buying those things that I use everyday, like moisturizer or deodorant or toilet paper, it’s pretty easy to spend $50.

Anyway, I hadn’t noticed it in their email newsletter – so I’m very happy Kalev brought this to my attention! – but effective July 1, Optimum Points will be worth less.  I currently have a bit more than 75,000 points, which means as long as I redeem them before July 1, I’ll get $150 of free stuff!  Hello, shopping spree!

Just thought I’d let y’all know that, in case you have some Optimum points to cash in!

  1. compared to, say, Save-On More points – I collect those at Save-On-Foods grocery store, but I still have no idea what they are used for, although I think maybe you can cash in relatively large amounts of points for relatively small discounts on products in the store []
  2. a trick I picked up from Sarah, the queen of savings! []

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The Reverse Peanut Butter Cake

My dad’s favourite sandwich is one of his own invention: the reverse peanut butter sandwich.  A reverse peanut butter sandwich consists of:

  • one slice of white bread
  • about 1/2 inch of Kraft (i.e., full of salt and sugar and shortening) peanut butter
  • about 1/2 inch of Imperial (i.e., hydrogenated!) margarine, on top of the peanut butter
  • cardiologist not included

A sandwich to make a daughter with a PhD in nutrition proud.

So when my sister had a birthday party for my dad, she she invented the “reverse peanut butter cake”:reverse peanut butter cake


The reverse peanut butter cake, which consists of:

  • vanilla cake (to represent the white bread)
  • peanut butter frosting
  • decorated with buttercream frosting

And apparently it was very delicious!

Note: Several arteries were harmed in the making of this blog posting

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Telus DOUBLE FAIL

So, remember last week when I told you about how Telus had generously” offered me a service that I already pay for in honour of my birthday on a day that isn’t my birthday? Well, every time I post something on my blog, a tweet is automatically generated with a link to that posting.  And within 10 minutes of my tweet, I had received this reply from Telus support:

Screen shot 2010-06-10 at 9.36.55 PM

Wow, I thought, seems like Telus is actually listening to customer complaints and trying to do something about it – even though, in truth, it wasn’t like it really needed “fixing,” since they weren’t actually *doing* anything.  But nice to know they are paying attention, right?  So I followed the @TelusSupport account and sent them a DM.  And then – THEY NEVER FREAKING CALLED ME!  Seriously.  Why on earth would you ask someone to give you their phone number so they can call you to fix the problem they are complaining about, but never call??  That makes them look even worse that if they’d ignored my complaint!  Guess I’ll just chalk it up to yet another case of lousy service from Telus!

So, yeah, thanks for nothing, Anthony from Telus Support!

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Is it just me, or does this sound dirty?

Screen shot 2010-03-31 at 10.22.01 PM