Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Vegetarian Lady Gaga

So this year for Hallowe’en I went as Vegetarian Lady Gaga – I wasn’t about to make a dress out of meat, so I made one of kale and Swiss chard… and a bit of lettuce when I ran out of kale.

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Two things I learned:

  • kale is a lot heavier than it looks – so I spent much of the evening pulling up my dress which was threatening to fall off all night.
  • kale has a weird smell. Not a strong smell – when I mentioned it to Cath, so had to lean into smell my dress because it’s a faint smell – but it is weird.

Props to the hosts of the party I went to last night, Cath & Mark:

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Guys, I apologize for the remnants of kale you probably found around your place this morning!

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One Of Those Days

So last night I thought it was a good idea to stay late at work to finish something up. “Class doesn’t start ’til 7 p.m., so I can stay at the office ’til 5 p.m. before I head out to UBC and still have plenty of time to grab some dinner on the way,” I thought. What I didn’t count on was that a semi-truck would fall over on the Nordel on-ramp to the Alex Fraser Bridge, meaning that traffic could only get by in the far left lane. Meaning that the 10 km trip from my office to the bridge, which usually takes about 10 mins, took an hour. Meaning that I didn’t get to class until right before it started. Meaning that I didn’t get any dinner! And just to add insult to injury, the vending machine in the building in which I teach was broken, so I couldn’t even get junk food for dinner! I also somehow managed to have two pens die on me during class, while I was furiously writing notes so that I could assign grades and give feedback to the students who were presenting1.

Thankfully, my students talked about pooh in their seminar (true story). Also, while trying to make the projector and sound system work, someone uttered the words, “Is it in the right hole?” and someone else replied, “That’s what he said!” And all was right with the world.

  1. mercifully, a student was able to lend me a spare pen! []

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Countdown to NaBloPoMo 2010!

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Well, would you look at that. It’s only three days ’til it’s NaBloPoMo again!  I’ve been kinda slacking in the post-every-day department, so I decided that I’m going to do NaBloPoMo again! Now taking suggestions for things you want me to blog about!

Also, for the record, this will bring to three the number of things I’m doing (virtually) every day:

Things I am not doing on a daily basis:

  • sleeping

Also, did I mention I’m hoping for suggestions of what to blog about during NaBloPoMo??

Image Credit: NaBloPoMo logo is from the NaBloPoMo site.

  1. until my 30-day pass runs out on Nov 14, and not including days where I have two hockey games, because even I know that two hockey games AND hot yoga is just too much []

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Spooky Hallowe’en Eyeballs!

Every year, my office does a Hallowe’en potluck. Eager to redeem myself after last year’s deformed ghosts, I decided to make these Spooky Halloween Eyeballs1. So eager, in fact, that I didn’t really connect that the Oct 27th on which the office potluck is being held is the same Oct 27th on which I’ll be at a management conference – and thus not in the office – all day. Since I’d already bought the white chocolate, I decided to make the eyeballs anyway, and brought them in to work today instead of tomorrow.

The recipe takes a bit of time, but it’s relatively easy. You make balls of peanut butter and icing sugar (requires a bunch of chilling to make sure they are solid), then dip them in white chocolate:

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While the white chocolate is setting, you mix a little bit of blue food colouring  ((of course, you could make green eyes or brown eyes if you wanted to)) into the remaining white chocolate, so that you can paint on the irises – while an upside down chocolate chip is used to make the pupil:

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And finally, to make them “spooky” eyeballs instead of just plain old eyeballs, you draw on some blood vessels using a toothpick and red food colouring to make the eyeballs bloodshot:

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This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  1. Props to Nancy for bringing this recipe to my attention. Warning to Dr. Dan: There is a spider in the picture of the eyeballs on that site. I’d tell you not to click the link, but then I know you’d click the link. So just consider yourself warned []

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Research Participants Wanted

At the request of Sir Kalev, my Overseer of Deb0rking and Tsar of the Nerdery, I am posting this request for research participants for research being conducted by a friend of his. If you are responsible for hiring at an IT company in Toronto, consider taking part! Ha – who am I kidding? Like anyone that important reads my blog!  If you happen to know someone who might fit the bill, feel free to pass this info along.

Here are the deets:

Dear Sir or Madam

My name is Jennifer Elrick, and I am a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. I am conducting a study on hiring practices in small and medium‐size information and communication technology (ICT) companies.  The project is part of my dissertation work on how workplace cultures and individual backgrounds influence a company’s choice of recruitment channels and selection criteria.

I am contacting you to ask if you would be willing to participate in a one hour interview.  The purpose of the interview is to help me understand how you go about hiring people for skilled positions in your company, what you look for in candidates, and how important the fit between the person you’re considering for a position and the culture of your workplace is. The interview will focus on such topics as the company’s founding history, the educational experiences of persons involved in hiring procedures, the hiring procedure itself, the types of people you have hired over the recent past, the company’s work culture, and social activities within the company. In order to facilitate a comparative analysis across ICT firms, I will also ask for information about the size and composition of your company’s workforce. Personal information will be kept in confidence; although data from the interview may appear in academic publications, none of it will identify the people interviewed personally in any way.

By sharing your knowledge and experiences, you will be contributing to a better understanding of how social and cultural aspects of doing business affect hiring in a sector that is an important source of employment in Toronto and across Canada.

I would be happy to arrange an interview at a location and time that fits your schedule, including taking you out for lunch of coffee, if that is more convenient than meeting at your place of work.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this request. If you have any questions about this project, please contact me or my supervisor, Prof. Jeffrey Reitz, using the contact information below.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Elrick

Jennifer Elrick
Department of Sociology
University of Toronto
725 Spadina Ave.
Toronto, ON, M5S 2J4
E‐Mail: jennifer.elrick@utoronto.ca

Prof. Jeff Reitz
Department of Sociology
University of Toronto
725 Spadina Ave.
Toronto, ON, M5S 2J4
Tel: 416‐946‐8993
E‐Mail: jeffrey.reitz@utoronto.ca

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VWX Yoga Zombies*

Am I the only one who, when they are at yoga and the instructor tells says to do chair pose and everyone in the room raises their arms straight out in front of them, thinks that it looks like you are in a room full of zombies?  Like this:

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For the record, this is not one of my yoga classes. I don’t think it would be very conducive to my practice to be taking photos while I’m supposed to be concentrating on melting my heart, rooting my feet and engaging my thymus. Also, it probably wouldn’t be too conducive to my camera to bring it into a 40 degree room and drip sweat all over it.  The photo is actually from the City of Edmonton’s Flickr photostream and it was posted with a Creative Commons license that allows me to remix/adapt the photo. Thus, I made the yogis into zombies and it’s totally legal, though the City of Edmonton does request, via the Creative Commons licence, that I attribute the photo to them but not in any way that suggests that they endorse my use of their photo to turn yogis into zombies. So consider yourself notified of such.

*Title is an homage to my friend Cath’s blog, VWXYNot, because when I originally wrote the title as “Yoga Zombies,” I noticed the YZ and, well, my brain immediately went to VWXYZ.  VWXYNot is, in turn, an homage to Douglas Adams. So it’s double homages all the way.

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Shoe Ban Loophole #2

As you know, I have banned myself from buying shoes in 2010. And, as you also know, I have acquired only two pair of shoes during this time: one pair of running shoes (which were considered, right from the time I installed the ban, an exception because having properly functioning running shoes when training for a half marathon is an important health and safety issue – thus, they are, for the purposes of the shoe ban, safety gear, not shoes) and one pair that was given to me by a coworker (and thus made it through the first shoe ban loophole – I didn’t actually *buy* those shoes and the shoe ban was specifically worded around me *buying* the shoes).

Well, today I was faced with a conundrum. I went out to the Sally Ann Thrift store in search of some needed items for the making of my Hallowe’en costume.  And, the costume that I’m making requires platform shoes and the platform shoes that I currently possess in my shoe collection do not meet the technical specifications of my costume (I’d love to explain more, but I cannot give away the secret as to what my Hallowe’en costume will be. I will come back after Hallowe’en and update this posting to explain why my current platform heels are insufficient for said costume). So, I purchased this pair using the loophole that these are not shoes, they are components of my Hallowe’en costume. They are a pair of components for my Hallowe’en costume.  That is my story and I am sticking to it!

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Retinal latticing is such a sweet sorrow

So yesterday was my (slightly belated) one year post-laser eye surgery #2 check up with my optometrist. It was also my annual eye exam, since it was time for that anyway. I looked through various machines, clicked various buttons, determined whether I could see better through “1 or 2, 1 or 2, 1 or 2″ and had photos taken of my retinas through my eye drop-induced gigantic pupils:”

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And everything looks the same as before – my vision is 20/20 overall, with slightly better than 20/20 in my right eye and slightly worse than 20/20 in my left eye, exactly as it was at my 6 month check up. Eye pressure is good, cornea & lenses look good, and retinal latticing looks the same as last time. My optometrist assures me that having some thinning at the bottom of my retinas is not a big deal – it’s usually only if you have thinning at the top of the retina that you are at real risk of it detaching, as gravity pulls it down1. And, since monitoring my retinal latticing is considered a medical issue2, my optometrist can bill my provincial health coverage for about half the cost of my eye exam. So I try not to worry about it too much, though when I do think about it it totally weirds me out!

  1. note to self: don’t do too many handstands []
  2. as opposed to routine eye exams, which aren’t covered by MSP []

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Happy World Statistics Day!

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I can’t believe that I didn’t even realize that today is 20/10/2010!!

Fortunately, my Official Statistician & Tattoo Consultant, Dr. Dan, brought this momentous occasion to my attention via The Twitter1.  It is also World Statistics Day, the day on which we celebrate all the awesomeness that is statistics.

So today I encourage everyone to hug a statistician or other number-loving geek if you do not have a statistician readily available!

Image Credit: Posted by Koen Vereeken on Flickr.

  1. he, in turn, was informed by Dr. Steph, so really I also owe Dr. Steph props for making sure I was informed of this []

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Ethical Deal

And speaking of Groupon, there’s a new group coupon kid in town: Ethical Deal. They are like Groupon in that they will be offering mega-discounts on things, but their schtick is that they will be offering deals only with “green” companies.  Will they actually be green or is this just a greenwashing of the group discount idea?  Only time will tell I guess, as the Vancouver edition of Ethical Deal hasn’t yet launched – we have a wait a few weeks for that and in that time they are trying to get lots and lots of people to sign up (after all, they need lots of people buying their deals to make the mega-discounts work).

I’ve signed up and if you sign up by clicking on my Ethical Deal link, I’ll get entered into a draw for $500 worth of Ethical Deals. Then you can get your own link and every time someone signs up through that link, you’ll get entered into the draw and then you’ll probably win and I’ll be all “damn, I wish they hadn’t clicked my link so I could have had less competition in the contest” but then if you didn’t click my link I wouldn’t have had an entry into the contest and I believe this is what is known as a conundrum. So sign up for Ethical Deal and you too can get an offer a day via email for big discounts on stuff that you probably don’t need, but it’s green stuff and SUCH a big discount. Or don’t. You know, whatever.