Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Nerd Stats 2012

Here is a quick summary of my blog and Twitter stats for 20121:

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 % change from 2011
Blog postings: 423 357 344 380 201 -47%
Tweets: 2,227 1,815 2302 3,625 8752 -76%
Visits to my blog 32,410 45,153 44,689 60,560 63,844 +5%
Average number of blog visits per day 933. 1264 122 166 175 +5%
Busiest day on my blog: Sept 26, 2008 (460 views)5 July 25, 2009 (1,181 views)6 Feb 9, 2010 (233 views)  Oct 10, 2011 (374 views) Feb 13, 2012 (350 views)7 -6%

It’s pretty clear from the above that I was a lot less active on my blog and on Twitter this year – which is pretty much what I expected would happen once I started school. I was pleased to see that despite the decrease in blogging, I still managed to squeak out a slight increase in visits to my blog and I’m approaching my goal, as per my 101 list’s item #82 “up my blog readership to an average of 200 readers a day”8. Also, if you are so inclined, you can also check out the blogging annual report that the helper monkeys of WordPress were so kind as to compile for me.

Also, perusing through some of my old postings, I noticed that when I first started blogging my Nerd Stats for the year, I also included a list of all the books I’d read – or at least the ones I could remember – in the year. I’m sure I’m not going to remember all of them as I haven’t been tracking them, but to the best of my knowledge9, I read the following books in 201210:

  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg11.
  • Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchn Rubin
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  • Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
  • Your Brain at Work by David Rock

Textbooks:

  • Financial Accounting in an Economic Context by Jamie Pratt
  • Corporate Finance by Berke et al
  • Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour by Langton et al
  • Managerial Economics (Custom Edition)
  • Management Ethics by Bowie & Werhane
  • plus countless journal articles and course notes!

And that, my friends, is my final blog posting for 2012! See y’all next year!

  1. To see previous years’ nerd stats postings, click the year in the table. []
  2. note to self: You started Tweeting in 2008, so you get these totals by simple subtraction, not by some fancy pants program or anything. I hope this helps you when you write your “Nerd Stats 2013” posting when you think “how the hell did I figure out how many times I tweeted in a given year??” []
  3. not sure why this value is not equal to the number of visits to my blog divided by 365 days. Probably some some of rounding error []
  4. ibid []
  5. thanks to the Hockey Hotties posting []
  6. thanks to the Blogathon! []
  7. This makes me sad, because the posting that drew this attention was my dad’s obituary. []
  8. Which should really say “views” per day, not readers, as the blog stat tracking thingy tracks viewers, not individual readers. []
  9. Where “my knowledge” = anything I wrote about on my blog, is sitting on my bookshelf that I can see and remember that I read, and was recorded by my e-reader. []
  10. In no particular order. And for the textbooks, I didn’t read all of them from cover to cover – just the required chapters []
  11. In progress. []

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Goals for 2013

Goal SettingIt’s 2013 in just over 24 hours, so I figured why not set up 13 goals for the new year?

  1. Lose the 15 lbs that I gained since starting my MBA. Seriously. I have clothes that I can’t fit into and it’s not good for my health to be carrying around this extra weight, so it’s time to get serious about losing these extra pounds. I’ve been saying this for some time now without it happening, so I realize that it’s time I make an actual plan rather than just vague thoughts about “eating better”. A real focus on diet, exercise, and getting more sleep are all on the list for making this happen.
  • First up – diet – I’m declaring 2013 The Year of The Vegetable. I declared Dec 2012 The Month of the Vegetable and that had some moderate success, as I definitely upped my fruit & veg intake over what I’d previously been eating – and over the holidays to boot! Continuing with this momentum, I’m going to continue the concerted effort to eat more fruits and veg – and re-instituting my Sunday night weekly meal planning and keeping a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table will be my first concrete steps.
  • Second – exercise –  Item #26 on my 101 list is “do some kind of exercise (anything really, even if it is just a set of pushups, as long as it is beyond just incidental stuff like taking the stairs or walking to a store) every day for a year!” Tackling that item starts TODAY! I played hockey today, so now I only need to do some kind of exercise for the next 364 days and I’m golden! To help with this one – I’m redoubling my efforts to Schedule It! – which will go well with my Sunday night planning (see above). As well, see goals #3-7 below for more exercise-related goodness.
  • Third – sleep – I think it’s time to reinstitute my plan.
  • Also, I’m reading The Power of Habit, which has got me thinking about my habits – and how to change the problematic ones to better ones, so that’s something I’ll be working on as well1 2.
  1. Pay off my car. I’m pretty close to this one, and once I do that I will be debt-free! Go me!
  2. Run a sub-2 hour half marathon. This just so happens to be #50 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. And I know that in order to do this, I have to up the intensity of my half marathon training – more speed work and hills, to be specific. Which is just the kind of thing that’s going to help me get goal #1 accomplished.
  3. I’m aiming to do 2 half marathons this year – tentatively the Edge-to-Edge in Tofino in June and the Victoria half marathon in October3.
  4. Run 400 km 600 km4. I figure that since I managed nearly 300 km of running training for 1 half marathon, I can easily do 400 km 600 km training for two.
  5. Bike 500 km. Biking isn’t my main exercise, but I do quite enjoy it and since there is a recumbent stationary bike in the exercise room in my building, which is just perfect for exercise while I read textbooks, I think this one is doable5
  6. Do 1,300 pushups. This year’s pushup total was 485, so I’ve got a lot of work to do to reach this goal, but I did get slack at sticking to my must-do-pushups-whenever-I-take-a-break-from-homework rule after a few months, so if I bring that back in full force and maybe give the old 100 pushups program another go, I think I can do this one. And given that goals #3-6 are all leg-related, I had to do something for my arms!
  7. Go on a fabulous vacation! There are already some vague plans in the works for this one, but I’ll need to get going on some actually planning to make this a reality.
  8. Make 10 meals that I’ve never made before. I think it’s time to expand the repertoire, and I have in my freezer a cornish hen – something I’ve never cooked before – that I bought at the farmer’s market to get me started.
  9. Redesign my blog. I’m getting bored with my current theme – I think it’s time for a new one!
  10. Knock 13 items off my 101 list of things to do in 1001 days. Since it’s 2013, why not go for 13 of them? That’s just one per month, plus one. As part of my newly re-instituted Sunday night weekly planning, I will use the last Sunday of each month to pick an item on my 101 list on which to work for the upcoming month, so that I don’t get to Dec 28, 2013 and say “oh crap, I haven’t done anything from my 101 list!”
  11. Make $113,000. Ambitious and I have no idea how I’ll accomplish it, but since I finally succeeded after 3 years of trying to break the $100K mark, why the hell not give it a go?
  12. Publish 213 blog postings. Since I did 201 blog postings in 20126, I figure 213 is a reasonable goal for this year. Moreover, if I do that, I will be within 2 postings of my goal of 501 postings in 1001 days as per my 101 list, and I’ll still have 6 months left ’til the 1001 days are up!

Image Credit: Posted by Angie Torres on Flickr.

  1. E.g., this book talks a lot about the cues that trigger our habits, and since one habit that I want to reinstitute is regularly eating breakfast, which I used to be good at but seemed to fall out of the habit of when I moved, as all my old cues were gone. So I’m going to set out a bowl and spoon before I go to bed, which will be a cue in the morning to remind me to have breakfast! []
  2. I didn’t anticipate when I started writing my list of goals that I’d end up writing such a detailed plan for achieving this particular goal, but now that I have, I feel much better about my chances of accomplishing it! []
  3. Which Dr. Dan is also planning to run – but he’ll be running twice the distance! []
  4. I originally put 400 km, but then when I created my spreadsheet with my monthly goals and factored in that I intended to train for 2 half marathons, I decided that 400 km was too easy. []
  5. For the record, I cycled 111 km this year – though that’s from my RunKeeper.com account and I’m not sure if I included all of my stationary bike cycling there. []
  6. Or, I will have once tomorrow’s blog posting – which I’ve already half written – goes up. []

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Reviewing My Goals for 2012

Just one day left in the calendar year, so it’s time to check in on how I did on my 2012 goals. (Note to self: I really should check in on my goals list before day 3651, so that I can actually do something about the ones I’m slacking on before it’s too late.) Anyhoo, let’s tally the score!

2012 Goals Achieved(y/n) Excuse
score 12 points on one of my hockey teams N This was not a well thought out goal, as I have missed the lion’s share of my hockey games this year thanks to school2. Moreover, since these are calendar-year goals but the hockey season crosses calendar years, I had to try to sort through which goals were scored in which calendar year. By my calculations, in 2012, on the Blazing Blades I scored a measly 4 points (2 in 7 games3 I’ve played this season and 2 at the end of last season4 ), but for the Snipers, I can’t actually tell how many I scored in 2012, as that league doesn’t give me the breakdown of when points were scored in previous seasons. Regardless, I didn’t come anywhere near 12 points even if you added my points on both teams together, so we can chalk this goal up as an epic fail.
go to 24 yoga practices N I actually haven’t a clue how many yoga classes I’ve gone to this year, since it appears that I neglected to track them (d’oh!). I know that I’ve gone to six yoga classes on the Groupon that I got for the yoga studio near my apartment – because they use the old-school passes where they just write in the box on a little card every time you attend a class. But I have no idea how many times – if any – I went to the old hot yoga studio near my old place, because the pass there is the kind that’s just a barcode that you scan when you go in, so I can’t see how many classes I’ve used on that one. I’m reasonably certain, however, that I didn’t go to anywhere near 24 practices, though I have been doing some yoga-like stretching on my own time.
run 240 km Y This one I solidly accomplished, putting in 295.51 km – and nearly 37 hours(!) – of running in 2012!
knock 24 items off my 101 list of things to do in 1001 days N Yet another fail! I managed to knock 7 items off the list – a mere 29% of my goal!
run in 3 races 2 out of 3 One zombie obstacle course race. One half marathon. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
make $100,008 Y If you count my scholarship – which I totally do – then I finally surpassed the $100K mark. Granted, a huge chunk of that now goes to pay for tuition, textbooks and various other school-related bric-a-brac, but still – goal accomplished!

So, there you have it. I succeeded in 2.67 of my 6 goals5!  But given that I spent 735.62 hours on school6 and I published a textbook in 2012, I’m OK with this.

Next up, a posting about my goals for 2013!

  1. I nearly wrote day 364, but then I remembered that this year was a leap year! []
  2. One of my teams plays only on Sundays and I have class roughly every third Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm. I can play if games are ~6:30 pm or later on class days, but this season in particular, games on class days all seemed to have been smack in the middle of class time. []
  3. One of which I actually got in today’s game! []
  4. I had a total of 8 points in 2011/12, but only 2 were in 2012. []
  5. Which is actually better than I did last year. []
  6. Which, if you are interested, works out to 30.65 DAYS – or 8% of the year – at a ratio of 1.33 hrs of homework for every 1 hour of class! []

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Death’s Counterfeit

                                            Awake, awake!
Ring the alarum-bell! Murder and treason!
Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! awake!
Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeit,
And look on death itself! Up, up, and see
The great doom’s image! Malcolm! Banquo!
As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites,
To countenance this horror! Ring the bell.
-MacBeth, Act 2, Scene 3

DSC02144When I was a baby, I didn’t sleep a lot. My mom says that she always had the impression that I didn’t want to go to sleep because I thought I might miss something. Not much has changed in 35 years. Though I do like sleeping, I always feel like there’s so much to see and read and do and not nearly enough time to fit it all in1!

In one of Dr. Brené Brown’s talks, she talks about the pervasiveness of scarcity – where we always feel like we aren’t enough and we go to bed thinking “I didn’t do enough today”. Given that I’m always trying to do all the things, I’m definitely no stranger to this sentiment – but it usually comes after me staying up far later than I should, thinking, “I just need to read one more article” or “finish one more assignment question” or “write one more blog posting”. (A recent interview with Brown in the Washington Post was titled “Exhaustion is not a status symbol” – which really resonated with me, as “exhausted” is my typical answer to the question “How are you?”). Lately, I’ve been making an attempt to go to bed not thinking that I haven’t done enough. Instead, I’m trying to think “I’ve done more than enough today! Time for some well-earned sleep! There will always be more that could be done, but in the grand scheme of thing, must it be done? Not really. The world will not end simply because I haven’t done every single possible thing that could be done. Part of this is about acknowledging how much I actually do – which is a lot – and part of it is about recognizing my limitations – as much as I hate to admit it – as a mere human.

Comfyness Not only is cutting into sleep time with the thought that “I haven’t done enough” not overly good for one’s mental health, sleep deprivation is also bad for your health. It’s linked to obesity, as well as a host of other health risks. And getting ~6 hours of sleep per night – which I would consider an average’s night sleep during the week – affects your “coordination, reaction time and judgment”, resulting in impairment similar to a blood alcohol level of 0.05% – the warning level for drunk driving ((Source.)).

Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed.
-Arthur Schopenhauer

So, does all this mean that I’m going to get a proper 8 hours of sleep every night now? Knowing me – it’s doubtful. But perhaps I’ll try to be a little more reasonable about it – recognizing that it’s OK if I don’t get everything on my to-do list done and that I’m more effective after a good night’s sleep anyway.

Image Credit: Photo of me & my friend Sheila asleep in the car is my own photo. Alarm clock photo was posted by Guilherme Tavares on Flickr.

  1. Case in point: I’ve started drafting this blog posting on Dec 5, 2011 (!), but haven’t gotten around to actually writing it until more than a year later! []

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2012 Year-in-Review

Just under a year ago, I wrote my 2011 year-in-review posting about what a great year I had. Little did I know that just 17 days later we would get the news that my dad had a brain tumour and that less than a month after that, he would be gone. Losing my dad has overshadowed everything for me this year – I think about him every single day. As if to highlight death in my life, the universe decided that this year my family should also lose two frogs1, a cat2, and a bunny3. It feels kind of strange to write a blog posting reviewing the year when everything else seems so minor by comparison, but then, life does go on no matter how sad one is.

January marked my return to school, which has taken up a great deal of my time this year. February, my dad died. In March, I moved, I went to Ottawa for a business trip (and added a side trip to visit my family while I was in Ontario), and I got my braces off. In April, my mom, my sister, and my nephew came to visit me. A quick scroll through my blog postings for May revealed that there wasn’t a heck of a lot going on – I’m going to have to guess that means I was super busy at school. June was a month from hell, school-wise, with an insane amount of exams and assignments. July, not unlike, May, was rather unremarkable, but in August I ran from zombies, visited some wineries, and acquired some frogs. September was unremarkable, other than the fact that every single blog posting title that month ended in the word “it“. October marked the completion of my 7th half marathon, and also involved a trip to Montreal and Toronto, and saw me risk my life in the form of the CN Tower Edgewalk. The most important event of November was the completion of the core part of the MBA program, while the highlight of December has to be the fact that I published a freaking textbook!

Other highlights of the year:

Writing this blog posting has reminded me – not that this is much of a surprise – that school has really dominated my life of late, but I haven’t actually written much about it, save for a few blog postings about how much bloody time I spent on school. Being so busy with school hasn’t left me much time to reflect on it and when I did get time, the last thing I’ve felt like doing is thinking about school! But I think I feel a blog posting forming in my mind about my reflections on a year of school. Maybe even before the end of 2012!

Image Credit: Posted on this site with a Creative Commons license.

  1. My frog, Rocky, and my niece’s frog, Bob. []
  2. My sister’s family’s cat, Pakita. []
  3. My mom’s bunny, BB. []

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R-E-L-A-X-I-N-G, That’s What Boxing Day Means To Me

open book pagesAfter the gruelling year that I’ve had, I have really been looking forward to my Christmas holidays and I have to say, they have thus far not failed to deliver. Where by “deliver” I mean “involve me relaxing and not thinking about work or school”. Case in point – I’ve spent virtually all of today reading – if you can believe this – a novel! A novel, I will have you know, that contains no supply and demand curves and no operations triangles and nary a balance sheet in sight. In fact, I’m on the second non-school/non-work book of the holiday season, though the first was a very small one1. The book I’m in the middle of is J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, which I’m really enjoying so far. And next up after this one is the book that Devon game me for Christmas: The Passage by Justin Cronin, which I only just days ago heard of for the first time on Cath’s blog.

Happily, I still have six more days before I head back to work and school, so I foresee much of them being filled with more reading, lounging, reading while lounging, and perhaps enjoying a a pint or two of my favourite Vancouver Island brew. But because I don’t want to be a total sloth, I will also be going for a few runs2, and doing some organizing to get ready for the new year. And, of course, composing my requisite year-in-review type blog postings.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, my book awaits!

  1. Christopher Hitchens’ Mortality []
  2. I did one on Christmas Eve and was going to go again today, but yesterday’s dump of snow hasn’t yet fully melted, which has hampered those plans. []

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Merry Christmas Eve!

Christmas really snuck up on me this year and I can hardly believe it’s Christmas Eve already. I did the least amount of Christmas baking ever, as my plans for an evening of Christmas baking last Wednesday were thwarted by poor bridge design. I did cinnamon buns for a Christmas breakfast potluck at work on Tuesday and I helped out with some gingerbread that Devon’s sister and her kids were making yesterday, so the season wasn’t completely devoid of baking, but it was a heck of a lot less than I would have liked. 2012 has just been that kind of a year.

Happily, I’m enjoying a much needed break from both work and school1 until the new year. I hope that you are all having a restful holidays with the people you care about.

santa frog

Merry Christmas from Copernicus, Torpedo, Starsky & Hutch!

  1. Translation: Except to read some book reviews because I’m reading several non-school books at the moment! []

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I’m An Author!

So, remember that time I did a photoshoot because I need a professional photo for a top secret project that I was working on? Well, as it turns out, the reason that I needed that photo was for the author bio page of the textbook I’ve been working on!

Essentials of Nutrition: A Functional Approach, by Zimmerman and Snow is a textbook for nutrition courses for non-majors. It presents the science of nutrition in an accessible way, so that it can be understood even if you don’t have an extensive background in biology and chemistry. We’ve structured the book so that it focuses on nutrients in relation to their main physiological functions rather than just going through a chapter on each nutrient. For example, we have chapters on the nutrients important to bone health, and another on nutrients important to fluid balance. Putting the information into context should make the material easier to retain.

The other really exciting thing about my textbook – I mean, in addition to OMG I HAVE A TEXTBOOK! – is the business model of our publisher, Flat World Knowledge. This screenshot I’ve taken from Flat World’s website does a pretty good job of explaining it:

Flat World Knowledge

I shudder to think how much I’ve spent on textbooks over my years as a student1. And as an educator, I’ve struggled with finding textbooks that weren’t quite what I wanted. Flat World’s model of affordable textbooks that are customizable by instructors is really something that I can appreciate.

If you’ve been looking around for a great resource on nutrition – and you know you have – you should totally buy a copy2 today!

  1. I’m on year 12 of postsecondary education, and though I probably didn’t buy any textbooks after about my first year of my PhD until I started my MBA, I’ve paid a tonne in the past year and my undergrad years saw me dropping thousands on books. []
  2. Or seven. []

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Trapped In Surrey!

The weather forecasters claimed that while we would get some snow this morning, it was going to be rain by midday and thus the snow would be washed away by the time I had to drive home1. Weather forecasters, as it turns out, are filthy, filthy liars.

Apparently when they built the new Port Mann Bridge, they didn’t test it for what happens when it snows. And apparently what happens when it snows is that giants chunk of ice fall off the bridge wires onto the cars on the bridge, shattering their windshields. Shattering windshields are generally considered to be a not good thing and during a snowstorm, doubly so. So they closed the Port Mann Bridge. Which made everyone on Earth head over to the Patullo Bridge, which is the bridge that I need to cross to get home from my office. Here, I drew you a map, since I have time to kill because, did I mention, I’m trapped in Surrey?

Trapped in Surrey Map

As you can see from Figure 1, I’m trapped in Surrey.

When the workday ended, the word on the street traffic radio was that with the Port Mann closed, the Patullo was backed up and it was taking about an hour to get across the bridge. Usually it takes me about 20 minutes to get from my office to home. Not being a fan of sitting in traffic, I decided to do a bit of shopping to wait out the traffic2. When I was done my shopping however, the word on the street traffic radio was that it was now taking *two* hours to get across the bridge. So I did what any traffic hating person would do – I got me some Indian take-out and headed back to my office. My office has a heater, the Internet, and ready access to chocolate and tea. If you are going to be stranded somewhere, those things make it a little more palatable.

OK, I’ve just checked in with Google Maps traffic and traffic radio and both are telling me that cars are actually getting across the Patullo now, so I think I’ll venture out. Wish me luck!

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – snow belongs on ski hills and in my last name and nowhere else. []
  2. I also had a WagJag coupon for the Le Chateau Outlet, which is right beside my office, that expired today, so that kind of worked out well. []

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Third Time’s The Charm

For the third year running, I’ve made it to the finals of Cath’s blog’s Comment of the Year competition! Basically, she picks the top comments from her blog over the past year and then lets her readers vote on the overall winner. For the past two years, I’ve come in *second* in votes.

They say that the third time’s the charm, right? This means you must vote for me long time and much repeatedly. Well, except for the fact that rules say you can only vote once. But you should vote for me once and then tell everyone else you know to vote for more. Because you don’t want to make a liar out of They, do you?

Update: Please make sure you read the instructions on Cath’s blog posting! In particular, you must vote for three DIFFERENT comments in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. If you try to vote for any one comment in more than one place, it gets disregarded!