Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Happy Halloween!

So given that omg so busy, I didn’t really have as much time to put into my Halloween costume as I have in previous years. In fact, I even had to outsource idea generation! Fortunately, Jeff, my brother-in-common-law, is the greatest Halloween costume inventor in the history of the universe, so a quick consultation with him resulted in an idea of something that was clever and that I could make relatively quickly and easily. So this year, my costume was Google Maps:

Google Maps Halloween costume

Now, Google Maps in and of itself is not an original idea – it’s been done before. But Jeff always finds a way to take Halloween costumes up a level. Like my niece’s fairy costume last year where it was rigged up so that when she reached her arms forward to hold out her candy bag, her wings would go up. Or my nephew’s backhoe costume this year where all the parts of the backhoe actually move. So the thing that made my costume extra clever was that, since I was wearing it for work today, I made the map actually show the location of my office building *and* when I pulled up the main shirt, I had another shirt underneath with a “Street View” of my office building:

Google Maps Halloween costume

People at work really got a kick out of it, especially when they realized that it was our actual location. Though one friend of mine said that I should have been dressed as Apple Maps because I have such a terrible sense of direction.

At any rate, I was very pleased with how my costume turned out, especially since i had so little time to work on it. And so I hereby declare Jeff, brother-in-common-law extraordinaire, to be the Official Costume Consultant of Not to Be Trusted with Knives, with all the rights and privileges afforded thereto1.

  1. Note: there are neither rights nor privileges associated with this role. []

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And Then School Happened Again

I was on a bit of a roll with actually blogging for like a week. And then school happened again. Specifically, I went from having just an online course (Business Ethics) in September and early October, with one weekend in late September for another course (Health Economics) to have all the classes in the universe at the same time. Specifically, in addition to my online course, which goes all term, I started not one, not two, but THREE new courses this week (Change Management, Healthcare Management, and Internet Marketing). Plus my group and I are still finishing up our paper from Health Economics, which is due Nov 41. I’m also working on my Industry Project, which is a 1.5 credit2 course; it is a project for work that I’m using all my shiny new MBA skills to make super awesome. So technically right now I’m juggling things for SIX different courses3, as well as working full-time and training for a half marathon and playing on two hockey teams. No wonder I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.

So, yeah, I’m expecting that the blog postings around these parts might be a little bit of slim pickings for the next 6 weeks or so. Especially because my Internet Marketing class requires me to maintain a professional blog, so I’m going to be resurrecting my drbethsnow.com domain as a professional blog and my blogging efforts will mostly be directed there during this time4. So, if you are dying to read my brilliant writings – and really, who isn’t? – then you can check out that site, which I plan to do some work on this weekend.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to return to telling myself “one day at a time” and “short-term pain for long-term gain” because just writing out all the stuff I’m working on right now makes me feel like I’m going to have a heart attack.

  1. We had grand plans to finish that paper before all the rest of this stuff started, but it turns out that doing a cost-benefit analysis is really tricky, once you get into it. I think we have a pretty cool analysis, but man, does it take awhile to think through the process, gather the data, and crunch the numbers. Mmm, crunchy numbers. []
  2. i.e., the size of one of our courses []
  3. Currently working on the cost-benefit analysis paper for Health Economics, a paper and presentation on Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management, a presentation on obesity for Healthcare Management, setting up my blog and developing an outline for a client for Internet Marketing, a short paper for Business Ethics, plus my Industry Project. []
  4. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do since I started using nottobetrustedwithknives.com for this blog – and so I’ve had a “this page is under construction” note over there for more than three years. []

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Crazy Frog Lady

Since I appear to be destined to become a crazy old frog lady, I’ve decided to embrace it:

photo 3

photo 4

The big one to the right of the stick-person-me is Timbit and the small one to the right of Timbit is Tyrion. The other two are Raspberry and Copernicus the Third. I can never tell those two apart, either in real or decal form.

(And before you ask, yes, I am being facetious by having this on my car. I had some sort of a conversation on Facebook1 where these car decals were mentioned and I joked about how I hadn’t seen one with a women and four frogs and my friend Michelle said, “I know someone who makes those things!” and then pretty quickly I had an image of this one in my email inbox and I just couldn’t resist!).

 

  1. Which I can’t for the life of me find, as I went to try to find it to remind myself what the actual conversation was but I have no idea where that convo went! []

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Blog Action Day #BAD2013 – Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

When I heard the theme for this year’s Blog Action Day was “Human Rights”, I knew immediately what I was going to write about: a case currently before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal brought against the federal government for discrimination against First Nations children living on reserve.

The Human Rights Case

“In 2007, the Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations filed a human rights complaint against the Federal government, alleging that Canada’s failure to provide equitable and culturally based child welfare services to First Nations children on-reserve amounts to discrimination on the basis of race and ethnic origin. After several unsuccessful efforts by the Federal government to have the case dismissed on legal technicalities, a hearing on the complaint began on February 25, 2013 at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and will continue throughout the summer.” (Source: First Nations Caring Society website).

I first heard about this case at a lecture by Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Caring Society, back in the spring and I have to say that I was astonished that I had not heard of this case until that point. I mean, the federal government being taken to the Human Rights Tribunal seems like it should be front page news, yet it’s been going on since 2007 and I, someone who pays attention to Canadian news and who has a particular interest in human rights and Aboriginal issues, didn’t hear about it until 2013. (To my Canadian readers: were you aware of this case prior to reading this blog posting?)

“The complaint alleges that the Government of Canada had a longstanding pattern of providing less government funding for child welfare services to First Nations children on reserves than is provided to non-Aboriginal children.” (Source: First Nations Caring Society website)

The inequalities include things such as less funding for education, housing, and other social supports for First Nations children living on reserve compared to non-Aboriginal children not living on reserve, which then results in more on reserve Aboriginal children entering the child welfare system, which is also inadequately supported.

To give you some perspective on the scope of this1:

  • The federal government spends 22% less per child for Aboriginal children on reserves than than the provinces spend per non-Aboriginal children (and it’s the federal government’s responsibility to provide for on-reserve children that which children not living on reserve get from provincial services).
  • Aboriginal children are 6-8x more likely than non-Aboriginal children to end up in the child welfare system.
  • 65% of kids in the child welfare system in Alberta are First Nations children, though overall less than 10% of the children in Alberta are First Nations
  • in BC and Alberta, there are approximately 11,000 First Nations children living in foster care
  • There are three times more First Nations children living in care now then there were in residential schools at the height of that era.

And it is important to note that there’s no indication that First Nations children are taken into care more than non-Aboriginal children for abuse; rather, the children are usually taken away for “neglect”, which can mean things like not having adequate housing or food (i.e., being in poverty). So inadequate responses to housing and poverty results in parents being deemed “neglectful” and their children being apprehended and taken into care.

Retribution by the Federal Government

And as if the tragic consequences of discrimination against Aboriginal children weren’t bad enough, would you believe that in the midst of this, the federal government started *spying* on Cindy Blackstock, the Executive Director of the First Nations Caring Society, one of the groups who brought this complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal?

As confirmed by a report by the Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart:

“…two government departments, justice and aboriginal affairs, accessed Blackstock’s personal Facebook page, even making a formal request with their IT departments to circumvent security and get on the page. […]

The government dug into Blackstock’s personal Facebook page along with two other public, organizational Facebook pages and monitored her other social media accounts, including her Twitter account, YouTube, BlogSpot and Google alerts on her.

Stoddart found that the government accessed information on Blackstock’s friends — including their opinions and personal plans — as well as the personal views, skills, interests and residency of Blackstock.
“That information, alone in combination with other information, reveals . . . who she is as a person, and not just information related to or attached to her professional responsibilities with the Caring Society,’’ Stoddart wrote.

In fact, Blackstock says, the information in government screen shots included her Mother’s Days greetings, her travel plans, an exchange about her cookie-baking skills, chats with friends from as far away as Australia and a posting from a 12-year-old.” (Source: Toronto Star)

So, in response to a human rights complaint against the federal government, the federal government’s answer was to violate her privacy.

What You Can Do

So now that you know a bit about this case, I’m sure you are wondering what you can do about it. There are a number of ways you can learn more and contribute:

Every child deserves a fair chance. The fact that this is not happening, with children right here in Canada being discriminated against based on their race is shameful. It’s time to hold the government accountable.

  1. Source of these data: Cindy Blackstock interview by CBC Doc Zone. []
  2. I can’t embed the video here or I would. Also, a longer video was posted on the CBC Doc Zone website when I first drafted this blog posting a few days ago, but it’s gone now. If I comes back, I’ll update this posting with a link to it. []

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What Should I Be For Halloween?

At my office we’ve been discussing whether we are going to dress up for Halloween1, which, of course, I’m highly in favour of. But, of course, this means I need to actually think of something to dress up as! I started a little brainstorming on the whiteboard I keep on my fridge, but none of these ideas are jumping out at me as the costume I want to make:

What should I be for Halloween?

Any ideas for a good work-appropriate costume for me?

In related news, there is a radio commercial for Value Village set to the tune of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, where they sing about different possible Halloween costumes and it cracks me up every time I hear it. “You can be a duck. You can be a ref. You can be a duck that’s also a ref. Be a steampunk pickle or a zombie hotdog.” I don’t know why, but the phrase”steampunk pickle” makes my LOL every. single. time.

And, of course, I just Googled this commercial and the video version is on YouTube:

Steampunk pickle! LOL!

  1. One of my coworkers brought a bunch of decorations for our office, which means that everyone now has pictures of spiders on the hutches above their desks, which means that I’m now not able to talk to anyone near their desk. And I’m also threatening to work from home until November. And no it doesn’t matter that they are cartoon spiders! []

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Apparently I Really Can Sleep Through Anything

So I woke up this morning, looked out the window and thought, “It sure is foggy this morning.” And then I got this text message from a coworker who was supposed to be coming over to my place to catch a ride with me to a meeting we were going to:

Text message

What? Crazy here? Hope my building is OK? I had no idea what she was talking about… until the news came on the radio and the top story was the huge fire that was blazing across the street from me!

As soon as I stepped out onto my balcony, I smelled campfire and I saw this:

Fire in New Westminster.

A bit later I saw some firefighters spraying down the buildings:

Fire in New Westminster.

Apparently a fire broke out in a building across the street and then there was a big *explosion* at about 4 am as some propane tanks blew up, fire shot up into the sky, and the whole building collapsed. And I didn’t hear a thing. That’s right – a building exploded outside my bedroom window and I slept right through. I know I’m pretty sound sleeper, but I think that’s surprising, even for me.

From what I read later in the news, they aren’t sure why the fire broke out, but it spread and now these lovely old heritage buildings are no more. Very sad for the neighbourhood, but thankfully no one was hurt.

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And speaking of my 101 list…

In addition to the epic road trip I told you about yesterday, there are a few other things that I’ve knocked off my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.

52. cook a decent tasting Eggplant Parmesan

Thank goodness I said “decent” tasting and not “outstanding.” Because I finally gave Eggplant Parm a try and I think it turned out solidly in the “decent” realm, but I’ve had better. But it’s done and it gives me a baseline to compare when I try out other recipes!

Draining water from the eggplant:

Eggplant Parmesan

Coating the eggplant in breadcrumbs:

IMGP2861

After frying1:

Eggplant Parmesan

 

Layering – layers of fried eggplant with homemade tomato sauce and various cheeses. How can you go wrong?

Eggplant Parmesan

 

The finished product:

Eggplant Parmesan

81. participate in five research projects

  1. I joined the BC Generations Project
  2. I completed the “Experiences of Exercise” study (three-part survey; Nov 18, 2012; Jan 10, 2013)
  3. Participated in the Equity Lens in Public Health project (12 Sept 2013)
  4. Mindfulness & Authentic Leadership study (13 Sept 13);
  5. participant in a project that is researching researchers with a particular type of research grant (2011-13)]

I’m also on the verge of signing up for a super cool studying on running, but that will be worth its own blog posting (or 7) if I end up joining (and as I participate in it – it’s 13 weeks long, so I figure that’s gotta be worth a few blog postings at least!).

100. print eight photos and put them in the photo frame that I bought ages ago that has been handing on my wall with the stock photos in it, because that really looks quite ridiculous the way it is

I’m particularly proud of having done this, since it was so ridiculous that I’d not done it for so long!

8 pictures in an 8-picture frame.Photos: Top row from left to right: My dad; Me, my mom, my Aunt Lynn, and my Aunt Eileen near a Tim Horton’s sign at a Spar gas station in Ireland; My niece holding my nephew on the day he was born; Nancy, Jeff, me, and Dan doing the CN Tower Edgewalk. Bottom row from left to right: Me and Dan about to embark on the Grouse Grind; My niece and I in Portland; My mom, Nancy, and me at the Empress Hotel in Victoria; My niece and nephew in Portland. 

For the record, this means I’ve now knocked 12 items off my 101 list in 2013. And you may recall that my goal for the year was to knock 13 items off my list, so I’m 12/13ths of the way there, and it’s only 5/6ths of the way through the year! Go me!

 

  1. This picture makes me think of this clip from the Simpsons. []

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The King George Boulevard of Broken Dreams

A long, long time ago (i.e., 2009), the King George Highway in Surrey was renamed “King George Boulevard”. And since that time, Kalev and I have been referring to it as the King George Boulevard of Broken Dreams. And every time we did, it made me giggle. Which led Kalev to suggest “we are going to have to drive the King George Boulevard of Broken Dreams end-to-end… just for the happy!” Which led to me add “drive the entire length of the King George Boulevard of Broken Dreams with Kalev” as item #98 on my list of 101 things to do. Which is how last night, Kalev and I came to find ourselves driving the entire length of the KGBoDB!

For the uninitiated, the KGBoBD runs from the Patullo Bridge coming out of New Westminster, all the way down 8th Avenue, which is 8 blocks away from the United States of America.

King George Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Kalev and I set out along this route, stopping for dinner at Taste of Punjab because omg, so delicious. And then we were off down the Boulevard. And since we were only 8 blocks away from Zero Avenue, which runs along the Canada-US border, we decided to drive there too. And it’s kind of crazy, because it basically runs along one edge of a subdivision and on the side of the road is a small fence and then on the other side of the fence is America. And there’s a subdivision on the other side of the fence, but those houses are in a totally different country. And it’s just a fence separating them. So all these people have neighbours just across the street that they couldn’t just, like, walk across the street and ask to borrow a cup of sugar, because you aren’t allowed on the other side of the fence without a passport and without going all the way to one of the border crossings so that a border guard could check said passport and that seems like a lot of work to get a cup of sugar. It’s just.. weird.

Also weird is that Kalev and I have had a running joke about the King George Boulevard of Broken Dreams for 4 years and  we were talking about completely different things. This came to light because I’d created a little playlist to accompany us on our trip. I filled the playlist up with songs that made me think of Surrey:

KGBoBD playlist

KGBoBD playlist 2

And then I put it on shuffle and let my iPhone choose which tunes to play. We listened all the way down the KGBoBD, and on our little detour to drive down Zero Ave, and then all the way back up the KGBoBD and as we approached the Patullo Bridge. as I noticed that Jesus of Suburbia was playing,  I said, “I can’t believe Boulevard of Broken Dreams never came on!”, because I’d put it was on the playlist, obviously, but I guess I had more songs than we needed for the journey. And Kalev had no idea what I was talking about. And I was all “The Green Day song? The reason we’ve been calling it the King George Boulevard of Broken Dreams?!” And he was all, “I was talking about the painting called Boulevard of Broken Dreams . The one with Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, and Elvis in the diner?!” And I was like, “wha??”

So, yeah, apparently we’ve been laughing over completely different jokes for 4 years. Happily, I now know about the painting and he now knows about the Green Day song, so in addition to knocking item #98 off my 101 list, it was also *educational*. Win-win!

Now let’s all celebrate with some Green Day!

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You Know What’s Worse Than When A Massive Spider Builds a Web Outside Your Living Room Window of Your 6th Floor Apartment and Then Just Sits There Looking Threateningly At You All Day?

I will tell you what’s worse. It’s when a massive spider builds a web outside your living room window of your 6th floor apartment and just sits there looking threateningly at you all day for several days, knowing full well that you have no way whatsoever to reach him and kill him like he deserves because your windows don’t open (except for a tiny spot that is nowhere near his web) and your window is too high up to be reached from the outside… and then he disappears. Because now you have no idea where that eight-legged beast of pure evil has gone to and he could be ANYWHERE!

So, basically, I think I have to move now.

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Random Tidbits

So I’ve got a whole bunch of random tidbits floating around in my brain that are too small to write actual blog postings about, yet are being insistent that they want to blogged1. So, in an effort to appease said tidbits, I give you this bulleted lists of random thoughts, ideas, and mini-stories:

  • So I was out at the (new) Tiki Bar on Friday with Cath, her husband, and some friends of theirs. For the uninitiated (which included myself until I went there on Friday), the Tiki Bar on Main is a place that makes fantastic rum-based drinks that all seem to have, at minimum, eleventy billion ounces of alcohol in them. After hanging out there for a while, we decided that food was in order, so we headed out to get some (as the Tiki Bar’s food is nothing to write home about). As we were leaving, one of the group asked Cath to carry something in her purse. To which she exclaimed, “I can’t put that in my bag – it’s full of science!” In her own defence the next morning, she explained:

Couldn't word good

  • My frogs are doing, if you’ll pardon the pun, just swimmingly. Tyrion remains the tiniest of the four, as he likes to take his time finding the bloodworms at feeding time2. In contrast, Timbit is huge because he’s very good at eating as many of the bloodworms as is froggingly3 possible. (I feed the frogs a block of bloodworms every other day, which I dump in the tank and then I have no control over the relative proportions that each frog eats. It’s every frog for himself at feeding time.) So Timbit really is earning his name, as by the end of feeding time, he’s as round as a little Timbit!
  • After searching through the NHL players list, and with help from my Aunt Lynn and my friend Cath, I compiled the following players with dirty sounding name for Team Hockey P0rn:
    • Jiří Tlustý
    • Patrick Kane
    • Evander Kane
    • David Legwand
    • Alex Burrows – but he’s hurt, so I’m replacing him with Michael Ryder4
    • Alex Semin
    • Grant Clitsome
    • Victor Hedman
    • Kevin Shattenkirk
    • Dennis Wideman
    • Josh Harding
    • Jon Quick
  • So far, most of my points are from the double Kane5, but Quick has also helped out.
  • As I get closer to the end of my MBA program, I’m starting to experience a bunch of “lasts”. A week ago, I had my last full weekend of classes AND my last class at UBC’s Robson Square campus. The part-time program that I’m in is made up of full weekends of courses that occur roughly every third weekend and are held at UBC Robson Square. But I only have one more class from the part-time program (Change Management) and it’s (a) broken up over two different weekends and (b) being held at the Point Grey campus, so the course I took from the EMBA program last weekend was the last class I’ll have at Robson Square and the last one that takes up a full weekend. Oh yeah, and it’s the last EMBA class that I’m taking. Of course, the Change Management course that I just mentioned, coming up in late Oct/early Nov will be my last class from the part-time MBA program.  For 6 weeks starting Oct 21, I’m taking two full-time MBA courses (one on Monday nights and one on Wednesday nights) – these will be my first and last full-time MBA classes. And after that all I will have left is to wrap up my industry project (which I hope to have done in December, though it’s technically due Jan 15) and my online business ethics course, the latter of which will provide my last exam! And then I’ll be done all the things and will be ready for (what I’m hoping is) my last university graduation in the spring!
  • And speaking of graduation, we got a notification that it’s time to book grad photos, so I finally got around to asking UBC about something that I’d heard rumour of, but wasn’t sure was true. The item in question is what robe I am to wear at my MBA graduation – I will be receiving a Master’s degree, but I already hold a doctoral degree and was told that one is supposed to wear the robes of the highest degree they have, not the robe of the degree they are getting. I checked UBC’s website but couldn’t find any info, so I emailed them and received official confirmation that I should, in fact, wear the PhD robes. Long live the pink robe and puffy hat!

 

  1. Some have already been tweeted, but apparently this was not sufficient to get it out of my brain. See also: a bunch of stuff that I want to write up for publication but just haven’t been able to find the time! []
  2. Or possibly he’s just not that bright and swims to every part of the tank *except* where the bloodworms are. []
  3. “Froggingly” is the frog equivalent of the word “humanly”, right? Because I first tried “frogly” but that didn’t seem right. And spell check says neither of them are words, so it’s no help at all. []
  4. I missed the deadline to change it for this week, so I’m screwed on that front as I’ve wasted a roster spot on someone who won’t even be playing! []
  5. So I’m sacrificing in comedy by having two Kanes instead of just one Kane and another dirty name, but it’s hard to give up the points when I’m getting so few! []