Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Scientists Like Lasers

Two words for you: laser tag. Anyone who didn’t celebrate their milestone-birthday-whose-number-shall-not-be-named by playing laser tag really missed out.

Laser tag for my birthday!You will not find a finer group of laser taggers than this crew.

I knew I wanted to do something different for my birthday this year and after much deliberation, I settled on laser tag. I hadn’t played laser tag since high school, but I remembered it being really fun and also, it seemed like something epically ridiculous to do for my birthday. And hence, I scheduled two private games of laser tag (or should I say “lazer” tag) at the laser tag place in New West and gathered a group of peeps who were up for the challenge of spending an hour shooting at each other in a dark labyrinth. The first game was a free for all, where it was every man, woman, and child for themselves. In this game, I learned that I have terrible aim and was very glad that there is no cost for ammo when it comes to laser tag. In the second game, we were put into two teams and your objective was to only shoot people on the other team while not shooting people on your own team. As it turns out, Team Red’s strategy of strategizing bested Team Blue’s approach of not strategizing. Who knew? Despite my poor performance, I had so. much. fun! It was even more fun than I remembered it being! Everyone else was also raving about what a blast they had too (even a few who had been skeptical before the game), which made me very happy!

After the games were over and we all had a chance to examine our score cards in detail1, we headed over to my place for the after party, where we (along with some other peeps who weren’t up for (or available for) laser tag but who were up for partying) ate, drank, and were merry into the wee hours. As usual when it comes to parties, I didn’t get nearly enough time to chat with anyone as much as I wanted to, but I did really have a great time and was reminded that I have the best friends ever.

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with me. And if anyone wants to go play laser tag again, I’m game!

  1. For the record, in game two I only shot one of my own team members, though I did shoot her twice. []

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Conferences and Conferences and AGMs, Oh My!

PrintToday was the Canadian Evaluation Society BC and Yukon (CESBCY) chapter’s conference. Now, I may be biased given that I was the conference Program Chair, but I think we had an outstanding program of presentations this year! Now, before you think I’m being too arrogant, I will state for the record that the outstanding program was 100% due to the fantastic presenters – my job as program chair was easy given that incredible proposal we received from evaluators and non-profit organizations from around the region1.

I decided to take on the role of Program Chair for this conference because I’m also a Program Co-Chair for the 2017 CES National conference, which is being held in Vancouver, and I thought that gaining some experience on the provincial conference would be a good idea before leaping into the national one2. I quite enjoyed working on the program for this conference – the whole conference committee was fantastic and we had a lot of fun while also putting on a great conference, if I do say so myself3. In fact, I’m already starting to think about what we are going to do for next year’s conference. As well, I’m really enjoying working with the 2017 National Conference committee – we’ve already been meeting for several months, as pulling off a national conference requires *a lot* of planning!

And apparently I’m really enjoying being engaged with the evaluation community, because at the CESBCY Annual General Meeting that was held after the conference this evening, I got myself elected to the Executive Council as a member-at-large! Now, I realize that I do have a tendency to do all the things, which I’ve been attempting to moderate to “do most of the things”4, but I made a wise and considered decision to accept the nomination of my colleague for this position, because this is my professional organization and so it’s a totes good career move. Also, did I mention how much fun these people are?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, they just announced the call for workshop and presentation proposals for the 2016 CES National conference in St. John’s and I need to start brainstorming some presentation ideas!

  1. If you are so inclined, I’ve put all the notes that I took in the session I attended over on my professional blog. Note to self: my professional blog really needs a makeover! []
  2. I was on the conference committee for the CES national conference in 2010 when it was in Victoria, but I was the Volunteer Coordinator and only took that position quite close to when the conference happened, so I wasn’t involved in much of the planning for the conference. []
  3. There is a conference evaluation happening – because of course there is, we are evaluators! – but the feedback I heard from people at the conference, my impression of the sessions that I attended, and the fact that the conference was sold out and had a waiting list all indicate that the conference was a success! []
  4. Like, remember that time I went to my strata AGM and didn’t run for strata council? That was a big accomplishment for me! []

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6-squared

36I have just realized that I haven’t posted anything about my birthday – well, other than posting on Bethmas Eve. As it turns out, I was just having too much fun celebrating my 36th trip1 around the sun to post anything!

On Friday night – i.e., on Bethmas itself – I got a group of friends together for dinner at Rogue on Broadway. Rogue has really excellent food and a fantastic beer selection – in fact, I had a sampler so that I could try 5 different kinds of beer! Best of all was the chance to spend my birthday with some great friends!

Yesterday – i.e., Bething Day – Devon and I went skiing at Cypress Mountain2. Bething Day is the Bethmas equivalent of Boxing Day, which typically would mean shopping, but it’s my Bethmas and I’ll make up – and change – the rules as I go along if I want to. Skiing was lots of fun and made me ask myself, “Why the hell don’t I do this more often?”3

Given my renewed interest in skiing4, I decided it was high time to invest in some new ski wear, given that my current stuff is one zillion years old and not all that good for its stated purpose5. Since there was a sale on ski wear at Atmosphere in Metro-town – I knew this since Devon had gone there to get some ski pants prior to our trip to Cypress – I headed there today with the birthday money my mom had given me6. Unfortunately, this was the tail end of the sale and, thus, the pickings were slim. In fact, there was a grand total of one pair of small ski pants in the entire store7 and it was just a wee bit too snug to have been comfortable for skiing8. Oddly, a medium sized pair of the same brand (North Face) was giant – I probably could have fit two of me in them – so I’m really not sure what to do about that. Is there such a thing as size small-and-a-half9? Happily, though, I found a really nice Burton ski jacket at a great price, so I picked that up. I’m still on the hunt for a new pair of ski pants, but my jacket is black so I figure I can get any colour of pants and they will go with black.

In addition to all that fun, I also played a game of hockey today – which we won in OT! – and managed to do some reading for fun, a bit of homework, and some teaching. All in all, a pretty spectacular Bethmas weekend!

Image Credit: Posted by Stephan Mosel on Flickr.

  1. Also known as 62. Because who doesn’t love a number that’s a perfect square? []
  2. I was originally thinking of going to Whistler but then I remembered that I haven’t been skiing in a while and even the last time I’d skiied, I was beginner level, so then I thought it might make more sense to start off with a local mountain. []
  3. On a related note: Mount Seymour has a deal where ladies can get a “free” lift ticket in exchange for a donation to the BC Cancer Foundation. If any ladies are up for skiing on a Monday night, let me know! (Except tomorrow, because I have a webinar I have to do for school). Similarly, Thursdays is Student Night at Seymour, lift tickets are $22 for students – so if any students are up for skiing on a Thursday night, let me know that too! []
  4. Translation: I hope to hit the slopes a few more times this year. []
  5. For example, my ski jacket doesn’t even have a hood! No hood = frozen Beth! []
  6. Thanks Mom! []
  7. Other than the ones that cost $300+, which I wasn’t willing to spend. Or the ones that are Spyder brand, because they have a freaking spider-shaped logo on them and I just *can’t* wear a pair of pants with a freaking spider on them. The salesguy clearly thought I was crazy when I told him this, but seriously. Spiders. GAH! []
  8. And I certainly would not have been able to fit long johns underneath for particularly cold days []
  9. Truthfully, I think it was just the different styles of the pants. If they’d had a medium in the style that I tried on small, it probably would have been fine, and vice versa for the pair that I tried on the medium. []

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My Frogs Are In The Family Way!

My frogs are going to be parents!

The day before yesterday I noticed that Torpedo looked like she had some translucent eggs coming out of, for lack of a better word, her bum1! From what I’d read about frog mating, the male latches onto the female and she does somersaults, releasing eggs, which the male then fertilizes. I thought that perhaps we didn’t have any males because the eggs were coming out of her without any mating activity, but I still made sure to keep an eye on the tank and, lo and behold, last night I found 2 fertilized frog eggs2 floating on the surface!

I’d read that, left to their own devices, frogs will eat their own eggs or, if the eggs go unnoticed, they will definitely eat the tadpoles because they are attracted by the movement. So we scooped up the two eggs and put them into a bowl of water that we keep next to the tank, at the ready for topping up the tank3.

This is what an African dwarf frog egg looks like in high def:

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The brown circle is the egg. The two little circles beside it are bubbles and I think that’s just a hair underneath it. Because frogs eggs don’t actually look like a frowny face with a giant nose.

Apparently the survival rate of the tadpoles is quite low – even if you have perfect water conditions – so I was disappointed that we only had 2 eggs. So imagine my surprise when I came home from work today and there were 40 more eggs!

They are very tiny, so it’s hard to get a good photo of them, but here’s a few floating on the surface of the bowl of water that we are affectionately calling “The Nursery”:

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And here’s a top view of The Nursery:

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Can you believe something that tiny develops into a whole frog?! Isn’t Biology awesome?!

I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, as I know that it’s very hard to get the eggs to hatch and then to get the tadpoles to survive to become froglets and then to get the froglets to survive to adult size so that they can go back in the tank with our other froggies. But ohmygod I want baby froglets!

Here’s one of the frogs looking at the bowl of water The Nursery from inside his tank:

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I think he’s the dad, but he’s demanding a DNA test before he’s willing to pay any froglet support.

  1. OK, technically the word is her “cloaca”, but I figured you wouldn’t know what that was. Well, except for Erika & Linda, who would totally know what that is because they are zoologists. So I suppose I should say “for lack of a better word that anyone other than Erika or Linda would know). []
  2. You can tell it’s fertilized because it’s brown instead of translucent. []
  3. Water seems to evaporate quite quickly from the tank, so we have to top it up every few days. We prep the water by putting this dechlorination stuff into it, so we always keep a bowl of it handy. []

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November Three-way Challenge of Awesomeness

Sloth BethThe other day in an email exchange, it became apparent that Rick, Dan, and I were feeling like a trio of sloths. Due to various things and stuff1, the three of us – who are usually running, yogaing, hiking, P90Xing, hockeying, and various other sorts of physical activity-ing – have not being doing all these various sorts of physical activity, resulting is said sloth-feelings.

Further emails determined that what we needed was a Challenge with a capital C! A Challenge that would shake us from our slothy ways and get us back on track to being our usual state of awesome awesomeness. And thus the November Three-way Challenge of Awesomeness was born.

Sloth DanThe rules of the Challenge are thus:

  • We must do some sort of concerted physical activity – doesn’t matter if it’s cardio, stretching, strength training, etc. every single day in November
  • The second rule of the November Three-way Challenge of Awesomeness is that you *must* talk about the November Three-way Challenge of Awesomeness. Where “talk” = log the activity in the Spreadsheet of Awesomeness2.

Those are all of the rules.

Sloth RickBy doing the challenge together, we have encouragement and community. By having a shared spreadsheet, we become accountable for our actions. Sloth-like inaction = no entry on the spreadsheet = 🙁

And no one wants to be a 🙁

So, come Thursday, expect Rick, Dan, and I to be focused on being active, being healthy, and being awesome. Words of encouragement and suggestions of excellent ideas for physical activity will be much appreciated!

Image credits for original photos (which I may have touched up a wee bit):

  1. Where things and stuff include such things and stuff as work, school, flooded condos, travel, attending weddings, just to name a few. []
  2. A Spreadsheet of Awesomeness is a spreadsheet in which one tracks awesomeness. Obviously. []

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Hike It!

As you may recall, my friend Rick won the Big Mountain Challenge where he and Dan got a trip to Banff and Lake Louise to do some amazing hikes, got pampered at swanky Banff and Lake Louise spas, AND raised $26,762 for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Well, he and Dan completed all the necessary hikes (and then some) and, on the very last hike, were greeted at the top of the mountain by the press, the mayor of Banff, a bunch of other dignitaries, and an oversized novelty cheque for the Kidney Foundation of Canada! Here’s the video:

I am so jealous that I’ve never received an oversized novelty cheque1! But even more, I’m so proud of Rick and Dan, for all their hard work to win this contest and then do all the crazy mountain climbing. Way to go guys!

  1. Perhaps that needs to go on my next 101 list! []

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FaceTime With The Doctors

I’m doing a presentation at an All Staff meeting at work next week on “A Day in the Life of the Evaluation Specialist”. I figure since most people have no idea what I do and about half the time I get introduced as an epidemiologist, this might be a neat opportunity to spread the word about the profession and all the wonderfulness that is evaluation1.

I am not an epidemiologist

I am not an epidemiologist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my best friends are epidemiologists.

So I’ve been thinking about all the cool stuff I do and, more specifically, what cool visuals I could use to represent said cool stuff2. Well, one of the cool things I’m doing is collaborating on a grant application with Dr. Dan. And when one collaborates with someone who is thousands of kilometers away, one must avail themselves of modern conveniences. Like FaceTime. And so today I badgered Dr. Dan into a Facetime photo shoot.

This is the shot I’m going to use in my presentation:
Facetime

We look like we are engaged in, and enjoying, talking about our science-y brain thoughts!

But, of course, a photo shoot with the likes of the two of us couldn’t help but go from reasonable shots of us FaceTiming, like this:

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… to something like this:

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Dr. Dan, deep in thought

 

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Dr. Dan, even deeper in thought

 

 

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Trying to actually capture a picture of Dr. Dan’s deep thoughts by photographing his brain through his eyeball. That’s totally scientifically possible.

 

 

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Dr. Dan highly approves of our grant application plans.

 

 

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The science is so bright, we need sunglasses!

 

Of course, I’ll post my Prezi once I have it finished, because I know that you are all dying to know how an Evaluation Specialist spends her days!

  1. Also, I’m an attention whore. []
  2. Because I have a hate on for text in presentation slides. []

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Things My Brother-In-Common-Law Taught Me

Jeff & a giant pina colada

In my ongoing birthday series of Things That Important People in My Life Have Taught Me, it’s time for a birthday shout out to my brother-in-common-law1, Jeff.

What Absolute Niceness Looks Like

The very first time I met Jeff was on a trip back to Toronto for Christmas. I arrived during the day when my sister was at work, but since Jeff works from home, he was there to greet me and right from the get go, I could tell this was one of the nicest people I’d ever meet. And for Christmas that year, he made me a  Flying Spaghetti Monster. Now, remember, this is someone that had never met me before, yet he spent untold hours designing and creating the best FSM I’ve *ever* seen – and which I always get compliments on whenever anyone sees it – for my Christmas present. He also built a spreadsheet to crunch all my financial data to help me figure out the best way to get my student loans paid off and my RRSPs built up. Jeff is the guy that will help anyone out without even thinking twice. He’s the guy who fixes a hole in the neighbours’ basement when a raccoon got inside – and these are neighbours that he barely even know! Jeff is the guy who goes over to my cousin’s place for lunch and ends up fixing their washing machine. Jeff is the guy who spends his weekends doing runs to the local dump to help my mom clean up my dad’s stuff. And he really, truly never expects anything in return.

That One Can Be Talented At Many, Many Things

Computer geek. Chef. Crafter  (Did I mention the Flying Spaghetti Monster? And my niece’s amazing Halloween costumes?). Camping guru. Home renovation specialist. Jeff is an expert at all these things and more! And his multi-expertise inspires me -whether it’s to make one of his delicious recipes for dinner or to craft a FSM of my own!

What a Great Dad Looks Like

Jeff’s kindness, combined with his brilliance at many, many things, lead him to being one of the best parents I’ve ever seen. He’s so patient and such a good teacher and he always seems to know exactly what his kids need when they need it. Whenever there’s an issue, he helps my niece figure out how to solve it – teaching her important things like problem solving, creativity, and responsibility. And fun! If I get to be a parent, I’m definitely going to be applying all the things that I’ve learned from watching Jeff with my niece and nephew!

Happy 38th birthday, Jeff!

  1. i.e., my sister’s partner []

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Guess Who’s Moving?

Escape From Surrey

Because I figured I don’t have enough stressful things going on in my life, I’m moving. Devon and I have found a place in New West and we are moving mid-March. In the long run, it’s actually going to make my life double plus good, but in the short run, I’ve got a lot of packing to do!

Some random points:

  • I have already commenced Operation Eat-Everything-In-My-Freezer-So-I-Don’t-Have-To-Move-It.
  • Does anyone have any boxes they want to give me?

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I’m Compensating for My Tiny Name

Today I got a most excellent email informing me that my application for the Credentialed Evaluator designation was successful! This designation is bestowed by the Canadian Evaluation Society on those who can demonstrate that they possess the skills of a competent, ethical, and awesome evaluator. In addition to demonstrating my awesomeness, this designation also allows me to add to more letters behind my name – C.E.

Since I only have 8 letters *in* my name, I have been on an ongoing quest to add more letters after my name1. For the record, my name is now:

Beth Snow, B.Sc.(Hons.), M.Sc., Ph.D., C.E.

That’s nearly twice as many letters *after* my name as are in my name!

And it also means that I can now knock off one more item on my list of goals for 2011 – with a day to spare!

  1. See also: MBA. []