Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Procrastibaking

I had a weekend of classes this past weekend, with papers due and presentations to be prepped and oodles and oodles of case studies and book chapters to read. So, naturally, Thursday night I found myself baking1.

I forgot to take a picture of the chocolate fudge oat bars that I made, but they pretty much looked like the picture on the page from which I took the recipe. They were made with all things bad for you – butter and white flour and sugar and sweetened condensed milk, which must be ounce-for-ounce the highest calorie substance on earth – and therefore were pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.

Procrastination FTW2!

  1. I have a classmate who actually painted her house in the most productive bout of procrastinating – procrastipainting? – I’ve ever heard of, so in the grand scheme of things, baking is pretty minor. []
  2. Except in the losing weight department. Then it is a procrastination epic fail. []

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Procrastination Doesn’t Pay

Two years ago, I registered for the Royal Victoria half marathon, but training – not so much and so I ended up with an injured foot.

This year, I’ve been training for the Royal Victoria half marathon, but registering – not so much.  And now, despite it being almost a month away, they are *sold out*!

I didn’t even know that could happen! Whenever you register for a marathon, there is always a list of prices based on the date on which you register: “Register by July 15” = $65, “Register by Sept 15” = $75, “Register between Sept 15 and race day” = $85.  Which, you know, kind of implies that you can still register up until the day of.  Apparently not.  When I went onto their website to register today1 or I could register for the 8 km2, but not the half3.

So why didn’t I register earlier, you ask? In my typical procrastination fashion4, I was sort of afraid to register in case I was a bit fat failure in the training department5.  So now6, I’m contemplating doing the Seattle marathon in late November instead. But I’m choked that I can’t do the Victoria half – I was really looking forward to it!

So let this be a lesson to you, children. Winners don’t procrastinate!

  1. as I’d put it into my calendar that today was the deadline to not have to pay the more expensive late registration fee), a taunting “half marathon sold out” greeted me.   I could register for the full marathon if I wanted ((I dont’ []
  2. I might []
  3. for which I’ve been training []
  4. there will be a long-winded, naval-gazing-y posting coming on this topic… where I get around to it []
  5. especially after I found out that my training buddy, Alicia, is preggers and can’t run the half with me. Alicia motivated me to get out and do the training for the Vancouver half – we scheduled our long runs together every week and that always made sure I got out there. I wasn’t actually sure I’d do it on my own []
  6. and by “now” I mean as of about 3 minutes ago, when I Googled it []

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#9 – Book Review: Eat That Frog

Hot off the heels of listening to my first audiobook in the car on the way to and from work, I decided to see if the library had the next book on my list to read: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy.  This is the one I found on in e-format!

It's a frog eat frog world by Mark SurmanEat That Frog is a book about not procrastinating.  Basically, it tells you to stop procrastinating already.  I mean, it did have some tips in it – the main one, which he states over and over again – is to figure out which task is your main priority (i.e., which task if going to get you the biggest and best results) and then do it.  Make it the first thing you do in the morning – don’t dilly dally checking your email, chatting to co-workers, or doing other low (or no) value tasks.  Just do it. I was hoping there would be some sure fire way to kick my butt out of procrastination mode, but this book just told me to set my mind to it and then do it.  But I wanted a magic bullet!!

Also, he does say a few things that are just a bit ridculous:

  • he claimes you should get 8 hours of sleep a night, at least 30 minutes of exercise per day1, read a full hour every day on your field to become more expert, take a full day per week off from any work, go into work a little bit early and stay a little bit late everyday, eat healthy (no junk food – meaning you’ll spend a fair amount of time grocery shopping, cooking & cleaning up after)…. it just doesn’t seem there’s enough hours in the day to do all he says
  • he also contradicts himself – at one point, he talks about spending time with family & friends as being the most important thing – it’s why you want to work more efficiently, so you’ll have time to socialize and be part of the community. Then he admonishes you not to “waste time” talking with your co-workers.
  • It seems like he makes us numbers. I mean, this might just be the academic in me coming out (why aren’t you citing your sources?? Oh right, it’s a book for the general public, not the New England Journal of Medicine!), but he throws around things like “doing X will make you 2, 3 or even 4 x more effective!” and “50% of a worker’s time is spent doing Y!” without every referencing where this comes from2.
  • He takes a page out of the Stuart Smalley handbook, pretty much telling you that you should be saying “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and gosh darnit, people like me!  Except that I don’t talk with any of them at work because they are not a value use of my time.”

Also, one of his suggestions was to listen to education audio programs, such as this one, while in your car.  The average worker “wastes” 20 billion hours a year driving, so why not make it productive by learning stuff?  And I was all “I *am* listening to this in my car!”  And then I felt superior.

In fairness, since reading3 this book, I have decided to make more of a conscious effort to do my most important task first thing in the morning (instead of my usual email checking) and to even have my e-newsletters not show up in my inbox, so I don’t get distracted by them and can scan through them all at once, in a more efficient way, rather than being constantly jolted out of my important work when I see “ooh, there’s something in my inbox! Must check now!!”  It’s not like I didn’t know that I should do this, but I decided to actually challenge myself – since apparently no one is about to give me a magic anti-procrastination bullet!

1Citing the old recommendations. Current recommendations are to exercise an hour a day, so he’ll need to update that.
2Note to self: get hands on a hardcopy of this book and check for references!
3er, listening to

Image credit: Mark Surman on Flickr. And yes, that is a frog eating a frog. Which I found by doing a Flickr search for Creative Commons-licensed photos using the search term “eat that frog.” I love the Internet.

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Read about the charity that I’m supporting, Options for Sexual Health!

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I will not procrastinate

I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.
I will not procrastinate preparing my PowerPoint slides and thus stay up ’til 2 a.m. before my 8 a.m class.

So. Very. Tired.

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Pitch My Blog

As you know, I‘m off to BlogHer tomorrow! Well, the introductory brochure for Blogher suggests that I come prepared with a pitch for my blog1 and, since I’m the Queen of Procrastination, I’m just getting to thinking about this now.

Picture this: someone at BlogHer will ask me, “What’s your blog about?” and I will say… um… I will say… um… Ya, so this is where you guys come in – what the hell am I supposed to say? I’m always stumped when I’m asked this question and usually answer something like this: “Well, it’s a just a personal blog2. I kinda write about whatever comes off the top of my head. I write sometimes about hockey. And weird things that I do. And funny stuff I find on the Internets. And people/places/things that piss me off. So, um, ya.”

See! I need your help! If you were to try to explain to someone what my blog is about, in two sentences or less, what would you say?

1And it specifically says that “I just have a personal blog” is not an acceptable answer.
2See footnote 1.

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Why Do I Find This Hard to Believe?

Just received this message in my Facebook inbox:

Attention all Facebook membeRs.

Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated,There have been many
members complaining that Facebookis becoming very slow.Record shows that the
reason isthat there are too many non-active Facebook membersAnd on the other
side too many new Facebook members.We will be sending this messages around to
see if theMembers are active or not,If you’re active please sendto other users
using Copy+Paste to show that you are activeThose who do not send this message
within 2 weeks,The user will be deleted without hesitation to create more
space,If Facebook is still overpopulated we kindly ask for donations but until
then send this message to all your friends and make sure you sendthis message to
show me that your active and not deleted.

Founder of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg

  • Call me crazy, but don’t we all know that Facebook tracks everything you do and has a wealth of information on our every move? Why would they need me to send an email and then have to check every email to see if this specific one had been sent to see if my account is “active”? Don’t they already know that I’ve posted on your wall, bit your zombie and Scrabbled your Scrabulous?
  • And isn’t Facebook keeping every piece of data ever entered for some nefarious, but as of yet unspecified, reason? Why would they make me sign over the rights to my every status update, book preference, top friend, picture and first born child only to then want to delete it?
  • Isn’t the whole point of Facebook to have as many people on it as possible? Why would they want to delete people? More people on Facebook = more ad revenue, no?
  • Speaking of revenue, you really expect us to believe that Facebook wants donations?
  • And what gives with the weird capitalizations and punctuation errors?

OK, clearly, I have way too much time on my hands today. It’s not like I’m leaving on a jet plane tonight and haven’t packed, wrapped my presents or planned the course I have to start teaching in January.1

1I had a nightmare on Sunday about this. I was in my classroom for my first lecture and I hadn’t prepared and I had NO idea what I was supposed to be teaching. Perhaps I sign that I should learn the stuff I’m supposed to be teaching, eh?

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Procrastination

Sure, I could be working on, say, planning the course that I’m teaching in January, about which I know very little thus far1. Or, say, developing the activities for the class of grade 3-5 students that I’m working with in January. Or even, say, doing my Christmas shopping. Or hell, I could be getting ready to go out for my pre-12 Bars brunch, followed directly by the 12 Bars itself.

But no. I’m playing this. Repeatedly. If I could last for at least 5 seconds in this game, I think I’d be satisfied. But I have yet to last longer than 4.8 seconds. Bah!

Update: The problem was I was trying to use my touchpad mouse thingy on my laptop. This does not work. Playing with a real mouse: 16.3 seconds!

1Yup, it’s true. Your university instructors have to teach themselves the material before they teach it to you. Only I get paid to do it, and then you pay for the honour of learning from me that which I taught to myself. Seriously.

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OK, so THIS is the least useful email I’ve ever received

So, I get into work this morning and the hallway is abuzz with the fact that our computers aren’t working. No email. No Internet access. No access to the one drive where everyone in our Centre saves all of our files. Nothing.

Two and a half hours later, when they finally got around to fixing the problem, I find this email in my inbox:

From: IT Services
Subject:
IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION – NON-SCHEDULED INTERRUPTION TO

OUTLOOK EMAIL AND FILE/APPLICATION SERVERS

Who is affected? All XXXXX clients across all XXXXX agencies.

What has happened? A power disruption occurred sometime this morning in one of the server rooms at XXXXX.

What is affected? Access to Outlook email servers may be intermittent.

However, the following applications are currently unavailable: X, Y and Z.

Other applications may be affected. XXXXX IT is currently in the process of identifying which applications are affected and will provide a further update as soon as more information is available.

You just emailed me to tell me that my email isn’t working? Seriously??

So, without access to the Internet, email or any of my computer files, I did the only thing I could. File all the paper that’s been piling up all over my office since the last time the computers weren’t working.

This computer outage lasted so long, however, that not only did I file everything, I also wiped down all the coffee spills on my desk (of which there were many) and took apart my keyboard to get the crumbs out. Seriously, it was disgusting the amount of crumbs and dust and unidentifiable gunk that was in my keyboard.

While I had my computer apart, I took this photo for y’all:

blog

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Addicted to Scrabble

My name is Beth and I’m addicted to playing Scrabble online. And the thing is, I’m terrible at it. I don’t have the patience, the vocabulary or the inclination to do math that Scrabble requires. Jorge was giving me tips the other night, but I’m still no good. Yet…. I. can’t. stop. playing. it. As I type, I have 8 games on the go.

Perhaps I keep playing because I do things that amuse me, like this:

sex scrabble1

Hee hee. I played sex for 10 points.

Also, amusing is:

sex scrabble2

Hee hee. My rack.

It helps that I have the sense of humour of a 12 year old boy.

I will say, however, that I’m improving. As evidenced by this screenshot:

sex scrabble3

That’s right. I played sex for 30 points this time. I’m now officially 3 times better at playing sex. It must be true, because it’s on the internets.

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A scientific analysis of things that suck vs. things that rock

Dave from Touch You Last has returned from his lengthy, unexplained absence from the blogosphere, bringing with him his latest find: Sucks/Rocks. Now, don’t be confused like I was when I first read that title… I thought it was a site about things that “Suck Rocks.” In fact, determines if something “sucks” OR “rocks.” Dave’s explanation of the process:

“the site will search for all instances of positive phrase relating to your term versus negative phrases relating to your term (‘Peanut Butter Cups are wicked!’ as opposed to ‘I can’t stand me no goddamn Peanut Butter Cups!’) It then takes these positive and negative hits, factors in some complicated maths, and comes back with a ranking from 0 to 10, with 0 being a black hole of sucking, and 10 being something that rocks more than anything that has every rocked before.”

Now, being a scientist, I can’t just go using any tool without first performing an assessment of reliability and validity. First, reliability demands that the tool give a consistent answer. Dave’s analysis indicated that toques rock (with a score of 10) and american beer sucks (with a pathetic 0.3). As you can see from Figure 1, my analysis yields the same results:

Figure 1: Reliability Analysis

Thus, we can conclude that Sucks/Rocks is a reliable tool.

For something to be considered a valid tool, we have to make sure that it is accurate – in this case, that when Sucks/Rocks says that something sucks, it does, in fact, suck; and when it says that something rocks it does, in fact, rock. Since we know that things that suck, suck, and things that rock, rock, I decided to use the word “suck” as something that sucks, and “rock” as something that rocks for my validity assessment. Figure 2 demonstrates that Sucks/Rocks is a valid assessment tool:

Figure 2: Validity Analysis

Now that I have conclusively proven that Sucks/Rocks is a reliable and valid measure of that which sucks and that which rocks, I can use this new breakthrough in scientific analysis to test a few hypotheses. I decided to start out with an example for which we all know the answer, which will further strengthen my case that Sucks/Rocks is an accurate measure of suckiness and rockitude:

Figure 3: Canucks are superior to Leafs

Yup, as we all knew, the Canucks rock while the Leafs suck! I was a bit surprised that the Canucks only scored a 7 (as we all know that they are a perfect 10… I hope that my use of the word “uglification” near the word “Canucks” in my in-depth trade analysis didn’t decrease their score!). I suppose there is bound to be some margin of error.

Another thing we already knew:

Figure 4: Females are better than males

Interestingly, when I tested the phrase “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” I received this:

Figure 5: The Flying Spaghetti Monster works in mysterious ways

I’m pretty sure that this means that either (a) the FSM rocks so hard that he cannot be quantified, or (b) he used his noodly appendages to interfere with the tool, just because he can. I’m currently working on a grant proposal to investigate this line of research.

OK, so now that we know that Sucks/Rocks is an accurate way to make measurements and comparisons (except in cases where the Flying Spaghetti Monster chooses to interfere, which, of course, is true of all measurement tools), I feel confident that we can use it to determine definitively the answer to the age old question: Ninjas vs. Pirates?

Figure 5: The answer to an age old question