Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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And I Was SO Planning To Do That On The Bus

Saw this on the bus on the way to the hockey game yesterday:


A Not So Brief History Of Cars I’ve Owned

ZOMG, I love my new Smart Car.  I still can’t believe it’s mine mine mine!  It has new car smell.  And it’s shiny!  I’ve never understood before why people do things like wash their car or vacuum their car or not leaving their car full of empty coffee cups1 and various other pieces of garbage. Until now. I’m seriously thinking of places to drive to, just to have an excuse to drive it!

Of course, this is the first new car I’ve ever owned. I’ve owned cars before, but they’ve been of the decades-old-rust-bucket variety.  The kind that are so cheap that a starving student can buy them with the meagre bit of money they have and insurance for it is dirt cheap because why would you insure a decades-old-rust-bucket for more than the bare minimum anyway?  I’m of the philosophy that if you are gong to own a car, it should be something awesome (like, say,  a Ferrari) that you totally, totally love or it should be a most ridiculous piece of trash that anyone in their right mind would be embarassed to own and you totally, totally love it.  Either way, you get good stories out of it.

The first car I drove was my parents’ Jeep.  A silver ’86 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer.  And it was probably the worst car ever made.  It went through something like 3 engines and 8 transmissions.  God, that thing was a piece of crap.  On the plus side, my sister and I got to drive it when we were in high school and not everyone has a car in high school, right?  My mom never got a driver’s license, so as soon as my sister got hers, my dad bought the pick-up truck he’d always wanted but could never justify having because we needed at least one vehicle that fit our family of four and really, how could he justify having two vehicles with only one driver in the family?  After high school, my sister went to the Ontario College of Art and so moved to Toronto, where the transit system is very, very good.  When I was done high school, I went to McMaster, so I moved to Hamilton, where the transit system is very, very not good.  And so I got the Jeep.  This would have been around 1996.  The thing somehow lasted a couple more years and finally gave up the ghost around 1998.

scan by you.

It’s not a very good photo, but it’s the only one of the Jeep
that I can find.
That’s my sister, showing off a shirt
that she painted a picture on, but in the background is the Jeep!

And that was when I bought my beloved ’89 Honda Civic. It was 10 years old, had a manual transmission and I believe cost $2,000.  I had her for a few years in Ontario and then brought her out to Vancouver when I moved here.  In all that time, I never once had any engine problems.  The brakes had to be fixed after towing her from Ontario to BC (it was never really clear what happened, but when we took her off the towing trailer when we got here, the brakes just didn’t work anymore), but that was really the only mechanical issue we had.   It was an amazing little car – by the end, it had a 402,798 km on it, was more rust than car (too many Ontario winters did it in), the passenger door didn’t open (so passengers had to get in through the driver’s side door) and trunk didn’t close fully.  Oh yeah, and the gas gauge didn’t work – it always said the tank was full, regardless of how much gas was in it, so you pretty much just had to fill it up all the time, just in case. But I didn’t care, I still loved that car.

scan0012 by you.

My beloved Civic. Image credit: me! on Flickr

She died at Granville & W. 70th Avenue when my ex2 and I were driving back from the airport after dropping off my friend Kaede, who had been visiting.  She stalled at a couple of intersections, but we managed to get her started again, but when she stalled at Granville and W. 70th, there was no bringing her back.  My ex had been rear ended in it a few days before and I maintain that the car was being held together by rust and getting hit resulted in the rust getting knocked loose and so her insides fell apart.  A homeless person helped us push her off the road and into a parking lot3 and that was the end of my beloved Honda Civic.

Civic Odometer by you.

Image credit: me! on Flickr

After the Civic, we bought a little red Dodge Colt and it was OK, but I never loved it the way I loved my Civic.

Photo Not Available by you.

I know I have a picture of it somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can find it.

Then my ex and I broke up and he took the car, but killed it shortly thereafter as it had an oil leak and he didn’t replace the oil and you know what’s not good for an engine? No oil, that’s what.

After the divorce, this became my main mode of transportation:

20070924-3 - Blurry cars, buses and trains by roland.

Image credit: roland on Flickr

As proof, here’s a photo of me and some friends on a bus.

IMG_0956 by you.

Image credit: me on Flickr

Oh, the good ole’ bus!

In 2007 I supplemented my bus pass with this:

car co-op by velkr0.

Image credit: velkr0 on Flickr

The bus served me well most of the time – I live one block from a bus stop and it’s only a 15 min bus ride to my current office and a 15 min bus ride in the other direction to UBC for teaching. But the one thing the bus couldn’t do was get me to hockey. In 2007, I joined a hockey team that plays in Coquitlam on Sundays and you can’t get there by bus. So the Car Co-op was the perfect solution – it allowed me access to a car for my once per week hockey games, but I didn’t have to pay for having a car the rest of the time, when I didn’t need it.  An average month of using the Car Co-op to get me to hockey once a week cost, all told4, about $130.  Which is less that you’d pay for insurance on a new car. And that has worked for me for the past two years.

Enter: the new job.  The new job, which I’m starting in just more than a week, requires me to use a car 5 days a week .  Well, unless I want to take the bus an hour and 40 minutes each way, which I most certainly do not. Plus, I’ll need to do some driving around for the job itself, which is difficult to do without a car.  And at that level of usage the Car Coop actually becomes more expensive than having your own car. And so, enter the Smart Car.  My first ever brand new car. And I love it so so so so much5.

IMG_4871 by you.

Look how cute it is! Cute cute cute!  And safe and fun to drive and ridiculously good on gas!  I have decided that I am, in fact, going to name her Zaphod Beeblebrox the Car6,7.

IMG_4797 by you.

Me and Zaphod.
Or “the Beeb” as I like to call her.

Anyone wanna go for a drive?

1As the last time I owned the car I wasn’t quite the travel-mug-using-hippie I am today and I used to get paper cups. *hangs head in shame* From Tim Horton’s. Which I now find to be very not good. Like undrinkably ungood. But I digress.
well, he wasn’t my “ex” at the time.
3A lot of people honked at us and yelled at us to get out of the intersection (as if we were just sitting in the intersection for fun!), but only the homeless guy offered to help us.
4That includes the use of the car, maintenance, gas, insurance, BCAA and tax.
5My friend Alicia used to work for a company that had Smart cars as their company cars and she *hated* them. We have agreed to disagree on this.
6“the Car” is to differentiate my Zaphod from Zaphod Beeblebrox the First, the Second, the Third, the Nothingth, etc.
7Kalev is loudly and vehemently protesting this name8, which he believes is horrid and, despite being on the brink of getting his British citizenship, he hates British humour. We have agreed to loudly and vehemently disagree about both of these issues.
8He is referring to Zaphod as “Dr. Car” instead.


Bad Words

While trying to think of something to blog about, I decided to check out my drafts, as I have a bunch o’ half written blog postings.  Figured maybe there was something in there that would inspire me.  And I discovered that there was a fully written blog posting that I was fully sure I’d posted already.  Weird.  Anyway, for what it’s worth, here it is!

So, I think that my niece may want to reconsider her belief that only my dad’s “other daughter” says bad words.

I seem to be saying lots of bad words lately. And not only am I saying bad things, but I’m saying them on the record. In important places. Like during lecture1.

In my last three lectures, I’ve managed to work in the topics of dead rat fetuses, binge drinking and untreated syphilis.  I may also have stated that the whistle blower who got the Tuskegee Syphilis Study2 shut down said: “this is bullshit.” For the record, I had legitimate reasons to talk about dead rat fetuses and binge drinking and untreated syphilis. And the Tuskegee Syphilis Study was bullshit. Bullshit is a very nice word for describing it, actually. I can think of a few other choice words. Like ones my father’s other daughter would use.

Another place I managed to work in bad language a research study that I’m taking part in3. It’s a study where you have to spit in a test tube and take some tests and play some games (long story). Anyway. One of tests is that you have one minute to say all the words you can think of that start with a certain letter. And the first letter they gave me was F. Seriously. F. The next letter they gave me was S, and then an A. So, really, they were asking for it.

In completely unrelated news, a girl on the bus right now is telling her friend (also a girl) that she should have sex with some other girl (“you know, like, hypothetically”) but the second girl doesn’t think the other girl is “down with girls.” You know, just in case you were wondering. And now their other friend, a guy, just yelled out “epididymis!” at the top of his lungs.

1Where I’m the one lecturing. You have to do something to keep your audience amused when class starts at 8 a.m., don’t you?.
2The Tuskegee Syphllis Study, for those who don’t know, was a horrific experiment perpetrated on impoverished black men in Tuskegee, Alabama starting in 1932 and lasting for 40 years until said whistle blower called “bullshit” and went to the press. I say “perpetrated on” because the men in the study didn’t know they were in a study, weren’t told they had syphilis, and they were denied treatment even after penicillin was found to cure syphilis.  They were told that the experimental tests being done on them was medical care (remember, they were impoverished and didn’t have access to any medical care) and researchers even had a deal with the US Army to prevent the Army from telling any of the men who were drafted that they had syphilis and from providing them any treatment.  Most of the men died, many of their wives were infected and many of their children were born with congenital syphilis.  So, yeah, total bullshit.
3Taking part in studies, my astute readers will recall, is on my 101 in 1001 list.  I’d already done the first part of the study prior to my 101 list, but was invited to participate in stages 2 (which consists of two sessions), so I think that should count as one of the five


Never been so happy to see the rain

People who haven’t shoveled the snow from the sidewalk in front of your houses: I hate you, I hate you, you suck, I hate you.

I actually saw a little old lady virtually disappear into a snow bank getting off the bus last night.  The bus driver had to get off the bus and fish her out of the snow bank.  True story.

Dude who was shoveling my street when I got home from work: You rock.

Seriously. Dude was shoveling the street, by hand. Because Vancouver doesn’t plow side streets. Ever. Even when we get 3 ft of snow.  They assume that it will just rain and wash away the snow.  Even when we get 3 ft of snow and sub-zero temperatures for weeks and so the snow just sits there and sits there and traps unsuspecting drivers who try to drive on side streets.  Yesterday, in a mere two block span on my way from the office to catch the bus, I saw FOUR cars stuck in the snow. FOUR!

Mercifully, it is now raining and hopefully this means the snow will melt away and we can have our beautiful rainy Vancouver back.

Rain: I’ve missed you. Welcome home!


Overheard On The Bus

So I’m on the bus yesterday and some guy is yammering really loudly to his friend. Like, so loud that I can hear him despite the fact that I had my iPod turned all the way up in an attempt to drown out the horrible singing of this other women on the bus. So I turn off my iPod to see what is so important that this guy felt the need to proclaim it for all the bus to hear.  And you know what he was saying?  He was saying, “I can’t believe how inconsiderate people are talking really loudly on their cell phones on the bus!  Do they not realize how inconsiderate this is?  Do they really think that everyone on the bus wants to hear their conversation?  I think we should make it unacceptable to do this in society. We could be prejudiced against this behaviour. Maybe we could give them tickets for talking too loudly on their cell phones.”  And he went on like this for like five minutes. Seriously.


Blog Posting From the Bus

Oh, how I love my little Palm Pilot keyboard1. Here I am on the bus, traveling from work-related event #1 to work-related event #22, but writing a blog posting that I can upload from my beautiful Hermione when I get home tonight.

Had my first real class yesterday – last week’s class was more of just an introduction to the course. It’s a seminar style course, so most of it will be students presenting stuff (debates & seminars), but this week I gave a lecture on “Thinking About Thinking” to set the stage for all the student-directed learning and debating that the students will be doing. I usually avoid blogging about my work, but I do have a few general things I’d like to say (it’s all pretty innocuous, so I think I’m safe to say it):

  • My class seems pretty cool. Lots of interesting ideas – I can’t wait to see all the seminar presentations they are going to be giving and debate arguments they will be coming up with.
  • I was surprised when I asked my class if anyone used Twitter and only one of my 42 students raised their hand.  I guess because I hang out with a lot of tech-savy at-risk youth3, I forget that most of the world isn’t drowning in social media the way I am.
  • I actually presented my “research paper” on the Count to my class yesterday. You know, the one that showed a correlation between childhood attitude towards the Count from Seseame Street and mathematical ability later in life? No really, I did. We were talking about how “correlation is not necessarily causation,” so I used my paper as an example of how, although we showed a correlation, we cannot conclude from that any causation…. We know that kids who were scared of the Count went on to be adults that aren’t good at math, but this doesn’t prove that being scared of the Count causes people to be bad at math. Perhaps people with a propensity to be bad at math get scared off of the Count because he’s doing math (i.e., being bad at math CAUSES a fear of the Count). Perhaps there’s a confounder – maybe people who have a genetic tendency to fear the colour purple have a genetic tendency to be bad at math, and so both fear of the Count and poor math abilities are CAUSED by a scared-of-purple-plus-bad-math gene. The point is that although we can speculate as to why these two things are correlated, these are just speculations (or hypotheses) that we would have to go on to test. Correlation does not prove causation. Which makes my paper legitimate, since it’s been presented in a university class. No, really.
  • For the record, I wore this skirt and this shirt to class.  And for class #1, I went with Stacia’s suggestion and wore this outfit.

1which needs a name, now that I think about it. The Palm Treo is Hermione, so I’m tentatively thinking about naming the keyboard Ron Weasley.
2I’m not sure how I ended up with two work-related events – both major launches – today, as I very rarely have any work-related events. Mostly, I’m just happy that since I have to travel around the city to said events, it’s nice and sunny and warm out. It’s hard to sit in my office and look out at the sunshine, and often when I do have to go out, it’s raining.
3OK, they aren’t really at-risk or youth, but my friends are tech savvy. And 25 points for the first person to identify where I stole the phrase “tech savvy, at-risk youth” from.


Knee Injury Update

Today on the bus, a guy tapped me on the shoulder1 and said, “You know what would clear that knee up? Turmeric. You know, the spice?” Um, ok. I actually thought my knee was healing quite nicely.

One day after the epic knee scraping

One day after the epic knee scraping

After 13 days of healing

After 13 days of healing

And really, what would help it clear up is refraining from picking at the scab2.

1I was listening to my iPod at the time, so he to do this to get my attention.
2Too much information?


Hockey Tournament Recap

This is our goalie, Megs, at dinner on our first night in Vegas. Her shirt (and she had those shirts made up for everyone on the team because she *totally friggin’ rocks*!) pretty much sums up our weekend at the Lady Luck Cup hockey tournament in Las Vegas.

Highlights of the trip:

  • the U.S. border guard who asked us to explain what a “hockey tournament” is. Seriously.
  • these randoms from Ottawa who met some of our team on the Thursday night showed up to watch our game on Saturday morning. Apparently when it’s 6 a.m. and you are still in the casino after a night of drinking and gambling an idea like “hey, we should go watch those girls play hockey!” sounds like such a good idea that you wake your friends up and drag them off to the arena. Unfortunately, these dudes ended up at the wrong arena¹ and after a $100+ cab ride trying to find the arena, they showed up after our game had ended. We let them ride back to the Strip on the bus with us² and I’m sure that at this very moment, they are bragging to all their friends “… and then we were on the bus with a hockey team full of hot chicks!”
  • Speaking of $100+ cab rides, one of our players accidentally paid $109 for a $10 cab ride by mistaking a $100 for a $1 bill³. She more than made up for it, though, by winning $2300 on friggin’ slot machines!
  • The buffet at Paris was so ridiculously awesome. Crème brûlée4 to die for!
  • Picture this: there’s about 2 minutes left in our first game, we are down like 9-0 and our one an only fan yells out at the top of his lungs, “There’s plenty of time left!”
  • Apparently the other teams in the tournament, all of whom were from Canada btw5, went to Vegas to actually play hockey. We, however, thought the competition had more to do with maximizing the consumption of alcohol containing beverages while minimizing the number of hours slept. Thus, things like going to the arena, putting on our gear or moving in such a way as would result in skating-like motions/stick handling/shooting pucks anywhere near the opposing team’s net were not among our favourite events of the weekend. Some of our more stellar moves in the tournament included:
    • when our two defenceman were fighting over who had to go and get the puck: “No, you go and get it.” “No, YOU go and get it.”
    • the defenceman who would just stand and wave at the other team as they went by on a breakaway. Buh-bye!
    • the way the goalie would break out into laughter every time the other team scored. She was to explain later that her thought process was something like this: “Oh hey, there goes a puck. Wait, I was supposed to stop that, wasn’t I?”
  • At the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay5 they let me touch a stingray!

Lowlights of the trip:

  • Nuh uh! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so you aren’t getting any of the good dirt from me here!

I’m relatively certain that I’m forgetting a tonne of other things (some of which I’m not even intentionally leaving out to protect the, uh, innocent), but I’m way exhausted and must go to sleep RIGHT NOW! If I remember anything else of note, I’ll post an update. Srsly, must sleep now!

¹Who knew that Vegas had more than one arena. Or, as they like to call them, “ice centres.”
²Which may or may not have been because they bought us a couple of cases of beer.
³Stupid American money that all looks the same!
4No relation to Gilbert.
5Seriously, we went to Vegas to play teams from BC and Alberta. There was a team from Saskatchewan in the women’s division, but we didn’t play them.
6Check out my photos from the Aquarium, including some person dipping their 5-year-old into the tank to touch the sting rays, here.


Off To The Great White North!

This afternoon, I’m off to Yellowknife!

In honour of my trip to the great white north, I bought a hat. A hat to replace the one I lost on the subway in Toronto on my trip there over the holidays. I have a matching pair of mittens, but the mittens are on a string… you know, like 3-year-olds have, so they won’t lose their mittens. Seriously, I lost the hat because it wasn’t on a string that was attached to my body.

Anyway. I really, *really* liked that hat. And, fortunately, the place I bought it from still had them, so I was able to get a new one:

Some random facts about Yellowknife:

  • Population: 18,700 (compared to: GM Place holds 18,630 people for a hockey game)
  • Average high temperature in March: -11.2 degrees Celsius
  • Margot Kidder (better known as Lois Lane in the Superman movies) was born there.

I also wanted to share with you this cool animation I found on Wikipedia,showing the evolution of the provinces and territories of Canada:

I was surprised to see that, at one point, much of our country was part of the Northwest Territories!

Image credit: From, republished here under the terms of this copyleft license


A Question

Dear girl on the bus with the Paris Hilton gigantic sunglasses and the square-tipped French manicured talons and the frosted pink super shiny lipstick,Do you know that you look like an idiot?