Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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If you sent me a Christmas card…

… it might be delayed getting to me:


That’s what the mailboxes in my building look like right now. I assumed some nefarious person had smashed into them for nefarious purposes, but apparently the mail carrier accidentally broke it and they had to send away for parts, so we aren’t getting mail in my building for a few more days (it has already looked like this for several days, but the strata council only just put up a sign explaining what happened and what the plan is).

If you didn’t send me a Christmas card, you can just tell me that you did and it must have gotten stolen out of the broken mailbox.


My Hideous New Running Shoes

Photos of my running shoes tend to be some of my most favourited photos on my Flickr account1. So my all the running shoe aficionados, here are some photos of my newest pair of running shoes.

New running shoes. So ugly.

New running shoes. So ugly.

Assuming the aficionados like fugly running shoes. As was the case when I bought my last pair2, the current theme for running shoe design is “garish”. I mean, I don’t like pink at the best of times, but paired with that green? The horror! The horror! However, it was the most comfortable of all the many shoes that I tried on, each of which were hideous in their own special way.

An aside: While I was buying my shoes, another woman was also in the store looking for some runners. She told the salesperson that she was just visiting from China, where she is currently working and she needed to buy shoes here because she wears a size women’s 9.5, which is impossible to find in China. She also said she was training for the Great Wall of China half marathon, which sounds like it would be so freaking awesome. And even after looking at this insane elevation map, I still kind of want to do that race someday!

  1. Other common favs include my friends and me in wetsuits in Tofino and these photos of all the places where I got needles for immunizations, blood tests, and a TB skin test. []
  2. By looking for that blog posting about when it was that I bought my previous pair of running shoes, I discovered that I’d had that pair for just over a year! A quick check of my Runkeeper log shows me that I’ve run about 900 km in these shows. 900 km! []


Holidays Begin

Written earlier today, on a plane where they don’t have the Internets.

On a plane, heading to see the fam in Toronto for the Christmas holidays. I’m strangely antsy – we’ve only been flying for an hour so far, but I’ve alternated between deciding I should nap, then that I should read and then flipping endlessly through my kobo trying to decide *what* to read1, finally settling on a book I’ve been meaning for read since forever: Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. But then halfway through the first chapter, despite it being very interesting and well written, I decided that I should be writing. The woman next to me is marking exams2, which is making me both slightly anxious – because it reminds me that somewhere out there, there’s a prof who either is, has, or soon will be marking the exam I wrote last weekend3 – and happy that I’m not marking exams right now4. I think my antsiness is, at least in part, due to my discomfort with having the freedom to actually *decide* what to do, as opposed to immediately moving on to the next assignment once the last one was completed. It’s been two years since I’ve had to make such decisions – I’m not sure I remember how!

Granted, I still have my industry project to complete – it’s a super cool project that I’m doing for work, but with the added bonus that I get to write it up as a paper and it counts for 1.5 credits, but also I have a supervisor from school who is advising me, so it’s kind of like having a high price consultant for free5. So I suppose I could be doing that right now, but I feel like I’m at a stage where I need to lay a bunch of different papers out over a big surface so I can sketch out my strategy, which isn’t very conducive to the tiny fold out table tray on this plane… plus all the papers I need are in my checked baggage. I figure I can work on that in this upcoming week as everyone will be working – and my niece and nephew will be in school and daycare, respectively – during the day.

I also have a bunch of other exciting plans for my trip to Toronto, including, in no particular order:

  • dinner with Jen & Jody at some trendy new restaurant that Jen knows6
  • the Ontario Science Centre with Sarah and her crew – and I get to meet the newest member of the MacDonald-McLean gang!
  • annual Christmas baking – non-cyber edition
  • an evening of nerding out with Dan and Rick7
  • making homemade eggnog
  • various family events
  • a creative project with my sister
  • a trip to the Aquarium – which was a gift for my niece’s birthday from my Aunt Lynn

And probably a bunch of other stuff that I’ve forgotten. Now that I look at that list, this might be the nerdiest Christmas I’ve had in a long time!

Ok, now that I’ve started thinking about my industry project paper, I’m starting to get all angsty that I should be working on it. And, really, there are some of the background pieces that I could work on writing up right now that don’t requiring spreading all of the paper in the world over a great big table. I should probably work on that now. Will post this once I get back to the land of the Internets!

  1. I’m currently already reading two books – Ender’s Game, which I’m reading as an audiobook while I do my treadmill running for the running study I’m in, so I want to save that to listen to while I’m running, and Born to Run, but I’m about 9/10ths of the way through that, but it’s a paper book and I didn’t want to have to carry that with me on the plane as I’m carrying all the electronics ever so my carry on bag is already way too heavy for my own good. []
  2. Incidentally, marking is one of my least favourite things to do… next to taking exams! []
  3. Despite the fact that I told myself when I started the MBA that I don’t care about my marks and I’m really just interested in what I’m learning… I kind of care about my marks. I can’t help it! Since the start of the program, I’ve gotten good marks and the more I got, the more felt like I was on a roll and didn’t want to break my streak! I managed to be above the class average in every course with the exception of two courses where I got exactly the class average, but both of those had quite high class averages, so I was OK with that. And now I just have one mark left to receive for the rest of my life – the one for the course that I wrote the exam in last Saturday. And even though grades mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things… I’m totally freaking out about it. Fingers crossed! []
  4. I am going to be teaching my stats course starting in January, so there is marking in my near future. But Future Beth can deal with that – December Beth is happily not carrying a giant pile of exams with her giant pile of techno-gadgets in her carry on. []
  5. Free, unless you count my massive tuition fee. []
  6. Last time I was in T.O., we did the after work (for them) dinner & drinks thing, and I was totally undressed as the Toronto business crowd is all suits and whatnot, and I was in casual attire that would fit in back in Vancouver. So this time I made sure to pack a dress and fancy boots. []
  7. Lest you doubt the level of nerdery of this event, the title of the Google Calendar invite is “The Researchiest Researchers Who Ever Did Research”. []


Executive Decision

Day 19So, I was planning to run the Vancouver BMO half marathon in May. But I’ve made the executive decision that I’m so not going to be ready to run a respectable half by May 1st, what with the lack of training due to subzero temps and torrential rainstorms.

Instead, I’ve convinced my friend Kim that we should run the Scotiabank half marathon, which happens a full two months later than the BMO, meaning that we get to essentially push to “restart” button on our training and thus, instead of missing my last three long runs, I don’t need to do them until several weeks from now. Go me!

The side bonus of this is that we can now run the 8 km at the Vancouver BMO marathon, which is the only 8 km race I know of where you get a finisher medal. Ostensibly, I’ve suggested the 8 km as Kim has never run in a race before so I think that she should get some race exposure before her first half marathon, but in truth it’s all about my desire for medals.

Kim’s husband may run the BMO half, as is Dr. Dan, so I figure Kim and I can run the 8km and then cheer on Lance & Dan as they run the half. And then we will laugh at them for running 21.1 km to get a medal that is virtually identical to the one we’ll have received much earleir for only running a measly 8 km. It’s called “efficiency.”


The Tragic Story of Why I Didn’t Go For a Run Today

I had such grand plans to go for a run today after giving my guest lecture. My lecture went just smashingly1 and since I had a few hours to kill while Rachel taught for the rest of the afternoon, I figured I’d use that time to go for a run. I brought all my running gear to campus. I changed into said running gear. I plotted out a route around Westwood Lake2 and checked Google Maps to find out how to get there. Now, it was raining out. And, generally, I enjoy running in the rain. What I do not enjoy, however, is running in a torrential downpour – like the kind where you end up with every bit of your clothes soaked straight through and your running shoes full to the brim with water. So when I went out to Rachel’s car to drive to the lake, I was a wee bit dismayed by the, you guessed it, torrential downpour. But I thought to myself, “Stop being a wimp!” and off I drove to lake. Or so I thought. I have to say that Nanaimo is the most confusing place to drive in the history of motorized vehicles. Few of the roads are straight and those that are straight are not perpendicular to the other straight roads, so all the intersections are at really weird angles! Gah! Basically there is no direct route to anything here3. Even with my Google Maps my iPhone, I still had to do 27 U-turns along the way, because I kept inexplicably ending up on the wrong road or going the wrong direction on the right road4. When I finally got there, I discovered that if you tell Google Maps that you want to go to Westwood Lake, it assumes you want to go to the trailer park there. Which, in fact, I did not. Anyway, I somehow managed to find a place to park near a trail and at that point, I realized that going for a run would be a terrible, terrible idea. The trail was SOAKED. There was even a sign warning that the trail might be flooded5. And the few steps I took on said trail made my feet feel very wet. And I thought, “10 km of this? I don’t think so!” And I promptly got back in the car and asked Google Maps to find me a coffee shop.

So I made a quick detour (on which I only had to do one U-turn) to Serious Coffee:

Serious Coffee

Serious Coffee is a Vancouver Island coffee chain and I when I’m on the Island I like to go there, mostly because I like to say, “I’ll have a Sirius Black coffee.” True story.

And now I’m sitting in Rachel’s office, where it is warm and dry and I have a delicious caffeinated beverage. Running will just have to wait for another day!

  1. Rachel’s students = tres awesome. I’ve already asked to come back and give this guest lecture again next year! []
  2. because running next to a body of water is the best. thing. ever. []
  3. Rachel had told me this last night on the way to her place from the ferry, but I *really* saw what she meant when I tried to find my way the mere 5 km to the lake! []
  4. I’m sure my DTD added to this! []
  5. though there was also a sign warning of thin ice and given that it is currently 7 degrees C out, these signs are probably all just let up all year round []


How Did I Become One of *Those* People

Back in the day, I used to be able to order my coffee thusly: “Large double-double.” Three simple words – actually, it’s only two simple words, one of which you say twice.

Day 152

Today, this is how I ordered my coffee: “Tall caramel brulee, with soy, half-sweet, extra-extra hot, with whip.” How annoying!

But you see, yesterday, today and I think tomorrow and the next day, Starbucks has its “holiday drinks” on for buy-1-get-1-free between 2-5 p.m. Which basically means that you can get a hot beverage for $2.50 instead of an insanely priced $5.  Yesterday, my co-worker and I got soy peppermint mochas and (a) they were way too freaking sweet and (b) they were lukewarm. Since, due to the aforementioned insane prices1, I very rarely get anything but Americanos at Starbucks, and thus I had forgotten that fancy pants drinks at Starbucks are always way too cold. So today’s order basically reflected the fact that the standard way they make their drinks is subpar, so I had to clarify that I like my hot drinks to actually be hot and I like to not be in a sugar coma. Not because I’ve somehow become a coffee princess.

  1. and the ridiculous calorie contents []


Proud Owner Of A Shiny New MacBook Pro!

I’m typing this blog posting from my shiny new MacBook Pro!  She’s shiny and beautiful and I am calling her Chloe. 1 The story of how I ended up with a shiny MacBook Pro starts with this:

IMGP0118 by you.

That is what I saw2 when I sat down at Madame Psychosis yesterday evening. I was intending to spend the evening finishing my slides for today’s class and then get to bed early. Best laid plans, right?  Seeing only these terrifying lines upon my screen, I did the only thing that one could do – the old turn-it-off, turn-it-back-on-again.  And the Windows booting up screen came on fine, followed by my desktop…. and then the crazy lines again.  And so it was off to the store and a couple thousand dollars later, I’m the proud owner of Chloe!  I’ve been wanting a Mac for some time now, but I couldn’t really justify buying it when I had a laptop that was functioning perfectly fine3.  Granted, having to purchase it in a mad rush and then get it set up quickly in order to get my lecture ready by the end of the night wasn’t the ideal way to go, but beggars can’t be choosers.  Fortunately, I had been looking at4 MacBooks just the other day, so I had an idea of what I wanted. And also, Tod was more than willing to set up my new baby5 for me while I worked on one of his Macs to finish creating my lecture6, so I was actually able to get the lecture done and get a little bit of sleep rather than having to pull an all-nighter to get the computer bought, set up and the lecture ready to go.   And speaking of sleep, I’m totally overdue for some right now!  So you’ll have to wait to hear more about, and see a picture of, my Chloe!

  1. I know that I had named my office computer Chloe, but the name didn’t really stick, so I’m renaming the office computer “Edgar” and MBP shall be Chloe. They are my gadgets and I’ll emend if I want to. Also, I just learned the word “emend.” []
  2. is it wrong that when I saw this, the first thing I thought was, “I have to get a picture of that. I’m *so* blogging that!”? []
  3. insofar as a PC can be said to be functioning “perfectly fine” []
  4. ok, drooling over []
  5. as well as fix – and improve – some of my PowerPoint slides that I was converting over to Keynote []
  6. one of the many benefits of dating a nerd! []