Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


Fun With Screenshots

Short on ideas about what to write a blog posting about?  Just start typing something into Google – the auto-complete will usually give you some nice gems to blog about.  Like this one, which I originally typed in to see if I could find out if bugs really do have an affinity for estrogen:

Do bugs...

It’s intriguing to me that so many people are curious about the possibility of bug flatulance.

Then I tried to find out if the 8-legged monsters of my nightmares have an affinity for estrogen and got this:

Do spiders...

And then I was on a roll, so started typing in random beginnings of sentences and found this gem:

Why would...

and this display of geographical incompetence:

Canada is...

Not to mention grammatical incompetence.  I mean, really, enough people queried the incorrect “Canada is apart of what country” to make it the number 2 hit?

And finally, because I couldn’t resist:

Ed Hardy is...

All the red arrows I can understand, but the green one?  You are very much outnumbered, green.  Also, bonus points for the existential “Ed Hardy is.”

And while I’m on screenshots, here’s one I took while watching the new Harry Potter trailer:

appropriate audiences

Uh oh, I watched it even though I think I’m an “inappropriate audience” (based on how many times I’ve been told that I’m being inappropriate).


This Time The B0rkening Was My Own Fault

As you probably didn’t notice, my blog has been down for a few days.  In response, I received the following email from Dr. Dan:

Dr. Beth!  Where did NTBTWK go?  I keep getting 404’d.  404’d!!!!  ZOUNDS!

Because I’m too lazy to re-type the story I work smarter, not harder, I’m pasting my reply1 to Dr. Dan here to inform you of how the b0rkening happened:

Sorry!  It have b0rked my blog!  I was trying to switch it over its new URL http://[redacted until such time as I’m ready to launch] as I’m planning to use for my more professional stuff… or at least to not have potential consulting clients see that my email is beth AT drbethsnow DOT com and go “I should check out her website” and then end up on my blog reading about how I got mistaken for a prostitute in Langley.  I don’t think that would be good for business. Well, it might be good for business, but not the kind of business I’m actually trying to get!  I have my blog on a shared server with Kalev and, unfortunately, I thought I knew what I needed to do to to switch my blogs around when clearly, I did not, and Kalev has a paper due today (which, for some reason, he thinks is more important than my blog… silly students), so can’t do anything on it until tomorrow, but I’m impatient so then I tried to switch both URLs to Tod’s server, but it turns out that the backup I’d made of the blog before I started fucking around with it was too big for WordPress to want to import (even though it exported from WordPress just fine), so I could only get up to Jan 2009 onto Tod’s server (with a bunch of posts missing).  And then Tod and I got sick of nothing working last night when we were trying to make it work and decided to watch TV instead.  

All of this, of course, would make an excellent blog post, but I can’t seem to log into the half-imported, mutant blog on Tod’s server, so I can’t even blog it.  Le sigh.

So, long story short (after telling the long story), it should be fixed tomorrow.

That email chain went on for a while and covered such topics as why you should remember that your microphone is on when your friend bends you over in front of the class you are teaching, surprises orgies as a good way to meet people when you are new in town, and blog resurrections (and the accompanying obligatory references to Jesus). So, I hope you enjoy my newly resurrected blog. Which is kind of like the Jesus of blogs2.

  1. with the benefit of a extra link and a bit of redaction []
  2. do you think the Pope will forgive me for saying that in 40 years? []


And then my head exploded…

For some strange reason, last night my phone decided that it had too much information on it and it was no longer going to be able to store said information.  So it wiped it all out.  You know, it’s only entire life in that calendar and contact list. No big deal, right?

Mercifully, I had it all in my Palm Pilot desktop software, so I exported both my calendar and my contact list so I’d have a back up copy in case synching my phone wiped it out.  Synching didn’t wipe it out on my desktop softare, but it also didn’t fix my problem – I still got the “there isn’t enough room on your phone for your data” error message and nothing on my phone. So I reinstalled the software, which managed to wipe out the calendar & contact list.  No biggie, I have the backups that I exported, right?  Except that when I try to import those backups, it says the file type is not compatible.  You know, the file I exported from Palm Desktop software earlier in the evening is not compatible with Palm Desktop software. Because that makes so much sense.

I blame the spiders.

So, does anyone have any ideas on how I can make my freakin’ phone work properly again??  I mean, it still functions as a phone (for the moment, anyway) and despite the fact that it has wiped out my contact list, speed dial still remembers the names and numbers of the people on speed dial, but I really freakin’ need my calendar and contact list!!


The Latest Technological Advance

One of the closing plenary speakers at the conference I was at showed this video. Hilarious!

It reminded me of this video, which anyone who has ever tried to help someone to use any computer software program will appreciate:


She Has A Name!

It’s just a week shy of her 1st birthday and I’ve finally given her a name.  I hadn’t thought about her lack of name in a while, but yesterday morning as I left for work, the perfect name just hit me, right out of the blue!

She’s full of useful information and constantly gives me reminders of things I should be doing.  And so I have decided to name my Palm Treo Smartphone: Hermione.



Another year, another Pacific Spirit 10 km run. I was rather disappointed with my time (1:03:37.9; pace 6:22 per km¹). I really have no idea why I was so damn slow- it’s difficult to tell really how fast you are going because (a) it’s a trail run, so you are weaving all around the trails rather than running on straightaways and that makes it hard to gauge your speed, (b) there are other people all around you running at a variety of different paces, which also makes it hard to gauge your speed. I suppose the most logical explanation is that last year, I ran the half at the Vancouver International Marathon the week² before the Pacific Spirit Run, so I was at my peak fitness level; this year, I’m only partway through my training for the Scotiabank half marathon, which isn’t until the end of June, so I’m not up to the shape I’ll be in by the time the marathon comes around. Alternative hypotheses as to why I sucked at the PSR this year include:

  • I ran with Marla, my 3rd generation iPod, which is larger than the 2nd gen iPod I ran with last year. The extra weight of the larger iPod significantly weighed me down.
  • the race shirts were, inexplicably, comically large and all the extra fabric of my so-called “small” shirt weighed me down.
  • the 10 lbs I’ve gained since this time last year weighed me down.
  • my bib number was 1200. Having such a distinguishable number was too much for me and I choked under the pressure.

  • I spent too much time thinking about the fact that I was running while I was running. Usually in a race I get “in the zone” and I don’t even think (that much) about the fact that I’m running (although, quite honestly, I have no idea what I usually think about). Thinking things like “Dear god, I’ve been running for 50 minutes and I still have TWO MORE kilometres to run??” makes you really feel tired.
  • age-related sarcopenia.

On the plus side, I did beat *everyone* in the females aged 65 and over category. Take that, grannies!

I still had a great time, though, despite my sucky performance. It’s a beautiful forest to through and it’s always³ nice to see the volunteers cheering you along at every turn. But, by and large the best part of the race is the race food they give you after you cross the finish line. Sure, it’s just oranges, bananas, mini-muffins and yogurt – stuff you could eat on any given day – but after a race it is the most delicious food you’ve ever eaten in your life. Psychologists will tell you4 that one’s motivation for things is enhanced when they are in a state of deprivation – acquiring food is more gratifying when you are really, really hungry. And thus, race food is the tastiest, tastiest food you will ever eat. You’ve never had oranges so succulent, muffins so fulfilling or yogurt so divine as the ones you scarf down before you even leave the food tent. “Bananagasm” was how one of my teammates described it. After the banagasms, we went to Enigma for a team brunch, which was awesome. The food there was excellent; the coffee, doubly so6. And it’s so nice to just hang out with the team, some of whom I haven’t seen since we ran this race last year. Since we don’t all run together (everyone else on our team is *much* faster than me), having the brunch after makes it feel more like a team thing. Props to Dr. Kim for organizing the team and the brunch!

And thanks, again, to my 9 sponsors, who helped me raise $291 for dementia research (our team, as a whole, raised $1,091.00). It’s going to a great cause!

¹Compared to last year’s time of 58 minutes, 47.8 seconds (pace = 5:53 minutes per km)
²I just typed this as “weak.” Freudian slip!
³Well, except for when you hurt your foot and have to limp the last 6 km of a half marathon. Then the cheers of the volunteers saying “You are doing a great job,” even though you know you aren’t, leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
4In fact, psychologists DID tell me, at our post-race team brunch. I ran on the Brain Research Centre team, so was surrounded mostly by brain scientists. You know how people will say “it’s not brain surgery”? These guys *do* brain surgery5. I <3 brain scientists!
5We all agreed that doing surgeries was far and away the most fun part of grad school.
6This may, of course, have been part of the bananagasm phenomenon


Annoyingness & bad spelling, together at last!

At last! Someone has combined two of my biggest pet peeves – pointless, annoying Facebook apps and ridiculous spelling errors!

All they needed to do was make this “Is spiders and the Calgary Flames really ment to be yours?” and it would be perfect.

Name and profile pic have been blurred to protect the annoying.

</Monday morning bitching>

Also, my apologies for not posting this week’s installment of my prime ministerial series, which I know you are all dying to read, yesterday. I blame (a) too much exam marking this weekend, and (b) my first hockey game of the spring season¹. I’ll try to get it up posted tonight, although I have a nerd meeting to go to, so we’ll see.

¹The game, which was an exhibition game, ended tied 2-2.


Electronic Devices Hate Me

You know what is totally awesome? Having an shrill, piercing alarm going off for no fewer than SIX HOURS while you are trying to work. Especially on the day you have a really, really important grant application due. Like really important. Like one that funds not only your own salary (meaning if we don’t get the grant, I don’t have a job), but also the salaries of 20 other people.

The alarm was already going off intermittently when I arrived at work at 8 a.m. Monday and when security showed up around noon to try to fix it, they managed to make it so that instead of going off intermittently, the alarm was going off non-stop. And then told us “you should call maintenance.” After *two hours* of nonstop high-pitched alarm, maintenance *finally* showed up to fix it. By which time, of course, I was already finished with said grant application.

Now, I have to say that this isn’t the only machinery-related anomaly in my life of late. Machines have been effing up around me all the time lately and I’m starting to wonder if it’s something about me. Perhaps that freak lab incident where I got bitten by a radioactive, genetically engineered lab rat means I am now giving off electricity-disrupting gamma rays that interfere with electronic devices.

In addition to the rogue alarm that just wouldn’t shut up, I’ve also had to deal with:

  • my laptop deciding that it doesn’t want to keep proper time, losing anywhere from a few minutes to almost an hour on some days (while it’s totally fine on other days).
  • waking up the other day to find that my watch was, completely inexplicably, behind by 1 hr, but also ahead by 1 day. It said it was April 1 at 5 a.m. when, in fact, it was March 31 at 6 a.m. I know I’d reset my watch to Pacific time when I returned from Yellowknife (otherwise I would have been an hour late for my class on Friday), so I know it wasn’t that. And it’s not like it could have gotten the date mixed up and tried to do Daylight Saving Time, as then it would have sprung forward, not back.
  • msn messenger decided to log itself in several times during my lecture last week. Yes, during my lecture, which I was presenting to 94 university students, my msn kept popping up on the screen over top of my PowerPoint slides, despite the fact that I had logged it off and the “log in automatically” box was not checked (trust me, I have 94 witnesses that can verify that).

I’m pretty sure that electronic devices just hate me.


Testing out BlogDesk

My sister’s bf suggested that I try BlogDesk , what with the eating of the post I wrote yesterday by WordPress1. So I just wanted to write a quick post to test it out. So far I’m not liking that I have to go up the “View” menu to switch between the WYSIWYG and the Source code (on WordPress site you just have to click on a tab). Plus, I was just playing with an image and I can’t figure out how to maintain the aspect ratio while re-sizing the image2. And it keeps putting <p> tags in that I don’t want. Anyhoodle, I’m going to click “publish” now to see if this actually works.

1What happened was I had left WordPress open in a Flock tab the day before, so when I went to write my new blog post, I just started writing it there. But when I hit “publish,” I was taken to the login screen, as apparently I wasn’t actually still logged in. And thus my post was eaten.

2I tried holding down each of “Ctrl”, “Alt” and “Shift” while re-sizing, all to no avail.


(no title)

I noticed this when I logged into my UBC email the other day:

It was accompanied by an announcement that the amount of storage UBC student1 email accounts were increased from 30 MB to a whopping 120 MB. That’s quadruple the space! Wow, whatever would one do with all that space? I mean, everyone knows that 640K is more than enough for anyone.

And so I couldn’t resist adapting the image to show the UBC account relative to my Gmail account:

I’m just sayin’.

1Faculty accounts were upped to 200 MB a few months ago in a move that prompted me to email my friends and say “Welcome me to 1997!”