Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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More About My Vacation. Plus 101 Footnotes!

So, we are back from our whirlwind trip to Portland1 and are now hanging out on Vancouver Island2,3 . Didn’t really take many photos4 since I went to pretty much all the same places as I did last year5, so I figure you could just look at the photos from last year6.

Some random thoughts about Oregon:

  • Powell’s City of Books is made of awesome7. It’s a bookstore that’s 4 storeys high and takes up an entire city block8 and killer prices. We may have spent a few hours in there and picked up a giant piles of books9, Incognito10, and The Third Chimpanzee11. And some zombie key covers!)). Because you know I don’t have enough things to read.
  • Did you know that there is a Comfort Inn & Suites Portland Airport and a Comfort Suites Portland International Airport and that these are two totally different hotels? I stayed in one of these last year and booked what I thought was the same hotel, but then it wasn’t. The hotel was still totally fine, and it was the cheapest price that we could find, so it was all good. But seriously, Comfort Suites, why would you name two hotels that are ~5 minutes away from each other virtually the same thing12??
  • And speaking of unoriginal names, why do so many cities in Oregon use names of other cities for their cities? There’s Salem13, Albany14, Milwaukie15, Dallas16, Florence17, Phoenix18, Toledo19, Harrisburg20, Dundee21, Jacksonville22, Dayton23, Oakland24, Glendale25, Arlington26, St. Paul27, Lexington28, Waterloo29, and Detroit30,31 ,32 ,33. And don’t even get me started on Vancouver, *Washington*34

More About The Zombie Race

Despite the extreme length of my zombie race posting, I managed to forgot to mention a few things I meant to mention in that posting:

  • I never even mentioned the race results35! I finished the race in 46:2036. Out of 2,788 competitors, I came in 1,037th place37. In my wave38, I came in 68th out of 237 runners39. That’s really not too shabby40.
  • Out of the 2,788 competitors, only 438 managed to get through the whole race without losing all of their flags41. That at least makes me feel a bit better about being zombified42.
  • I spoke to one guy after the race who told me that, despite finishing in about 30 minutes43, not only did zombies get all 3 of his flags, but they also got the 3 flags he got from a “health pack”44, and one flag that he saw on the ground and picked up. Picking up stray flags along the route is strictly prohibited, so I told him in as serious a tone as I could muster, “You can’t cheat death, dude. You can’t cheat death.”
  • Another guy after the race was regaling his girlfriend with tales of his adventures, the best of which was “And at the end there was a part where we had to crawl through mud and there was an electrified wire cage above you and I thought I’d be smart and go through on my back instead of on my stomach so that I could see the wire cage and not hit it. But instead I ended up electrocuting my privates!”
  • Another thing of awesomeness was one section of zombies that were doing the Thriller dance. Since I was without flags by that point in the race, I Thriller danced my way through that particular zombie horde45.
  • Completing the zombie obstacle course race means I’ve checked off item #91 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days46 ,47 ,48 ,49 ,50!

Since arriving at the Island, we’ve been on the more relaxation portion of our holidays51. Slept in52, had a lovely breakfast53, went for a glorious 12 km run54 ,55 , spent some time with Devon’s sister, brother-in-law and their kids56 ,57 ,58,59 ,60 ,61 ,62 ,63 ,64 ,65 ,66 ,67 ,68 ,69 ,70 ,71 ,72 ,73 ,74 ,75 ,76 ,77 ,78 ,79 ,80 ,81 ,82 ,83 ,84 ,85 ,86 ,((100%)) ,87 ,88 ,89 ,90 ,91 ,92 ,93, 94,95 ,96 ,97, including seeing a kickass thunder and lightening storm98. Other plans for the Vancouver Island portion of the trip include hiking some mountains, watching some movies, more time with the kids, some homework99, and hopefully some leisure reading100. And after that, we still have the Okanagan leg of our holidays to go101)

Did I ever mention how much I love being on vacation?

  1. Well, technically to Onalaska, WA, Portland, and various other places in Oregon state. []
  2. After a very poorly planned attempt to take the ferry from Ancortes to Vancouver Island. []
  3. Instead, we had to drive through the Peace Arch border and then head to Tsawwassen to catch the ferry from there []
  4. Did I mention I bought a new camera? []
  5. Voodoo Doughnut, the Oregon coast, the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the most amazing Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to. []
  6. We did take a couple of pics, but I’m settled in on the coach with a nice cup of tea and waaaay to lazy comfy to go get the camera and upload the photos. []
  7. I went there on my trip last year too, but I don’t think I actually mentioned it much here on ye old blog. []
  8. And then, because an entire city block isn’t enough to house all the books, there’s Powell’s 2 across the street. []
  9. I bought a boxed set of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 5-book “trilogy” ((By Douglas Adams []
  10. By some author whose name I can’t recall []
  11. By Jared Diamond []
  12. And why does one specify Portland *International* Airport and the other just Portland Airport. They are talking about the same airport! []
  13. a la Massachusetts []
  14. a la New York []
  15. a la Milwaukee, Wisconsin []
  16. a la Texas []
  17. a la Italy []
  18. a la Arizona []
  19. a la Ohio []
  20. a la Pennsylvania []
  21. a la Scotland []
  22. a la Florida []
  23. a la Ohio []
  24. a la California []
  25. a la California []
  26. a la both Virginia and Texas []
  27. a la Minnesota []
  28. a la Kentucky []
  29. a la Ontario []
  30. a la Michigan []
  31. In case you haven’t noticed this yet, I’m trying to write a blog posting containing 101 footnotes, which is item #10 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days []
  32. Are the footnotes getting annoying yet? []
  33. Note that I didn’t say they had to be “good” or “useful” or “relevant” footnotes. []
  34. When you are in Washington or Oregon and say you are from “Vancouver” people usually say “Vancouver, Washington?”. No! Not Vancouver, Washington! The *real* Vancouver! []
  35. All the race results can be found here. []
  36. Which would be pretty slow for a regular 5 km, but not terrible for a race with obstacles to get over/under/through, zombies in your way, 38 degree heat, and the decision to walk a bunch of the race once I got zombified! []
  37. That’s in the top half, at least. []
  38. The 2 pm wave. []
  39. That’s in the top 30% []
  40. Well, other than the part where I didn’t make it out of the race alive []
  41. That’s only a 16% survival rate. []
  42. I mean, insofar as one can feel better after being zombified []
  43. He used to be in the military, so was used to obstacle course type races []
  44. A few “health packs” containing extra flags were available around the race route for lucker runners who found them. []
  45. Damnit, I just typed “zombie horder” again? What is my damage? []
  46. Did I ever mention that I love knocking things off my to do lists? []
  47. I’m starting to think that writing 101 footnotes might just be harder than running that race! []
  48. I also have “run 3 races” as one of my goals for 2012, so I’m not 1/3rd done that particular goal too. Woohoo! []
  49. The Victoria half marathon will be race #2 and I’m thinking that the Energizer Night Race will be #3 []
  50. The Energizer Night Race is one that’s held in Stanley Park after the sun sets and everyone wears headlamps. Sounds like a blast. Also, you get a free headlamp []
  51. vs. the driving mega distances and running from zombie hordes portion of our holidays []
  52. Though we didn’t get in to Devon’s parents place ’til about 2 a.m., thanks to the ferry fiasco! []
  53. Devon’s mom always feeds us so well when we are here! []
  54. Which felt so good after all the time spent sitting in the car yesterday! []
  55. 12 km is usually my least favourite running distance, but today’s was totally fine! I’d been trying to prepare myself psychologically for this run, using the same trick as I did with running hills – i.e., tell myself that I love the 12 km distance, just like I told myself I loved hills – repeatedly, until I stopped hating hills. []
  56. Including feeding them Voodoo Doughnuts that we brought back from Portland []
  57. Though Devon’s sister was mostly excited by the Tillamook cheese we brought back for her! []
  58. We also brought ourselves back some cheese! So excited by the cheese! []
  59. Oh []
  60. my []
  61. god []
  62. writing []
  63. 101 []
  64. footnotes []
  65. is []
  66. very []
  67. very []
  68. very []
  69. very []
  70. very []
  71. very []
  72. very []
  73. very []
  74. very []
  75. very []
  76. very []
  77. hard. []
  78. Yes []
  79. I []
  80. know []
  81. this []
  82. is []
  83. totally []
  84. totally []
  85. completely []
  86. entirely []
  87. cheating []
  88. but []
  89. I []
  90. don’t []
  91. care []
  92. All’s []
  93. fair []
  94. in []
  95. love []
  96. and []
  97. footnotes. []
  98. With probably the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life! []
  99. Including a teleconference with my business plan group tomorrow. []
  100. Because did I mention all the stuff I bought at Powell’s books? []
  101. I haven’t been to the Okanagan since I was there with a band of traveling scientists in 2006. []

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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 []

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You can’t spell “wine” without “win.”

And so the blogging streak of 2011 ends, a mere 42 days into the year. I blame BC Ferries for not having wifi on the Queen of Alberni. And then I blame the fine glass of wine that was waiting for me when I got to Rachel’s place, which put all thoughts of blogging out of my head. In conclusion: you can’t spell “wine” without” win”!   Anyhoo. I’m here in Nanaimo to give a guest lecture on inferential statistics to Rachel’s research methods class. All the fun of confidence intervals, alpha levels, and, of course, why correlation is not equal to causation. Along with few paradoxes. Anyway, that just reminded me that there was a slide I wanted to add to my slide deck, so I better get to that – my lecture starts in an hour!

In the meantime, here’s what I wrote on the ferry last night, fully intending to blog it when I got to Rachel’s:

I had grand plans to write a blog posting on the ferry tonight. I’m heading over to Nanaimo as I’m giving a guest lecture on stats in my friend’s research methods course at Vancouver Island University. And here I am on the boat – but there’s no wifi! Fail!

I’m on the 8:15 p.m. ferry, which gets me to Duke Point at 10:15, so I’m going to pretty much hit the hay as soon as I get to Rachel’s1. So nothing fancy for this blog posting, which I’m typing in Notational Velocity2 and will copy and paste to my blog once I get there, publishing it posthaste3!

Notes from the ferry ride:

  • Some guy told me I had “a real purty smile.” I find this amusing because I have brace! Nice try, dude.
  • I know they are a rip off, but I love, love, love the White Spot veggie burger combo when I’m on the ferry. Love. In fact, I wasn’t hungry *at all* before I left for the ferry, but as soon as I got on the boat I was *starving.* My brain knew that it wanted the veggie burger and tricked me into thinking I wasn’t hungry until I got here.
  • Another thing I love: hot chocolate made from powder and hot water. Like the stuff they have on the ferry. So tasty.
  • It costs me nearly twice as much to park my car for the weekend ($40) as it will for the round trip ferry ride as a foot passenger ($28). Still a lot cheaper than paying to bring my car with me though.
  • Oh gawd, now the guy is telling me that “you use less muscles smiling than frowning.” Seriously, is this really your A material?
  • And now I’m “very beautiful” and “have a very beautiful name.” Even though he doesn’t know my name. WTF?
  1. editor’s note: That was the plan, but some wine and baked brie, and catching up from not having seen each other since *July* got in the way. We did get to bed around midnight, so it wasn’t the end of the world []
  2. N.V. is a totally awesome little notes program for Mac that I first read about over on Catherine’s blog []
  3. ha! []