29 August 2007

Random Things in Hallways

This contraption is currently sitting on the 1st floor of Bio. Sci. I love this thing. I mean, what the hell is it? It looks like it was left behind in 1993 by the crew of a science fiction film. The best part? It's on wheels.

28 August 2007

Painful to Watch

I saw graffito this morning that said something along the lines of, “it’s a shame stupidity isn’t painful.” I think in some cases, I would have to agree. Pain serves a very important purpose. It tells us when something is wrong, when we have to stop what we’re doing or suffer the consequences. Something similar for stupidity might have prevented this:

26 August 2007

Really people!

I know I'm repeating myself, but...seriously? Am I the only one who sees how wrong this is?

It's like buying tickets on a ship that advertises itself as "Unsinkable."

Anyone who calls themselves a "specialist" is never going anywhere near anything I own.

21 August 2007

Les is more (more or less)

I don’t know when it started, but at some point in my life I started to hate my name. Just my first name, I actually quite like my surname (go James!). I know it’s not rational, but I can’t help but think, what kind of name is “Leslie?” It’s a boy’s name, first off. Secondly, it has no good short form, unless you want to be called “Les” (which I am, by pretty much everyone who knew me before 2005, when I became Ellie). But “Les” is just less. Less than what? Less than whom? I don’t like “Les.” Thirdly, “Leslie” doesn’t mean anything cool. The two definitions I have for Leslie are low meadow and gray fortress. In contrast, my brothers are named after the God of War, and the Angel that slew the dragon. And what do I get? Gray fortress. A pile of bricks.

My almost-life-long hatred of my name has caused me to be obsessed with names. That’s why I enjoyed this article in the Wall Street Journal so much. I especially loved the following expert:

“France passed a law in the early 1800s that prohibited all names except those on a preapproved list; the last of these laws was repealed in 1993. In Germany, the government still bans invented names and names that don't clearly designate a child's sex. Sweden and Denmark forbid names that officials think might subject a child to ridicule. Swedish authorities have rejected such names as Veranda, Ikea and Metallica.”

Bitchin! I so want a law in Canada that prohibits a) made-up names and b) stupid spellings of real names. These horrible, misspelled names aren’t helping the kids any. They’re going to grow up hating having to tell people, “No, I spell Joshua ‘J-o-s-h-a-w-a’” Or constantly repeating their name to people who thought they misheard it the first time. “No, I said Toolyne.” (Or something. I don’t have a knack for making up stupid, fake baby names).

There are thousands of names, you’d think people could find one they like without having to make it illiterate, or making one up from scratch.

19 August 2007

Two Rs in "Library"

Don't you hate it when you do to get a library book and it's already signed out? Don't you also hate it when you notice that it's signed out for an extended period?

I don't care how slow a reader you are, you don't need a library book for 23 years.

15 August 2007

It was a bad day for clothing choices at the gym. I know, I know: the gym is the last place you should ever judge or take someone’s appearance into consideration, but these three really stood out this morning (even more so than that one woman I swear was wearing pajamas).

The first was a girl who had her shorts on inside-out. It was barely noticeable, and at first I thought it was just the style of the shorts, and then I saw the tag. I was going to tell her, but I wasn’t sure if this was one of those situations where you’re supposed to tell the person (skirt-in-the-panyhose deal), or be polite and pretend you don’t notice (B.O.). When in doubt, I find it easier to pretend.

The second was this guy on the weight floor. His shirt had a square neckline. Think about it. I don’t think a square neckline would work on even the sexiest of men. (That was fun, a little something for everyone). Actually, later on I saw this “guy” in the women’s change room. I seriously thought it was a dude. That doesn’t make my point about square necklines any less valid, though.

The third example was this guy on the bikes. He had on too much clothes to begin with. I’ve become convinced that they heat the gym in the summer – as though they assume every patron is a wrestler needing to sweat down to their competition weight - there is no other way to explain the stifling heat in that place. He was wearing oldnchool track pantsand a hoodie. His pants were tucked into his (I swear) tan, Converse All Star high-tops . And his underwear was showing and it was yellow. Canary yellow.

I suppose we should give all these people a pass, though. Their minds probably weren’t fully functional when they got dressed this morning. I mean, it was 7am and they were already at the gym. Still....yellow underwear?

10 August 2007

Have computer will procrastinate

What an assy day. It’s 10 degrees and raining. My assistants tell me that today is an 8.8 on the “nap scale.” I sometimes feel really old when I talk to them. What Nap Scale? Is it like the Bunny Scale? Is it out of 10? Is 8.8 bad? In addition to being clueless about the nap scale, I’m also suffering from wicked lower back pain. I don’t know why, but I bent to look in a box yesterday and my back hasn’t forgiven me since. So, I’m clueless and walking around like an 80 year old. When did I become my mother?

I’m so focused on counting down the hours until my next pill (um…for my back) that I’ve barely done any work. In the interests of no one else doing work either, I’m going to share my Top 3 Favourite Time Wasters (not including email, or this blog, and I also spend probably more time than I should on the Environment Canada website checking the weather, and on CBC, reading the news).

1. Television Without Pity - This has been my favourite website since 2000, when I first discovered it. The perfect website for anyone who likes TV. And who doesn’t like TV? This site (created by Canadians! Yeah!) provides detailed recaps of all the episodes of your favourite shows. The recappers are all, in my experience, sharply funny and generally love the shows they recap. They are also very critical and don’t let the shows get away with anything. And it’s not as if I’m the only one who loves this site, it was recently bought by Bravo and I’ve seen shout-outs to it on at least two different shows. This is the perfect time waster. Also, one of the creators has a great line of pop-culture T-shirts. Where else are you going to get a jello stapler or an Annyong Hermano t-shirt?.

2. Go Fug Yourself - I’ve never been really interested in fashion, but even I love it when rich and pretty people wear fugly things. Also, the girls who do the site (one of them also does Television Without Pity) are awesomely catty.

3. McSweeny’s Internet Tendency - The most intelligent selection on my list. This site is so full of things you could easily spend all afternoon navigating it’s depths. It’s a seemingly random collection of jokes, lists, humourous essays, and stories. Check out some of my favourite selections: verbal cartoonist , lists, and pop song correspondence.

09 August 2007

Data Entry Drinking Game

I think the suckiest part of research is that after countless hours in the field and the lab collecting data, you're still not done. You have to do data entry. I know a lot of people who get their assistants to do it for them. I'm a good boss and have never done that. During a recent frenzy of data entry, I paused to come up with a Data Entry Drinking Game. If you don't want to get drunk, you should probably substitute in a "sip" for each "drink." If I was actually following this (and drinking in my office) I'd be sloshed by 10am. This would also work with candy. Or cookies.


1 drink…

When you mistype a formula and don’t catch it
Every time you ctrl-c when you mean to ctrl-v
When you can’t read what you (or your assistant) wrote
Every time you stop data entry to check your email, or browse the web
When you realize that you’ve entered one number of the 7-digit UTM coordinates incorrectly

2 drinks…

Every time Excel sends you to the bottom of the spreadsheet for seemingly no reason

3 drinks…

If you have to go back to the original sample to check something that doesn’t “seem right”
Every time you 'update' files in Access, but for some reason they don't update and you have to do it all over again when you realize it two weeks later.

03 August 2007

No one remembers Richard Bachman

I had a dream last night that I met Stephen King. I read a lot of Stephen King between the ages of 12 and 18. I haven’t read anything of his since The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, which came out in 1999. So, in my dream I was at his house and he was sitting on an easy chair and I was lounging on the floor, all relaxed-like. He had flying fish in his apartment. They were just swimming through the air, and crapping everywhere the way I assume a pet budgie would when let out of its cage. They looked like parrot fish.

What do you suppose we talked about? Me, the one-time aspiring author and Him, the one-time greatest horror writer in the world? (He’s not the greatest anymore. He hasn’t written a decent thing since some guy plowed him down on the side of the road. I don’t read horror anymore, so I’m not sure who usurped the throne.) Well, I (of course) lectured him on the ills of the commercial fishing industry. I seriously told him that he shouldn’t eat fish, then I told him why, in great detail. He wasn’t listening to me and was trying to convince me that eating fish is okay. I don't care if you are they guy who wrote IT, and therefore caused generations of adolescents to be afraid of clowns (my best friend was afraid of the shower for weeks after seeing the movie). I don't even care if you wrote the original stories for The Shawshank Redemption and The Shining. Eating fish is never okay, Stephen.

There's something happening here...

It’s early still but I can already tell it’s going to be one of those days where I don’t get anything done. This morning was very confusing for me. My stalwart friend, The Weather Network said this morning was going to be sunny and 16 degrees. However, as I walked to school there was thunder, lightning, and a few drops of rain. I knew nothing of this! The Weather Network didn’t tell me to expect scattered thunder showers! It let me down. The confusing part is that I saw 4 bunnies on the way to school this morning. And they were all together, in one place, and they were little, and in tall grass so that just their little bunny ears were poking out and it was adorable. But 4 Bunnies means a perfect day, and on a perfect day the Weather Network wouldn’t let me down. My world is in turmoil.

01 August 2007

Post for Kimm-my

Firstly, I want to congratulate Kimm and her Tomm on their engagement. I’ve known Kimm for (pause while I do the math…) 12 years (is that right!?) and for a while there she couldn’t stay in a relationship longer than 3 weeks. That’s all over now and poor Tomm’s got her for life.

Secondly, I want to thank Kimm for the awesome, albeit 4 months late, birthday present. Sweet! It’s like you know me really well or something. Did you know when I was a kid I made little cards and pouches and glued them into all my books? Now I can be a kid again!