30 July 2007


I've said it before, and I'm saying it again: I'm done with field work. I just got back from a week down in Caroline. I did 2 days of 24-hour fish sampling and 3.25 days of frogging (with Cricket). No more field work for me. I've done a combined total of 8 months of field work. If that's not sufficient I'm just going to quit my program and work at Chapters.

I don't have much to share re: the field work. The 24-hour work was done in teams (my team's name: Teamtastic) with each team working 12-hours shifts. At least, those were my best laid plans. I somehow ended up working 14 hours, getting 4 hours of sleep, then working another 16 hours. At one point I'd been up for 28 hours. Anyway, it was long, and now it's over. Let's focus on the positive. Below is a picture of a fawn that has developed an affinity for our fenced-in yard down in Caroline. I named it Jitterbug.

20 July 2007

Who knew it was possible?

Holy crap. I actually found an application that’s creepier than Facebook. Meet Twitter, a site devoted to broadcasting the whereabouts and activities of it’s members. You can send a text from your mobile phone that will be broadcast to the phones of your friends, and on the website for all to see; you can also send messages to/from IM and the website. Who the hell needs a running commentary on anyone’s activities? That would be so annoying. It’s already a pretty big site, I wonder how long it’ll be before my friends start telling me to join it. Am I the only one who finds these social networking sites to be disturbing?!

On another note, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a wiki site. I have nothing against Wikipedia, except I hated it when my students would use it as a source for their lab reports, which they really shouldn’t. I like the idea of wiki sites in general. I just don’t know if I have enough procrastination time to do this blog and a wiki. Then again, I could make more procrastination time…

19 July 2007


I had a mousemare last night. I was sleeping on a couch (in the dream) and I saw a mouse run across the floor, and as I did I felt something under my sheet, running up my torso. A mouse! Crawling! on! me! Shudder! I grabbed it to get it off my chest, but then I was HOLDING THE MOUSE, which for me is as bad as having it on my chest. I was hyperventilating and panicking in the dream and woke myself up. This reminded me of another rat dream I had once, I had to go looking on my old site for the original posting:

I had a dream the other night. In it I had to sign some kind of contract or legal document. My lawyer had wrapped the contract in a towel then covered it with a pillow, for safekeeping. When we uncovered it, the contract was wet, so was the towel. The pillow was wet as well. The lawyer pulled the pillow out of the case. "Here's the problem, " he said, pulling out a handful of baby rats. Rats. They started running everywhere, not just babies, but full grown, huge rats too. Hundreds of them. I jumped onto the nearest piece of furniture and screamed uncontrollably.

Jumping onto furniture and screaming is how I deal with mice and rats in real life, too.

18 July 2007

Idiot Redux

The relative humidity this morning was 94% again. And this wasn't me misreading the TV like I thought I did yesterday. This was the actual number. So, once again, I'm left thinking about what happens when we hit 100%. Isn't 100% just water? I do not want to leave my apartment on the day the air is 100% saturated with water. Gross.

17 July 2007


This morning I was watching the Weather Network (as per my usual routine) and I saw that the humidity was 94%. I puzzled over this the whole way to school. I have no meteorology background. I had an Oceanography prof that would occasionally tell us how ocean-things influenced weather and climate, but it was never on the tests, so… I’ve never been one of those people who learned what the different clouds are called and what they mean. I enjoy the weather for its entertainment value, but academically, it’s just not my thing. So I was thinking, 94% is really high, isn’t it? I mean, at what point on the percentage scale do we wake up under water? Anyway, later in the day I checked online and the humidity is actually only 54%, so the moral of this little story is that I’m an idiot.

The part of the Biological Sciences building in which I live has two elevators and one has been out of commission since May. Today, however, is the first time I remember actually seeing a repair person working on it. I’ve seen him a lot and each time I do, I’m tempted to ask him about pacifier buttons. I read in a Douglas Coupland book that the “Close Door” buttons in elevators aren’t actually connected to anything. They’re put there so that people can press them and feel like they have some control over the elevator, but really those doors are going to close when they want. I don’t ask though, because I don’t want the Otis serviceman thinking I’m an idiot.

13 July 2007


Sicko was good. Pure Michael Moore, but good. It was very effective. He started with a lot of people's horror stories: not being able to afford to re-attach limbs, bankruptcy after treatment, people dying because they were refused treatment, etc. Then he comes to Canada and interviews people about how our system is free and awesome. It was a very rose-coloured picture of our system. I mean, I love it, but he didn't mention that it doesn't cover dental, that there are some restrictions, absurd wait times, etc.

I loved the old guy he interviewed about the Canadian system. He gave a shout out to Tommy Douglas for being the man that started it all. And you just know that in a theatre somewhere Kiefer Sutherland is leaning over to whisper to the person next to him, “that’s my granddad they’re talking about!” Imagine, being the grandkid of the person who brought universal healthcare to Canada. Pretty sweet lineage.

After sucking up to Canada (He was totally sucking up. At one point there was this establishing shot of a Tim’s, and there’s no way the interview that followed actually took place in a Tim's. The table was made out of two-by-fours) Michael Moore goes to England and France. Their healthcare systems are WAY better than ours. He makes France seem like Heaven on Earth. Then he takes 911 relief workers to Cuba for medical care. The Cuban system comes across as better than the US system too.

Overall, it made Americans seem like a bunch of fools. Why are they putting up with HMOs and those insurance companies when healthcare is free in most other western countries? I find it so shocking that Americans seem to be afraid of public healthcare. They are so afraid of becoming socialists. There was even a recording done by Ronald Regan, back in his “acting” days, talking out against socialized healthcare. They made it out like the government would have the final say in your health, and that doctors would have no power. Whereas the current system where the for-profit insurance companies have the final say is so much better.

Moore drew some nice contrasts. In the US a doctor (who reviews insurance claims) will get a bonus if they reject the most claims. The more treatment they refuse, the richer they get. In Britain, doctors get bonuses if their patients quit smoking, or have lower cholesterol. So, the more treatment they give, the richer they get. Which, to me, seems like the way to go. It's cheaper to get someone to quit smoking now than it is to treat the cancer later.

You know, if I had to pay for my doctor visits, I just wouldn't go. It seems so obvious that healthcare should be free. It's a basic human right. People who want to privatize our system should see this movie. I think private healthcare in Canada would be a disaster.

10 July 2007

Perchance to Dream

Dreams are pretty awesome when you think about it. Not “someday I’m gonna be famous” dreams, those are total crap and only lead to disappointments. I mean sleep-dreams. I have no idea what evolutionary advantage they have, but I’m so grateful nature managed to select for it.

I usually remember my dreams really well. I also tend to write about them very often. I hate to brag, but I've had some wicked dreams. Like the time I dreamt I was invisible. Or the dream where my brother paid my roommate to kill me. Or the dream where my mom married my Honours supervisor. Or, the dream I had recently where I called my friend an "invertebrate assoholic."

Dreams are awesome because it’s like watching TV and sleeping at the same time. How can that not equal greatness? Last weekend I had a dream that I was living in Halifax and zombies were attacking the city. I took refuge in Joel Plaskett’s house. Not only did I get a full night’s sleep, I got to hang out with Joel Plaskett. Dreams are also, at times, very educational. For example, in my dream last night I learned that leeches don’t make good pets. I had a leech in a cage. It was a wire cage with giant open spaces that a small hamster probably could have crawled through, and we kept our giant leech in it. We spritzed it with water occasionally so it didn’t dry out. This leech was huge, maybe as wide across as my hand and l-o-n-g. It was also kind of hard at the edges, I think from being dried out. Anyway, the leech-as-pet thing didn’t last, and before long the leech has escaped from its cage and was crawling across the floor, chasing me. As I write this, I’m struck by how many of my dreams in the last few months have featured invertebrates. Not surprising, given this is what I look at all day:

Whatever will I dream about once I finish this degree?

07 July 2007


Okay, so here it is. All my vitriol regarding Facebook. I don’t know where this all comes from. I tend to shun things that are overly popular (like iPods, cell phones, Harry Potter, Dan Brown, etc.); but I like a good bandwagon as much as the next person and even though I usually do it late, I’ve been known to jump on a few. But: Facebook? I’m just not buying it.

Some of the arguments in favour of Facebook that I’ve heard:

1) You can find “old friends,” and catch-up with them
2) You can reach said friends all in one easy place/it saves time
3) It’s useful as a procrastination tool
4) Everyone else is doing it!

Some of my arguments against Facebook:

1) Sometimes friends become “old friends” for a reason; if they were that great in the first place I wouldn’t have lost touch with them.
2) It’s like creepy digital-stalking
3) Instead of using it as another communication tool, it’s becoming people’s only communication tool. Facebook messages are simply a fancier version of the group email.
4) I simply have no use for it.
5) I think it uses the word “friend” too loosely, but I suppose “Acquaintancebook” sounds silly.

Let me flesh out my complaints a little. I grew up in a small town. I graduated OAC with people that had been in the same daycare as me. It’s not as if I moved around a lot, or even changed schools once. I see the people I went to kindergarten with every time I go back home. There aren’t any long-lost people in my life. Mainly because I’ve kept in touch with the people that I wanted to keep in touch with. All these stories I hear, “I found my best friend from high school! We hadn’t spoken in years!” What the hell kind of best friends can’t keep in touch? My best friend (of 16 years) and I weren’t even in the same grade, we haven’t lived in the same province as each other for 7 years, and we manage to stay friends just fine without Facebook.

It can’t be both a time saver and a procrastination tool, so I won’t go further with that. I think the point in this round clearly goes to me.

I have used Facebook, so it’s not as if my hatred is completely blind. I’ve logged on using a friend’s account. I hated it before I logged on, and I think I hate it even more afterwards. It was all creepy: there was too much information about people that I don’t think I would need to know, had it been my account. There was a list of the different people that had recently become friends, and who was poking whom, what everyone’s mood was, who had signed which wall. It was like having a ticker on my computer that would scroll “Cricket is reading an article….Mika is in MBSU….Cricket has gone to the bathroom….Oz has just gotten up….Mika just dropped some foreceps.” I mean, is the running commentary important or even interesting? (I realize that MSN does something similar, but not on this scale: it’s not like it tells other users when I’m having a conversation and with whom). Deb tells me that “It doesn’t have to be creepy,” meaning you can adjust what you want the world to see. Which is all kinds of good, because apparently (and I literally just found this out) they have a really skeevy Privacy Policy. If what I read is true, it’s downright scary. On par with how Gmail never deletes emails and makes a profit datamining them.

I have other reasons for disliking Facebook, but those are the main ones. I have a blog, email, and a phone. That’s all I really need to keep in touch with the people I care to keep in touch with. I just don’t need Facebook (and, despite what my tone may suggest, I have nothing against the people who use it - just quit sending me invitations!).

This, however, is a site I would join.

05 July 2007

I’m sitting here racking my brain to find something to write about. There was a couple of news stories I read today that made my Faith-In-Humanity-O-Meter dip towards the “Nonexistent” side of the scale, but that’s nothing new.

I added a link to the Bunny Scale on the right-hand column, so people can easily access it.

I haven’t seen any movies of late worth noting. I’ve been composing an entry in my head entitled “Why I Hate Facebook,” but it’s not yet ready to share with the world. I’m also working on a justification for the reason I always say that Television Without Pity is the best website. Ever. That, also, is not yet ready for public eyes. So you’re left reading about a list of things you can’t read yet. How meta.