Friday, April 28, 2006


Those who know me are well aware of the fact that in the summer I get tanned...well partially. See I'm not the type of person who cares to spend a lot of time in the sun lying there doing nothing. So when I'm outside I'm usually biking, which results in some rather funny tan lines. The photo below is almost right, the only difference is that a cyclists shins don't get tanned, so they stay white...ain't it sexy.

So this year when Deirdre picked up some tan in a bottle I started to wonder if that would be the simple solution to my problems. Sure it's some freaky chemical cocktail that was probably rushed to market due to the overwhelming demand, despite potential health risks. But who cares, tanning in the sun or with "artificial" light is likely to give you cancer anyway. So unless this somehow gives you skin cancer and bad gas, I figure it's worth it.

Though I have to admit I was kind of skeptical. After I've seen some of the girls who overdo it with the fake tan and end up looking like Umpa Lumpa's.

But after using the bottled tan for about a week I can say that it works really nicely. And yes, I realize just how metrosexual a post like this makes me...but honestly is anyone surprised by that? Oh, just in case you were wondering which brand I chose, it's from Dove it works great without the odd smell of some of the other kinds. And at the very least you get well moisturized from using it...yes I know, I'm metrosexual.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Morning bug

I don't know about the rest of you but for me mornings need to follow a bit of a routine. Particularly on weekdays when I need to get up early. Sure I'm able to function on little sleep, but it still takes a while for things to be running smoothly. So a routine makes things easier.

This morning there was a bit of a disruption to the routine. While I was in the kitchen I heard Deirdre, still in the bedroom, scream for me. This is never a good sign. Though I figured it was probably a spider so no big deal I'll just go in there and be a big man and squish it.

Now did I mention that I was kind of sleepy still? See had I been more alert it would have registered that this scream was a bit more urgent than the one's I've normally heard for spiders. But it was early and my brain was just kicking into gear.

As soon as I step into the room Deirdre shouts "There, behind the door!". Ok, so it's a spider no big deal. Now I should note at this point that there were no lights on in the room and being as early as it was my eyes take a second to focus. This is important because in the past I have occasionally had issues finding the spider that she spotted. Well this time it wasn't a question of where it was. This was no spider. This was one BIG ASS bug! I'm not kidding, this thing was something right out of MIB.

Now I've admitted to being metrosexual in the past, but that doesn't mean that I'm a wuss. There really aren't all that many things that will give me pause or concern. Well we can add this bug to the list of the things that will!

Here's how things played out:

I just kind of stood there for a second. I mean sure I might have liked to run out of the room and lock that beast in there behind me...but Deirdre was in there too, under the covers. So if I ever wanted to get under there with her ever again running wasn't an option. So what are my other options?

I could just grad her shoe and smash it, but that would be messy as hell.

There is a can of raid in the closet, but if I didn't kill the thing it would be pissed, but the closet is out in the hallway, outside of the bedroom...wait I can't run.

Ok, I'll just grab some Kleenex, at least that will buy me some time. Damn, it's still there...I was kind of hoping it would run, it has so many legs why is it just sitting there?

I know, let's turn on the light so I can "see it better"...what, it didn't still didn't run?...oh my god that thing looks even bigger in the light! It actually casts a shadow along the wall!

Ok, I can't stall any longer, it's down to this: it's life, or my sex life, there's no way both are walking out of the room alive. Damn, I need more Kleenex, I'm sure this fucker is going to be juicy.

Time to suck it up and crush the little thing...ok it's almost as big as my hand, why couldn't it be on the floor where I can step on it? I like stepping on things, I can crush them better that way. Alright, here we go!

Shit, I only got half of him! Quick, crush the rest of it! Good done...wait, did all the Kleenex cushion the blow? What if he's wrapped up in there in a nice safe cocoon waiting for me to relax my grip? He could spring from there and jump down my throat and eat me from the inside out in a matter of minutes!

I know, elastics! That's the ticket, wrap that ball of Kleenex in elastics before I let go of it.'s all clear now honey! Though if you find some broken elastics we're getting the hell out of here.

So that's how my morning started. Oh and just in case you are wondering what kind of a wuss I am, below is a picture of the bug. Maybe you can deal with that at 6:00 am, I 'd rather not.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Congratulation, here's a gift

Yeah, I'm probably a bit of a bastard at times. I'll admit that I have a mean streak to me so sometimes when an opportunity presents itself I just can't pass it up.

This past weekend I went to a co-workers wedding. All in all it was a fun night, until the best man hit my girlfriend in the face...but you can read that story on her blog. No my contribution to the wedding was some pretty poor dancing and a gift off the registry.

It was with the gift that I started what might (with any luck) become an interesting trend. I'm sure you've seen a bridal registry before. And why is it a bridal registry? Ok, that's self explanatory, a groom's registry would be all at Best Buy and Home Depot. Anyway, my idea with gift registries from now on is to go through the entire registry and find the most useless seeming item on the list and buy that.

Sure I could shell out a couple of hundred for a duvet or more for silk sheets for their bed, but why? I like my friends and all but I really don't like the idea of furnishing their homes just because they chose to invite a lot of people to their wedding. Hell most of the time the people I know getting married have been living on their own for 5 or more years, if by now you haven't bought a fat separator you probably don't need one. Incidentally that was my gift for the wedding.

So be forewarned if you invite me to a wedding (and since it is virtually mandatory that I buy a gift) don't have useless stuff on the list. Because I will buy it! So if you must make a list ask yourself: if I only get one gift, do I really want to get X? If the answer is yes put it on, otherwise don't bother.

Of course now that I think it through my plan does have one drawback, that being that all the cheap shitty gifts will be left off of the registries, leaving only the expensive flatware and china sets. But I can get around that by ordering really odd numbers of pieces; 5 forks, 1 knife and 7 spoons.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Office noises

So anyone who has ever had to spend any time in an office has had to put up with aspects of the people they share the room with, sometimes a very small room, it's a given. And by the way, if you haven't been pissed off by someone in your office, you're the one pissing them off.

Now normally I'm pretty easy going and I can deal with just about any kind of noise. Truth be told I prefer a slightly noisy environment, it keeps me from being distracted by random noises. But sometimes there are some noises that just get to be too much. In my current office setting I have to put up with a few of these. Thankfully I can almost replicate the experience for you (no I'm not going to record them and download the recordings onto Napster...that's been done before). I came across a site that searches for sounds. So you can hear comparable sounds to what you would if you spent a day in my office.

  • Slurping woman. I'm certain that she doesn't realize that she is doing this, but she will suck air through her lips, making a slurping sound. The joy of this is that it's highly random, possibly once an hour other times I get lucky enough to hear it a few times a minute! So here you, the closest I could get to simulating it (and for the record, she slurped once while I wrote this paragraph. Slurp

  • Growling man. This one is just fucking odd. It seems to originate from an inside joke with a fellow colleague (female) but it's gone well beyond the funny range. Listening to a grown man growl like a cat as loud as possible is embarrassing for everyone. Growl

  • The freak little gremlin. Seriously, this guy is fucking strange. Virtually deaf, which may explain the audible mumbling. About the size of a hobbit, though possibly shrinking. He has plenty of pleasant habits, though my personal favorite is hawking up a nice wet one into the water fountain in the hallway...anyone want a drink of water now? Spit
I haven't posted this list to be mean to anyone, I just needed to vent because frankly it's starting to seriously annoy me and even sicken me a bit. I know that my work environment is filled with socially inept people (nerds) but I'm sure that in any office you could find equally disturbing behaviour...well probably not the gremlin's behaviour, but for sure you could find the rest.

So what is one to do? Crank the volume on the speakers or invest in big headphones that act like ear-muffs? Because frankly I don't want to have to explain to someone more than twice my age why he shouldn't be spitting in the water fountain. I figure if he hasn't figured it out by now, he's not going to.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Being busy

So it's been a while since I posted anything on the blog. I'd love to say that I've been having a terribly exciting life and just haven't had the time to write about any of it. Unfortunately my time has been occupied by trying to develop a predictive equation for my current research project...oh isn't that fun!

I'm glad that you think it's interesting because I'm going to go into it in great detail. See I need to figure out how much Joule heating will be produced by a solution with a known resistivity and a variable cross-sectional area...and there goes the remaining readers of my blog, well it almost lasted a full year.

If you are still here the real topic of this post is how much I hurt. The past few weeks have had me in more pain than I have experienced in quite some time. The reason, well I'm getting old, that's about the only excuse I can find.

It all started with a game of "ULTIMATE", please note that "ULTIMATE" must always be spelt in capital bold font letters. Why? Because any sport that involves running around chasing a piece of plastic while not being allowed to touch anyone or even make it difficult for an opponent to follow you needs to be ridiculed. Now you're probably asking why I would play such a ridiculous sport, well I was asked and I figured it could help get me back in shape. The reality is though it may gradually help me get back into shape, only if I don't break my toes first. I don't know what happened but my soccer cleats didn't treat my toes well with all the running. My big toes on each foot felt as though they were broken for almost a week.

Of course being a cyclist my body is in no condition to run. It's really funny how many different muscle groups get used when you run as compared to bicycling. The next few days my legs were just stiff as well as my back and then there was this blister on my heel...the list just goes on. So what did I decide to do, go running outside with Deirdre. That's right, the man who has denounced running for ages and for the most part dislikes running anything that isn't measured in meters (and less than 100 or those I might add) went out for a run of about 3 or 4 miles...with toes that felt like they were broken and legs that seems as though someone had taken a bat to them...before you think me completely stupid have I mentioned that I love Deirdre?

So that run actually was pretty good, it really helped the pain in my feet...well it helped balance out the pain in my feet anyway, and only by increasing the pain in the right foot. Oh and as for my legs, yeah they felt even worse the next day. So a few days later I figured the wise course of action would be to go for a bike ride. Bike rides don't hurt right? Well so long as we aren't going out to Afton and all it's bloody hills. So where are we going on Saturday? Afton??? Who the hell put you in charge of choosing where we go? Great so now I get to ride about 120 km (75 miles) with lots of wind and a whole bunch of rolling hills, and the damn 5 kms (3 miles) of climbing to get out of the hell that is Afton. Damn ride, every time I go to Afton I hurt, I don't like to hurt.

Ok finally Sunday, I can rest. Nothing planned, other than a recovery ride with Deirdre. We'll head down the Greenway trail, it's nice and flat, flat is good for me now. Oh wait, it's windy. I'm not talking Winnie the Pooh blustery day here, I'm talking the kind of day that inspired wind powered generators. So turning around about now would be a good idea, I've already got enough crap blown into my hair for a day. We can rest and then go for the Easter/birthday party at Deirdre's parent's place later. And what do we find when we get there? More "ULTIMATE"!!! A great, well I guess I should play. Oops, wrong shoes, these have no traction at all, but my toes aren't hurting so maybe I should use them when I play "ULTIMATE" again next week? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fashion sense

Lately the weather here has been down right magnificent! It's been 21 C (70 F) or above for the past three days. Hell, that would qualify as summer in Edmonton...and a long one at that! And with the warm weather everyone is getting outside. I even got Deirdre to skip her class Monday night to join me for a bike ride around the lakes. She's a lot faster on a bike than I imagined, and rather cute with a bike helmet on too.

However with this warm weather something that isn't so cute has been popping up. I've seen this daily now since Monday and I'm sure I will see more of it as the warm days continue. What am I talking about? Well, it's not socks with sandals (though I have seen a lot of those as well), I'm talking about plaid shorts! Light coloured, plaid styles from the mid-70's worn by geeky comp-sci or engineering guys with really skinny bodies (yes I know I'm skinny) , black t-shirts and thick glasses.

Now I can't claim to be perfect, well I can..and do sometimes...but there is proof that I'm not, some of it photographic. So until the day comes that I have found and destroyed all photos of my shortcomings and sufficiently bribed or intimidated (yeah, I know it's all going to have to be bribes) those who know my past, let's just say that I'm not perfect. But I sure as hell will not wear plaid shorts!

I don't know who's bright idea it was to come up with these damn things in the first place. I have a feeling it can be blamed on the golfers, they had plaid pants and I bet they think they are cool. Damn I can just picture the first pair now, the result of a pair of scissors and plaid pants...plaid cut-off shorts!

My question is why? Not only do why do people make the damn things, not why they buy them, but why do they think that they look good? Who knows, maybe it's a Minnesota thing and they miss not being able to wear their plaid jackets when it gets warm out. All I know is that if you ever see me looking like the guy below (even on Halloween) carefully approach me and suggest that I may want to visit with the nice men in the white suits at the place with the padded rooms.

Monday, April 10, 2006

There's always something to get

Ok, I have a bit of a problem. No, I don't beat up my girlfriend as the last post suggests...note to self post a lot this week to bury that unfortunate incident. No my problem goes towards the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm kind of ashamed to admit this...and I'm someone who admitted I had a drinking problem. Ok, so the first dozen or so times that I mentioned that I was drinking at the time, but in the end I did actually realize the problem and quit. No my current problem is so much more twisted and shameful I can barely bring myself to admit it.

I have a belt fetish... maybe fetish sounds bad, how about an obsession? At least that sounds a little less perverse, the whole fetish thing doesn't convey the right image.

But it's true that I'm becoming obsessed with belts. This past year I have started to look at and covet belts more and more. At this point in time my collection is growing rather rapidly. As it is I have about a half dozen belts in regular use and I'm constantly looking for more. Long gone are the days when I would wear the same overly long no matter what I was wearing. Nope, now I'm approaching the point where I will have belts for specific shirt/pant combinations.

I have to say I do love how easily a belt can alter a look. Or accent it to change things up a little...yes, I think about this way too much. In fact in searching for images to put in this post I came across the ultimate belt. One that combines not only my growing obsession for belts but also my obsession...ok fetish, for bicycles: a bicycle tire belt!

The funny part is when I showed them to Deirdre her first comment was "nice, but expensive for what they are". Whereas I had been thinking "I wonder how many I can order in a shot without spending too much on shipping?". Yeah, I have a problem.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Smooth man, real smooth

On Friday night I figured it would be nice to treat Deirdre to a nice night out. The plan was rather simple, dinner at a nice restaurant and then catch a late show at the improv comedy club nearby. Ok, it's not the most glamorous date but it was still nice...well the parts that we got to.

Now I was at least smart enough to make reservations at both destinations, an 8:00 dinner and 10:30 show, so plenty of time to have a leisurely meal and make our way over to the club. Well thanks in part to my slight memory lapse on the cross street of the restaurant we arrived about ten minutes late. Fortunately they hadn't given up on the reservation and we still had a nice cozy booth table. I'd honestly expected them to have move my reservation to a shitty little one near a washroom...maybe I've been reading too much of

So after a really good meal, and as it seems is always the case in American restaurants, there was far too much on the plate to eat in one sitting. And some people wonder why babies here are so fat they can't use car seats...I'm not making this up. So since we had some time to kill before the show and dogie bags from the restaurant we figured we should stop at Deirdre's place to drop them off.

Now this is where I got really smooth. I gave Deirdre the most crushing headbutt of my life! I'm not talking about some little bumped forehead action. I mean full on, teeth rattling, all my strength blow just above her temple from my forehead. And I did it perfectly, I barely even felt the contact, the sound of her teeth knocking together sounded harder than it felt to hit my head. Yup, what can I say, I'm just smooth.

Now before the nasty comments come in about me abusing my girlfriend let me clarify the situation. We were standing in the entryway of her apartment and starting to move closer to each other and hug. That's when we both felt the shoe in the way between us. Coincidentally, this was also the same time that both looked down to see said shoe. Now, normally I praise the fact that Deirdre is 5'10", being that I'm 6'2" she seems to be the ideal height. Namely, I don't have to bend in half to hug her or put my arm around her shoulders. Well, it seems that there is one drawback to such comparable heights. Namely if we both look down at the same time, my head will come crashing down onto hers.

Needless to say I felt like crap because of that. Now even though Deirdre had as a child suffered a few landings on her head she still seems to be rather robust, as the blow only gave her a bit of a headache. Though these past blows to the head may answer the question a few friends have had about her (i.e. "Why is she dating you?"). But due to the headache we decided to forgo the comedy show in favour of resting on the couch.

Ok, you may now berate me for almost knocking my girlfriend out, I know it's coming.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Monday I had the joy of spending the day in a room listening to a guy go on about how to write grants. I know you are all jealous of my life, but hey I had to suffer through years and years of schooling to get to this point, so I've earned the privilege.

Sitting in that room reminded me of one of the other great joys of being an academic, conferences! Sure you might get to travel to some warm/exotic location, or Regina but that's not the real joy. No for those of you who have yet to experience the wonder of a scientific conference. The true joy comes from sitting in darkened rooms while watching slide after slide of data that does one of two things: 1) it invalidates/undercuts/makes obsolete all the work you have been doing or 2) goes so far over your head that you feel like a mental midget and eventually fall asleep and out of your chair.

Ok, I was just kidding with that last part, the talks aren't the real fun. The true pleasure comes from being allowed to wear a real nifty name-badge. The seminar I was at on Monday tried to be all cool, but the name badges were actually just stickers with your name on it. Come on people, I'm not in kindergarten anymore, I want a damn lanyard and a plastic sleeve for my name tag. Obviously I the name sticker was beneath me and I didn't wear it, though you could see a number of them on the other less cultured could tell they'd never been to a real conference.

Hell at a real conference you always get some kind of swanky bag to carry around. And these bags are so hip that everyone will be carrying them around everywhere. From the conference hall, to the hotel, even out to dinner and back to the airport. It helps you identify your fellow conference goers, though the badges that are constantly worn (if they are of good enough quality) is another tip. All these items of course have some massive logo for the conference with the year and city. I figure this is to that when you wake up in the back alley after the mugger takes your wallet and laptop bag (why are you carrying to bags, put the laptop in the conference bag) you'll be able to at least answer some of the questions the police have for you.

So next time you are at a conference remember, never ditch the complimentary bag and whatever you do, don't take off the name badge, that would be so un-cool.