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Showing posts from August, 2009

Charts for the Masses

Think you can't read graphs and charts? Think that graphs and charts are irrelevant to your life?

Think again.

from graphjam


Not a super cheerful way to start the day, but this video (I saw it here) is powerful.

With the Olympics heading to Vancouver in six months, I wish there was a profound and simple solution (the reality is that with the Olympics comes a spike in sex-trafficking for all the tourists, athletes, and other workers in town).

I don't have much. But I'm excited that some friends from way back are doing something, and starting somewhere.

Today's Tune

Need a little cheering up on a dreary Tuesday?

This is my recommendation: Stars sing "Today Will Be Better, I Swear"

There isn't video, so just hit play and then listen while you go about your work.

A Ramble on Controversy & Principles

I think this is one of those entries that has to start with a disclaimer. So here it is:

These are my own, personal thoughts. Although they pertain to work, in that they stemmed from a conversation with a coworker, they are not representative of my employer or my employer's views. Nor are they in any way intended to put down those whose views differ from mine.

A friend, and relatively new coworker, sent me an email today in which she commented on the stress she feels with regards to the oh-so-controversial issue of "the role of women." She asked me, "Beth! What is my role as a woman on staff!"

This makes me cringe. This, and the Calvinism-Arminianism debate.

I should clarify. Neither of these issues in and of themselves make me angry. I actually think they are good discussions to have. But I consider both of them as non-essentials. That is, the stance someone takes in either area is not of that much importance. In the big picture.

Which is why I cringe. When this b…

Week in Review

Things that made me happy this week:

Seeing my family. Special shout-outs to my brother and sister-in-law for hosting a great ool party (as he says, "no p in the pool!").Catching up with some of my favourite people whom I don't see often enough. Eating ice cream with them. Talking.
The rewards of a job well done. Helping people learn and getting to meet tangible needs. Good conversations with my boss/friend. I have been fortunate to have boss/friends for the last few years. Reading Gilead. I recommend it, although it is meandering.Getting to tell people my plane got hit by lightning. True story. We were still on the tarmack. Helping my friends' wedding go off with as few hitches as possible. I like being "damage control." If I were to change careers, I would seriously consider wedding coordinating/executing. Dancing at said wedding, outdoors, under a lantern, strings of lights, and the wide-open sky. Beside the ocean.Realizing again what lovely and precious f…

Movies on Planes

Entertainment on flights is always a hit-and-miss sort of thing. Sometimes they strike out completely, and sometimes they hit the ball out of the park. Even with the handy-dandy seat back system, there are failures.

But today was a success.

The Soloist is a movie about an LA Times reporter and a schizophrenic homeless musician with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. Given the actors, I was pleasantly surprised. It was beautiful. Beautiful soundtrack, beautifully realistic, and beautifully hopeful.

I recommend.

Just Say No (to Children)

The new trend: choosing to be childless.

Good for population control? Helpful to the environment?
Further evidence of humanity's selfishness? Child-haters?

At the very least, this fascinating article from Macleanson couples choosing not to have children provides thought-provoking insight into our cultural view & value of parenthood.

(It garnered so much attention that they published a follow-up article.)


Slept past my alarm. Worked.Skype date with Heather. Love Heather. It was too short, but I'll see her next week. Can't forget her birthday gift!!Worked. Dan phoned; we're asking our landlords to fix some things before we sign our (overdue) lease.Lunch with a friend from my crazy creative writing class last fall. I love the realization that a friendship is real and mutually desired. Great cultural & creative thoughts.Coffee shop to work again. Not feeling productive. Did I make any progress today? Added to my plate, definitely. The gym. The elliptical. The personal TV. An hour of goodness.Home again. Leftovers. Check email. Season premiere of America's Best Dance Crew.Skype date with Wendy. Love Wendy. Love webcams when they don't freeze into awkward faces. Dan comes up and it is mass chaos and fun. Work-ish. Distraction. TV. Vacation planning (flights booked). Bones. I love Bones. Love Booth. I am rooting for them - they better get together this fall. They will…

More Music Thursday

(if you have a reader & wonder why I reposted this, watch the videos on this entry, not the first one. I failed to screen one of them well the first time around...)

Sometimes, I just crave more music. These are some of the songs & artists that are making me happy today, as I work from home in the rain.

Paolo Nutini. His new album is out and he's coming to Vancouver next month. I'm going (again).

New Shoes:

Last Request:

Headwater. A great (and great-looking) folk band out of Vancouver. Saw them play on a ferry.

Freight Train:

Angels & Airwaves. Steph set me up with this song. I think I'd like the rest of their music, especially after seeing their drummer's sweet acoustic skillz.

Good Day:

Two Lists

Things I Find Creepy:
Criminal Minds. I'm not watching that show anymore. The fact that I can see in my neighbour's bathroom window while sitting on my toilet. Who designed these houses!?Being alone in my house at night (thankfully it was short-lived tonight). This is probably due, in part, to #1. Possibly also #2.
Older men with younger women. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether they are together or just together. The woods. Nighttime, and sometimes during the day. It depends.
Occupations I Think I Could Succeed In That Aren't My Own (Right Now):
Nanny.Photographer.Book critic.Wedding planner.Novelist.Professor.Actuary.

Just kidding on that last one, folks. The same guidance counselor that told me I should go straight through and get my PhD by the time I was 27 told my sister she should be an actuary. I think both of us are fairly happy with the way our lives have gone, albeit somewhat differently than suggested.

Lunchtime Philosophy

I went for lunch today with a friend. Our conversations always leave my head spinning, just a little. They're big, they're philosophical, they're personal. Sometimes they go around in circles and I forget where we came from or where we were headed.

But I'm always glad for them, because they make me think. They challenge me to ask why I believe the things that I do, and to consider the myriad of views that disagree with my own.*

After we moved on from philosophy to computers (we always get distracted) and I bought a netbook, I am left with two over-arching areas of thought:

a) There are days that I fear that I am essentially a child who is convinced of the existence of Santa Claus. As rational as my beliefs about Jesus seem to me, I sometimes find myself wondering if the wool is being pulled over my eyes. Do I sound as ridiculous to secularists as I would find a believer in the big red Christmas man? Am I oblivious to some obvious fact that would bring my Jenga tower toppl…


I am reading a book called Buy-ology. It is by Martin Lindstrom, who is apparently "one of the world's most respected marketing gurus."

Having never heard of Lindstrom before, he seems slightly self-inflated. Although perhaps he really is one of the world's best marketing minds. (A quick wiki search shows that Time listed him in their Top 100 influencers this past spring...) His ego aside, I'm finding the book fascinating. Not particularly surprising, but fascinating none the less.

In essence, it is a look at how our brains respond to brands & advertising of various sorts. Not how we respond consciously (as in a survey), but how our brain and therefore our subconscious responds.

What has surprised me so far is the assumption - or maybe reality - that we as consumers are largely unaware of the influence exerted on us. Personally, I feel hyper-aware of the brands that pull me in. I know that Apple has me convinced that if I use a Mac or an iPod, I will be more chi…

Waiting for 8pm to Check What's on TV

1. I love reading Postsecret. It fascinates, saddens, and shocks me (warning: I give it a 14A rating). My heart breaks every Saturday evening.

2. I realized today that Emily Deschanel of Bones is Zooey Deschanel's sister. I can see it so clearly now. Love them both. They are quirky, beautiful, and seem to have good heads on their shoulders.

3. I don't know how to share things via Google Reader. I would like to. I even searched the FAQs to find out how. But because I can't find a "share icon" anywhere within my browser, my 28 followers (didn't know I had so many, or what that even means) will remain disappointed by my lack of sharing.

4. I have not yet purchased Coldplay's Viva la Vida. I have it on my iPod, but not my computer. I love it.

5. I don't like Starbucks all that much. I try. I want to be cool and yuppie (despite my often-rebellious nature). I thought I liked it after reading It's Not About the Coffee. But I think it's Howard I like. Whe…

I Love (& Hate) Shakespeare

In my undergrad, I took great pride in the fact that I avoided taking a Shakespeare class. For most students, fulfilling our "Early Modern" requirements obviously included a course in the Great One's plays. But I refused on principle. I believed (and still do) that it is possible to have a well-rounded English Literature degree without studying Shakespeare. He may be great, but he is not the be-all and end-all of literary history. In essence, my "hatred" (too mild to even be called that) of Shakespeare lies in his immense popularity & influence, and my little rebellious self saying, Psshht.

Oh, and his tragedies are depressing. As tragedies ought to be. But I usually favour the happy endings.

My love of Shakespeare is that he is highly entertaining, and really quite brilliant. The fact that over four hundred years later, people laugh and cry at his words is... something.

This is all an unnecessarily long intro to my review of Comedy of Errors, performed by Bar…

Enjoyable & Depressing

So the concert last night was fantastic. Steph & Manny & Jonathan are excellent concert companions. Manny, because she knows her stuff. Steph, because we have similar tastes (she also knows her stuff). Jonathan because he's my brother and it was his first-ever concert.

The opening band, Vedera - meh. Not bad.

Jack's Mannequin - insane amounts of energy, amazing piano skills and an overall fantastic persona. Highly enjoyable, although difficult to understand any of his words, even when speaking. Yet somehow, the f-bomb always manages to be audible...

Listening to The Fray was exactly like listening to their album, only live and better. If that makes sense. I loved it. Enjoyed the lighting, liked the Steph, my only setlist regret is that they didn't play Look After You, which is pretty much my favourite of all times. Their cover of Kanye's Heartless is pretty fantastic though.

I didn't know that Over My Head (Cable Car) is about the lead singer's …

"You're Great, But..."

What happened: Someone left a comment the other morning on an old entry (don't bother trying to find it) that referenced my singleness. They encouraged me ("on behalf of the men") that I am "a catch" and that many guys would be "ecstatic" to meet someone like me, and that someday ("soon") I'll meet a guy who will be "lucky to have found" me.

Personal Note to Anonymous: I want to say two things before I go further:
a) Your comment was a pleasant surprise and a great way to start my day. I felt encouraged. I truly did, and I hope that the criticisms/frustrations I'm about to share don't dissuade you otherwise.
b) I have no idea who you are and I think it is best (in light of the rest of my thoughts) that it stay that way. I tried briefly to deduce who you are, but once I realized there are nearly infinite possibilities, I decided it's best if I don't try too hard.

Caveat: I have been mulling it all over for the last …

Magical Music Mondays

These songs...

1. Be Here Now - Ray LaMontagne. I first heard it while watching 27 Dresses. So achingly lovely, although this video is nonsensical. What's up with the random chubby tummies??

2. Do You Realize - The Flaming Lips. Not sure when I first heard it, but identified it as this song while in Karen's car on Sunday. I love a good love song, and this is one.

3. The Name of the Game - ABBA. Listening to Mamma Mia in the car today, I realized that not only are their tunes catchy, but their lyrics are timeless. (check out the AMAZING original music video here)

4. Swim- Jack's Mannequin. I think I'm in love. Can't WAIT to see this live in two days.


Stay-cations are all the rage now - that is, a vacation where you stay at home... since I'm such a trend-follower, I've decided to do the same thing. It is going to be a fantastic week. Here's my schedule at a glance:

Today: Karen is visiting. Fireworks (possibly)

Sunday: Church & an evening visit to the Spirit of the Sea Festival to watch my roommate perform.

Monday: Say goodbye to Andrew (sadness), paint the dining room with Lynsey & friends and talk with my family.

Tuesday: Finish the dining room makeover after a trip to IKEA

Wednesday: Hang out with my brother - surprise him with tickets to see The Fray for his birthday...(don't worry, I'm 95% sure he doesn't read my blog). Jack's Mannequin are opening for them.* If anyone in the area wants to come, I have one more ticket.

Thursday: Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors at Bard on the Beach starring Ryan Beil, who is the funniest person I've ever seen perform (at the Granville Island Theatresports) a…