# Go Dr. Beth Go!

At some point today (or perhaps early tomorrow) we will be able to officially mark the half-way point of Dr. Beth’s epic 10+ day challenge to complete the longest ever continuous game of hockey. For those who might have forgotten, the entire game is being played to raise awareness and money to support research to treat and ultimately cure Cystic Fibrosis. In honour of such an amazing accomplishment, I promise to raise a glass of something booze-y this eve. These are the things that I’m willing to do for Dr. Beth.

Anyway, Dr. Beth had asked that people come down to visit and support her and the team while they are playing. It’s a way to keep the teams’ spirits up, because the task-at-hand is clearly a gruelling one – in mind, body, and spirit. However, since I can’t make it there myself (what with the several thousand kilometre commute that would be required), I thought I would try to come up with a list of slogans that could be proudly displayed in some for of poster goodness. So here you go Dr. Beth; several slogans just for you. Keep up the most awesome work!

• CHUCK NORRIS NEVER COMPLETED A 242+ HOUR LONG GAME OF HOCKEY
• PUCK CYSTIC FIBROSIS
• CYSTIC FIBROSIS CAN SUCK MY DEKE
• YOUR BODY WILL FORGIVE YOU EVENTUALLY
• YOUR BODY WILL FEEL BETTER WHEN IT STOPS HURTING
• JUST THINK HOW EASY A REGULAR GAME OF HOCKEY WILL FEEL NOW
• THIS IS JUST A REGULAR GAME OF HOCKEY WITH A 241 HOUR WARM-UP
I’m also trying to come up with a slogan or three that contain the following hockey terms: zamboni/zamboner, puck bunny, holding, hooking, gross misconduct, five-hole, and/or butt-ending. :)

And don’t forget; if you haven’t donated you can do so by clicking the link on the right side of this page. And feel free to pass on this post so that the word gets out about the need to fund Cystic Fibrosis research.

For those wishing to get a first hand account of the game, check out Dr. Beth’s blog here. Or watch the game live here.

# Naughty 6 Squared Birthday To Me

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 36th birthday. And by celebrated, I mean I woke up, took a deep breath, and continued recovery from my hernia surgery. That is to say, I didn’t really do much in the way of standard celebrating. While there was no cake (as I wasn’t really eating solids at that point), there was a party; a party of one. Clearly I am using the term party to mean that Dan was stoned off his gourd on Oxycodone

Anyway, not having a formal gathering of friends wasn’t an issue. I’ve managed to squeeze in a lot of one-on-one coffees, mall-walks, and suchlike with friends over the past 2 weeks, and will have no problem celebrating my birthday for another month if that is what needs to happen. Truthfully, it’s not really the birthday stuff that I care about. It is, however, a great excuse to meet up with friends. Not that I need an excuse. My friends rock; all that is required for a get-together is a phone call, an email, a text, or some other form of communication to say “Yo, let’s do this”. And we do.

But I’m getting off point.

So what the hell is the point of this post? you ask.

Well, my friend Rick (whom you will all likely remember from such amazing adventures as Dan Smashes His Face, and Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) dropped by Friday. He was in town very briefly for a wedding, and managed to pop in to see how I was recuperating from surgery. He also brought me the most awesome birthday gift. For those unaware, Rick and I have developed a habit of buying each other very off-colour, offensive, rude, and inappropriate gifts/cards. I think it started with the Christmas card that Rick sent to me last year (see picture below).

NOTE: Mom & Dad, or anyone who might have a weak constitution – you may not, and probably should not read the rest of this post. Especially you Mom. Consider yourself duly warned. Also, in my defence – Rick started it1 :)

I followed up his Christmas card with a most awesome (in my twisted little mind) 30th birthday card. You can read about that card here. While the word that has been smiley-faced over is only 5 letters in length, it is one of the most offensive in the english language. I will not write the 5 letter word here for fear that it might cause some readers to faint, or suffer the vapours, but I will say that the 5 letter word does not rhyme with aunty.

In turn, he gave me the card and gift that you see below (Mom & Dad, if you are still reading – don’t say I didn’t warn you). I love, love, love the caution on the back of the gift. Freaking hilarious.

Anyway, I felt compelled to share this with all y’all (or at least with those of you who decided to keep reading).

Thanks again Rick. Trust me when I say that I love the gift, and that I’m actively seeking out your Christmas card. But most importantly, thanks for taking the time to drop by on Friday. I know you had a super packed schedule. As always, it was great to chat with you. It sucks that we can’t hang out more frequently.

1 Rick may or may not have started it. I actually don’t remember. Most likely, I started it. Rick was probably innocent and naive before he met me. I may have that effect on people.

# What Exactly Is A Sporcle?

The other day I was looking over my WordPress statistics and noticed that someone (I have no idea who) had linked to my page via Sporcle. Clicking the link, I was brought to the following page, and I couldn’t help but smile.

Before I go on, perhaps I should tell you a little bit about Sporcle. Sporcle, for those unaware, is a website that was created some time ago (I don’t know when exactly). The point was to provide users with a list of random timed quizzes. The topics for the quizzes range from geography, to science, to art and history, television, movies, awards, etc. There really are no limits to what the quiz can be about.

I was introduced to Sporcle sometime during my Ph.D., and let me tell you it offered up many countless hours of stress relief and distraction from wavelets, conditionally autoregressive random effects, Bayesian analysis, and spatial correlation. Of course, I guess you really have to be a bit of a nerd to want to take time away from Ph.D.’ing to attempt random timed trivia based quizzes. Thankfully, we all know that I am such a nerd.

Some of my favourite sporcle quizzes include

So, back to the point at hand – someone had linked to my blog via Sporcle. At first I thought this might have been some sort of spam related linkage, so I clicked on the quiz. I recognized the topic area immediately and was quite excited to think that my List-o-Nerdidays might have somehow guided the creation of this particular quiz. And then I saw the source area on the page – that is, where the author of the quiz (who is listed as druhutch) obtained the information that fed the quiz. I may have squeed a little. This was proof positive that druhutch had in fact used my list to inform the questions on his/her quiz. W00t!

In other news, I also thoroughly enjoyed the following quote which they list as a disclaimer at the beginning of the quiz.

“I of course mean ‘geek’ in the most AFFECTIONATE way possible. I am a geek myself. I mean the term in a *loving* way. (please don’t somehow make my computer explode with your nerd magic).” druhutch.

The thought of nerd magic being used to make someone’s computer explode makes me giggle.

# The Puck Drops Right Now

As of 8 am Pacific time, Dr. Beth’s epic Longest Game of Hockey For Cystic Fibrosis begins (check out the website for live video of the game). If you live in Ontario like me, that means the puck drops at 11am following the official Opening Ceremonies.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular event, I have pilfered some writings directly from Dr. Beth’s blog:

The Longest Game of Hockey for CF is many things. It is:

The world record is currently held by a group of hockey players from Edmonton who played a hockey game in February that lasted for 10 days. We intend to beat their record by 65 minutes.

Clearly this isn’t something that just anybody does. That is to say, anyone who attempts to play 10 solid days of hockey has to be part crazy, part glutton for punishment, or 100% Pure Grade A Awesome. In this case, Dr. Beth is very much 100% Pure Grade A Awesome. What’s even more amazing; she’s using her vacation time to play this game. Seriously. You want further evidence of her awesomeness? Check out this article in the Milton Champion. Not enough? How about this article in the Vancouver Metro? Still not enough? Check out this post on the Vancouver Canucks official website.

For those unaware, Milton is where Dr. Beth and I met. While we both grew up in Milton and went to the same high school (and then the same University), our meeting was a bit more random – thank you to a video store in town whose name I completely forget right now. But our meeting wasn’t without a basis. That is, I sat next to Dr. Beth’s sister Nancy all through high school art class. And since 100% Pure Grade A Awesome is a genetic trait, and since Nancy and I were already friends, it’s easy to see how my random meeting with Dr. Beth resulted in an instantaneous friendship.

So, why am I telling you about Dr. Beth’s game? Simple. Money. She needs the money that you might have jingling in your pocket, or in your wallet, or in your piggy bank. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, she needs it. The goal after all is not to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. The goal is to raise money in support of Cystic Fibrosis research. Lots of money. Mountains and mountains of money. So much money that the science-y types who research Cystic Fibrosis will be able to do all the research they need to figure out better treatments, and ultimately a cure.

If you are feeling donate-y, click the link next to the big orange arrow up there. It will take you directly to Dr. Beth’s donation page. Click it. Donate. Feel good. And then treat yourself to a beverage of your choosing for being so awesome. Like a beer. Or a Gin & Tonic. Or both.

For those of you who can, please also tweet this post, share it on your facebook wall, or pass it along via email. The more people we can inform, the better.

Happy donating :)

# Love, Hope, And Optimism.

As most of you are probably aware, Jack Layton, leader of the NDP and the official opposition, died this week from cancer. He was 61 years young. Mr. Layton was a charismatic and dedicated politician, and based on the outpouring of emotion and support, someone who truly resonated with Canadians.

To be perfectly honest, I have never been moved by the death of a politician until this week. Would Jack’s death be replaced by any of our other political leaders, I’m not sure if I would feel the same sense of loss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing this fate on anyone. I just don’t think other politicians have been able to connect like Jack did. And now I’m left with this feeling that a very important and desperately needed voice in parliament has been silenced. It feels as if our country has lost someone invaluable.

True to form, even on his deathbed Jack was thinking about the future of this country. His legacy is probably best summarized in his own words:

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” (read the entire Letter To Canadians here)

His final words are simple, but speak so loudly that one can’t help but pay attention. In a world where anger, fear, and despair are the common currency, it’s essential to be reminded that we must choose love, hope and optimism over all else. Not surprisingly, his final words have been tweeted, facebooked, IM’d, BBM’d, etc., around the world probably several times over, because this is a message for everyone, not just Canadians. Ultimately, I hope his final words become a sort of Canadian Anthem. Something that each and every one of us, regardless of political affiliation can hold onto; something that we can remember; something that we can use in our daily lives; something that we can be extremely proud of.

Rest in Peace Mr. Layton.

You will be missed.

# KenKen is FunFun

Following my surgery a few weeks ago, my friends Gerarda and Alan dropped by with a most excellent ‘get well soon’ gift. The gift included a hilarious card, a trashy tabloid, and the book that I’m holding in the picture to the left. That book is a book of KenKen puzzles.

What the hell is KenKen?

Think Sudoku, but better.

Like Sudoku, KenKen starts with a grid of numbers. Within this book, there are grids that are 4×4, 5×5, and 6×6, but other sizes exist.

The rules are simple; fill in the digits 1 through $n$ where $n$ is the length of one dimension of the grid (i.e., the grid is $n\times n$) in each row AND each column. The catch, you must do so while satisfying the hints that are provided in the squares, and each row and column can contain each digit only once. As you can see below, the grid is divided into several sections. One of the squares within each region will have a clue. The clue will give you the result of a mathematical formula, and the operation that is to be used ($+, -, \times, \div$)

For example, in the 6×6 grid to the right, we have 3 squares in the upper left corner that must multiply to 80 (80x). Since this is a 6×6 grid, we can only use the digits 1 through 6. I begin by trying to figure out what can’t work. Since 80 is not divided evenly by 3 or 6, I can ignore these numbers. That means I could use 1, 2, 4, and 5. If I opt to use 1, that means the other 2 digits must multiply to 80. But, we don’t have digits large enough to get to 80 with only 2 of them. Note that the largest digit available (that being a 5) when multiplied by itself, only brings us to 25. So 1 can’t be used here either. We are left with 2, 4, and 5. Clearly, I can’t use 2 either or the remaining two digits would have to multiply to 40, and as we just determined, we can’t get to that value with the digits we have available. Hence, we need to double up one of the numbers. In this case, we can use 4, 4, and 5.

Since we have the rule that each row and column must contain the digits 1 through 6 only once, we would necessarily have to separate the 4s, as illustrated in the picture. And from this, we continue to fill in each of the rows and columns using the information provided.

Cool stuff!

Anyway, these are very addictive and I’ve been playing them almost daily since Gerarda and Alan dropped off the book. So, a huge thank you to Gerarda and Alan for this. It has made the recovery process so much more tolerable.

For those that want to give it a try, check out the KenKen website. It goes up to the challenging 9×9 grid.

# Happy Yoga-versary To Me

Yesterday I woke to an email from Moksha Yoga Guelph (MYG). While I normally get email updates from the studio regarding classes, offers, events, and such like, today’s email was different. It was to remind me that August 22nd marked my 2 year yoga anniversary. That is to write, 2 years ago I took my very first yoga class with MYG, and to be completely honest, my first yoga class ever.

How did my yoga journey even start? Well, for that I blame my friend Lara. She called me up one day and asked if I wanted to join her. Having never gone, but knowing that it would be a huge benefit to me (especially considering all of the running I was doing), I said yes. Worse case scenario; I would go, not really enjoy it so much, but at least get some time to hang out with Lara. Best case scenario; this would become a part of my daily routine.

Of course, if you’ve been following along with my adventures here on Consumed By Wanderlust you know the outcome. Yoga has become an integral part of my life. Apart from the recent recovery phase of my surgery, I typically practice in the morning as a way to start my day, get the blood flowing, ultimately prepping for whatever might be thrown at me. I also make a point of trying to hit up the studio as often as I can. The MYG community is fantastic. I have met a lot of people, made a lot of friends, and thoroughly enjoy the positive energy that comes with practicing with a group. The instructors are amazing, and are genuinely interested in what the students are passionate about. They get to know you by name, offer an endless supply of smiles, and in some cases, an endless supply of hugs (something that I love).

While I have been to the studio twice since my surgery, I’m looking forward to getting back to a more regular schedule. And if all goes well, I’ll be starting another 30 day challenge very soon.

Anyway, a huge thanks to MYG. It has been a great couple of years and I can’t wait to see how the next several years play out.

# That Was Quick

I’m currently sitting at the Ottawa airport, awaiting my flight back to Toronto that is to leave in about an hour. An hour and 10 to be exact. Sadly, it should be leaving now, but for reasons unbeknownst to me, it has been delayed. Such is the life of a traveller.

To say the weekend was quick would be an understatement. As I mentioned yesterday, I flew in Friday night to visit Matt & Monique, and the rest of the misfits for the white-water-rafting adventure-that-wasn’t. At least, it wasn’t to be for me; as I stated before, I stayed behind while everyone went off and got their rafting on since I had surgery only slightly more than 2 weeks ago.

Anyway, the weekend was awesome despite the fact that I personally did not get my rafting on. We spent Friday night catching up, having drinks (I sipped water, as I had decided that while the mixing of oxycodone and booze might be entertaining and fun, it was more than likely not one I should have experimented with), laughing, playing cards, and basically picking up where we’d left off when last the entire group was together.

Saturday, while the group went rafting, Erin and I wandered the area. We stopped at the Byward Market, exploring the fares, the foods, and the people. We toured the National Gallery, which included a stop in the special Caravaggio exhibit (verdict: quite good). We were pleased to see so many people touring the museum. In fact, the Caravaggio exhibit was almost too full for my liking. We also toured the contemporary art wing; some of the pieces were far more interesting to me than others. For example, I loved the hanging barbed wire (I think that is what it was) that was structured in such a way as to create a really interesting if not nauseating visual effect. I was a bit confused by the insulation/under-carpeting material that was piled into a mound on the floor. The set of three neon lights had less impact on me than what one might think given that each set of lights was set up to represent the roman numerals I, II, and III. And finally, the point of the set of 136 bricks laid long-end to long-end across the floor were completely lost on me. Erin and I did notice that one of the bricks seemed out of line, and pondered whether or not this was a deliberate act of the artist to make us wonder if this were purposeful, or whether or not some asshat had decided to move one of the bricks. You see, while neither of us got the work, we also would never modify or damage an artists work. That’s just not cool.

After the museum, we headed to the Rideau Centre, as our lunch was interrupted by rain and it seemed like the best way to avoid getting soaked. I picked up some sweaters from Club Monaco, and I was happy to learn that they offer a 20% discount to students and professors. Granted, when I told the story to everyone after the fact, they assumed that the girl behind the counter may just have been flirting with me. Regardless, I snagged a 20% discount, and that’s all good.

Later Saturday eve, Monique and I went out to grab food. I tried some stir fried rice and seafood. While I couldn’t eat a lot, it really did represent the first real meal I’ve had in a while. AWESOME!

The night concluded with drinks at Matt & Monique’s place, followed by Karaoke (which I did not participate in, for the benefit of all humanity). I had to leave early however, as my abs and such started to hurt after more sneezing. Oh well, it was still a great night.

Today, I vegged out with Matt, did the breakfast thing with the remaining misfits, and then made my way to the airport. And here I sit awaiting my flight.

Today is the day of my white water rafting adventure with Matt & Monique, John & Erin, Marla & Greg, Heather, Rick, and the other Gilli1; Rob & Marina. This is if you recall, item #202 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Rafting! Are you crazy? you query, knowing full well that I just had surgery 2 weeks ago to fix my hernia.

And of course, the answer is Yes. Yes I am crazy.

But I’m not that crazy. While I did make the trip to Ottawa to hang out with this collection of misfits, I have opted to sit out on the actual rafting fun. Instead, Erin and I are going to wander around Parliament, check out the market, pretend to be tourists, and basically enjoy the day.

While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to cross this item off of my list, I am happy to say that since I flew here last night, I can update item #195 (travel once per month for a year). For those counting, I’m sitting at 8 travel destinations requiring a flight in 8 months. My list thus far includes Hawaii, New York, Ottawa, Calgary, Ottawa, Nova Scotia, Chicago, and Ottawa again. Two thirds of the way to my goal. W00t!

Anyway, we’re off to the market. Happy Saturday all y’all.

1 Where Gilli is of course the plural of Gillis.

# My Personal Band Of Misfits

I saw the movie 30 Minutes Or Less the other day, starring Jesse Eisenberg (of Social Network and Zombieland fame) and Aziz Ansari (of the hilarious television show Parks and Recreation). For those who are unfamiliar with this particular movie, the plot centres around a going-nowhere man named Nick (played by Eisenberg) who is kidnapped, dressed in an explosive-vest, and forced to rob a bank. When he realizes that he is in this particular predicament, he seeks out the only person he can think of – his best friend Chet, played by Ansari – to help him pull off the heist.

For your viewing pleasure, I offer you the trailer for the movie.

Now, while this movie will likely not be up for any sort of award nomination, it was fun, light-ish, and funny. But an evaluation of this movie, this post is not. Instead, what I wanted to talk about was the premise of this movie. That is, it got me thinking – who might I ask to rob a bank with me if perchance someone strapped a bomb to my chest?

Note: To any law enforcement officer(s) who might be reading this particular post, please note that I have not now, or ever, had the inclination, motivation, or desire to rob a bank. Nor am I planning on robbing a bank. That is all.

So, who might I select for my bank robbing team? Well, let me first assume that I’d require 8 members on the team (including myself). I’m guessing I’d need

• someone to plan/coordinate everything,
• someone to scout the location,
• someone to keep an eye on things,
• someone to use his/her sexuality and confidence to obtain the necessary information from someone else who might have said necessary information (in a sexy way of course),
• someone to play the role of muscle (i.e., the brawn),
• someone to crack a safe,
• someone to provide a distraction, and
• someone to drive the getaway car.

Am I missing any key player? No idea. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not actually planning this, so I am not putting too much thought into it.

You’ll note that I haven’t listed a weapons expert. I think the fact that this hypothetical situation started with someone strapping a bomb to my chest means that we wouldn’t need one. Additionally, I’d rather not use weapons. That’s just the way I roll.

Without any further ado, here is my list of the usual suspects who might act as key members on my bank robbing team. Note that I only list a person once, although some of these misfits could easily be swapped for other roles. My friends are clearly multi-talented.

• The Brain – I’m guessing that would be me, since I’m “organizing” this band of misfits. Other potential candidates: Kevin, Arlene, or Matt – some of the smartest people I know.
• The Scout – This person would be required to research the perfect ‘hit’, understand the layout, the people who come and go, determine patterns, find loopholes, etc. Thankfully, I have a lot of friends who are detail oriented, great researchers, and being mainly statisticians, can find patterns where others cannot. So, I would have to list Steph, Gerarda, Sean, Heather, Jana, Manon, or Lorna here. If you ever need things organized or researched, these are the people you’d want to call.
• The Lookout – This person would necessarily require good eyes, but also a steady constitution should things go south. Based on travel experiences with the first person, and having worked for a while with the second person, I can say without a doubt that Rick or Victoria would easily satisfy these requirements. Both of them are unflappable. Unflappable I says. And in a pinch could also act as the beauty, or the distraction.
• The Beauty – This list could be huge as my friends are clearly a bunch of sexy bitches. Instead, I’ll select those who have proven the ability to exude sexuality and confidence, and whom I think would be able to sexily extract information from those that might have it. From the women’s camp, that would be Aqleema, Beth, Erin, or Lara. From the men’s camp, that would be Bum, Dominic, Ryan, or Steve. Don’t get too excited though folks – your inclusion here does not imply that I’m looking for anything more than what we have already. Of course, I’m not saying it doesn’t imply that either. Ha!
• The Brawn – Every job requires some muscle. Of course, muscle-y power isn’t necessarily restricted to muscles. It also includes those who, with a simple look, could stop you in your tracks. These are the people who have faced adversity and laughed in its stupid little face. So whom do I know that packs the muscle-y stop-you-in-your-tracks laugh-in-the-stupid-face-of-adversity power that might be required for a job such as this? Definitely Patrick. Definitely Dave. And most definitely Rebecca and Mandi. But above all else, I’d have to pick Janis. She’s kick-your-ass-with-a-smile-and-a-giggle awesome (which is by far the best kind of brawn out there). Seriously.
• The Locksmith – The locksmith is someone with the ability to crack locks, clearly important when dealing with such things as bank vaults, tills, and safes. Of course, this is a tricky category as I’m not aware of any friends with this particular brand of skill. I’m thinking the next best thing would be some sort of computer nerd that might be able to program something that would unlock a safe or vault. In that case, I’d have to pick Jasper, Glenn, or Mitch. They’re crafty and computer-nerdy that way.
• The distraction – This particular person must be able to provide a distraction for the cops. That is, they should be able to outrun the cops, given the chance, and/or run for an extended period of time. Further, they must look like someone the cops would want to chase. This should be for sexy or suspicious reasons. Or both. In this case, I’d pick Carolyn or Jamie. Both are, or have been runners and both clearly look sexy suspicious. Or is that suspiciously sexy? Doesn’t matter really.
• The driver – A most important job. The driver has to take us far from the scene of the crime, fast. Really fast. And often, avoiding other cars, people, and of course, the fuzz. In this case, based on personal experience, I’d have to pick my brother Aidan or Mark. Trust me when I say that they have the required skills for this particular job.

Anyway – that’s my list. I’m sure I have other friends who would easily fit the bill for any or all of these jobs, but these are the people who first came to mind. For those friends that aren’t listed, you might breathe easy knowing that I won’t call on you should I have to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to my chest. Or I may have just overlooked your obvious skills, and when pressed for the perfect misfit in my band of misfits, I might suddenly have the revelation that points me in your direction. Consider yourself warned.

I leave you with this question: were a bomb strapped to your chest, and you were forced to rob a bank, who would be on your misfit list?

# Show Me Your Downward Dog: Week 5

Last week was the end of my 35 day challenge (which officially ended on Sunday). How did I do? Not as well as I’d like to.

Actually, I shouldn’t complain. I did pretty well given that there was that little thing we call surgery on the 5th.

So ya, I don’t really have much to say. I didn’t do any yoga over the past week. Recovery sort of prevented that. I managed to do some very minor stretching during my recovery, mainly when I woke up in the morning. I managed to do my mall walks. And I managed to sleep. A lot. I’m going to chalk that up as a win for the time being, with the knowledge that once I’m fully recovered, I’ll be all over yoga. And biking. And running. And it will be awesome.

I also know that I will try this challenge again. For the 4 weeks I managed to get out there and get my bend on, I loved every second of it. The challenge reminded me why I love yoga, and how good it is for me – physically, mentally, and emotionally. So dear readers, this is not the end of my yoga challenge. Well, it’s the end of this yoga challenge, but there will be others. There will be others.

# Vampires And Zombies, Oh My!

I just submitted my newest paper to the Journal of Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology. I know, I’m excited too.

This makes paper number 5 submitted in the last year, three of which have been published, 1 is currently under revision, and, well, I just submitted this one. W00t!

Sadly, I don’t think I’m going to be able to hit item #4 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list; that is, publish 5 papers in a year. But no worries, as I have several other papers in various stages of production. My aim is to get at least 2-3 of these finished by the end of the year and submitted to appropriate journals.

Anyway, for your entertainment I offer you the first four lines of the introduction:

Imagine a post-apocalyptic world divided into $R$ geopolitical regions that have become overrun by diseased creatures who are neither alive or dead, who survive only on human flesh and blood, and who spread their disease to the uninfected with a single bite. We label each case of disease as undead ($U$). We also know that a case labeled as $U$ is the result of one of two diseases; zombie-ism ($Z$), or vampirism ($V$). That is, we assume that there are multiple diseases (e.g., $Z$ and $V$) leading to the same diagnosis (e.g., $U$).

That’s right folks, I opted to stick with my Vampire-Zombie example. Hopefully the reviewers enjoy this and don’t outright reject it based on a little tongue-in-cheek motivation.

For those wondering, this particular introduction leads to the following posterior distribution:

$\begin{array}{ll} \ln{p({\Theta,\Pi,\Omega}|Y,Z,X)} & \propto \displaystyle{\sum_{i,j,k=1}^{2,18,n}}\left\{z_{ijk}y_{ijk}(\gamma_{1}+\beta_{1}x_{ijk}+\Lambda_{1}u_{1j}+\Lambda_{2}u_{2j})\right.\\ {} & - z_{ijk}N_{ijk}\exp{(\gamma_{1}+\beta_{1}x_{ijk}+\Lambda_{1}u_{1j}+\Lambda_{2}u_{2j})}\\ {} & +(1-z_{ijk})y_{ijk}(\gamma_{2}+\beta_{2}x_{ijk}+\Lambda_{3}u_{2j})\\ {} & - (1-z_{ijk})N_{ijk}\exp{(\gamma_{2}+\beta_{2}x_{ijk}+\Lambda_{3}u_{2j})}\\ {} & \left.+ z_{ijk}\ln{\pi_{1}} + (1-z_{ijk})\ln{(1-\pi_{1})}\right\}\\ {} & -\frac{1}{2}\ln{\left|{\Sigma}_{\gamma}\right|}-\frac{1}{2}({\gamma}-{\mu}_{\gamma})^{t}{\Sigma}_{\gamma}^{-1}({\gamma}-{\mu}_{\gamma})\\ {} & -\frac{1}{2}\ln{\left|{\Sigma}_{\beta}\right|}-\frac{1}{2}({\beta}-{\mu}_{\beta})^{t}{\Sigma}_{\beta}^{-1}({\beta}-{\mu}_{\beta})\\ {} & -\frac{1}{2}\displaystyle{\sum_{i=1}^{2}\sum_{j=1}^{18}}\ln{(1-\zeta_{i}\xi_{j})}\\ {} & +\frac{1}{2}\displaystyle{\sum_{j,j^{\prime}}^{18}}(g_{1}^{2}+g_{2}^{2})u_{1,j}u_{1,j^{\prime}}{W}_{j,j^{\prime}}\\ {} & +\displaystyle{\sum_{j,j^{\prime}}^{18}}g_{2}g_{3}u_{1,j}u_{2,j^{\prime}}{W}_{j,j^{\prime}}\\ {} & +\frac{1}{2}\displaystyle{\sum_{j,j^{\prime}}^{18}}g_{3}^{2}u_{2,j}u_{2,j^{\prime}}{W}_{j,j^{\prime}}+2\ln{g_{3}}+\ln{g_{1}}\\ {} & -(\nu+3)\ln{(g_{1}g_{3})}-\frac{\nu}{20}\left(\frac{g_{1}^{2}+g_{2}^{2}+g_{3}^{2}}{g_{1}^{2}g_{3}^{2}}\right)+2\ln{g_{3}}\\ {} & -(\nu+3)\ln{(\Lambda_{1}\Lambda_{3})}-\frac{\nu}{20}\left(\frac{\Lambda_{1}^{2}+ \Lambda_{2}^{2}+ \Lambda_{3}^{2}}{\Lambda_{1}^{2} \Lambda_{3}^{2}}\right)+2\ln{\Lambda_{3}}\\ {} & +\ln{g_{1}}+\ln{\Lambda_{1}}. \end{array},$

Pretty, isn’t it?

# Thank You Mr. Oxycodone

Yesterday was another step forward in my recovery. How so? You see that delicious looking platter of sushi over there? Ya, it’s so inside of me right now. Okay, not all of it, but a few pieces. Plus some miso soup, 2 gyoza, and a bit of Perrier to wash it all down.  Clearly I have a very happy belly.

Of course, for the two steps forward I took with food (both in quantity and substance), I took one back. That of course was a step back in the form of sneezing. Sweet mother of pearl, that shit ain’t fun. No matter how hard I try to hold on or brace for the impact of the sneeze, it just doesn’t stop the pain.

It may also have been worsened by the fact that I managed not one, not two, but three laps of the mall yesterday – insert Count Von Count laughing maniacally – three, three, three laps of the mall, muah-ah-ah-ah.

Not to worry folks; the pain was promptly kicked to the curb, thank you very much Mr. Oxycodone, and then I took a most excellent nap on the couch. When I woke, my mom was watching something-or-other, I was still rather stoned from my meds, and I was painfully exhausted. The clear solution was to amble off to bed. And that is what I did. Yes folks, my Friday night was just that exciting.

Anyway, given that it has been just over a week since the big slice and dice, I really need to take a moment to say thank you to some people (other than Mr. Oxycodone).

• First and foremost, thank you to my parents. Not only did they come down to deliver my sorry butt to the hospital, they also returned to pick me up. Crazy. Better yet, they made me food, fixed a leaking faucet in my bathroom shower, cleaned my house, took care of the wee fuzzball (a.k.a. Elliot), filled up my fridge, did the laundry, and joined me on several of my mall walks.
• Speaking of mall walks, in addition to my parents I have to thank Dr. Gerarda, Dr. Victoria, Dr. Mark, and Dr. Julie for being so awesome and shuffling along with me. The company was very much appreciated.
• Alan and Gerarda – thank you so much for the KenKen puzzles. EPICALLY AWESOME FUN. I also thoroughly enjoyed the crossword puzzle at the back of the tabloid magazine. I remember chuckling about things in the magazine, but I have no idea what I read anymore.
• Thank you to Dr. Phillips, my personal nurses Pam and Mary, the anesthetist (whose name I did not catch – he probably gets that a lot, given that he’s always drugging people up), everyone involved in the surgery, and anyone else that might have come in to check on the machines that go bing.
• An extra thank you to Dr. Phillips. You are a machine! Thank you for not slicing my tattoos, but more importantly, thank you for fixing me on the inside.
• Thank you to Dr. Beth, Rick, Carolyn, Nancy, all the Twitter-nerds, and everyone else that sent me emails, texts, tweets, and facebook posts about all the best that the interwebs have to offer, to keep me from going insane.
• Thanks to my friends for offering to help me out. I shall give each of you an appropriately sized hug when I see you next.
• Thanks to my brother Aidan for bringing me the best onion rings I’ve had in a very long time. Plus the deep-fried zucchini – so good.
• Also, thank you to Sandy, Aidan, and my Dad for enjoying pizza, wings, garlic bread, and beer while I got to sit by and drink apple juice. Jerks. Ha. I kid. I was stoned, what did I care? But really, thanks for keeping me company.
• Thanks to the rest of my family for sending well wishes and such like. T’was very much appreciated.
• A special extra big thanks to Steph for sending me the following card. Best. Get. Well. Card. Ever.

• Hez – thanks for dropping by. It was awesome to see you even if I might have been stoned a bit.
• And finally, a giant thank you to Dominic for the awesome soup, the chocolate, and especially the company. Also – thank you for the spelling lesson. LOL.
If I’ve forgotten anyone, please forgive me. I was stoned most of the week after all.

# Fifth Times A Charm

Today I ventured into the realm of solid food. W00t!

What did I choose? Only an awesomely awesome order of freshly made french fries from New York Fries (small of course).

Verdict: DELICIOUS.

My stomach, although still small, was so very happy to have something other than juice or apple sauce in it. Happy belly means happy Dan. Granted, it required approximately 5 hours to finish off the container of fries, but good lord they were goooooooooood. So freaking good.

But why 5 hours? you ask.

Well, I ate only a small amount of fries in the first 30 minutes (as illustrated in the picture below) because I had already consumed a tall soy Mocha Coconut Frap from Starbucks. And clearly my stomach is the size of a pea. I then required a nap because I pulled off a double lap of the mall today on my Mall-Walking adventure. Amazing, I know. It’s like I’m training for something. Ha! After my nap, I ate a bit more, then worked a bit, then ate a bit more, until eventually, finally, the container was empty. My stomach is full of delicious fries. Happy belly is happy.

In other news, on my walk today I ended up going into a sneezing fit for some reason. In the first instance, I sneezed 4 times in a row – which I don’t know that I’ve ever done. I’m usually a 2 sneeze sneezer at most. But maybe I only noticed because of the surgery. Regardless, the first 4 sneezes were a bit rough but manageable.

But then, out of nowhere, 20 minutes later I sneezed again. AGAIN! That was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Or in my case, felt like it bust an ab. Talk about hot fire below. So I ended up spending the rest of the day with my friend oxycodone (just 1) and trying not to move too much.

In other news, the swelling across my abs is slowly going down. In its place – some very nice bruising. Awesome!

# Only 137 More Shopping Days Left

As part of my recovery, I have decided that I need to get out of my condo for at least an hour or so a day so that I can move about and make whatever attempt I can at exercise. Ideally, I’d be doing this out-of-doors, but for now have opted to do my exercise indoors.

And what exactly might I be doing for this hour? Only partaking in the most exciting sport ever invented – Mall-Walking! That’s right folks, every day I saunter (well, maybe not so much saunter as amble) over to the glorious Stone Road Mall to walk from one end to the other. And every day I see pretty much the same things; sales, more sales, and Christmas ornaments.

Say what?

True story. Hallmark already has their Christmas ornaments up for sale. I died a little inside when I saw that. Truth be told, seeing the ornaments up made me a little angry. Why for the love of all things are we selling ornaments in August? Is it any wonder people are annoyed with Christmas by the time it does roll around in December (only 137 days from now)? I was so annoyed, I tweeted the following:

Amazingly, no response from Hallmark. Go figure. :)

Anyway, back to the point of my post. Walking. More specifically, the honoured and ancient sport of Mall-Walking. Fortunately, anybody – all ages, all sizes, all levels of health – can partake in Mall-Walking. But what, pray tell, does one do as a Mall-Walker? Easy. One walks the mall. Seriously.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea that the mall is open for those that want to get out to do any form of activity (because movement is good) is awesome. And I love when I’m walking to school in the winter when I can see the seniors strutting their stuff through the corridors of Stone Road Mall. It’s good for their physical well-being, their mental well-being, and there is clearly a huge social aspect to it as well. So there is nothing wrong with Mall-Walking.

However, it’s very much an exercise in hilarity for me. Not because I think the activity is hilarious (granted, there is something funny to be said about walking a mall), but because I feel hilarious when I’m doing it. Why? First, I’m ambling along as if I’m some sort of retiree. And while retirement does sound nice at times, I’m a long way from that stage of my life (both financially, and professionally). Second, I’m constantly being passed by people who are older, and in a lot of cases, less physically fit than me. This actually makes me giggle because try as I might, I just can’t catch up. Me, a runner, and biker, and hot-yoga-er. Crazy. Third, and last, I’m exhausted by the time I’ve finished one lap. Seriously exhausted.

For example, today, after having a very nice liquid lunch with my friend Victoria (note: liquid lunch does not mean booze, it means a Starbucks beverage – although I understand your confusion), I walked the mall. I walked from Chapters (for those of you familiar with the layout), down to Sears, through Sears, down to the Garage Clothing Company (or whatever the women’s clothing store happens to be now). I turned right, walked past Rogers and Bell, by the food court, stopped to say hello to the chocolate tasties at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, then proceeded to wander down and through HomeSense. By the time I was on my way to HomeSense, I felt the need to sit down and rest. I didn’t, but I felt that way. Once in HomeSense, the urge to sit was too much. I actually plopped down onto the floor and pretended to check my email, because I found it insane that I needed to rest that badly and didn’t have it in me to explain to those walking by me why I was plopped in such a manner. Ridiculous. Hilarious.

After a few minutes, I managed to get up and make my way home. And then I had a one and a half hour nap. And this was all without any influence of oxycodone. Because I’m just that cool.

There you have it folks. Mall-Walking. The sport that exhausted me to the point of needing a nap after only 1 hour.

Hilarious.

Of course I realize that this is a function of having surgery less than a week ago. And it’s also a function of not eating enough food due to my liquid and now semi-solid diet. And since I like numbers as they allow me to make sense of the world, I decided to figure out how much the diet might be playing into my Mall-Walking exhaustion by calculating my Caloric intake since Friday. On average, and this is a rough estimate, I’ve taken in only about 820 Calories per day. Um, ya. That might explain my exhaustion.

I think I’m going to go drink a tall glass of honey.