Hello Vancouver!

The first two posts of this blog are “hello”s. They say that spring is supposed to be a time of beginnings, but until now I’ve never found that to be particularly accurate for me personally. This is probably because my life has revolved around institutions that all end in the spring (thanks school…).

Anyway, yesterday I (finally!) arrived in Vancouver, BC (from Toronto, ON) where I’ll be doing graduate studies for the next few years. The departure was fraught with drama and chaos, but I am happy to say that I can now write to you from the carpeted floor of my empty new apartment. Yay!

With any move, be it down the street, across the continent, or across the world, I seem to inevitably begin internally cataloguing the similarities and differences, what I like and dislike, between the new location and the old. It’s not meant to be a criticism, just a method of acclimatization I suppose. The most obvious contrast (apart from mountains Gandolf) is the weather. From my new apartment I can see solid masses of rain pouring from dark indigo clouds on the mountains to the north while a patch of rain falls in a sheet onto downtown Vancouver and I stand bone dry in the sun. Wikipedia tells me that coastal BC experiences microclimates that make it extremely difficult to predict daily weather for any given day. That certainly appears to be true from where I stand, though I think they meant that to describe the variation over a larger area than the greater vancouver area. It was chilly when I stepped off the plane, probably 3 or 4 degrees cooler than Toronto was when I took off – this was unexpected because the last time I was here it was 5 or 6 degrees warmer than in Toronto.

Weather in Vancouver is interesting, though I don’t really know much about meteorology. From what I understand, it’s all caused by a mix of mountain effects (warm humid air hits the mountains, is forced upward to where the air is cooler which condenses the moisture in the air into water – pouring buckets onto poor Vancouver below), and ocean effects (keeping the temperature moderate) which I think is related to the warm ocean currents coming north from warmer climates. Vancouver also experiences something called “Pineapple Express” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple_Express) heh heh heh.

Unrelated to weather, yesterday after I landed, I went to the licencing office to get my Ontario licence switched to BC (need it to vote), and had a fun encounter with the licensing agent.

Her: So, what does a flashing green light mean?
Me: um… Advance left?
Her: NO! What does it mean in BC?
Me: um… I don’t know, what does it mean?
Her: What will you do if you come to a flashing green light?
Me: Er, I guess I’ll look it up before I drive? I don’t actually have a car…

Anyway that went on for a while before she finally told me it means a pedestrian crossing (which actually, I had figured out last time I was here, but I thought it was a flashing yellow light, not green – oops).

That’s all for now!

Hello World

This blog is going to be my place to geek out about the interesting things I learn as I go forward through graduate school and life. I expect to fill it with posts on topics like animals and their behaviour, the environment, molecular and cell biology, acadamia and it’s tribulations, just to name a few. I’ll probably deviate from this garden path with ocasional reviews of books, films, and and other things that catch my eye and attention. I hope that it will be informative, thought inducing, and/or amusing.

My first goal of keeping this blog is to stay in touch with the reason I love science (it’s cool!!) by communicating the bits I find coolest without having to freeze dry my language to fit the academic format. Don’t get me wrong; the language freeze drying process is fun for different reasons (which I expect I’ll probably write about eventually) but I want an outlet for my messy expression of excitement and fascination.

Hold onto your hats, tupays, and cocktails.