Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Wire

The very first scene of the very first episode of The Wire. Because I don't just watch PGSM.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

CAP Congress, Part I

Greetings from Moncton, New Brunswick!

I've just finished presenting my thesis research at the 2009 CAP congress. Naomi and I left Prince George on June 1st (I handed in my thesis and Oral Defence/External Examiner Request forms the same day) and drove cross country, arriving in Moncton on the June 5th. My journey has taught me many intersting things, about Canada, physics, and life in general. I shall now impart my wisdon in no particular order:

-- Don't wear a suit to a physics conference. You'll look like a pretentious ass, and despite your delusions to the contrary, it won't make you a more eloquent speaker.

-- The Prairies aren't as boring as they're made out to be. Then again, it's hard for any place to be boring when it's rushing past you at 140 km/h. (I kid, Mom.)

-- If you are native, you can get away with naming your convinience store 'How' Convinient. Get it?!

-- Quebec is all in French. I know I should have known that already, but that fact only really dawned upon me when we approached Quebec city and saw billboards annoucing that we were entering "La capitale nationale." Seriously. If it weren't for the fact that we needed to fuel up in Quebec city, I probably would have passed though the whole province without stopping.

-- Despite the anxiety I felt passing through Quebec, though, there were some beautiful towns along the St. Lawrence River. We had to take a detour off of Highway 40 because of construction (I think-- again, it was all French) that took us through some of these towns. This, plus Miyuu Sawai, almost makes me want to try learning French again. Almost.

-- New Brunswick, unlike pretty much the rest of Canada as far as I can tell, actually is bilingual!

-- When giving a presentation, in physics or otherwise, be sure to point at the screen in front of the room and not at the computer screen in front of you. A professor was kind enough to inform me of that rule, and as a result I'll likely be brooding on the embarassment of that moment for months. Maybe I just won't come back home. North America's a big place, I'm sure they'll never find me.

-- There's a maritime garbage disposal company named "Fero." Only three people will understand why that is so bloody weird.

-- New Brunswick, while geographically rather dull, is otherwise quite awesome. Unless you want to find an open liquor store at 11:00 pm on a saturday night. If that's the case, New Brunswick is not for you.

-- You can order a whole lobster at a restaurant in Shediac, New Brunswick. Naomi did so, while I worked on my presentation back at the hotel. Fuck!

-- Despite what you tell yourself, you cannot present thrity-nine slides of text, equations, and graphs in twelve minutes.

-- Time zones change as you travel across the country. Yet another thing I hadn't considered when planning this trip. There's actually a North American time zone east of New York.

-- We're east of New York! And Boston!

-- The beauty of Canada is greatly exaggerated. Aside from B.C., Jasper, and Ontario near the Great Lakes, Canada is just trees and plains on flat earth.

-- Parliament Hill is right smack in the middle of downtown Ottawa. I thought there would be some separation from the city centre, but there it is.

-- Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal is not as good as I imagined it would be.

Stay tuned for Part 2: America!
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