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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Lazy Blogger!

I've just seen the date stamp on my last post - seems like I'm neglecting you all!

Hopefully, things will change soon. Unfortunately, I'm snowed under with work at the moment. I now have over 100 PDFs in my "to read" folder - and that's still growing at a dozen a day. I've been here 3 full weeks and have yet to do much more than make a few stock solutions and grow up a few strains. The paranoid voice at the back of my head is whispering loudly "everyone thinks you're a slacker - all you do is stare at a computer screen all day".

I am still not certain what my project will be - hence the reading. Hopefully I will finally put down a detailed plan of action for my main project soon. Later this week, I hope to do some actual science and perform some preliminary experiments.

As far as living in Canada is concerned, it's still a big adventure. Everyday throws up new things that they don't tell you in the guide books. Some good, some not so good. On the plus side, Canada is a nation of coffee lovers. Within 100 metres of my apartment alone, there are 3 different coffee shops - all ridiculously cheap by British standards. Even the mighty Starbucks charges in dollars what we would pay in pounds. I have made friends with a Swedish student who lives in my street and we are busy testing them out. I bought last time and spent less than 2 pounds on two decent-sized coffees. Bring on the caffeine-induced palpatations!

On the down-side, Canadian cheese is really bad, and foreign cheese is as much as double the price we'd pay back home. As a man who regards cheese as one of the major pillars of the food triangle - that's pretty heart-breaking!

Socially, I seem to be doing pretty good. In addition to the aforementioned Swedish friend, the International society has a regular series of events including a Halloween party. Last Friday I also attended a house-warming party for a grad student in our lab and got on really well with some of his guests. Hopefully I should be going for a meal with someone I met there in the near future.

An English accent seems to be a mixed bag. On the plus side, I have been greeted with "you're English - cool!" several times (often by nice young ladies!). On the other hand, I have been reduced to sign language on a couple of occassions in shops - we really are separated by a common language. I have similar problems with the local accent also. I find I have to count the stops on public transport because I often can't make heads or tails of the announcements. Of course, when the train driver decides to sing the names of the stops even the locals are slightly bemused!

Crossing the road is still a bit dicey. For the most part, Canadians are pretty attentive of things like Stop signs - but they are allowed to turn right on red lights, the white walk sign does not give pedestrians automatic right of way - so you have to remember to check in all four directions when crossing near a junction. I am probably in the most dangerous time now. I am getting complacent and on one or two occassions I have found myself halfway across a road before realising I looked the wrong way. No harm done, but it gives the old pulse-rate a bit of a kick!

Anyways, when things calm down a bit I hope to restart regulars like the Tuesday Twat and the Sunday Snigger. I've also got a few ideas regarding some new features and tweaks.

So until then stay safe, eh.



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