My first bonfire party

September 29th, 2006, 2:49 pm PST by Kat

I’ve been invited to my first bonfire party. Now, I’ve been to parties where there’ve been small fires built in small fire pits, and I’ve been camping and have enjoyed a few campfires. However, I’ve never been to a party where the whole point of throwing the party is to have a LARGE bonfire. Bonfires seem to be a big thing here. They had bonfires on Franklin Street after the Tarheels won the national championship for basketball in 2005. So, I feel as though by going I will be submerging myself into the Chapel Hill lifestyle. I just hope I don’t fall in!

Drunk driving

September 25th, 2006, 11:04 pm PST by Greg

So, I spent the last hour drunk-driving.

No, wait… that requires some explaination.

I bought a Playstation 2 last week. And a steering wheel (open-box, half-price), and Gran Tourismo 4. I like racing games, and I figure Kat isn’t around to fight over the TV. I was right: I’m having fun with it.

I decided I felt like a rum and coke tonight, so I made one. Then I decided that it wasn’t strong enough, so I stiffened it up a little. Then I finished it and stood up.

Then I thought, “I wonder what driving drunk is like”. GT4 is, after all, a pretty good simulation.

Long story short, drunk driving is a bad idea. Even virtually. Races that I should have won handily took 2–3 tries to win; there was a lot more slamming into stuff.

Stay safe out there, kids. Also, stay in school.


September 18th, 2006, 11:24 pm PST by Greg

Yarrr, it again be time for talk like a pirate day! If ye be unschooled in the ways of the pirate, watch ye a video of instructions.

Harr harr, this be fun! If only I could teach the scurvy dogs in such a way.

NC update

September 14th, 2006, 7:50 pm PST by Kat

Nothing much is happening, but I feel as though I should blog just so people know I’m alive.

All summer people kept telling me that the humidity is only really bad in July and August. Seems as though they actually knew what they were talking about. Since I’ve been back, it’s either been nice and sunny but dry, or cool and rainy. Not too bad. Thank goodness. Not sure I could stand any more humidity.

Other than working on grant applications to try to get $$ so that I can stay for a second year, I haven’t really been doing much. So, I don’t have much to blog about. I’ll try to do something blog-worthy this weekend. I think I’m going to the Farmers’ Market with Buddy (from the lab) and Mukta (from Sabrina’s lab) on Saturday – maybe something exciting will happen then. We’ll see.


September 11th, 2006, 2:50 pm PST by Greg

People, such as myself, who have spent approximately 1000 hours talking in front of a room of people start to think they know the score. I figured I had dealt with enough weird questions that I couldn’t be suprized by anything short of this.

But today, 30 seconds into my 470 lecture:

Me: “HTML… web… computers… ”
Some girl: “Excuse me, isn’t this native studies 100?”
Me: “No.”
Girl: “Did it change rooms?”
Me: “Nope, we’ve been here all semester.”
Girl: “Today’s Thursday, right?”
Me: “Buh… Monday.”
Girl: “Oh, okay.” Leaves.

If she had said “Tuesday”, I could have moved on with my life, but Thursday? That’s three days off. The best explaination I have: She did a lot of drugs last Wednesday and just came-to this morning. She didn’t really seem like the heavy-drug-use sort, though.

PS: Yes, 1000 hours is my approximate lifetime total lecturing. If you didn’t click on the link to YouTube above, you should.

Possibly Retarded

September 10th, 2006, 2:46 pm PST by Greg

Does anybody else ever get the impression that they might be too stupid to act as a functioning member of society?

I went to go out this morning and couldn’t find my wedding ring. There are only really two places I leave it when I take it off, and it wasn’t in either.

It wasn’t on the floor near those places. It wasn’t in the less-frequent places I leave the ring, or around them. It wasn’t on any surface near where I could imagine having taken the ring off. It wasn’t in or under the couch. It wasn’t in the pockets of the clothes I was wearing yesterday.

It wasn’t in the full bag of garbage that had been sitting for a few moments near the front door, where I usually put the ring. [Anybody ever carefully search a bag of garbage? Week-old chinese takeout containers, half-eaten fruit, old kleenex. Unidentifiable moisture. It took some intestinal fortitude.]

I decided to re-check the clothes I was wearing—maybe there were some pockets I missed. There was the ring, sitting under the shorts I was wearing. It was on top of the pair of shorts below, dead-centre, as if carefully placed there for safe keeping.

This is a pretty serious mystery to me. I replayed the day as I was searching, trying to figure out where I might have left it. I almost never put my ring in my pockets. I’m always paranoid about it when I do, so I would remember if it had been in my pocket during the day. How else does a ring get in with one’s clothes?

Underpants gnomes? Maybe they could only find my shorts, not the underwear, so they got pissed and hid my ring?

Or, like, it might have been a mouse or… something?

Computers: working = life easy, not working = life sucks

September 7th, 2006, 3:17 pm PST by Kat

I’m back in North Carolina now. As Greg blogged, I wasn’t able to do everything while at home because there was just too much to do, too many people to see, and not enough time to do everything or see everyone. Sorry to those I missed. I promise I’ll see you all in December.

My trip home was slightly crazed. Greg and I woke up at 3:30 am to get to the airport by 4:30 am for my 6:00 am flight. Because of the new security measures, they want you to be at the airport 1 1/2 hours before a domestic flight. This would ordinarily make sense. However, security at YVR doesn’t actually open until 5:00 am, so being there any earlier is just dumb. My mistake #1.

My mistake #2 could not have been avoided. My original itinerary was to fly directly home to Chapel Hill from Toronto (after Tina and Oli’s reception near Halifax). However, since I decided to add a trip home to Vancouver, my two flights (Vancouver to Toronto, Toronto to Raleigh/Durham) were on separate itineraries. Bad. Bad. Bad. They wouldn’t check my bags all of the way through to RDU. So when I got to TO, I had to go to baggage claim and get my bags, which is outside of security, instead of heading directly to Terminal 2, and claiming my bags there to take them with me through customs (if they had been checked all the way through), which is still inside the secure area. Instead, I had to re-check-in at the Air Canada counter. Normally this isn’t a big deal. However, for some reason it was a zoo. The check-in kiosks were 5-deep, and the line to check baggage stretched far enough away that you couldn’t actually see the counter. So, even though I was there 2 1/2 hours before my flight, I only had 30 minutes from the time I actually checked in to the time my flight was supposed to leave. Luckily customs was super short, as was security. I got on the shuttle bus to go to Gate E (for the record, I HATE Gate E). I was so relieved when I got off the shuttle. But then I stepped into the small terminal that houses 13 gates (E254 to E266). It was pandemoneum. There were people everywhere and planes at every gate, but the screens weren’t displaying any relavent info on which gate to go to. Apparently, Air Canada’s computers had gone down that afternoon. This was after the morning flights were all delayed to due bad weather on the East coast. So, everyone was in this small terminal, nobody knew anything, and random flights were being cancelled. My 4:00 pm flight was cancelled. However, the 12:30 pm flight was not, and it was delayed. So, I was the second-to-last standy-by from my flight to get on to the “earlier” flight, which finally left the terminal at around 5:30 pm. From what I gathered, that may have been the only flight leaving the terminal for the new few hours. They weren’t sure whether the “later” 9:30 flight was going to be cancelled or not. So, I got to RDU only 2 hours later than scheduled (although a lot more stressed out that scheduled!). Bad news, my luggage did not get on the plane. Oh well, no big deal – I still had clothes back at the log cabin. So, I took a cab home, took a shower, and went to bed. My luggages were delivered to me by 11:00 am then next morning. Not too bad. The worst part was that I was stressing about missing my 4:00 flight while I was in the check-in line because the screens said that my flight was on time. They knew that the flight wasn’t going to be on time – heck the 12:30 flight was still there! They could have at least changed the status to delayed, and I would have had a slightly less stressful day.

Anyways, I’m back now. I just finished my abstract for SICB, the conference I go to almost every January. Keith is looking over it now. It seems wrong to me that the title of my abstract has both “telencephalon” and “starling” in it. I think I’ve made a horrible mistake. I think I’m going to go home now.

Back to the grindstone

September 5th, 2006, 10:02 pm PST by Greg

So, what have we missed?

We got back to Vancouver. Kat only had a week to spend in the city, so we were pretty busy. We had to see her family, see friends, and we both had a solid chunk of work to get done.

In the middle of it, my parents were in town. They had just taken an Alaska cruise, and decided to spend a few days in Vancouver after it. On labour day weekend. While Kat was back. And I was trying to get back up to speed to start teaching and admin stuff. And Oli and Tina got back to Vancouver. Wheee!!!

Long story short, we were busy, so no blogging. I dropped Kat off at the airport this morning to head back to NC. I’ll let her tell her own travel story.

Now, I’m back to work and busy. I got pulled into about four unscheduled meetings today and barely had time to breathe in a day that started with a half-hour scheduled. I’m hoping that was a backlog of stuff from the semester break. It might be, right?