Thursday, July 12, 2007

Churchill Update I

The Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) has a wireless network of limited range and bandwidth. Particularly because of the limited bandwidth for the CNSC as a whole, I won't be posting many pictures, and those I do upload will of necessity be somewhat small. I promise I am taking lots of (high resolution) pictures, though.

So far, so good. I've been getting up every morning at 7:00 am, because that's when breakfast is. The food here is absolutely fantastic: eggs any way you like every morning (except Sundays), bacon, sausages, pancakes or french toast, orange juice ad libitum; hot lunches with about six different salad possibilities; and robust suppers of unlimited serving size. I've been having an odd problem with my belt of late - on the tightest buckle position, my pants have a tendency towards looseness. I hope the food here will solve this problem. Counteracting the awesome caloric load is the weather and local conditions. I've been out and about, mostly on the intertidal here, about every other day, with much of the rest of my time spent in the lab, a large space that is essentially unheated. Given that local daytime temperatures have been around 8 degrees all this week (except today), with 90-100% humidity, I think I burn a large fraction of my meals' energy value just sitting still. Carrying samples (buckets of sand) around on the 'beach' (large rocks jumbled upon each other) also burns energy at a pretty fast rate.

I've also been drinking rather a lot of coffee. Normally, in Guelph, I'll average perhaps four or five cups of coffee per week - one cup per morning, except some days. Here in Churchill, where the coffee is free and plentiful, and of 'decent' quality, I've been averaging close to that much per day. Perhaps my schedule (early, early, early, little reading or computer work, lots of microscope work, lots of collecting stuff outside) is preventing caffeine poisoning. Or maybe they're secretly serving decaf.

Well, I just wanted to put up an update to let everyone* know that I'm still alive and that I have some intarweb access here. It's rather unlikely I'll be posting any Monday Rants for a while (not that I've been maintaining a schedule of any kind on that lately), and I'll save up my Friday Fish series for a mega-post when I'm back in Guelph. No pictures today, but I'll try to spend some time in the next few days going through what I've got and I'll put up the good ones soon.

* 'Everyone' being about six people, I suppose.


langmann said...

I'm still here!

Glad you're having a good time.

King Aardvark said...

Glad you're doing well. Also glad that you're being well fed; it's better than being a poor student trying to cook for yourself.

But as good as the food situation is, you didn't mention the more important criterion: how's the beer situation?

Anonymous said...

Keep up the hard-work and try to avoid the hungry polar bears.

Carlo said...

I'm glad to hear that things are going well! Sorry, I've been crazy busy/sick for almost two weeks now and didn't have time to frequent the blog. Let us know how the fieldin' goes, and stay warm (as I try desperately to stay cool!!!).

TheBrummell said...

Answering questions:

how's the beer situation?

Non-terrible, but also non-stellar. I've been mooching beer off of some other researchers here; until he left yesterday, the local plant-pollinator-interactions professor (orchids, bees, syrphid flies) was plying us with "medicine" every evening (Teacher's whiskey - good stuff).

Let us know how the fieldin' goes, and stay warm

So far, still good. I went out yesterday with some entomologists to collect flies (Diptera) and water beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). I made a video on my digital camera to record the shockingly high density of mosquitoes and blackflies. My bug-jacket works pretty well; I only have about a dozen bites. In the forests around here, there are so many blackflies that they produce a distinct non-directional (i.e. all directions) communal buzz. It's rather intimidating to be standing somewhere, brushing biting flies off of one's pants, and hearing the sound of several tonnes of hungry parasites.

The weather has improved - more sun, less wind, more bugs.