Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 24: Missing it

The title today is "missing it" for several reasons.

Number 1:
Today was my day off, but it was too son in my opinion with the addition of just getting all the data back for the pool experiment (all of those water samples were analyzed!). So instead of taking a day off, I spent the day relearning stats and SPSS, and missing the right steps or the right arrangement of data to do the analyses. It's been a long day working through ANOVAs and the assumptions that are linked with it. At least I got to sit in the lounge to the Aurora Dome, a plastic bubble on top of the building that lets you star gaze and watch the aurora when it is 60 below outside, so it was a great view and warmer than my desk in the lab. Still working on the data, but I think I need to call it a night.

Number 2:
Today, four polar bears were sighted... and I missed them all! Three of the bears were found at the coast, lounging in the rocks, looking like rocks, and easily avoidable. One of them was in the fen, which is inland and an unusual place to spot them. 7 of the birders were out in the fen, searching for nests when they spotted the bear about a kilometer off, which is pretty close to see a bear, especially when they were away from the truck. They double-timed it back to the truck while another researcher was driving out for her work in the fen. She was almost there when she heard the chatter that there was a polar bear ahead, and decided to keep going in case she could get the birders in her truck if she was closer than theirs was. She rounded the bend, startling the bear out of a group of willows! It stood there some 10-15 feet away from her truck! But it was the distraction that the birders needed to get safely in their truck. They had good communication, fired some cracker shots at the bear to scare it away, then rode back to CNSC to call it a day - leaving everything, including a laptop behind. Fortunately, no one was hurt, except possibly the ego of one birder who fell and wedged fen mud up the barrel of his shotgun. Scary, but handled well with everyone, including the bear, safe.

Number 3:
One thing I did not miss out on was the firearms safety training, which I passed! I now have a PAL (as soon as the paper work gets processed, which may be a while yet, but close enough)! So... which gun should I buy? The fun ones to take to the firing range are the 22 gauge rim-action since they are the cheapest and other than for polar bear protection, and since I don't hunt, something fun to shoot at a range would be what I'm looking for. Also, I've found out that you can go shooting without a PAL as long as the person you're going with has one. That's not bad at all!

Number 4:
I'm getting a little homesick and missing everyone. This is the longest I've ever been away from home, and I'm not too bad, I just have to make sure to keep busy.

Number 5:
I don't know if it's because I've been here longer now, or if it is something about the new building, but the social dynamics are falling apart. In the old building, there were hangout spots where you could easily find anyone else and see if anyone wants to watch a movie, go for a bike ride, play cards, play pool or just hang out. Now, if you aren't already part of the group - most of the other researchers are here with a group - then you don't know what anyone else is up to. So I don't know what anyone else is up to, even when I sit in the cafeteria or A/V lounge, no one else is around! I only see them at meal times and even then it's a bit rare since a lot of them are in the field for lunch, and I'm running late in the morning or evening so I miss everyone then as well.

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