Sunday, April 26, 2009

Out of control.

I just looked over the most recent posts I've made here and I feel like I've started to move away from the original spirit of this blog. Good thing I came to Kingston today for the Ontario Ecology and Ethology Conference (OEEC). I've already ran into so many, um, very familiar faces and talked to a bunch of really interesting people. OEEC is an annual conference that rotates to different Ontario universities each year. It's mainly organized by grad students with the aim to brings together students from a wide range of backgrounds. Here we can gain some practice presenting our ideas to a larger audience than usual. I'm also enjoying the opportunity to spend some more time with my peers and people who are at the same point in their careers as I am.

Today I boarded the VIA in Guelph and came across the shore of Lake Ontario to Kingston. The old downtown part of the city where Queen's University is located is truly beautiful. The Lake is just to the south and every building is built of weathered limestone in old Ontario style. I really like taking the train because it travels in places you never get to see when you're in a car. There also isn't near as much stopping and starting. Well, and I have a soft spot for trains in general. I actually decided to stay at the one little hostel in Kingston. It is exactly 1.5 blocks from the edge of campus right near the City Park. I sort of feel like I'm visiting my grandparents, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Tonight, the first event of the conference was a mixer, of sorts, at the Grad Club. The bartenders were very nice and baked a burrito for me since I hadn't had anything to eat all day long. We drank Guelph beer and had sweet potato frites. The conference organizers gave each attendee a wooden USB key made by a cool little eco-friendly company. Which was cool, because I could definitely use one of those this summer for carrying presentations to conferences. They also handed out native wildflower seeds and I happened to receive Virginia Mountain Mint which is one of the species Paul used to plant in his quarry to alvar projects. Of course, his seeds were from western Ontario populations and these are from the east. I'll have to take them home to my parents house and find a patch of garden that hasn't been trampled by the pups.

I'm excited to see some interesting talks tomorrow. The conference programme is very well done and the more I look through it, the more interesting topics I notice. Unfortunately, mine is up against a talk called Darker, Longer, Better, so I have a feeling that might attract a larger audience than my drawn out, probably over-complicated, title. Ah well, just one of the bugs to work out before I head off to Halifax. Speaking of bugs, Kingston seems to be completely full of millions of tiny grass bugs. They cluster along the sidewalks and anyone not from around here can feel seriously swarmed. Almost everyone I talked to tonight mentioned them and they cover the fronts of all of the buildings.

Okay, I'm out, but I'm also back on track.


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