Calgary lab

After a lot of trips with trolleys, moving some massive fridges and packing way too much glassware into too few draws and cupboards, we finally moved into our new lab in the basement of Science B at the University of Calgary.

Ryan Hellyer: New lab at University of Calgary

Ryan Hellyer: New lab at University of Calgary

Ryan Hellyer: New lab at University of Calgary

Here’s a photo of my boss Mike Benn. I stole the photo of the University of Calgary website – hopefully they don’t mind.

Mike Benn/a>

Pool party

30 degrees celcius, blazing sun and a ridiculously cold winter approaching … so what better reason than to have a pool party 😀 We found a scungy inflatable pool in our shed, got someone to bring along a slip n slide and setup a web cam in our window to catch all the action.

Unfortunately the web cam also caught me bobbing round in the pool before everyone arrived. My attempts to hover in the middle of the pool without stabilising myself failed. The motion detector in the camera triggered just as I hit the water 😛


The slip n slide was very popular, I can be seen bobbing in the pool on the left, this time with my feet firmly planted on the bottom of the pool 😀 Thanks to Yeye for the video.


Banff National park

I’ve visited Banff township in Banff National park in the rocky mountains a few times now. It’s only an hour and a bit away from Calgary. It’s similar to Queenstown but without the lake. There’s lots of hiking (tramping) and site seeing to be down there.

Tunnel Mountain at Banff

The above photo is of Tunnel Mountain. It’s not much of a mountain, more like a steep hill. I walked to the top while there.

Cascade Mountain near Banff township

Cascade mountain (above) is out the other side of Banff township.

Bear proof bin in Banff township

Oh yeah, they have Bears in Banff! Even the rubbishi bins (see above) have to be made bear proof!

An Elk, I took this photo on the outskirts of the Banff township.

Elk in the area are allowed to wander free around the town. They’re huge beasts which look quite scary but are apparently quite harmless.

Los Angeles

And the prize for my worst first impression of a city ever goes to … Los Angeles. The stench of smog at the airport was simply foul. The following photos I took from the plane show the yucky smog quite nicely.

Los Angeles smog from plane #1


Los Angeles smog from plane #2

Prison Break In!?

Okay, soooo … most people who pick locks in prisons are generally trying to get out. But in our case, we were actually trying to get in! Yes that is as warped as it sounds. My old flat in Christchurch was built inside the original prison walls of the Addington Prison. But the old Victorian era prison block was still there, albeit abandoned, awaiting development. The prison block was built in 1874 and named the Mountfort block after it’s architect Benjamin W Mountfort.

Addington Prison. Photo from
A photo I found on the internet depicting how the prison looked back in the old days

My flatmate’s and I discovered one day that one of the access doors to the prison was, er, accessible, ie: if you jammed a credit card in it then you could pop it open 😛 Through trial and error we found that by tracking along one of the walls you could bypass the security system and gain access to the main prison hall and all of the cells. We did this at about midnight and only had our cell phones for lighting! It was totally freaky as we couldn’t see jack, and there were mice and all sorts of creepy crawlies around. We methodically went through each and every cell, seeing what we could find, most had some rather boring doodling by former inmates, however cell number 28 was quite spectacular. It had lots of drawings by an inmate called “Willy Two Worlds”. He was apparently serving a life sentence for killing his mate for stealing his shoes! As you can see by the photos, some are just funny looking cartoons, but others were quite sick and twisted. Later on we found more of his artwork in the isolation cell underneath the guards quarters.

Addington Prison: Willy Two Worlds in cell

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