Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jonathan's First Blog - Missing Items from California - Part 1

Hello all.
This is my first post on our new blog. Despite my wife's persistent reminders and well-kept blogging habits, I've managed to avoid posting for nearly an entire month after the move from Florida. It turns out to be good timing though since I can give Amy the gift of my first post on her birthday. Disclaimer: My writing style is starkly different from Amy's. She, being a researcher, fills her posts with collected facts and useful information about her chosen topic presented to you sprinkled with her opinion. I, being an engineer, aim to write posts about useful topics and fill them with my opinions and observations since that is the most useful information in my eyes. Also, I like commas slightly more than she does... so much so that I'm sure I will get a few night-time lectures about their use and my abuse of them in the near future.

So after living in the Land of Fruits and Nuts for nearly a month, several things appear noticeably absent from this side of the country. I'm a native Floridian, born and raised, so my opinion is definitely biased. I think Florida is a great place to live because of its environment, weather, and culture. Not to say I dislike California so far, but it's definitely a different way of life. I've compiled a short list of several differences I've noticed. Amy and I have discussed a few. Some we miss; some we don't; some I see that few others would. Here's a few of them.

  • Mosquitoes: There are no flying insects of any kind out here so far from what I've seen. I'm sure this will change as winter ends, but still. I can honestly say I've never gone this long in my life without killing a mosquito. Even in Melbourne, our outdoor adventures would let us experience mosquitoes at least once a week, no matter what time of year. I'm afraid I might forget how to kill mosquitoes and they will sense this when I return home. Insects in general are rare out here. So far, we've only been invaded by a single spider. Even in parks and along trails, birds are more prevalent than everything swat-able combined. This is one difference I can't say I miss... yet...

  • Courtesy: Southern Hospitality does not exist on the west coast, at least not here. I'm told it only gets worse as you head south in California, so I'm making a blanket statement. Simple things like opening doors, waiting on others to pull out of a parking space, letting other people go first is not practiced. I'm proud to say Amy and I are starting a revolution to change this, at least towards the elderly and mothers carrying children. It really is quite odd to watch. The strange part is that the victims don't seem to notice or care, so our very limited, courteous acts are received with a reaction like a minister receiving a $50,000 check in the offering plate.

  • Speed Limit Signs: Most of the area paints the speed limits on the road itself. The few signs dealing with speed are radar signs that tell you you're speeding. It's slightly nerve-racking at first, not knowing how fast you're supposed to be driving for miles and miles at a time. After a while, I realized most non-freeway speed limits in the area are 30 mph or less. So basically, whether you know the speed limit or not, you're probably supposed to be driving slower than you are...

  • Stock Updates: Back east, you would hear stock market updates at least once an hour on the radio during news briefs to keep people informed. Out here, I'm not sure people know that the stock market crashed. There are those who do keep up with business and what store is going out of business this week, but they are few and far between. I think this is a result of the time difference... and the population consisting of mostly engineers and strange tech types. People just aren't up that early here. Also, people have a tendency to come into work later than normal, sometimes as late as 10 am. At this point, the entire east coast has eaten lunch and stock prices have hopefully already begun rebounding for the day. Maybe this is a clue as to why California is never in sync with the rest of the country...

  • Sunrises and Sunsets: This one is specific to the valley. We're currently surrounded by mountains on all sides. While only about 30 minutes from the beach, there's still a mountain in between we have to cross first. This makes for interesting lighting conditions. It gets light about 30 minutes before you can see the sun and it gets dark about 45 minutes after the sun disappears. This is a big difference from watching the sun rise over the water everyday on the drive to work and enjoying pink and orange sunsets at night in Florida. While not a big difference, it's one that has made me glad Dennis and Genie discovered all the best places to show me sunsets on our past adventures over the years.
That's all the differences I'm covering in this post. There definitely isn't a shortage, but I normally get depressed when I see a blog post that I think might be too long and end up skimming it. Have you noticed these or other differences between these two places? Make sure to leave comments and let me know. I'll confirm whether your opinions are as correct as mine. ;)

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