Well, I did eventually make it to California, after spending a night at the overly expensive airport hotel in Vancouver (an expense for which I was not compensated by Air Canada). After that delay, I didn't have any more problems; I and my bags got here just fine. Both mag and drheld weren't as lucky with their bags, however.
So far, Palo Alto seems pretty nice. It's vaguely Vancouver-like, except a bit warmer for this time of year, and super rich (think Kitselano on steroids). Haven't done too much exciting since getting here; today we went out and bought some stuff, and got all our various stuff (wireless router and internet phone) set up.
It just completely hard locked on me while I was writing this post a few minutes ago, in OS X. I don't think I've ever had OS X do that to me. I do have Ubuntu on this thing, and over Christmas I did make some headway on making it suck less; just using the powersave governor for CPU frequency seems to be better than cpufreqd; it keeps the clock low until you run something CPU-intesive, which is more or less what you want, except maybe if you're getting really low on battery. But it's a start, since all I could ever make cpufreqd do is either run at max all the time or at min all the time, both of which are clearly undesirable. (Out of the box that's all it would do, and I did fiddle with its configuration files for a while before giving up on it, to no effect.)
I still need to get Linux to turn the fan on at a lower temperature though, because for some reason it lets the machine totally bake before firing it up, and I still need to take an axe to Ubuntu's stupid cron jobs and stupid syslog daemon that doesn't do write caching so every time you sudo the disk has to fire up to write to syslog.
People sometimes don't believe me when I say that we buy liquor at the Liquor Barn in Alberta. Well, I offer proof, although it isn't really much of a barn:
Liquor sale is privatised in Alberta, meaning anybody can get the requisite license and open up a liquor store. I personally think it's much better than Ontario, where you have to go to the stupid LCBO or Beer Store, both of which have annoying hours and are often inconveniently located. There was a Beer Store near where I lived in downtown Toronto that closed at 8! 8 o'clock.. in the centre of Canada's biggest city! I couldn't even buy beer on my way home from work!
In Alberta, you can buy your liquor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And despite rumours to the contrary, it's a reasonably civilised place; you can bring your own wine to many restaurants too.
Of course, Québec trumps them all with booze in the grocery stores and deps, although it's still not 24 hours a day...
And speaking of Québec, it appears I won't need to be subjected to awful American beer this term, as the local organic food store carries several Unibroue beers, as well as a bunch of other imported stuff. Phew.