Steve and Alex – Forces of Nature

Study the transcript of this episode as a lesson on LingQ, saving the words and phrases you don’t know to your database. Here it is!

Steve and Alex talk about various different natural disasters that happened in Canada and around the world. They also discuss what it means to do something useful in life.

Steve: Hi Alex.

Alex: Hi there Steve.

Steve: Well, it’s a sunny day here.

Alex: It’s a beautiful day here in Vancouver.

Steve: Well, let’s not get carried away here.

It’s the 17th of May and what is it, 15 degrees?

Alex: Around there.

Steve: Yeah. We’ve had like 9-10-11 degrees and rain.

Alex: Pouring rain.

Steve: Right into the middle of May.

You know, we’re so dependent on the weather in so many ways.

Obviously we’d like to have warm weather.

People feel happier when the weather is sunny and warm.

Alex: Right.

Steve: But the weather does also affect many people.

I mean I don’t know if people elsewhere in the world are aware that we’ve got two really pretty serious weather-related situations, I guess, in Canada.

One is the flooding in southern Manitoba.

Alex: Yes.

Steve: And the other is the forest fires that are burning in Alberta.

And one town, a town that I visited just last summer, Slave Lake, it’s right on a beautiful lake.

We stayed with some friends in a cabin, a beautiful cabin like a bungalow and we went fishing and caught lots of fish.

You barely put down your line and you pull up a pike or a pickerel, which were delicious.

I don’t know if that person’s house is still standing.

Forty percent of the town burnt down.

Alex: Yeah. Someone was saying something like 300 houses were burnt down.

Steve: Well, yeah.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: I mean it’s surrounded by forest and at this time of year before the forest starts to green out, so to speak, before things start to grow, it is a little dry.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: And, apparently, it’s a very dangerous time in terms of forest fires and surrounded by the forest.

Apparently the fire started and the firefighters were there and they thought they kind of had it under…it wasn’t completely under control, but it didn’t seem so dangerous.

Then a great big wind came up and blew it right over the town, so…

Alex: Yeah.

I remember when I used to live in California, actually, up until four years ago.

It was southern California and it’s really dry in the summers and we had a lot of forest fires.

I remember, particularly, I think 2006 or 2007, there was massive forest fires all across the state.

Actually, nearby my house there was a forest fire going on at one point and when I was sitting in my room I could smell the fires burning.

I remember driving through a few weeks later on a back country road and on both sides of the street all the trees were burnt to a crisp.

Steve: Wow.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: I mean in Slave Lake, of course, you hear them say how the town’s people are all helping each other and there’s a great sense of solidarity and so forth.

And I guess there’s a certain amount of, I don’t know what you’d call it, nervous tension or people are coping with the situation, much like on a much, much, much greater scale in Japan.

Alex: Right.

Steve: But once that is over, you’re stuck with the fact that your house is gone.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: We have a saw mill that we work with that’s located in Slave Lake.

We spoke to them and the saw mill is okay, but when we spoke to them they couldn’t contact their employees.

Most of their employees will have lost their homes.

So now what do you do.

I mean can you imagine, you know?

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: These are people who have worked to build their home.

I mean the people whose home we stayed in by the lake there I mean they put so much effort into it.

They fixed it up so nicely and it’s got nice this and that and the other and it’s just burnt to the ground.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: So I’m hoping that his house is still standing.

And, of course, in Winnipeg, too, south of Winnipeg in Manitoba, they had… And this all has to do with how much snow we get and how quickly it melts, right?

Alex: Right, right.

Steve: Because it’s very low there and I guess the river level is pretty well at the same level as the land, if you get any sudden rise in the water level then it’s very easy to flood.

They do have dikes to keep the water in the river, but they felt that there was so much of a danger that they had to breach the dike sort of ahead of a larger population center.

So they selected, okay, these farms and these people we’re going to flood them in order not to flood even more people further down stream.

Alex: Yeah. I mean that would have been a tough decision to make.

Steve: Oh, yeah.

Alex: You know, how do you decide on something like that, right?

Steve: So sometimes if we think we’re having things tough of feel sorry for ourselves… No, really, you’ve to think about…

Alex: Absolutely.

Steve: …you know if something like that happens.

Alex: Yeah.

And the thing, too, actually a couple of months ago here in Vancouver, I think it was on 12th Avenue near Cambie, a water pipe burst.

Steve: Right.

Alex: A water line burst and the sidewalk was cracked and water was pouring down the street.

And, actually, also it was on a bit of a hill and the apartment building complex that was right behind it or right in front of it, I guess, was set a bit lower than the sidewalk, so a lot of the water was also going into the apartment buildings.

Everyone on the first floor was like what do we do?

The water is coming in our door.

There’s really nothing we can do to stop it.

I think the thing is like it’s really surprising.

We don’t really think that these things will happen or are possible.

I guess I’m not the kind of person who worries about those things happening either, but…

Steve: Well, you can’t worry about it.

You can’t worry about it.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: But the power of nature, the power of water.

We saw those floods in Australia and, obviously, the tsunami and the earthquake in Japan.

We are pretty helpless little creatures when it comes to the power of nature.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: But, yeah, as you say, we can’t worry about it.

Today is a sunny day here in Vancouver, so our spirits are kind of buoyed a bit by that.

Alex: Yeah, yeah.

Steve: So, yeah, I don’t know.

We always seem to think that the weather patterns are more severe than they were and I guess there’s some indication that they are, but statistically over sort of I guess a 10-year period… I mean there always have been these tremendous storms or fluctuations in climate and temperature and rainfall.

So, yeah, we’re very much at the mercy.

Alex: Yeah.

And I think one thing, too, I’m not a scientist by any means, but one thing interesting I read too is that a lot of people feel like there are more earthquakes and more floods and stuff and that may very well be the case.

I don’t know.

But I think one thing too is that because now we have things like the Internet people become more aware of this.

Steve: Right.

Alex: More things are tracked. More things are spread.

Steve: Right.

Alex: It’s unfortunate that a lot of people become fearful because of these things, but I think the interesting thing about it is like I had a lot of friends here…

Steve: Right.

Alex: I was in Korea.

This was after the earthquake in Japan and talking to friends back here in Vancouver they we’re saying oh, I’m worried that there’s going to be an earthquake here and so on and so forth.

Steve: In Korea?

Alex: No, I was in Korea at the time.

Steve: Right.

Alex: But I was talking to them on Facebook and stuff.

Steve: Oh, I see.

Alex: And they were saying we’re worried about earthquakes happening in Vancouver and so on and so forth.

I was kind of like…I’ve never really thought like that.

I’ve never been the kind of person to…

Steve: Well, we know that we are in an area where earthquakes occur every few hundred years, so it’s a possibility.

Alex: Yeah, right.

Steve: But there are a lot of places where there have been earthquakes.

I mean my wife and I were in Sicily.

Sicily every 50-60-100 years has a massive earthquake and they have that volcano and when we were near Mount Etna it started smoking, okay?

The towns of, I think, Catania or Messina, which are the towns nearby had been covered in lava at some point.

And there had been major earthquakes there.

In Italy there was a big earthquake somewhere in central Italy a little earlier and of course we have the enormous earthquake in China with a lot of loss of life.

Alex: Yeah, 2008 I think it was.

Steve: Pardon?

Alex: Two-thousand eight, was it?

Steve: Two-thousand eight.

Alex: Yeah, 2008.

Steve: But they have had them.

I remember when they had a big earthquake in the ‘80s in Tianjin, which killed a lot of people; obviously, Nicaragua, Central America, Chili.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: Chili had a huge earthquake.

Yeah, I mean, yeah.

Living is dangerous.

Alex: It is.

Steve: We just live, you know?

What are you going to do?

Alex: There’s that statistic, 100% of people die, right?

Steve: Well, maybe.

Alex: Yeah.

I mean we’re having a nice day here, but I think one thing I like to do is to keep that in mind.

You know keep those people in mind and also be aware that life is fragile and to kind of value the day too, because we don’t know if…

Steve: Well, I read something again on the Internet where…what’s the name of that British scientist who is severely handicapped?

Alex: Stephen Hawking?

Steve: Stephen Hawking…

Alex: Yes.

Steve: …who has a brilliant mind and is severely handicapped, can hardly speak.

I don’t know the whole story there.

Alex: Right.

Steve: But he said recently, I read an article where he was talking about…his conclusion…it was a lengthy article and then his conclusion was that we should really try to do something useful.

I think that’s an interesting thing to say, you know do something useful.

I mean there are so many options.

What are you going to do?

Are you going to go out and get drunk?

Are you going to go and have a big meal?

Are you going to lie around in bed because you’re lazy?

I like that.

We should do something useful with our lives, you know?

Yeah, it’s fragile, but there’s no question that you feel better about yourself.

Alex: Absolutely.

Steve: If you say okay, I’m going to do something useful, get something accomplished and then I feel quite good or I’m going to just stuff myself with my favorite pizza and beer and stuff.

Where do you end up when it’s done?

You finish the finish the pizza *gorf*.

You finish doing something where you had a sense of actually achieving something you feel much, much better.

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: And if you can have a string of those then you feel a lot better.

Basically, it’s all about feeling good, isn’t it, really?

Longer term not short term.

Alex: Yeah. It’s satisfaction, right?

Steve: I crave a chocolate bar. I’ve had my chocolate bar, now what?

You know?

Now what?


Okay, that was a bit of a ramble on weather and natural disasters…

Alex: Various other things.

Steve: …and the purpose of life!

Alex: Yeah.

Steve: Okay.

Alex: So thanks for listening, everyone.

Steve: Thank you, Alex.

Alex: See you guys next time.

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