Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).
31 December 2006
Sunday was spent flying back to TX. Patty took me to the airport- it was very exciting because she got me though the check in line and security line using her employee badge so we spent no time in line. We grabbed breakfast buritios inside secruity and she hung around with me until she needed to go to work. My plane was running way late out of abq, but at least southwest was still flying. Some of the others were grounded because they had run out of deicing fluid. Not sure how that happens since all the planes had been grounded fo so long there should have been more than enough. Odd. We finally boarded and took off. The flight out was really cool since everything was totaly white and covered with snow. Took some cool pictures of the mountians and roads. Then i realized i could use my GPS on board also, so that became my new toy. We landed in El Paso and I hung around there until it was time for my houston flight. We were running a little late out of there but not bad. I landed in houston and Aubrey was circleing for me. She picked me up and we went to REI. I wandered around some then found the perefect backpack- it was blue and had tons of compartments and was made for electronics. It was exactly what I wanted so I bought it to replace my old one. We grabbed mcdonalds and headed for college station and JACs new years party.
27 December 2006
Orange County- not the one you see on the show, but rather the one where you occasionally wonder if your going to get killed in drive by
24 December 2006
Monday and Tuesday were filled with Drs Apointments- physical, dental, and eyes. Great times. I hate doctors. I got the 2nd of my Hep-B series so that made it even more exciting. I hate needles. Other than that just hung around the house played with the dogs and all the normal home stuff. I went up to the Heard for a bit and saw some of my friends up there. Found out Debbie died a few days before. That was pretty sad to hear, she was always so nice to me and asking after my family. They have a new exhibit- anamatronic dinosaurs. It was pretty cool looking.
We headed out to New Mexico on Thursday mid morning. It was a typical Catanach exit- hurried and hours later than planned. Me and Eddie were in my truck following the renta van. The drive was pretty easy, weather was good almost the whole way, except for a little bit of ice in Clines Corners. We stayed in Albequerque for the night at Patty's. We were greated with Pasole (kept on the porch as is tradition) and chicarones- not pork skins like people here think they are but rahter balls of fried pork fat. Heavenly. I must have eaten 50 of them before deciding it was time for bed. I slept on the couch and was woken up by Patty's dog jumping on me. Tiny little dog, very soft. I needed to pick up my upgraded permit so got dirrections to Fish and Wildlife and drove over to the building. I walked up only to have to go back to my truck and unload my pockets since apparently you can't take knifes into a federal building. I finally deweaponed myself and was allowed to enter the building. I took the elevator up to the 14th floor then wandered aimlessly in hopes of finding Camilies office. I eventually figured out where it was hiding and went in. I met God herself and actually sat down for some coffee and cookies with her. She was quite funny and apparently has 2 JRTs that the spoils. I spent about 30 min talking to her before realizing I was suppose to meet Maria, Eddie, Grandpa, and Patty for lunch. So I left and met everyone at Golden Corral. I had the shrimp as always- must have eaten a plate full. We drove back to Santa Fe, Eddie and I following Grandpa and Maria. It was a bit of an adventure since we got seperated a couple times but we managed to figure out how to get home. Chaco didn't attack me as I went in so i figure thats a step in the right direction. We spent most of the day doing nothing, as seems to be our past time in Santa Fe. It was nice to sit still and watch TV for a change. We went to PCs for dinner, my mom and I did the bar run since there was a pretty long line for tables. I had a Negra Modelo which my dad thought was pretty nasty. I don't know why he doesn't like them I think there pretty good. I had an enchilada, sopapias, and natias for dinner. Nice to have real new mexican food again. You cant find a decent sopapia in Texas, enchiladas are differnt and people think your crazy when you ask for natias.
16 December 2006
15 December 2006
13 December 2006
I woke up bright and early to take my phys test. According to the girls i was staying with behmer might be running a little late since they left the bar at 3 and he was still there. Sure enough, no behmer. Waited a while then called him around 830. No answer. Medina came by and said if he saw him hed tell him i had been diligently studying all morning. Behmer called me at 9 and said hed be another hr so i went to some presentations before taking my final at about 11. After the final I went to lunch with Jamie and Dani. We went to the mall as usual. Talked bugs a bit (shocking I know). Turns out Dani was the one that changed the name of the glassy wing sharpshooter. She gave me a reprint so I'll have to read it to let Amanda know what was going on. It was a priority issue as expected. Gotta love priority. After lunch I pretty much went to talks, played on the internet and toured the exhibit hall again. There were the finals for the linnean games so I went to that. Its amazing how obscure some of those questiosn are seriously who knows this stuff? After that was the awards ceremony- Jamie won the systematics poster session so that was exciting. After the awards was the student mixer. I went for a bit- ate some food, drank some beer, and talked to a bunch of A&M people along wtih some old Ags. Me and Andrea then decided to head to the International Soceity of Hymenopterists Meeting. Even though I dont really work on hymenoptera those guys are usually funny as hell so i figured id go to the meeting. Andrea decided as we were walking out to go to the biocontrol mixer instead so i went to the ISH meeting by myself. I got there just as the business meeting started so that part was rather unexciting. After it was finished i said hi to Heraty then went to talk to Kajia from Morphbank to set up a time to meet and go over some data stuff. She was talking to someone else so i waited around for a bit. She ended up following Heraty out, still talking to the person so i just went along also. I started talking to Heraty and when we got to the lobby for the Hyett hes like yall want to come up for drinks? So the 4 of us went up to his room. Kajia went to go get more glasses from her room while the other guy, Micahal Gates and I went with Heraty. Heraty introduced us and told Gates i was woolley's newest victem. Gates poured us drinks- he and i finished off what was left of the scotch while heraty broke into the wild turkey. Heraty pulled up his comptuer ands like the real reason to come was cause were nerds and he was going to show us his presentation from another meeting. He opened up a file and said hed hit the high points. It was about Eucharidids- specifically the ones wtih spines that people though were used to carry them around by ants. He acutally had a video of ants picking up the bugs and moving them around. It was pretty cool. Kajia showed back up with a glass and Heraty offered her her choice between scotch and wild turkey not reallizing the scotch was gone so she got her choice between wild turkey and wild turkey. Since we really are all nerds we talked mainly about morphbank and MX vs 3i (all programs used in ento). After while Gates said that a bunch of guys were over at this bar down the street so him, Kajia, and I went over there. I met Jim Carpenter along with a few other hymenopterists. Turns out some of the Illinois people were over there too, Jamie came over to say hi. There was also a curator from some collection that sat with us. He plays the harmonica and talked about that for quite a while. Apparently harmonicas are rather difficult to play correctly, so he was telling us about that. Apparently Hymenoptera and music go hand in hand since everyone there was talking music- either instruments or sound systems/albums. Never would have guessed such a lowly order would have such cultured workers (we like to trade insults between workers in the various orders).
I actually slept in a few min on wensday instead of being up at the crack of dawn. I had actually planned on being up early, but plans change quickly at these meetings. So instead i got up, packed my stuff then checked out. I carried my stuff over to Hyett then checked it into the luggage room there. They didnt seem concerned that I didnt actually stay there the night before or maybe the just didnt notice. Either way I was excited. I went to a couple presentations before it was lunch time. The plan was for all the Auchenorrhynca people to go to lunch together, but Dmetiv had gone into the exhibit hall and everyone else left while chris, jamie, and I went to find him. After wandering the exhibit hall we found him and in the process heard about a mexican place Jamie had found last night and wanted to try. He wasnt quite sure where it was but thought it was behind a hotel. We decided to try and find it and went of in that direction. After walking a bit in the direction he thought it was Jamie decided he actually didn't know where it was so we went back to Alcatraz for lunch with the rest of the group . Walking in we ran into Randy and Andrea, but they were giving up on the wait and going somewhere else. We went in and while we waited Dmetriv took a group picture. They found a big table to stick us at and we ordered. I got fish and chips. I was talking about Dominica when the guy across from me said his nephew went to dominca last year also. Turns out i was sitting with karls uncle whos a dipterist. Small world. After lunch it was time for the last of the presentations including the auchenorrhynca ones. So we all headed back for those which were quite good. Most of it was more higher level phylogonys. After these were over I went and grabbed my stuff then we walked to the car. I took a picture of a factory and the cranes. Chris though that was amusing, but what can i say I like old factories and i have a thing for cranes- the bigger the better. I think me, jamie, and Dmetiv all fell asleep for part of the drive home, and i woke up to hear that chris had found a genus for me- Xyphon. There was also a second genus that was possible to, but Xyphon was more promissing. Its fairly small but is monophyletic and looks like it has potential. Back in Urbana we dropped off Jamie and Dmetiv then headed to the house. We unloaded our stuff then chris ordered a couple pizzas. I apparently got his daughter sick before we left for the meeting. Chris went to get the pizza and some beer while i played around on the internet- found some random wireless signal to grab onto i love people who dont secure their wireless points. After dinner Chris and I went to the lab. He got me set up in the working lab wiht a scope and I looked at some material he had ided earlier from the potential genera. We left around 10, went home and watched the Daily Show. After that Chris went to bed and I watched the Colbert Report before going up to my room. Got online and talked to JAC for a while then went to sleep.
11 December 2006
Saturday started at 420 when Chris woke me up. I grabbed my stuff and we went to Jamies house. Jamie appeared a few min later and said he needed finish packing. After a few min he came down and we were back on the road to Dimetrivs. Dimetriv was ready so he loaded up and it was off to Indianapolis. I was asleep again pretty much instantly and didnt wake up until we were approaching Indianapolis. We found their hotel- right by this staduim that was being built, there must have been 30 cranes working on it, definatly exciting. We walked over to the Hotel where the ECN meeting was being held. The morning presentations were interesting, they were almost all relating to computerizing collections either by databasing (done by Ed), online librarys (by Oz) or online interactive keys (Dimetriv). There were also a couple about projects being undertaken at various collections and that sort of thing. Dani showed up a bit after we did and for lunch we all went to the mall, along with Ed, Cheryl Barr, Dave Furth, and a couple others. The most exciting part was that Dave Furth (smisonian guy) remembered me from last meeting, and Cheryl knew me from my Abachrysa e-mails. The afternoon presentations were also pretty good, then I met up with Lois and talked to her some about the papers I'm working on. There was a dinner social at the hotel, sat with an eclectic group- the grad students from chris's lab plus the new curator at AK Fairbanks, a lep systemitist, and some beetle people. After dinner finished up my presentation- it came together pretty nice I think then went to the hotel bar where most of the grad students went. We were all pretty exhasted though so I think we left around 10. One of the guys from NC state had a van and since they were staying at the holiday inn they gave me and Jamie a ride back there to pick up my stuff then they dropped me off at the Hyatt where I was staying for the 1st night. I checked in and found my room on the 14th story. I love tall buildings. Andrea wasn’t there yet so I messed with my presentation for a bit longer by which point she had arrived. After talking for a while we called it a night since I had to be at the convention center at 630 to do my volunteer hours.
610 came way too early and I made my way to the convention center. Indianapolis is kinda cool in that a lot of the stuff downtown is connected by enclosed raised passages so you don’t have to go out into the cold. I was working the presentation preview room like last year, but rather than having to deal with presenters who didn’t know how to upload their presentations or who were waiting until the last possible moment to do so. Instead I got to sit at the table, look official and hand out stuff for moderators. I even got to hang onto a walktakie to contact Grayson incase there were major issues and he wasn’t around. It was quite nice. Then ever 45 min or so I would walk down to the wireless internet room and make sure only ESA people were using it. Pretty easy job. Presenters would come in and look at me so id point them to a computer then be like if you have any trouble one of these people would be happy to help you. It was exquisite as my favorite Romanian would say. At 7am I went and got my registration packet and the 5 of us volunteers discovered that there was a scavenger hunt to win a prize. It was finding various types of people like worked in CA entomology, or someone from a different branch than you were. Well being in the preview room we had a lot of options to get signatures. I decided to wait on the governing board so it would be an excuse to harass heraty. After finishing up in the projection room I ran into David and we went to lunch with Dr. Harris and Robert. Had the best but most overpriced burger I’ve had in a while. Went to a few presentations then back to the hotel for a bit to figure out the plan for the night. I was suppose to go to the Embassy Sweets, but I couldn’t get ahold of Jill or the other girls. Also I kinda wanted to stay where I was until after the presentation since it was closer and quieter than the student hotel was. The 1st real even was the plenary session. I ran into heraty on my way over there, and figured he knew where he was going being on the governing board and all. Well he didn’t, but we eventually got there. I was early so I left again and wandered around alittle. I ran into Norm Penny a neuropterist who was talking with Lois and Charlie. Lois and Charlie went to eat and Norm and I went to the plenary session. After the first business meeting the speaker started his presentation. It was on Wigglesworth, an insect physiologist. It was pretty interesting, just wish all insect phys was as cool. One of his experiments involved writing his initials in juvenile hormone on a plant bugs abdomen to see if it would change the make up of the cuticle (which it did). So his initials were written in juvenile cuticle while the rest of the bug was adult. Next was the reception for everyone at esa. Found some food and a place to sit with lois and dani. Then it was time to wander the room. I needed to find Heraty to get the scavenger hunt form signed and Alma to ask her some questions on collecting in mexico. Finding people was virtually impossible you could see someone you needed to talk to and by the time you fought through the crowd they were gone. I ran into Demetiv and talked to him for a while. Then it was back to looking for Heraty and Alma. Eventually I found Heraty. He introduced me to some people and signed my paper. I realized I was going to be in LA over Christmas and that it might be nice to go out to riverside. I told him and got his e-mail address and phone numbers. I handed him back his pen but didn’t have his pen cap. Turned out he didn’t either. After both of us taking all the stuff out of all our pockets and still not finding it I finally spotted it on the floor a few feet away. As to how it got there no idea. I wandered off after a while and found Michelle and a few of the other A&M grad students. Talked to them then saw Alma. We apparently spotted eachother at the same time so I didn’t even have to chase her down. I like this whole 2nd conference recognition thing, makes life so much easier. She thinks mexico should be workable, need to find someone with a collecting permit then just get on theirs as a collaborator. Hopefully I should be able to find someone without too much trouble. Cammack and I have been talking about collecting down in Tamalipas for a couple years. Julio had told me about Rancho del Cielo, the northernmost cloudforest and since then I’ve been trying to figure out how to get down there. Alma and I parted ways and I went back to talking to the grad students. Then I saw ed talking to a bunch of beetle guys so I went over there and after a while Ed, one of the curators at BYU, and I decided we needed to get some more substantial food. We tried a bunch of different places which were all closed or no longer serving food. Finally someone said the steak and shake was still open so the 3 of us went there for dinner. It was a nice dinner listening to collecting stories and occasionally getting to add one of my own. Seems like everyone has a getting horribly lost in the woods and and dang I wish I had a flashlight story. The best lost story I've ever heard was a guy who got lost in the woods and ended up curling up in a malaise trap for the night. After dinner I walked back to the hotel with some other people staying there and went up to my room. Amanda (one of Andreas friends from randys lab) was staying in the Hyatt with us and so I met her. She works on leafhoppers also, looking at glasswing sharpshooter behavior. We were both presenting in the morning so we ran through the talks once each then called it a night. I slept on the floor in a sea of pillows and blankets.
I dont get why people dont belive me when I say I sleep on the floor. Been doing it nightly since high school and even before anytime i could id sleep on the ground somewhere. I think its because when I was really young my parents would have me sleep on the couch when we went up to the cabin. They would then surround the couch with chairs until I was totally barricaded in. I got so use to being barricaded that I guess i just figured i needed to be contained. For most of my life i've been afraid of beds since i figure ill fall out and theyre not containing enough. When I was 7 or 8 i got a loft bed which had rails on all sides so that was nice and containing. After the move to TX i stayed in the loft bed until one day we took the sheets off to get washed and i never put them back on, just started sleeping on a pile of blankets on the floor. Much more confortable, and I've never gone back.
25 November 2006
Me, Cammack, Aubrey, and Josh went to Houston to go to REI. The drive was uneventful and we got to REI with plenty of time to wander around before closing. Aubrey needed to buy boots for our Guatemala trip so that was the first stop. After she picked out her new best friends (boots can make or break a trip) we got the accessorys- boot liners, socks, and looked at laces. I was sad because they were going to get me some new boot laces, like cammacks but blue. However, we couldn't find them though. I found a pair of pants I liked on sale. They are those zippy ones that turn onto shorts. The ones in the womans section were too big for me so it was off to the kids section. That was the one thing I learned from living in the dorm freshman year- boys section will fit small people and tends to be cheaper. Sure enough, same pants but they fit and cost less. So I have a new pair of collecting pants just in time for Guatemala. Lots of pockets for kill jars. Then we tested headlamps by shineing them in eachother's eyes to see which ones were the most blinding. Good times. On my way to checkout I saw the TPWD magazine was about pointers so I grabbed one of those for good measure. It was about dinner time so we decided that since we were in houston we should eat somewhere other than the normal places. None of us had any preferences so we just drove around for a bit. Josh suggested Chinese so that was where we went. We picked a place that was sort of amusing. The inside looked like it was run by the Chinese mafia. It was dark, large, and empty. The furnature was ornate as was the artwork. The servers were dressed very nicely. But in a total disconnect they were playing christmas music in the background. Wierd. The food was pretty good though. We decided to have a bonding experience and all eat the little peppers in Aubrey's dinner. She claimed they wern't hot. The rest of us beg to differ. Mine was so hot I could actually feel the roots in my teeth go numb. Never again!. After that it was back to BCS where I was going to follow Cammack back to his house to get some stuff. Well I managed to run out of gas between Aubreys and Cammacks. Luckily Cammack came to my rescue and took my gas can and filled it up. I think his job it to ensure I survive my college carrer, and hes doing a pretty good job at that.
We had a party a woolley's as a dominica reuion. Got there in time to hold the flashlight for woolley while he barbaqued the burgers. We had fun making fun of veggie burgers with cammack and Carla. Once we got all the burgers cooked it was time to eat. Tons of food. I was unofficially relegated to eating in the kitchen while everyone else got to eat in the living room with the white carpet and light colored furnature. Cammack ate with Carla and I, kinda amusing since I didn't spill but cammack did. So I got to make fun of him for that. After dinner we watched the slideshow of pictures from dominica with all the rest of the people there. Definatly good times. It was nice seeing Lacher again. Looks like he will be coming back to be dept. head. He was visiting A&M again as the 1st choice for the position. Don't remember if I posted about that. The e-mail got sent out at like 630 in the morning on the day of the 406 overnight fieldtrip. So I was the only one to know on the trip since I'm the obsessive e-mail checker and saw it as I was walking out the door at 635. I didnt even think about it until I called Cammack to tell him and Bob heard me talking and asked about it. Cammack got Lachers cell number from Woolley and called him to congradulate him. I called him a bit later also, he was in lubbock doing a outside review or something.
Elephant Walk went pretty well. I went with Cammack and his roommates although sticking together was virtually impossible, sorta like hearding cats. We had a good time. Maria and Iana were in one of the stuck buses (they were just randomly riding around) and as I went by I waved at them and maria took a picture of Cammack and me. I'll put the picture up if Maria is ever allowed to e-mail it out (it costs 25cents apparenlty and shes been forbidden to do so). When we got to accademic plaza the two of us ran into nagle and said hi to Lacher since it was during the reception for him, then back out to Elephant Walk.
Thanksgiving went pertty well, my grandpa Ike flew in so that was nice. We ate flite minion (since none of us like turkey), stuffing, pie (mine and dads lemon of course) and more food ive sence forgotten. The highlight of the day though was listening to Alicies Resturant on KZPS with Cammack. It does come on at noon, not 230 like i though.
06 November 2006
We use to go out after practice either to a resturant and all eat together or sometimes go over to one of the guy's houses, cook food, and watch TV. The team was like my second family, people to eat with, hang around with, and play with. It seemes like over the last few seasons the team has changed. It use to be almost all wildlifers and a few friends of stuedents but now its a mix of wildlifers and people we picked up along the way. We have alot of fun, but i think sometimes the fact that we arent all around the same people day in and day out, sitting in the same building, and hearing the same stories has its effects. Then again ill be one of the outsiders next season, ENTO here I come
05 November 2006
The team in the snow
The girls of aspen st. cleaned up at The Wildlife Society Annual Meeting- not only did we win quiz bowl, present some posters, but we also all beat the ring toss deal at the bar.
So my sister is a little wierd
Fall in Alaska
Then later last week I realized that I was starting to forget my motto- Fly hard, Kill Swiftly, Make no Apologies. I don't have a bird right now so a lot of the new people this semester havn't been around for all the bird and hunting talk. It had been kinda easy to forget that I am who I am and that changing who I am isnt good. I love the chase as much if not more than the kill but when it comes down to it coming home with a bunny, squirrel, or whatever else at the end of the day is incredible. Nothing beats watching bird, dog, quarry, and human interact. Its sort of birdwatching on steroids., but at the same time I am not out flying my bird, I am hunting with a bird and thats that. No reason to justify it, it is what it is and I love what I do and I make no apologies for it. This holds true for the gun hunting that I do. I take pride in stalking game, I may not come home with tons, but its enough to feed me and my bird and have some fun in the process. When it starts getting to easy I change it up some- throwing knifes, rocks, etc, especially these days when I actually can put food on the table for myself and the dog and dont currently have a bird to feed. Now when food gets tight itll be a different story, a bunny is a bunny wheather it was shot, taloned, or knifed. Too many americans don't feel a connection to the land and I think part of it comes from never living off of it. I am proud to say that there has been more than a few weeks when all I ate was game be it deer I got from friends or stuff I had killed. At the time it was out of necessity but honestly deer steaks are pretty dang good.
Then on friday I found out dad may be moving to Huntsville, and not huntsville, tx like me, maria, and eddie all thought when were were first told. The funny thing about that is we were all told seperatly and all had the same reaction. He was offered a spot on another project and since the current project is almost done he might take it. They dont want to move eddie so mom would stay in allen until he graduated then move to alabama. Although I think eddie should move to Huntsville as it would drasticly improve his chances of going to ISEF, which as we all know is the most important part of a catanach's highschool carrer. At first I didnt think it would really matter if they moved or not, since I'm don't get home much these days anyway, but the more I think about it I realize how wierd it would be not to have my parents in Allen. At the same time though this new project would open up the possibility to moving back west, which I know they both want. And in the grand scheme of things i'll be heading north for my phd and so for 5 years will be far away even if they stay in tx. When I was a kid I though Huntsville, AL would be a really cool place. Our neighbors back in CA moved there when we were kids and since Mr. James, who worked with my dad, was really into space and galexys and so was I I figured we should move there too. Now though, im not so sure if Id like Alabama. Guess i should check out the hunting regs. Should be interesting to see what ends up happening.
Now that i've totally bored the few people that actually read this thing itll be back to the regularly scheduled programing- random slightly entertaining stories. Below is a picture of the muskateers in the sand dunes out in west Texas. I think thats my favorite picture of the 3 of us even though its totally washed out, its kinda a cool effect. Cammacks in the middle and Erics on the right (which means I'm on the left, shocking I know).
22 October 2006
16 October 2006
12 October 2006
07 October 2006
05 October 2006
Monday was poster day. Maria and mine posters both went very well. Other than that we just hung around the convention center, drove around anchorage a bit, and visited the vendors. I got some cool books and random free stuff. I love free stuff. I even got a key chain tire pressure gage. How cool is that?