Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

31 May 2006

Day 3- the other 1/2 of class went to town. I spent the first part of the day helping with projects then once people got back from town worked on me and cammack worked on the beat nets for a while. While they were gone a group of us watched monty pythons and the holy grail so that was good times. We also set up a malaise trap just to get one out so we could say we did something productive. Other than nothing really major happened, just getting use to the area. Heres a cool scarab that we caught up near mt. joy. It was about the size of a quarter, maybe a little bigger. Cammack caught a huge cerambycid- its black with yellow stripes. Murph got one the first day we were here and it bit woolley pretty good right after he said they bite. Definatlly funny.

Ready for somemore ramblings? Day 2 in dominica there was a trip to town. I got to go at the last minute (they were litteral about to drive away) so i had no money, no passport, no nothing. We went to the TrueValue and I was sent to go find some wood for one of the girls. Then we went to the bank so everyone else could exchange money. We ended up splitting into groups with me and Christine going with Woolley and everyone else going with Lacher to look for batteries. We wandered around the area watching the crane working on the harbor until the rest of the group showed up. Then we went to the drug store to get alchohol for the malaise traps. The store took forever but on the bright side I talked woolley into buying me a coke. All the cokes are in glass bottles so you have to drink them at the store. I got my coke just as the alcohohol was ready so i got to chug my coke in about a minute. Ive never drunk a coke so fast but that coke was damn good. We went to an internet cafe and played around on that for a while then went to the market to get some snacks and laundrey soap then back to the station. We took a tour of the station- climbed down to this huge fig tree. The roots were butressed and must have extended up to 10 ft or so. It was crazy. Then we went to the top of mt. Joy where the old field station was before it burnt down. We did some insect collecting up there then came back down for dinner. The picture is from the trail to the fig tree. On the way down the trail woolley had a revelation about the nonworking extension cord. Turns out they have a fuse in them thats probibily blown. We checked it and sure enough thats the issue. We found and replaced the fuse and got the lighttrap up and running. The true insect carnage can begin.

30 May 2006

Forgot to put some pictures up. The first one is a picture of the island as we flew in. Its taken through a really dirt window so thats why its so foggy. The second one is a picture of the runaway we were about to land on. More later.
I finally have internet again. As long as i dont have access to it i dont really miss it but once its back up i havn't gotten off it. So where to begin- guess ill start at the begining. So my alarm went off at 515 and i stared blankly at it until cammack called me at 520. Couldnt figure out what was making the funny sounding noise. Mika picked me up about 545 and at 552 the 3 of us passed woolley (my major prof and the prof leading the trip) who was stopped at a stoplight. we decided we had to beat him to the airport so we sped off. In our excitment of beating him mika missed the exit to the airport so we had to go all the way up past 47 and circle back around. We got to the stop sign and as we were stopping we saw woolleys white truck so me and cammack told her to go for it- we ran the stopsign, cut him off and made it to the airport first. We were deprived our victory celebration though since we went to different loading and unloading levels. O well. We made it to dallas with only minor issues- mine and cammacks insect nets were considered dangerous weapons so we had to check them. If i wanted to kill off a flight crew a 50$ bioquip net would not be the weapon of choice. In dallas we got to our next gate, met up with maria so i could get my laptop and other toys she was bringing me. We flew into puerto rico and went to our hotel. The bus got stuck in a hole and we had to drag all our gear the last block or so. welcome to the carribean. We went out to dinner at a mexican resturant I had steak and onions with the local beer it was pretty dang good. Nice ordering a beer without worrying about stupid drinking laws. Anyways on the way back to the hotel we stopped at the ocean and played around in it for a while. The next day we flew from San Juan to Dominica. The plane was delayed because of a volcano eruption on Monserat- welcome to the carribiean round 2. This gave me time to deal with some falconry issues that were rapidly exploding. The flight down was uneventful until it was time to land. We had to circle for awhile so we got a nice tour of the island. The landing was everything my uncle joe had described- you land in a canyon you thing your going to die then maraculiously youre on the ground a couple hundred feet from the ocean. We went through immigration and customs then drove to the station. We got here, found out the internet had been down for 3 weeks and there was no set date for the part to arrive from the states. The part finally got here today and weve all been on the net ever since. Thats all for now, maybe ill put somemore up later tonight if not itll be tomorrow.

24 May 2006

Well i made it vocano eruptions, bird issues, and all. more to come later when i really have internet. Good stories though inculuding cutting off woolley at a stop sign, getting our nets confinscated, and a fun landing in dominica.

21 May 2006

T-6hrs, kinda scary, guess i should find my passport. Packing is about .5 done but the rest is gathered and sort of organized. I can't take my meds until 2am so whats the rush? The 3 stooges got the gear packed into duffles, we hit it right on the nose- no extra space and no left over boxes. An added bonus was no one died or was too seriously injured, always a plus. After that was a trip to Walmart then Cammacks then back to walmart this time with all of cammacks housemates. Kinda scary when we go to walmart and the checker from last week recognizes us and askes about mika since she was missing this trip. Well back to packing i guess.

20 May 2006

Hopefully i've just had my ER visit for the trip. Nice to get it out of the way before leaving. I got bit by my grandparents dog (ugliest most annoying dog ive ever met) a few years ago and the scar started bubbling a few days ago. This morning a chunk of it came off and I had a pocket deep enough to stick a #3 insect pin into about .5in before hitting flesh. Figured if im going to the tropics thats probabily not a good idea- can you say absecess waiting to happen and my ento bff made me go see a doctor. So now im on some hardcore antibiotics, but the good news is theres apperntly no interaction with alcohol, definatly a good thing. Thats all for now, T-30hrs
T-40 hrs. Guess its time to start packing. Yesterday we loaded up all the gear and took it to the other heep so it can go into the duffle bags. I got to steal a university business permit, which is always exciting. Get to park basicly anywhere. Other than that just trying to figure out what i need to take and waiting for woolley to call with the game plan. Oh and the preakness is at 5:15 so Ill watch it with my ento BFF, I love horse racing. Knowing my luck thats when Woolley will call.

18 May 2006

The light sheet is finally built. For the non bug people its a king size white sheet suspended between poles with a bunch of carbon fiber tubes that support 2 mercury vapor lights. Itll attract bugs from miles around, and is my personal favorite way of collecting since the bugs come to you and you can selectively kill what interests you (so no grasshoppers or leps since they're evil). Its also a great place to swap stories and drink beer- every entomologist favorite past times.

My drawings have been Oz approved so I get to start working on drawing of neurops for publication. Should be fun.

Talked to Heinrich, looks like I won't leave for west Texas until the end of June since the Aplo's haven't hatched yet.

Other than that just starting to pack for the trip. T- 80hrs, kinda scary.

16 May 2006

One of my Abachrysa eureka females just oviposited- I have something to describe now! Isn't it great when things go as planned. If only tonights drawing had I got the scale messed up and so the distal 1/5 went over the writing. Try it again tomorrow.
Todays neurop drawings were approved so I get to move on to drawing for publication now. I bought a new .3 mechanical pencil to mark the occasion. Other than that just pillaged the 301 collecting kits to get stuff for Dominica then went to HomeDepot and Wallmart with Cammack and Mika for random stuff for the light sheet and the trip. Me and Cammack even got get well soon cards for Dominca incase someone has to go to the hospital. We're prepared for anything.

If your wondering about the title of this blog- Life is Happy in the Radioactive Lake its a saying in my family that originated with my brother. Everytime we have mashed potatoes he acts out a story. The storyline changes each time but basicly its about a dude who falls into a radioactive lake but its ok since he's wearing a radiation suit. The story ends with and so life is happy in the radioactive lake.

Well thats all for now, back to work

15 May 2006

Were going to give this blog thing a try. I figure rather than sending e-mail updates out to everyone about Dominica (Caribbean Island I get to hang out on and destroy the insect population on) well do this. If it works out maybe I'll keep it up so I can bore everyone with tales of my life.

We leave for the island in about a week (to be exact 7 days minus 13 hours or so). In that amount of time we have 16 duffle bags of gear to pack, who knows how many more runs to the biobio store (my newest favorite place), and of course all the implements of bug killing to gather. So today was planning meeting number 10 and list number 5 with Woolley- were making progress but as usual we keep adding more things.

In other news I went to Post Oak and bought a sweet new knife with my ento BFF- a blue Smith and Wesson, no assist opening but o well, next time. I also ordered my computer in a race against the clock/plane hopefully it makes it. And my carbon fiber tubes finally came in so I can build my light sheet (insect collecting device for those not ento people around).

Well I'll leave it at that so as not to bore yall too bad. Back to drawing Neurop wings for me.