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

22 October 2006

Good times in Heep and beyond

Not much happened at the begining of the week. In lab on wensday we watched a cool video on bugs. The best part though was of the 6 or so questions we were suppose to learn from the movie i already new 5 of them so basicly i just got to watch the movie- lots of cool footage of flying bugs etc. Thursday evening was spent at the Undergraduate Ento Student Org. We had wings for dinner along with chips (restock the chip supply incuding some plain chips for woolley who after eating all the cooler ranch doritoes I had in my hand when I entered his office then complaining about the lack of normal chips) then listened to maggie talk about Southwest branch of ento society of america meeting in Feb. Woolley did his dominica presenation it started off like the normal one but the last few slides were of me and JAC doing random stuff. He started with the sleeping on the porch picture then had ones of us collecting etc. It was rather amusing. The best though was when I needed a pen to write down a friend of mine's number. I didnt have one so asked woolley if he had one. He did but it was the blue fountian pen that i'm not allowed to use so he had to write it for me. Maybe one day ill be able to use a fountain pen. After the meeting cammack, patricia, and I went up to my office and hung around until about 10. Then I went downstairs to check on my Abachrysa larva. Didn't quite make it that far. Ran into Josh and David talking in the enterance to collections. So of course I joined in. 4 hours later we had covered everything from martial arts to fencing to french cooking (david was a banquet chef in his previous life aka before grad school), to novels, to movies and everything in between. Typical thursday. By then maria found me and I took her home then had to come back up to feed my bugs. Well got side tracked again and ended up talking to david for another 30 min or so. Turns out he lived in slodotna for a while back in the day. So we were talking about Alaska- we were talking about Homer for some reason and turns out he use to eat at Addys Paddys and the pizza place. Small world. Finally got my bugs fed then home a bit before 4am. Friday started way to early, had to be at home depot by 7 so we could go on a field trip. We were suppose to be doing a rx burn, but it was so wet we couldnt get the fire to carry. Got to play with the drip torch some though so that made my day. Had fun being sarcastic about the fire and how we were doing it with a couple other guys who had been on burn crews also. Lunch was excellent, the land owner made these great sandwitches, it was exciting. We just talked about various beers, got a few new ones i'd like to try. Got back to A&M shorly before 3 and went to wharton's lab. I was hoping to catch yoder or jacques so i could go to the quantatiative phylogenetics discussion group with computer science, but no luck. Ended up screwing around with aubrey and cammack. We decided to make a height chart for the lab, I had no idea I was a couple inches taller than aubrey. Mika came in and she got measured. Couldnt get wharton to get on board though, too bad. Next it was over to collections, did some work then started talking about fogging plans with josh. Turned into a 4 hour conversation as expected. Aubrey showed up an hour or so into it and the 3 of us had a great time planing fogging possibilities then switched over to the normal random topics we talk about. Guatemala is going to be a ton of fun, wish we were going this week instead of in 2.5months. O well. Daisy and Stephen were having game night so I went over there for the normal fun. Daisy made dinner which was excellent as usual then we watched TV. They've got cable so we watched that and figured wed play games later. Saturday was quite an abnormal day. Woke up went to range dept, then loaded up in the vans for a collecting tirp to san marcos and new bramfields area. I was in Beckys van but i fell asleep a few min into the trip. O well. The collecting was pretty good, got some new plants for our collections. Lunch was at the buffet- the shrimp was pretty good, i must have eaten a pound of fried shrimp. Back in BCS I went over to Christy's bugging out deal for kids and helped clean up. Aubrey and I went back to her place so we could change her tire. I took a look at her spare and discovered that it had actual holes as in pieces of rubber missing in it. So that was a no go. We picked up josh and went to the chicken for dinner since he'd never been. The Aggie OSU game was on the radio so listened to that and watched the world series. After the Aggie victory in overtime the place errupted into song so aubrey and I joined in. I think josh thought we were crazy since one minute we were talking then mid sentance its "goodbye to texas university". O well, welcome to aggieland. We left shortly after that and went back to his place. the 3 of us looked at pictures and talked until 530am. It was definatly fun. The best though was locking aubrey in the cloest and turing off all the lights. After a couple min i stopped holding the door and backed away. After 30 sec or so she came running out into the darkness and started asking where we were. Josh flipped on the lights and she was looking right at us. She started screaming, it was definatly good times.

Ring Dunking! or one more example of aggie insanity

Last saturday was rather eventful. Started with the football game with Aubrey, Anne, and some of their other friends. We had perfect seats- 2nd row, 3rd deck, 50 yrd line. The game went well, another fighting texas aggie win. Then it was time for the systematics party at oz's. A bunch of the faculity was out of town, but it was still good times. Took a short tour of the property and ate a ton of food. To top it off Josh and Shawn each caught an Abachrysa at the sheet bringing me up to about 50 specimens. I left around 2130 and picked Maria up then went to Stephens for the dunking. Frank showed up with his Pinita- shaped like a Mexican guy with a green card and a drug bag in the other. We didnt have a place to hang it so stephen got up on the roof and held the rope. I got to hit it first to make up for my pinita as a kid. After a couple of swings the head came off and some tequela (plastic bottles) and candy came out. A bunch of other people took turns hitting it and eventually we pretty much demolished it. Next was the actual dunking. I did mine in a pitcher of Shiner. Stephen, Dasiy, and I lined up and started. Cammack was my timer. I got a good chunk of the way through my pitcher before getting sick, but I made it all the way in 07 min and 07 seconds. Pretty perfect if you ask me (im class of 07 for the non Aggies). After the dunking we hung around for a bit then I went home and went to bed. The next day I was up and at heep by 11ish. Not too bad all things considered. Fairly uneventful morning, talked to Josh for awhile and got a bit of work done. Oz showed up around noon and I guess realized not much work was getting done and decided we should go collecting for ant lion larva. So the 3 of us loaded up in oz's truck and went down to navasoda. We sifted ant lions for a while, got 15 or so 3rd instars. Back to the lab cause oz had to be home by 4 then it was back to work.

16 October 2006

Did anything actually happen to warrent a post...nope

Finally caught up from being in Alaska. Make up tests drive me crazy, but its nice to have them all done. Other than that me and 10 other Dominica surviviors got together at Roadhouse for dinner. Before this I had a meeting for the Honors Research Fellows Program I am in. Once this was done I ran over to biocontrol grabbed my truck then back to the MSC to pick up DiAngella for the dinner. We waited for 45min or so before we could get seated at Roadhouse, it was pretty cold outside. Only other exciting thing thats happened recently is that cammack and I took woolleys business pass so we could deliver a package for wharton. I was so distracted by getting the business permit (one of my favorite things in the world) I walked into the wall next to the door in woolleys office. Him and Cammack were quite entertained by that. Glad I can be of some amuesment value to them.

12 October 2006

How to drive a prof crazy and corrupting the young

Well eddie came down to visit last weekend. He came down on saturday and left on monday. He hung out in the lab over the weekend and then came to class with maria and I on monday. I got him for insect physiology and wolleys systematics class. Woolley starte class by saying we had a visitor and you could tell it was my brother cause we looked identical and we had matching dell computers. It was rather amusing. Eddie left after that class and by some maricale he made it back to allen wtihout getting lost. Quite an accomplishment for someone who got lost in north zulch (population maybe 50 and only has a highway running ns and one runninng ew (the one he was on) and who on the way down on saturday turned the wrong way down 190 and made it back to I45 before figuring it out. The rest of the week was uneventful at least until wensday, when I had my late lab, then movie for genetics, then time for making clay wasp models. Before this though I had to take a range test then my genetics make up test. After this i realised i needed to write up my phys lab report so went back to the office and typed it up. Only issue was that I had put last weeks data in my copy of intro to the study of insects which I let josh use for whartons class. So I ran downstairs, but he was already in class so I just wrote up what I could then called it good. Phys lab was the longest ever, so Ramish bought the entire class pizza for dinner. It was the greatest. Went over to biobio for my extra credit movie night. After a 30 min delay for equipment difficulties they finally got the movie started. It was gatica, i had seen most of it, but finally got to see the ending. Pretty good movie. Then finished a paper then over to cammacks to make clay Eucharids for Woolley. On the test it said no more than 4 pages including tables, figures, and clay models, so we took him up on that. I made one that was blue and cammacks was green, they were pretty dang cool looking. They took quite a while, but were pretty close to morphologically correct. On the way home I picked up maria at the girls house and then we went home. One the way back maria pointed out a cop in this parkinglot so i made sure i was going the speed limit and all that jazz. I still managed to make an illegal wide righthand turn and got pulled over. Only got a warning, not bad. I was kinda hoping the cop would ask about the budlight box maria was holding so i could whip out the clay eucharid in the box, but he didnt. So good times were had by all over the last week.

Groping in the dark or what happens when a college town looses power for a few hours

We had a great black out right after getting back from AK. I was sitting in the genetics lab help session about 500 when all the sudden the power went out then came back on. Strange but whatever. Then it went out again and stayed off for a few min before coming back on. Keep in mind I'm surrounded by all this high tech equimpent that keeps turning on and off and therefore beeping constantly. It was like a symphony of beeping, kinda amusing. This lasted a good 15 min before the power totally went out and we decided to leave the building. Went over to Heep and discovered it was totally dark over there too. So went over to biocontrol and sure enough there was no power over there either. I wanted to find wharton to get my trivia for the day so walked into the dark lab. All the sudden this flashlight pops on and all i see is whartons head. So i got my trivia and then we went out to the parking lot. We had a wildlife society meeting that night and wharton wanted to talk at one of them about dominica. I told him he could come to tonights, but he wanted to know what would happen without power. I suggested he do interpretive dance of dominica, so he started interpretive dancing climbing a palm tree and bird watching, definatly the highlight of the night. The power stayed off through the meeting (so we had an outdoors meeting, kinda fun), then went to mcdonalds (the only place with power) for dinner with maria and a couple fish from tws. Then I dropped Maria off at the girls and I went to Aubreys to hang around. The power came back on eventually although it was off in part of BCS until 2300. It was a nice relaxing evening since no work could be done- that hasnt happened for a while.

The last frontier and how not to hunt ptarmagan but at least we had some fun

Well back to more alaska stories. Tuesday went pretty well also, went to lunch with lisa at sea galley. The highlight of the day though was the ATS party at snowgoose. They had free food and beverages from 530-930. It was very exciting. We met up with silvy, bret, and dom who got there about the same time we did, so we had a good time. Once it started getting dark we took off and went to flat top to look down on the city. It was freezing cold and raining, but still pretty fun. Wensday was pretty uneventful also, went to lunch with jackie, lisa, and maria, then went back to the conference to watch ryans presentation. That pretty much wrapped up the conference. There was a fairwell banquet which wasnt too impressive, but o well. The house (and our hotel room, we basicly just relocated the house to alaska for the week) went to party with stevens point for a while then called it a night and went back to the hotel. Thursday we went ptarmagan hunting. We didnt really know where to look since all the people we taked to with fws and akfg dont hunt until later in the season. But we wandered around for a while then shot at rocks on the other side of this stream. I even got maria to shoot the .22, she had way to much fun with that. Afterwards we went up the road a bit further to where it was snowing. Stephen had never seen it snow so he was going crazy and the rest of us had fun laughing at him. Then back to the hotel to pack. Turned out the sul ross guys missed their flight so maria and I went to rumrunners and met up with ryan, eric, and ashely until lisa came and picked us up and took ryan and eric to the airport. Friday the rest of TAMU came up to girdwood and the 5 of us plus john and dom went to whitter and walked part of the portage pass trail. It was pretty cool looking down into whitter and the sound on one side and to the glaicer on the other. We took pepper with us and she was pretty tired by the time we were done. Saturday maria and I went back to the sound to go fishing with lisa and john. We limited out in about 2hrs, so definatly a successful trip. Back to girdwood, grabbed pizza from chair 5, packed up our gear and took down my malaise trap, then back to anchorage to catch our flight. Slept most of the way down and got to dfw without any major issues. Baggage claim was amusing since annalise called to see when we were leaving anchorage while I was looking for our bags in dfw. While on the phone with her, mom walked next to me and had no idea i was there. Now if i was my dog dex she would have picked him out right away, all us kids have come to the realization we rank below the dog in my moms opinon. Kinda sad when shes trying to send eddie back to college station with me and keep the dog. All in all a very productive trip to AK, had a good time seeing it a bit differently than normal, but itll be nice to be back up there in the summer. It was wierd seeing it dark up there, I think i saw dark when i was really young, since i went up at the end of august when i was 8 or so. The leaves were also changing, never seen fall for real anywhere.

07 October 2006

Proud parent of a bouncing baby bug

My Abachrysa hatched! I am one if not the 1st person to ever see these guys, how cool is that! The are really cool looking, ill have to figure out a way to post pictures.

05 October 2006

We are the Champions of the World (or at least North America)

Well lets start by saying quiz bowl went well. It was single elimination and we hadnt played most of the teams there so it was a bit different than normal. The 1st bonus question was right up my alley- 3 falconidae without falcon in the name and name a character. well we had to challenge it since they didnt want to accept eureasian hobby, but they figured it out that it qualified. Another personal favorite question was "who is president of the wildlife society"? Annaliese buzzed in and said dr. orgeon. The moderator said no, its bob brown. Bob stood up in the back of the room and announced they had sworn john oregon in at 11am that morning so we were right and they were wrong. We played 4 rounds- 1 close and 3 not so much. My favorite score was 164 to 0 in the 3rd round. It was so pretty. After it was over dr. brown and slack took us out to dinner. If we won 1-3 we got to eat like him (nice food) and if we came in bottom 3 we had to feed him like we ate (taco bell). so we went to rumrunners but they wouldnt let maria in (who was our alternate and gets her name everwhere just like us, and actually could have gone in and done perfectly well, she new more than some of the other teams did) so we went to the brewhouse. The food was excellent. After that we went back to the hotel and crashed.

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?

02 October 2006

Conference time

Quite an eventful week. Conference was fun as expected. Satureday was spent at the mixer then a couple bars which would become our haunts for the week- Humpys and the snowgoose/sleeping lady (which had really cool pint glasses). As expected we hung out with the sul ross guys along with the humbolt crowd. Us westerners need to stick together. Stayed out way to late but as usual had a good time. It was nice not to have to worry about getting caught drinking. They has Alaska Amber for free at the banquet, it was very exciting. Next morning came way to early, after going to mcdonalds for breakfast. At first we decided to go fishing with Ryan and Eric, but they took to long so we left to have some quiz bowl study time. We made maria the manager and she read us questions. We moved locations every hour or so to prevent other teams from spying at us. Spots also included the river running through town, Taco bell (for lunch), and one of the back hallways at the convension center. Then it was time for quiz bowl, which will come in a later installment of this lovely blog.