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

25 November 2006

Random trips to houston and Turkey (well actually steak)time

Nothing much going on since my last rambling post about the softball team. Just trying to pass my classes and graduate in a timly manner. Working on a bunch of papers some for class some for publication. I think I've written over 100 pages in the last 5 days. Crazyness. A few fun stories stick out- the Houston trip last weekend, dinner at Woolleys, Elephant Walk, and Thanksgiving.

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

Softball museings

Another softball season in the books. This was my 7th seson on the team, and as one of the few original 2%ers left I have seen the team evolve over the years. When I started it was the wildlife gradstudent team organized by my boss Bob. They needed a couple more players so me and a couple of his other student workers got recruited. That 1st season we sucked. We won 2 games in the regular season- 1 by forfet and 1 actual victory. By some maricle we won acouple tournament games and so came in 3rd for that. I was only there for the 1st part of the summer season since I was working in west Texas, but from what I heard it went a little better. Then starting in the fall we started to click. My sophmore and junior year we won our division, got moved up to C and won again. After a few seasons of winning it became apparent we were going to have to move up to B league. Well bob decided to hand the team off to Becky who moved it to College Station from Bryan. The teams there were a lot more serious and that season was definatly not a shining moment for the 2%ers. This last season we moved back to Bryan, but there were not many teams playing so they combined leagues. We were playing some pretty good teams and only won a couple of games. It was frustrating since many of them were really close. Its still a nice excuse to do something fun on mondays, and is sort of the bright spot in the darkness of mondays for me. Its kinda funny what impact that team has had on me. Over the years I've played with a variety of people from profs who later were in charge of grants i applied for to peoples random neigbors when we needed a filler so we didnt have to forfit. I can count how many times someone will be talking about a grad student or prof in the dept and i'll be like hey, i played softball with them. Our team sort of has a reputation of taking the fun out of it and because of this there is actually a second team for people who don't like the way we play. Yeah we want to win, i mean really who doesnt. And we sometimes take it really seriously, back in the day we use to practice, get to the field 30 min early to warm up and that sort of thing but in the end it was incridibly fun and some of the greatest times i've had in my college life are related to that team. There was the monday nights spent at Harps, the dive bar down the street from the field where we use to go and celebrate our victories. The guys there actually knew us and sometimes wed show up and thered be pizzia ready to eat. We watched the Baseball playoffs and sitting in that bar we suffered through a Yankees elimination- i'll never forget watching bob roll on the floor in agony over that defeat. That post season was pretty bad between the Yankees and the Astros. The greatest 2% story though was this one game where we were up by one or two and going into the last inning. Manny out, this guy who for being big was pretty inept at playing softball. His typical batting showing was rather amusing wtih the other team way far back thinking hed crush the ball. Reality was if he actually hit the ball it wasnt going to far. Anyway he was the Nagle computer guy, and this one time up to bat Roel decided to speak on his level- if you hit I'll buy you a 128 memory stick (keep in mind this was spring of 2004 so that was fairly large). Well manny got up and hit the ball and acutally made it to first. After the inning bob was trying to decide if he should keep manny in right field (where no balls would head his way) or take him out and sub himself back in. Manny said he wanted to stay in so bob said he could. The batter got up and hit the ball straight for right field. I was in the dugout with Bob and Roel, and bob started freaking out. Roel just yelled out there if you catch it ill give you a 512. That got manny going and he ran over and caught that ball. I though bob was going to faint. Manny actually was able to make a play, apperently he just had to have the right motivation. We went on to win the game and Roel said that the memory stick was worth watching all the reactions to that catch.

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

Pictures from the partially frozen north

So Ive been promissing pictures forever, well here they are... (well at least the ones from alaska) Stephen hunting ptarmagan
Me hunting
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

Times they are a changin

so since my last post my world undergone some intense modification. It started when Cammack found out he wouldn't be staying at A&M for grad school. The concensus of the profs he works with was that for what he wants to do he has exhasted all resourses here so between that and funding its time for him to move on. Hes looking at Davis, some school in Turlock, CA, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Clemson, and maybe a couple others i've forgotten. Clemson would be cool since its still in the dominica consortum and his major prof would be petter adler, a guy we met in dominica. Plus the collecting up there would be pretty sweet and its not too far from A&M relativly speaking. A&M without cammack is sort of hard to imagine since as you can probabily tell from how often he pops up in this blog is my partner in crime, comrade in arms, and the other 1/2 of woolley's robot/clone team. Seriously there arn't many people who will spend finals weekend looking for sailor suits for a stuffed Chihuahua instead of studying or that I can talk into wheeling me around Heep on the dolly. The 3 muskateers are already down to 2 and I guess in July itll be down to just me. I had been planning on that since he was orignially planning on leaving but then recently it looked like he would be staying in God's country. O well, well both be back here eventually. We decided a few years back we were going to live next door to eachother with a giant light sheet between the houses. Over time this has morphed into 3 different house/lightsheet set ups- 1 in east tx, 1 in the hill country, and 1 in west texas. All with minibars at the light sheets and air strips so we can fly to work (we both want to be profs at A&M) each day. yeah we are nerds but its so much fun.

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).