Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).
16 December 2006
So you though I was joking about possibly not making it back in time for graduation?
Friday I went into the lab and spent most of the morning making copies of lit to take back to texas. Cammack had to turn in my tuition rebate form so I talked him through the signature foraging and form filling out while making copies. My flight was suppose to leave around noon so chris said wed leave about an hour before then. After making copies I looked at bugs and spent some time just digging through the collection. Dani came in shortly before I left and I got some reprints from her. So between those, all the books and other lit I'd gotten from Chris I had to do some serious rearranging of my luggage. Then I had to load up the specimens I'd gotten on loan and fit those into my backpack also. Chris helped me carry all my stuff into the airport then left for a retirement lunch. I had Dani's number incase I had trouble getting the pinned material through security. I checked in and found out my plane was running 30 min late. No big deal since I had a 2 hr layover in chicago before catching a flight to dallas. Security was closed so I grabbed lunch (a brautwust) and watched the news until security finally opened. I made it through with no problems and found a seat at my gate. This airport is bigger than the college station airport but not by much. There was an announcement saying the plane was now an hour late and that someone would be avilable to assist us shortly. Well I sat around and noone appeared. Another 30 min passed and another announcement, this time saying it was now 2 hrs late and someone would be coming at assist. I called my parents and told them things might get a bit interesting and maybe they should leave a truck for me in dallas incase i couln't fly to college station. After waiting for the desk person for a while I gave up and took a nap. When I woke up I called Woolley to tell him my quest was successful and Cammack to just see what was up and tell him my plane might be running way late. I dozed back off to sleep and when I awoke there was actually someone at the desk. Only an hour so so after they said there would be someone. So I went up to the counter and asked the status of my connecting flights. The guy said my flight to dallas was running 30 min late so I should make the connection. Apparently the radar at O'hare was down and thats what was causing the delays. They called us for boarding and I gathered all my gear and got on the plane. I was still rather concerned about the connection since it was going to be pretty tight. If i missed the flight to dallas then I would miss the last flight to college station also. Not good since I had a meeting with the secretary of defense at 9am the next morning. I called my parents and cammack to tell them i was leaving Urbana, so there was at least a hope of me getting to A&M. The flight was uneventful, rested up for what I figured would be a pretty stressful fight to get on the dfw bound plane. The flight attendant came by shortly before landing and I found out what gate my connecting flight was out of. I looked it up and it was quite far from where we were landing. As soon as we touched down I called my mom to check the status of the connecting flight. It was suppose to be leaving in 15 min. Getting off the plane took a while since I was near the back and people were moving super slow. I tried to push past as many as possible but not much luck. I was practically bouncing off the walls trying to get out. I made it into the terminal and started running in what I hoped was the right dirrection. I had a couple boxes of bugs on loan so I was trying to run gently in hopes of not knocking them off their points. I checked the status as I ran by a monitor and I had 5 min before it was suppose to leave. I kept running, narrowly avoiding hitting old ladies or strolleres. They do get in the way though. I ran over to a counter and asked if they could call the other terminal or something to let them know i was on my way but she said she had a plane to start boarding so no. Nice. I kept running. Just as I though I was going to die I saw the sign for the terminal I needed to be in. Of course my gate was almost the entire way down the terminal. I looked at my watch and I was out of time. I sprinted up to the gate and saw a huge crowd of people. Good i thought theyre just boarding now. So I asked a guy if this was the flight to Dallas and he said nope, its boarded this is for the next flight out. At this point I was freaking out and ran up to the counter. I handed the ticket person my boarding pass just as they were paging Therese Catanach, final call we're closing the doors. So I guess I had about 3 seconds to spare- plenty of time. So I called the parents and Cammack to tell them I was on the plane, not much telling really, mostly just panting. Guess I need to run more. I slept most of the flight down to dallas, then read a couple of the articles Dani had given me. Since we were running a bit late out of Chicago I figured i wouldn't have a very long layover in dallas but that I should have plenty of time to go between flights. Honestly, even 30 min would seem like eternity compared to O'Hare. Plus I know that airport a little better. Landed, rode the skytram or whatever over to my next gate, and walked leasurely down the terminal. As I approached my gate I wondered if Andrea had made it back ok. I looked up and low and behold Andrea was at the gate. Odd since she was suppose to get back to A&M a few hrs before me. Turns out her flight had gotten canceled after the piolet didnt show up. There were a bunch of people stuck hoping to get onto my flight. She said a group of people were trying to get down for graduation so had rented a van together and were going to drive down. My plane was running a bit late, and they kept changing gates. We must have walked between the 3 or so gates 6 times before they finally picked the right one and let us board. It didnt look like Andrea was going to get on since she was number 6 on the stand by list. The flight down to college station was fast and pretty uneventful. I sat next to a guy who was coming back from antartica. Hed spent the last 40 hrs or something like that on planes or boats trying to get home. We landed and I gathered up my checked bags. Maria and Eddie picked me up and we drove by Heep so I could drop off my bugs. We met up at Ozonas for dinner. They had just gotten into town. Dinner was great and it was nice to be back in sweet home college station drinking a shiner. I actually looked up the shiner distribution map and discovered that mishigan would be the closest place to urbana to get shiner. Have to buy it in bulk i guess. After dinner I went back to the house to get ready for the actual graduation. I had to get my hat ready. During Aubrey and Mikas graduation I had had this idea to put an entire 301 insect collection on my hat. So I had my work cut out for me. Luckily I have tons of mounted specimens to choose from that I had prepared over the last 3 years. I started by finding 2 clean A trays and then pulled out the sorted and labeled drawers. I went through and picked the smallest bugs from the various families. After thinking about it a bit more I decided to try and limit it to as few orders as possible since the ordinal pen and label took up additional space. After some trial and error I managed to get enough Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Neuroptera, Hymenotptera, and Diptera onto my hat to have a complete collection. It was in phylogenetic order (oviously) and all the specimens were in decent condition. I scored it and assuming I got no deductions for the fact that one of the beetles was missing an elytra it would be exactly 100 (including extra credits from when I took it). I was quite proud. I then glued a mailer onto the hat and put the 2 A-trays in the mailer and put the cover over it. By now it was close to 2 am and time to get some sleep.