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

15 December 2006

Houston (well actually College Station) we have a genus

Thursday was spent at the natural history survey. I spent the morning looking at leafhoppers in the genera that were picked out yesterday. Chris looked through the bugs I brought back from Dominica and put names on most of them. One of them is an endimic genus so that was pretty cool. Once Dmitiv came in he showed me how to use 3i a computer program he developed. It's pretty cool and easy to use. I also met Chris's other post doc. Dani and Jamie came in and said there was a dept. christmas party so we went to that for lunch. It was in a different building on the other side of campus so we drove over with Dani. I met some more grad students and a few of the profs. The dept is small compared to A&M but more and more I'm realizing how huge we are compared to everywhere else. After we ate Chris and I walked back to the Survey through campus. Campus is quite nice, there's a small corn field in it thats the oldest crop experiment station. When they were working on some buildings they actually made sure they wouldn't block the sun when done. Pretty cool. Back at the survey I was given the task of making a key for Xyphon based on the characters Nottingham used for his 1932 paper. That kept me busy for a bit. Once I was done Dmitiv showed me how to make a phylogony based on the data I'd put in so I did that then walked in and told Chris my MS was done heres my trees and a key. The rest of the afternoon I just looked at bugs. Chris went home and made lasaunga for the lab pot luck at Dmitrivs then came back to the lab and picked me up. Dinner was great, almost everyone in the lab was there. They discovered I was a falconer so I gave them the typical falconer story. There was a grad student christmas party after the pot luck that dani and jamie were going to. Chris suggested I go too and said hed leave the house open for me. So I got a ride with Dani and her boyfriend. First we had to stop at the liquor store- Dani wanted to stop at this one across town even though there were ones of the same chain right by Dmitrivs. So we went to the one she wanted and split up to buy our posions of choice. They didn't have any Shiner so i went with a 6-pack of Lonestar. Strange you can buy lonestar but not shiner. I even asked at the counter and they said they didnt sell shiner anywhere in Illinois. This could be a major issue. We drove to the party and went in. I recognized a lot of people from ESA and met a couple new people. We had a good time- it was a gift exchange and I actually got some gifts, one from dani and one from a girl in the dept. The highlight though was for Emilee, a grad student working on psocids. Dani got her a messenger bag, dog t-shirt, and thong all with Psocids are so cool writen on them. Typical ento nerds. By now I was getting pretty tired so I caught a ride home with Emilee and her roommate. On the way out they started talking to some other people at the party and i started looking around. There was a bottle of wine with a picture on the label which just called gyrfalcon. I walked over and sure enough it was a white gyr on the fist. Absolutly beautiful. So I had to find out whose it was and where they got it. I figure it was whoever owned the house so asked around for them, went and asked and they didn't know. But jamie was standing right there and said hed bought it after hearing me talk about falconry. Its a CA wine. Ill have to get some if i can find it. The label was so cool. Nothing like a hooded white gyr. The ride home was a bit of an adventure since they didn't know exactly where chris lived and I as usual was of little help when it came to such matters. Luckily dani gave them good enough directions to get them on the right street and I could recognize the house. The light on was a tip off also. Been forever since I've had a light left on for me. Went inside and played with the dog (Junior) for a bit. I guess Susan has decided the dog was trustworthy enough to leave with me unattended. Appearntly he doesnt like some people and snaps at them so he was kept in the basement for the 1st couple days I was around. Then yesterday Chris figured we may as well see what the dog would do so he gave me some dog treats and opened the door. Junior ran in and ate the treats then ran off. Susan was happy to see I still had all my fingers when it was over. I figured I'd already been attacked by one dog in my life what were the chances of a second.

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