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

27 January 2012

Back to Warcraft

24 i 2012
1845-  Driving back from picking up quail
1906-  eating
2116-  reading the paper for tomorrow's discussion
2134-  playing with Boo


Random fact- The first pinewood derby was held on 15 May 1953 in Manhattan Beach, CA.
 
Lunch- chili 
Dinner- tamales  


My major accomplishment was picking up the quail from out near Bloomington.  It's apparently pinewood derby season, which brought back memories of having a track stretching from one side of the house to the other.  Other than that, I'm happy to report John finally trapped his bird using a different BC and a pigeon.  He's now out of town so I'm watching the falcon and dog.  I also spent the evening fighting with Blizzard- by the time I was able to get into my account they decided I was a hacker and locked it down so now I have to call them tomorrow...

25 i 2012
0220- bout to go to sleep
0759- sleeping
1206- meeting with chris to get some leafhoppers IDed
2240- playing with Boo


Random fact- to unlock your Battle.net account you have to call them and practically verify your life or mail them copies of your drivers liscence, passport, or some other legal document proving you are who you say you are.  People take this game pretty damn seriously...
 
Lunch- steak 
Dinner- fish sticks  


I had my A&M systematics discussion group today- Skype went much better this time, I could hear most everyone talking and there wasn't the strange background humming going on.  I also got my WoW account reactivated so spent a few hours wandering around the forest.  Massimo and I went to the gym, ran our mile in 8 minutes 50 seconds and lifted for a while also. When we got done I was starving so I had Brendan throw my fish sticks (turned out to be a bad choice since I'd burnt my tounge on today's hot chocolate) in the oven while I went to take care of Boo.  Shes so much clamer than Dumas, its crazy to watch her in comparision to him.

26 i 2012
0219- bout to go to sleep
0856- sleeping
1216- rereading the paper for todays discussion
2132- questing with a new toon I'm playing


Random fact- bird systematists are splitters (which is old news).  What I didn't know is mammal and herp people are lumppers by comparision

Lunch- steak 
Dinner- shrimp and rice  


Systematics discussion group turned out to be quite interesting.  As usual we ended up talking about species concepts, and I got to mention Aubrey and her reaction to species delimination in fish.  I vortexed my 22 extractions throughout the day but otherwise spent it just working on image extractions.  Once I was home I spent a couple hours playing WoW- I started a new night elf hunter to try and remember how to best play my main.  Lastly, Dumas was incredibly sweet this evening, and even managed to sneak up on the couch and stay calm enough not to get thrown off- I skyped Is as proof it happened.

24 January 2012

Always running

0136- working on my Calculus0455- sleeping
0726- still sleeping
1559- out looking for John's red tail

Random fact- the ShotSpotter is able to identify gunshots, and identify where they originated, sometimes to within 5 feet, then alert the police to where they occurred.  It can also tell if the shooter was stationary or moving.  This technology was first deployed in Redwood City, CA, and is now found in 80 cities world wide including Los Angeles and Washington DC.

Lunch- 10 piece chicken nugget
Dinner- pizza

Seems like all I did today was run around.  I met with Chris a couple of times, met with the language study people, and met up with John to try and trap the bird again (unsuccessfully).  In all that running around though I did manage to get some work done and should be set to do a bunch of extractions tomorrow.  Chris has been going through some Mexico samples and pulled out a bunch of genera I don't currently have in my data set, always good to fill in gaps.  Lastly, I filled out my travel and leave for for the Philippines , hopefully I can get my ticket purchased soon...

23 January 2012

More adventures

21 i 2012
0621- sleeping
1035- working up the motivation to go get my battery checked
1731- at the lab
2125- eating dinner with Massimo, Mikey, Brendan, and Tom


Random fact- in winter weather the transmitted frequency of a crystalline transmitter can be up to 1khz lower than at normal air temperatures

Lunch- subway steak sandwich with tomatoes and pickles 
Dinner- sweet and sour shrimp  


Most of the day was spent chasing around a red tail hawk who while not wanting to be caught also wasn't too upset with our presence.  We even tried getting her in the dark, which only resulted in us getting very, very cold, and questioned by the cops.  Luckily I was with a cop and the fact we were using night vision while wandering around on the side of an interstate was not an issue.  Mikey came down for the weekend also, in hopes we can go to the farm tomorrow and shoot, but from the looks of the weather this isn't going to work out.  At least one lucky thing happened- my truck started this morning, and according to the mostly clueless guy at Auto zone the battery itself was dead but didn't need to be replaced.

22 i 2012
0900- sleeping
1702- on my way home from Mass
2045- leaving Massimo's after dinner
2250- working on my Calculus


Random fact- T-mobile had copyrighted the magenta color it uses in its logo, so no other telecom or related company can use it.  However, blue (my favorite color) is the the most popular part of the spectrum for logos. 

Lunch- burger at the cafe
Dinner- chili


My accomplishment today was making a pot of chili (although as my mom likes to point out, my chili doesn't include any chile, and hardly any vegetables).  It turned out pretty good and hit the spot on this cold, wet, and dreary day.  I also started working on my calculus assignment, and have been highly amused by the text, which includes statements about how Mathematica is not like a drug (so always say yes) and calling problems math kittys.  Eddie and I decided as long as the math kitties aren't evil like GGK it'll be fine.  We also had a really nice thunderstorm tonight, and from the weather map it looks like the parentals, Maria, and Eddie are also being hit by the same band of storms...

21 January 2012

the Texas truck rebellion

0221- just about to fall asleep
0813- sleeping
1021- still sleeping- I woke up at 1032, exactly 8 hrs after I went to sleep.  At this time I was dreaming about a BBQ beef sandwich…
1834- about to go pick up Massimo so we can head to the rec

Random fact- Indoor plumbing (with hot and cold water even) was available for the very wealthy even in the 1850s.  Hot water was heated in the basement, and both hot and cold water was stored in the attic for use.

Lunch- steak and shake
Dinner- tacos

Well my poor Red Devil's battery gave up the ghost this morning, so I caught a ride in with Brendan (who's car stalled 3 times on his first trip into work... guess our vehicles are as Texan as we are).  Work was pretty uneventful- sorted some samples for Argentina, extracted some images, had hot chocolate, and went to the 3rd session of the language study I'm doing.  Brendan, Massimo, and I went to the rec- ran a mile (9.30), rowed for 1015m (5.35), and lifted.  It started snowing sometime while we were in the rec, so we walked outside to a pretty decent layer of snow, sadness.  Then we grabbed dinner and went back to my place to work on the puzzle, drink wine, and eat cobbler. 

20 January 2012

uncooperative hawk, luckily she isn't mine...

0237- sleeping
0734- still sleeping
1825- helping John figure out how to get his RT back
2248- eating dinner

Random fact- CERT is a civilian program where members are trained in disaster response targeting their local areas.  The one in Brazos county has responded to 6 actual events including fires, search and rescue, and floods.

Lunch- tacos from Chipolte 
Dinner- fish sticks 

We had our planning meeting for discussion group today, looks like we'll cover 3 different topics with some programs thrown in.  It was snowing when it we were finished, and KJ and I got hot chocolate and talked about lice (and birds).  Speaking of birds I spent the afternoon/evening first trying to help John get his bird back, and then when that was unsuccessful making him a quail harness.  Hopefully he can get her back tomorrow, she's been out since yesterday and shows no interest so far in coming back, although she's also not leaving the area.  I tried a different style of noose (double nooses), they seemed more efficient for the limited space on the harness, we'll see what happens. 

19 January 2012

Been a few days...

16 i 2012
0123- at C-street for the Drag Show
0451- finally asleep
1121- leaving the house to head into the lab
2300- playing online

Random fact- The Alpine Salamander (Salamadra atra) gives birth to two fully formed young after a pregnancy of about a year.  Each oviduct contains 20 or more eggs all but one in each oviduct go to feed the developing embryo.  A similar species (Salamandra lanzai) found only in the Italian and French Alps has a gestation period of up to 6 years.

Lunch- steak and shake
Dinner- roast Massimo made

Massimo and I introduced Brendan to the beauty of Steak and Shake, Houstonions are so deprived.  The three of us decided to start working out, effective immediatly.  Then it was off to the lab where I did some PCRs and organized my vouchers.  We went to the rec after work where we ran a mile, did some free weights, and played on the rowing machine Massimo and I picked up some Mango Boing at Mas Amgios then went home for roast.  As Massimo put the cobbler in the oven Alice texted and asked why he wasnt at the bar- turns out he was suppose to meet her there so we went to Crane Alley for a beer.

17 i 2012
0644- sleeping
1035- on our way to the lab
1112- working on my vouchers
2340- at Massimos playing with the player piano

Random fact- the Eli Young Band was formed while the members were attending UNT. 

Lunch- left over pizza
Dinner- red rockfish and rice

Brendan and I went in about 1130 and I continuted working on my voucher specimens while running the gel for the PCR I did yesterday (5+ positive control worked out of 15).  Lab meeting only lasted about 15 minutes, I think thats a record.  Afterward Chris and I went through my genus list and picked out some additional genera to add, then I went and talked to KJ for a while.  Went home and worked on some stuff there before going to Massimos at 9 for cobbler.  We watched some southpark, ate our cobbler with chocolate ice cream, and then listened to a bunch of songs on the player piano.

18 i 2012
0913- sleeping
1115- at the lab
1609- at the PEEC seminar- on shell assembelage
1952- at the Rec finishing the workout

Random Fact- some shells on the sea floor are over 5,000 years old, but the average age at the sites examined by todays seminar speaker was about 120 years old.

Lunch- left over fish/rice 
Dinner- fish sticks  


Met with Chris this morning, he wants me to extract images from Mike Stiller's African delt papers so we can try and identify the specimens we have.  I Skyped in to my first systematics dicussion group meeting at A&M the process worked out pretty well, and Ms. Shirely called me a problem child for making them set up the Smart Board for the class.  I also went to my first session with the language learning research people.  I think I impressed her with my vocabluary skills on the pretest- apparenlty not many people can quickly figure out maritime = boats...  We went to the rec for about an hour tonight, ran our mile in about 10 minutes, lifted weights, and did some other random things. 

16 January 2012

Frozen northland

0729- sleeping
1047- on our way to Mass
1426- showing Eddie how to check/fill the coolent in Bertha
2228- driving, about an hour from urbana

Random fact- The Coca-Cola company (at the time Pemberton Medicine Company) was first incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia 15 Jan 1889

Lunch-eggs, baccon, and sausage
Dinner-pizza Brendan made for me

Today was yet another marathon drive, this time to the frozen northland.  Eddie and I delayed leaving as long as we could (I guess in hopes a disaster would wipe out that part of the continent) but no luck.  I left shortly after 1600 and arrived about 7 hours later after an uneventful drive.  I had to get diesel in just before crossing the border into Illinois, it was 3.71 for diesel, oddly enough, that was much more expensive then in Illinois, never seen that before.  On the drive I talked to Ms. Aubrey Colvin (we're planning a collecting trip this spring), my grandpa George (he was still reading today's paper), and John (tales of work and taking a day to build a door for one cabinet). 

15 January 2012

Work day

0106- watching Scrubs on netflix
1102- eating Eggo's with my brother
1529- at Panera working and eating bread
2056- watching Big Bang Theory and working on my DDIG

Random fact- Chevy introduced its new midsize truck, the Colorado, in Thailand is the world's largest market for midsized pickups.  The suburban is also the vehicle in longest continuous production (since 1935)

Lunch-Eggo with butter, strawberry jam, brown sugar, and powdered sugar
Dinner- Ham, yogurt, and pudding

With my parents out of town for the weekend we spent the afternoon at Panera working and eating bread.  I worked on the DDIG corrections, incorporating the comments from my committee has been a bit of a challenge at points, especially when they contradict each other... It was nice and sunny today so I let the dogs hang out outside for most of the morning.  Dumas is funny, he just stands there in the middle of the yard staring at me the whole time hes outside.  Goofy dog, if there aren't birds to find he's completely uninterested in doing anything.

14 January 2012

Oh Alabama


0547- sleeping
1002- trying to not wake up while my parents made breakfast/lunch
1325- talking around the table, while my brother and dad draw diagrams on the windows
2004- watching TV with the family while trying (and succeeding) to locate the subject of the HHI episode in Windhoek. We found out Kasper J. is a software engineer, and crazily enough is working on something my brother proposed doing in his Goldwater scholar application. I suggested he skype Kasper using the skype ID we found on his personal webpage and suggest collaboration. No we aren't creepy.

Random fact- The political, cultural, and geographic center of Namibia is Windhoek. It also is where they brew a beer with the same name which is one of the most widespread beers in southern Africa. Their commercials can be rather amusing, or quite stupid depending on your mood.

Lunch- French toast, bacon
Dinner- Bratwurst, kraut, and fried potatoes at a German restaurant

Today can be summarized with a story. At the German place, the waitress came over and asked us to look up on our phones how to spell "Caribbean". Instead, I pulled out a 5 EC bill (the currency in Dominica and various other islands) and handed it to her to copy from. She ran around showing everyone else in the place, and I'm pretty sure it was the most exciting thing to happen in Huntsville all month (gotta love Alabama). Other than that we took a short walk but discovered 36 degrees is not conducive to walks at all, and watched a few episodes of Big Bang Theory (the new one and the football one) and House Hunters International (Simon and Fiona, plus Kasper).


13 January 2012

Fulfilled a childhood dream

0659- on the road to the CDC, a place I've dreamed of going since I was a kid
1041- Meeting with Andres to discuss a rabies phylogeography project
1947- back in Alabama eating tacos (it's snowing here...)
2020- watching TV and eating a banana split

Random fact- Ondine's Curse is a syndrome that causes respiratory arrests during sleep.  While usually identified shortly after birth (and fatal if untreated) it can be caused by traumatic brain or spinal injuries.  It got it's name from a myth in which one character is cursed (if you fall asleep you forget to breath) by the other.

Lunch- crunchy tacos at Chiplote
Dinner- tacos my madre made

Back when I was in middle school I got a book called Mad Dogs at Half Price Books starting a fascination with rabies (and other infectious diseases).  A couple years ago I took a spatial epidemiology class which required a class project for which I got some Texas fox rabies sequence data, do a BEAST analysis, then map the results.  In the process I made contact with a rabies researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and after exchanging e-mails and phone calls for the last couple of years we arranged to meet today and discuss a project we could collaborate on.  I won't go into details yet but its a really neat phylogeographic study that will require knowledge of wildlife ecology the findings of which will have management implications. I can't wait to get my paperwork processed and get moving on it.  

12 January 2012

Lazy day

0250- getitng files ready for BEAST
0944- sleep
1759- running errands in Decatur
2016- playing with the dogs

Random fact- The tanker heading to Nome to deliver fuel (the first winter fuel deliver to western Alaska) is loaded with 1 million gallons of diesel and 300,000 gallons of unleaded gas.

Dinner- friend catfish, potato salad, pickles, tomato, and sweet tea 

Hung around the house most of the day working on my Bayes and BEAST analyses.  We went into town for a little bit to check out the National Championship tshirts (still not many options in medium) and get groceries.  It rained all day so the dogs spent the day inside rotating 2 dogs in the house one dog in the sunroom/bed room.  It was also too wet to do anything outside with the falcons so I just called them to the lure in the garage.  Both had instant responses with easy trade offs, not bad for being on the block for a month...

11 January 2012

The falcons return

0300- sleeping
0647- sleeping
1447- at Bobs picking up the falcons
1852- driving back from getting the falcons

Random Fact- Today in 1901 the first Spindletop (the first big gusher in Texas) was discovered near Beaumont.

Lunch- McDonald's 10 piece chicken nugget
Dinner- grilled cheese sandwich, potato salad, and grapefruit

Today I finally got my falcons back [HRE].  What was suppose to be a quick two week separation while I was in New Zealand became a month long due to my truck issues.  Luckily Bob brought them down to weight for me over the last few days so I'm pretty much ready to get going again.  Since my mom came with me and drove there and back I was able to work for most of the way on my analyses.  I tried all kinds of variations in gene combinations and taxon sampling, but I'm still coming up with 4 clades (PARA, DELT, HEC, and  small clade including 2 each of PARA and DELT), need to look at the raw sequence data again...

10 January 2012

Lots of days

5 i 2012
0526 sleeping
0732 sleeping
1814 on the way back to College Station from Sawdust Ranch
2208 drinking on northgate
Random fact- 40% of all lab acquired infections are bacteria caused.
Lunch- lamb kebabs 
Dinner- Freddy burger at the Chicken 

Met up with Shawn and we went out to his father-in-laws ranch near Carlos.  First I resighted in my rifle, (shooting off sticks is harder then the truck), and then headed to the blind.  Saw one doe for a few seconds (but no way to get a shot off), and had a really good view of a young buck, but its an antlerless permit so no go.  Seeing that buck though really helped my confidence level because that was defiantly a shot I could have made.  Met up with Maria and Courtney at Northgate, and found out Courtney's been getting emails for a friend of mine who has an almost identical e-mail address it's a small world. 

6 i 2012
0130 building my lego house
0814 sleeping
1937 eating dinner with Maria
2150 getting internet at Nagle
 
Random Fact- Hendra virus is transmitted by flying fox that is currently circulating in Australia.  It's killed about 20 horses this past year.


Lunch- leftover Hakiu
Dinner- sweet and sour shrimp 


Poor Maria was sick today, so we ended up not heading to Alabama so instead I went into Nagle and told Jim Cathey about the email confusion with Courtney.  Then I went and sat on the steps of Nagle to eat my lunch.  Talked to a bunch of physical plant guys as they walked by (offered them some California rolls when they asked if I had enough for them, they declined).  Its one of the big differences I notice between A&M and UIUC- there isn't nearly the "class" divide here at A&M between staff and students.  Overall it was a perfect day in Aggieland, with great weather and I even got some work done...

7 i 2012
1005- trying to get the energy to get out of bed
1148- at Target
1721- driving
1959- still driving


Random fact- There are 8 extant species of pangolin

Lunch- leftover sweet and sour shrimp

Spent the day driving from College Station to my parents place in Trinity, AL.  We also picked up my truck in Demopolis, AL which is truly a classy town.  While sitting at the gas station a woman flipped out screaming her boyfriend was going to kill her over the mess her dog made in his car while she was inside buying a coke.  What was the mess you may ask? A sudden litter of puppies...  Looks like I bought some bad diesel as there was a ton of water in my tanks, now that that's been filtered and the injectors cleaned Betsy runs better than ever.

8 i 2012
1208- eating breakfast
1421- at Costco
2005- waiting for my little brother to appear while finishing up dinner
2339- watching TV


Random fact- Piperton, TN is a huge speed trap, ask my poor brother...

Dinner- burgers

My sister and I arrived around 0300 and after getting the dogs settled in and a quick snack we went to bed.  The last 100 miles were really foggy and while there wasn't much traffic there was a bus on the road which was driving pretty erratically.  We spent the day mostly lounging around, although we did go to Costco and Mass in the afternoon.  Dumas and Schubert get along great, as do Dumas and Daphers, but Daphers and Schubert aren't exactly buddies, it made TV watching a bit of a challenge this evening, but it worked out.  Its always nice having all of us back together [HRE]

9 i 2012
0926- sleeping
1126- eating breakfast- apple crepes
1725- watching TV and waiting for my dad to get home
2206- watching the national championship game (Roll Tide)


Random fact- The game today was the first shut out in a BCS national championship game. The Alabama coach, Nick Saban, was also the first coach to win the BCS championship 3 times (2x with Bama and once with LSU).

Dinner- Steak and potato salad with a Shiner

Spent the day tweaking various analyses- my Deltocephalini clade isn't coming out monophyletic.  We also let the dogs run around most of the day, which mostly consisted of Daphers barking constantly, Shubert hiding on the couch, and Dumas running around the house.  The highlight of the day though was watching bama win the national championship over LSU.  We decided to recreate steak sales- my dad and brother (being both Knights, by brother even wearing his steak sale shirt) cooked up the steaks, which we finished eating just as the game started.  To celebrate the victory my sister and I went into Decatur to buy t-shirts at Martins (which seemed to be where half the town was), but they were already sold out of mediums. 

04 January 2012

On the road again

3 i 2012

0130- talking on skype
0324- sleeping
1539- driving from Santa Fe to Amarillo
1726- Driving from Amarillo to Allen

Lunch/dinner- sonic burger with tomatos, pickles, and mustard on toast

Random fact- In 1981 there were 731 robbereies in Central Park, in 2011 only 17.

Drove from Santa Fe to College Station today with a detour through Allen to drop off Eddie at Zach's house.  We listened to podcasts most of the way including some interesting ones on sanitation, diseases, facebook privacy, and aquaculture.  Apparenlty the winners of some MIT business award this past year was to build pay toilets in Kenya.  I disagreed with the aquaculture one- they talked about issues caused by farmraised fish on wild stocks, but I think they could have done a much better job talking about these effects along with pointing out that well managed fisheries are possible (such as various Alaskan fisheries).  Along the way, we also discussed environmental policy and came to the conclusion my brother is purely a theordical person with no understanding of reality. 

4 i 2012

0018- driving from Allen to College Station
0355- sleeping, after finally getting the animals settled in
1138- feeding the horses
1414- talking to Jim Cathey

Lunch- Lanes chicken plate
Dinner- Haiku bento box (beef), all california rolls

Random fact- Rinderpest has become the second disease in history to be erradicated (the first being small pox)

This morning we got the dog, cat, and Silvy's horses/donkey situated then went into work.  First I went and talked to Jim Cathey about hunting, trucks, and falconry.  Then I talked to Ms. Shirely and Shawn before heading over to Heep for more databasing fun.  Finished off the social visits of the day by going to Brad and Kira's (and Simon's) and drinking rye whiskey.  Then it was dinner and back to the lab for more work while my sister applied for a job with Homeland Security (scary thought).

03 January 2012

New dog [HRE]

0420- sleeping
1913- driving from Kingman to Santa Fe
2035- eating pizza
2104- driving from Kingman to Santa Fe

Lunch- pork and potatoes
Dinner- sausage and peperoni pizza

Random fact- Airplanes dim the lights during take off and landing so your eyes are adjusted in case of emergency.  They also have you turn off all electronics so there are fewer distractions.

The morning was spent getting a new rim for the trailer and having the old tire patched- seeing the guys work on the tires reminded me of the summer of 2006 when practically every afternoon was spent having a tire repaired.  The exciting news is I am taking Schubert, Harry's treeing fiest he uses to flush and re find quail) home with me, I'm really excited since I've wanted to steal her since she was a puppy.  Since Harry and Jamaica were going hawking at the same time Maria and Eddie were arriving in Kingman, Beth took me down to town to meet them.  It's always sad leaving Harry and Beth's, they are truly fun to spend time with, between the hawking, stories, and food I always look forward to my visits.   Uneventful drive to Santa Fe, the kitten didn't even try and drive this time, and we established lap giraffes, kangaroos, and Komodo dragons would be amazing pets...

02 January 2012

Tire changing (tines two)

0725- sleeping
1551- loading up the horses
1821- on our way home from the field
2201- talking to Harry

Lunch- beef enchilada at a taco place in town
Dinner- spaghetti

Random fact- The collared forest falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus) is a rare vagrant to the lower Rio Grande Valley. Only one record has been accepted by the Texas Rare Birds Committee, in 1994, although others have been reported and not accepted.

Nothing brings in the New Year quite like a flat tire, especially when that flat tire is on a trailer and the spare rubs so it has to be replaced (and the tire re changed).  Luckily the weather was pleasant and we got it done just in time to load the birds up.  No Jamaica today, so we just had Harry's gos and HH, both of which took quail in nice flights.  We had a close call with a RT that came in on the gos while we were trying to locate him on a kill, but between the dogs and my more or less failed attempts to make Dancer run the RT decided not to mess with the gos.  It was a bit cooler today and you could really see a difference in the gos's flight style, he was really turning on the heat and chased the quail with gusto before nailing it.

01 January 2012

Happy New Year [HRE]

0855- eating breakfast- bacon and hard boiled eggs
1342- watching the A&M game
1448- loading up the horses
2041- Talking falconry with Harry

Lunch- turkey pot pie
Dinner- casserole, tamales, single malt, and wine

Random fact-Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy, first detected in 1994 (in bald eagles), is diagnosed by microscopic examination of very fresh brain  tissue and is caused by exotic hydrilla and associated epiphytic cyanobacteria.

My rifle is now sighted in, almost by accident.  I thought I was adjusting the elevation when I was actually adjusting the left/right- figured it out when the left/right went from dead on to off target without any move in elevation.  Had another successful hawking trip- both the aplo and the gos caught quail, but due to some telemetry fun the Harris Hawks didn't get flown.  The other exciting news for the day was A&M's victory over Northwestern- no matter how hard A&M tried to loose it Northwestern tried harder.  Brought in the New Year with some single malt scotch and a bowl of ice cream, this past year was amazing, here's to hoping 2012 is just as great.