One Year Later

I am remarkably good at neglecting this website, but I think I’m going to start updating it again. I’m going to start with a recap/autobio, since it’s been a year.

I’m living in the suburbs in northern Virginia, on the very outskirts of what you might call the metro region. I’m living with my girlfriend Amy and our dog Sebastian (who you may remember), among others. I’m a dog babysitter during the day, and an international man of mystery at night. There is little reason to complain or celebrate. By and large I am content.

I contribute trivially and irregularly to clusterflock, so if you want to read things that’ve been on my mind for the past year you might check there. I’m also on twitter, I’ll put that on here somewhere eventually.

SPF: A Favorite

It’s been quite a while since I posted. Papers will do that to you. Kristine has started doing Stuff Portrait Friday again, which is pretty exciting. I’m late, as usual, but I can’t let that stop me from participating in the first SPF of the new season, so to speak.

This week’s assignment is “Your Favorite Picture.” Unfortunately, I’ve already used my favorite photo for at least one other SPF. I was sorting through my photos today, though, so I found one I really liked from my trip to the Dominican Republic in the winter of 2006. This dog seemed pretty much domesticated, and as near as we could tell he was just playing in the waves. Maybe he was honestly surprised by the water, but he seemed too comfortable with the beach for that to be true.

Cows.

Today I had my hand, halfway up the forearm, in the back end of a heifer. No pictures, unfortunately. I also helped to bottle feed a Charolais calf, with pictures to follow as soon as they get sent to me.

See, the cool thing about being in Animal and Poultry Sciences is that you actually do stuff in classes. Microbiology lab is like “Here, do a stain on this bacteria we’ve cultured here for literally millions of generations and we already know exactly what’s going to happen if you do it right.” Beef Production lab is “This heifer needs a magnet, pelvic diameter checked, and to be deloused so that she can be sold or become a producing cow next year. Watch me. You do the next one.”

How I feel

Do you ever feel like this?

I won’t be entering vet school in the fall of 2008. I haven’t decided what I will be doing yet. I feel burnt out. I’m not sure what I need to do next, but I know that vet school would be a waste of time and money right now. I feel like a year of doing something different would refresh me, and I could use it to strengthen my application.

I also feel kind of lost and hopeless. How the hell did I end up where I am in life? Why? I remember thinking when I was in high school, “If I can just make it to Virginia Tech, I’ll study hard, go to vet school, everything will be awesome.” Where the hell did I get that idea? Virginia Tech? Don’t get me wrong, it is pretty amazing here, but where did it come from? Why vet school? I could’ve gone for computer science and had a useful degree in four years. What do you even do with an animal science degree? Plenty of things, I’m sure. I’ll be looking for animal lab or management jobs. Maybe I’ll do something with breeding. I could get along with a little field experience. Hell, I could just live in Blacksburg for a year or two. Even if my only animal work was volunteer, it doesn’t take much to live comfortably in Blacksburg.

My other major plan, if not vet school, was grad school. It’s different from what I’m doing, but probably not different enough. For now, I’m preparing for but not anticipating going that route. Time will tell.

Weekend News Recap

I’m too lazy to write an actual post, but there are a couple of news items I’d like to point out.

Grape Juice is Great Juice – I’ve been saying this all along! Grape juice is the best juice in the world, but cranberry is a close second. Apple juice is just gross, but cider is good. The article is actually about antioxidants, though. Quoth British researcher Alan Crozier, “Purple grape juice made with Concord grapes contains the highest and broadest range of ployphenols as well as having the highest antioxidant capacity. Other high-ranking produces include cloudy apple juice and cranberry juice drink.”

Ballmer says Google is insane – So is that what he calls his reflection? I’ve always just addressed myself as “self.” I’d say something like “It’ll be smooth sailing from here, Self.” Ballmer, scary-looking CEO of Microsoft and really crazy dude, is all up in arms over Google (again) over their development plans for the new Docs & Spreadsheets product, among other things. That man is going to have a heart attack, mark my words.

The Problem, in A Fundamental Nutshell: ‘Is Your Baby Gay?’ – I tried to think of something for this one, but Southern Baptists just aren’t funny. Mohler, “one of the leading voices of the… Southern Baptist Convention,” asked on his blog what Christians would do if there was testing available to detect imminent homosexuality in fetuses and a hormone patch that could prevent it. It’s sort of an interesting question, after you get past the disgusting bigotry of the way it’s asked.

By the by, the new dog is named Abigail, and she was spayed on Friday. I haven’t gotten any pictures because the light has sucked for the past couple of days.

SPF: Muses

As another week draws to a close, I turn once again to Kristine for interesting ideas for things to photograph. This week’s Stuff Portrait Friday is about muses.

Something that that inspires you to do what you do

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I dunno if it’s cheating that I took this picture in 2005, but is honestly one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken, and it really gets to the heart of the matter. I am a college student at Virginia Tech. While this is a fantastic experience all by itself, there are days that I question why I’m here. I could be working less and for the same grades in another degree, or at another school. The thing is, I love animals. I want them to be happy. I may not think highly of every individual at every moment, but in general I want to improve their situation.

Something you don’t like to read about in blogs

I’ll get it up here eventually.

I hate reading politics in blogs. This doesn’t just mean governmental politics. I don’t like reading about company or institutional politics, and I certainly don’t like interpersonal politics. Eric Meyer recently wrote a very well thought out and articulated series on reforms he would like to see in the W3C. I think his discussion was very reasonable, and to my (admittedly limited) understanding the ideas he suggests would be helpful. Still, it’s not the type of thing I choose to read most of the time.

Something that inspires you to write on your blog

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I like to blog about everyday things that I find amusing. This blog is about my everyday life. I am pretty easily amused (I mean, come on, I blogged about my iron) so almost anything is fair game. This picture is a mailbox I saw in Brooklyn. I try to keep my camera on me and take photos so I can remember amusing things to blog. I saw a girl eating corn-on-the-cob on the bus yesterday, but I completely forgot to mention it because it would’ve been rude to take a picture of her. Yeah, pretty strange, but I was amused.

Did you play? I try to comment back within a day.

The Summer in a Nutshell

I think the summer is really really bad for blogging. I got barely any of it done, and I noticed a number of other blogs were pretty slow too. I just don’t have the organization or the motivation to do anything regularly when I’m not in school.

I spent the summer with Steve in Bloomington. On Monday he’ll take his first class towards a PhD in folklore at Indiana University. While I was there, I interned with a vet clinic in a neighboring town, and at a wildlife rehabilitation clinic called WildCare Inc. Steve meanwhile worked with wonderful people doing the terrible job of telemarketing. Please remember that if a telemarketer calls you on behalf of a large company, you consented to being called and gave them the appropriate information to do so. You may not remember it, but it’s illegal for them to call you if you didn’t agree, and they probably have the documentation. File suit if you like, but don’t kill the messenger.

I worked four days a week at the vet clinic, doing just about anything they’d let me. I did a lot of drawing up vaccines and holding animals for blood draws. I picked up a lot of poop. It was really a great experience. I loved the staff, and I learned so much. Anyone who is considering vet school should do at least a little bit of work in a clinic. It doesn’t make any sense not to!

WildCare was an adventure. Almost every day when I left I was exhausted. I worked with a wide variety of naitive Indiana wildlife, including raccoons, oppossums, rabbits, squirrels, deer, and a variety of birds. I was even bitten by a racoon! Luckily it wasn’t rabid. The experience didn’t inspire me to go into wildlife medicine, but it didn’t scare me away either. I think it’s a great organization and I’ll help out again if I have a chance.

Other than working, Steve and i played a lot of Guild Wars. We like it because you don’t have to pay a subscription fee. We also watched Charmed and Naruto in unhealthy quantities (which raises the question of whether there is a healthy quantity of Charmed.) Now that I’m back to school I’ll hopefully be more regular in my updates. No promises though.