Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Living simple

My goal for the next two months is to live as simple as I can and save up for the exciting May 1st move in day. I broke down and gave them another call and they said to expect a call "very soon" on signing papers and what not. The folks in "B" building who are moving in May 1 are starting to sign now, but I think that is because that building is open for renting now while Megan andI's is not. It has become my big goal now. Moving in wraps up my time here in Northfield, means the end to Megan and I's separation, and I hope a nifty job some place. I like Northfield a lot, but I have learned that where you are is really where your people are and right now for the most part, my people are all far away from me.

My job in the cafeteria has provided me with extra cash and lots of free food. I get three free breakfasts and three free lunches every week, and I try and make them as huge and as diverse as I can. Also I get my church dinner that provides us with massive amounts of left overs. Tonight I am even getting paid to dry dishes! For those who know my job preferences this must sound hilarious and don't worry, I am laughing along with you. Getting paid to work in the caf AND do dishes?! I am enjoying it though.

So, look for simple pleasures and good projects. Life is coming up fast, I am trying to use these next few months to set my self up right.

Google Maps

Google maps has just added a new feature that allows you to see live traffic data overlaid onto your maps. Here is Minneapolis and here is LA. I thank our Google overlords.

It is a little clunky still (I guess it is day 1) because you have to turn traffic off in order to see the road names. Hopefully they will fix this.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Is it spring break yet?

We are still two weeks away from Spring Break, and the first-years are getting noticeably bi-polar as we approach next week (or, as we fondly refer to it, Hell Week). It's our first experience with four exams in one week- Monday Immunology, Tuesday Organology, Friday Physiology AND Pharmacology. Plus we have an Immunology quiz due the same day as the test, and a paper due on Sunday the 11th (but who wants to turn in homework after break has already started?). Not to mention that our glorious 9 AM start time is being pushed back to 8 AM to allow us to shove Virology into the mix.

So my classmates and I are either giddy and making dumb lab jokes like "I'll show you my cilia if you'll show me your ascinus," or we're snarking at each other for stealing chairs or cutting in line for lunch. I suddenly understand why the second years are so perpetually grumpy (no offense second years!), considering their test schedule is like this fairly regularly.

We are still getting reminders to balance our lives, find time for physical activity, don't forget family and friends, do yoga, don't be a workaholic... But if we aren't workaholics, we won't pass our classes, and where will that leave us? Well-balanced and kicked out of school. :-/

Okay, okay, vent over. In happier news, the Holistic Club is really getting off the ground! Wahoo. Lots of good interest, and our first speaker will soon be scheduled. I have gotten a few snarky comments ("Well, I want to go into large animal medicine, and Chinese stuff won't get me far in THAT world."), but almost everyone has been really positive. We'll see where we go. Next step is to get our acupuncture wetlab scheduled...

Winnie is being a doll, and she loves this deep snow. We'll be talking to her vet about weaning her off her anxiety medication, since she seems to have "plugged back in". I think her vet may suggest waiting until after the move, since moving is one of the major triggers of anxiety, but we'll see what he says.

Win is losing her winter fur, and there is a cardinal in front of school every morning singing "pretty pretty pretty pretty". The critters think spring is coming- that means it must be close, right? East Bearskin feels impossibly far away.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I *heart* my teachers. Mrs. Colbert (who tells me I should call her Gail since I'm not a student anymore, but you know how that goes), my high school American history/economics teacher, showed up in a dream the other day, and she hugged me and cried like she always does when she sees me now. I should go visit.

Snow Pooh

I'm back from dogsitting, and I managed to blast through their unplowed road without getting stuck. Go Saturn! I hadn't seen Winnie since Tuesday, so she and I had some quality romping time outside. She loves deep snow! Ansel was fun to play with, but Winnie is, frankly, the most adorable dog ever, and she's fun to play with!

Since I knew I'd be snowed in this weekend, I rented two movies- Monsoon Wedding and Jesus Camp. Monsoon Wedding was excellent, although I don't recommend watching it alone! It's a snuggling sort of movie. Chris and I started it together on Friday night, but I fell asleep (as usual), so I finished it yesterday while he was in Minneapolis. Jesus Camp was interesting- I knew it had gotten good reviews, but I still assumed it would be a "look at how crazy right-wing evangelicals can be!!" sort of movie. I ended up feeling sort of conflicted. I don't agree with teaching kids to pray for righteous judges or to pray for George W. when "he" (er, a cardboard cutout version) came to visit them. But to see parents so devoted to their kids is impressive. What and how they are teaching (indoctrinating) them is wrong, but powerful. I find it strange that the minister kept comparing her work to the work of people in Islamic countries who start training 5-year-olds how to shoot weapons and die for their beliefs. She said that we need kids who are willing to die for the Christian God, because after all, that is the right God. Hrm. Who knows. There is some lesson in it, but I don't know what yet. The best parts were:
-a girl talks about how some churches are "dead" churches, where people come in, say "we worship You" in a monotone voice, sing a few hymns, listen to a sermon, and leave. God wants people to jump around and scream and cry and not stand there and be quiet and respectful. Haha, those aren't dead churches, they are just Lutheran! And frankly, I think churches are far more dead when they refuse to have discussions about how the Bible applies to today's issues, instead of copping out and saying that what was written was God's word and that's that (er, God spoke English?).

-the same girl walks up to a group of black men sitting in lawn chairs on the side of the road. She asks one, "If you died today, where would you go?" He replies, "Heaven." She asks, "Are you sure?" He says, "Yeah." She leaves, and whispers to her friend, "I think he was Muslim."

Anyway. Back to stoodying. Tomorrow, the Holistic Club is participating in the CVM's exhibitor fair, so hopefully we'll get word out that we exist and are active again! Plans for an acupuncture wetlab are in the works, and and equine acupuncturist should hopefully be coming in to give a talk soon. Yay!


Snow day! I am up in Minneapolis at my parents house visiting. Cletus is here from LA for the weekend, and Aria is getting bigger every day. I got to hang out with her and hold her for a while yesterday and got some big smiles, it was fun. Megan brought over some new warm baby clothes for Aria that are still too big for her but that wont last long! I like one in particular that is shaped like a bear. Megan had to go study too soon, school is always asking for more this semester. I got to hang out with every one in Natasha and Ladric's Kitchen (thanks for the snacks!) until Clet and I skittered back to Washburn in the Volvo for dinner.

Now the volvo is covered in lots of snow and more aerodynamic than it has ever been before. I hope I can get back to northfield, or out of this street for that matter. Megan is stuck at her house sitting place. There is about a foot of snow on the little road leading out of the place, enough to beach the saturn easily. It is a little sub-saburban road, so who knows when they are going to go retrieve her. The place she is staying only had dial up too, and she doesn't have the password for it, so she is cut off in more ways than one!

Here is one more photo I shot of someone getting stuck as they turned off Xerxes but could not make it over the pile the plow had made. There were already a swarm of neighbors with proper clothing on digging her though. I also found that if you google snow emergency you get the city of Minneapolis web page!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Air Car

How cool is this? It is a prototype car whos idea is similar to the Chevy Volt or the similar Volvo consept where you use a moter running at a consistant rate to keep a battery charged. But, those cars rely on Lithium Ion batteries to hold electrisity that in turn runs an electric motor. Those batteries are expensive and toxic to make, wear out, and are hard to get rid of.

This idea changes things up by useing compressed air instead of electrisity and carbon-fiber storage tanks instead of batteries. The prototype is just the tanks, but in this video they talk about adding an engine air compresser (how about a bio-desel) to keep the tanks topped off. Or, plug it in at night to run an onboard air compresser that takes 3 hours and $2 in electrisity to run. Or re-fill it at a station in three minutes.

This seems at least like a hidrogen killer to me. Hydrogen is the most worthless of any of the alt fules out there. Its a made up idea that sounds good, but will always be 50 years away, while we are buying gas the whole time. There is zero infrasture for it and bulding one would cost billions. It is also low energy yeald and now one car costs one million to produce. But compressed air? Thats easy.

So check out the video and thanks as usual to AutoBlogGreen

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday sista! In blogger celebration I found this photo taken 108 years ago today! February 22, 1899.

Happy birthday!!

Good dog

I want to mention that Winnie is being an absolutely wonderfully good dog this week. Her high strung anxiety-all-the-time mood is just not here at all. No freaking out when ever she hears any little sound (and worse when the DOOR opened) and she has been nice to strangers. She has been good at keeping her self occupied while I am boring and on the computer. If I had a clever camera built into my laptop, or charged batteries in my camera, I could show you a picture of her ripping up a stick on my floor. But you will just have to take my word on it!

Winnie trade-in

I decided to trade Winnie in for a bigger, sportier model................

This is Ansel, my dogsitting friend. He's a little shy, but uber athletic, and will do anything if you'll just THROWTHEFRISBEETHROWTHEFRISBEEPLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!

He likes to sleep not only on the bed, but under the covers. Sweet, but kind of annoying cause he steals the blankets.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Post

This is a semi random post, so I hope you can follow!

Winnie is spending the rest of the week with me! Megan and I met up at the Lakevile Caribou Coffee that is almost exactly mid way between us. They have free wireless there if you buy some coffee and it is nice for a strip mall. Winnie waited in the car while we drank coffee and worked for an hour. It was really nice to get together like that. This entire year has been about planning visits and just meeting for an hour felt easy for once! Can I just say I am about dying to move into the lofts? Ug. less than 70 days now..

Anyway, winnie is zonked out next to me. We went out to the natural lands this afternoon and she got dirty and wet and REALLY smelly. When she was off leash she found a dead vole or something, rolled in it, and then when I yelled at her she picked it up (!) and ran away with it. Ewww bad dog. She dropped it eventually but she smelled gross. She got thrown right in the tub for sure!

I have been working on my page like crazy. Its slow going but I think I have the structure done, so everything else is just plugging in images.

Ok, now cars. I was walking winnie to the natural lands and I saw this car and loved it! It is a 2004 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS, basically a WRX with out the turbocharger. See I think theSubaru WRX sti is one of the coolest cars out there. It is a street legal rally car that can do 0-60 in 5 seconds and more importantly go around a 90˚ dirt road corner at 60 mph too! But its expensive to buy, expensive to run, and very expensive to insure! (people who buy them tend to try out the whole dirt road corner thing...) So the WRX is for out-of-the-box racing, but impractical. The RS is a step below so is a good balance of insane and practical. There is also the "Legacy" that is a larger car but not quite as cool. All of this is just fan boy gawking anyway, I am not buying a new car until I A: have money and B: the volvo dies.

Since the saturn is running well now, I think it would be great to sell it if Megan could get any money out of it, and was looking at a VW golf for her, but after reading reviews for it I think thats out. Ideally, the new car would be smaller, cheap, safe, reliable, and light on gas. And good looking. Good luck!

This now concludes my most random post ever. I hope you found some of it worth reading!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Speaking of funny YouTube

For some reason, childhood TV has come up a lot in the past few weeks. This is a short cartoon that was used as a filler on Nickelodeon. I remember running into the room whenever I heard the intro music play, and I think Bjorn and I may have even recorded it once. It's still hilarious.

Red neck roller coster

I have not done any funny youtube videos of late, and I mean to fix that! This is a "redneck roller coster" - thats a 91' chevy cavalier modified so the driver is controlling the thing from about 8-10 ft above the front bumper. This is redneck at its most glorious! Ingenious technical skill that is still some how the dumbest thing possible. Enjoy!

This second one has ALL the right elements, a farm, and a barking dog coming dangerously close to being crushed, and beer. Come to think of it, I think beer had a lot to do with this idea...

So this is why it's called the BARF diet

In the dog world, there is a small but vocal group of people who believe that dogs, being descended from wolves, are meant to eat primarily raw meat. These people claim that feeding BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods, or Bones and Raw Foods) is far surperior to feeding a heat-processed, carb-filled kibble diet. Like a good scientist, I decided that before I badmouthed the idea, I should test it out. At the MVMA convention, I got a coupon for a free bag of Nature's Variety premade frozen raw food. Yesterday was Winnie's second day trying it, just one little piece with her regular kibble. At 3:30 in the morning, I woke up to the sound that pet owners recognize immediately- urkurkurkurkurk*bleh*. I turned on my light and discovered that Winnie's GI tract had pretty much turned itself inside out, and she quite literally had it "coming from both ends". We spent about 45 minutes outside (me in my jammies, which I didn't realize until my feet went numb), poor Pooh wandering around the backyard emptying herself. We went back inside and she gave me the most pitiful look- something like "I'm so sorry I messed in my kennel, mom, but can I sit in your lap anyway, cause I don't feel good." So I petted her til she fell asleep around 5 or so. Of course, dogs being dogs, I'm pretty sure she doesn't remember a thing this morning, except that she's hungry for some reason.

Moral of the story? Despite what BARF proponents tell you, dogs have no magic ability to kill the bacteria in raw meat that makes humans sick! We'll be sticking to kibble and COOKED meats from now on.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Pipkin poem

A bunny spurned is a terror to behold. Beware of the night....





Web Page

Much of my time has been going into making my web page. It is slow going but it is getting done piece by piece. I wish I had it done last week! Here is where it was as of last night. Lots more linking to do today, and I have to gather my design portfolio. But, this is my resume and portfolio in one really, if I want to get hired for a job like this it has to be good!

test morning haiku

The cat is stuck in
the laundry room. Meow? Meow? Meow?
Meow? Meow? Meow? Meow? Meow?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Being a girl....

... apparently still means that you earn less than the boys. from "DVM Newsmagazine":

"The mean starting salary in 2006 for men in private practice totaled $56,722 while women went to work for $2,000 less."

"Although the survey reports 28.1% of male graduates receive individual retirement account benefits versus 22.1% of female graduates, women in the study might not have held out for fringe benefits due to flexibility, location, or relationship issues."

"... women reportedly hold more educational loans than their male counterparts in veterinary medicine."

Boo. Of course, if I were in this for the money, I'd just become an M.D. instead- the average starting salary for a general practitioner is $120,00- $150,00 a year. But what fun would that be?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A short guide to vet school

Chris asked me a question yesterday that made me realize that most people don't know what the heck I'm learning about ("So, what *is* physiology?"). So here's a short guide to what my classes are about...........

Physiology: Last semester, anatomy taught us about the architecture of the body- bones, muscles, organs, etc. Physiology teaches us the engineering of the body, how the heart moves blood, how the kidney filters nasties out of blood, etc.

Genetics: Bah. I don't like genetics. Basically, it's how DNA (and problems with DNA) affects animals.

Pharmacology: Drug class. Next year, we'll actually be learning about specific drugs and how they work. This year, we are learning how little pills (and shots and gas) can affect what's happening inside the body. For some reason, I really like this class. I think because it is turning something the seems magic (this pill makes my headache go away) into something that I can understand.

Neurology: *Least* favorite class. This is brain class. We learn about different regions of the brain, the different types of cells, what parts deal with what type of sensory input, etc. We also cover the "special senses" (ears, eyes, nose), and the structure of the organs associated with them. It's okay, but frankly doesn't seem very applicable to vet med. How many veterinary brain surgeons are there? None.

Clinical Skills: The class where they let us play with live animals! This is where we learn about the basic skills, like how to do a surgical scrub, how to insert an IV, how to do a physical exam, and how not to get crushed by cows. Last semester was large animal clinical skills, and this semester is small animal. We get to get experience at a clinic that we'll choose soon. I'm pretty excited to learn something that I can see myself needing to do regularly (sorry, but I don't think I'm gonna be a horse/cow vet).

Professional Skills: Usually a crossword class, although not always. This is where we learn about things like how to get out from under our enormous piles of debt, how to prevent or get help for substance abuse, how to relieve stress, and how to deal with difficult clients. Meh. I know it's important, but generally pretty dry.

Defense Against the Dark Arts: Just seeing if you are paying attention ;-)

Animal Populations: By default, usually has to do with large animals. Basically, it's about how to treat animals as a population rather than individually. Cattle herds, chicken flocks, etc. Again, crossword class. We do get to go on field trips for it though- last semester was a goat dairy, and this semester will be a dog breeding facility and I think a chicken farm. No tests, which is nice.

Immunology (Host Defenses): How the immune system works, and what happens when it goes haywire. Infection, fever, allergies, tumors! Mucous, vomiting, antibodies, histamines! It's fun, but complicated.

Virology: How viruses work and make life a pain for animals. We haven't started it yet- not til March 1st.

Organology: Generally, how the big organs work and what the cells look like normally. We had our first class last week, about the kidney. Still pretty dry, but better than Neuro.

Behavior Core: For one week in May, we get five 8- to-5 days of straight behavior. A second year told me that Winnie, with her housebreaking and anxiety problems, has already taught me most of Behavior Core.

That's it for this semester.... Will post another next semester!

(the puppy in the picture is Mabel, one of Winnie's dog-friends... awwww...)

Friday, February 16, 2007


Long time no blog!

Well my first bit of news besides my amazingly adorable little niece is on friday I got to hang out with my old friend Alex (I mean old, we got back to pre-school days). And just before he left he kind of paused and and asked me to be in his wedding! I am going to be a groomsman. Here is a link to the web page Alex made for the wedding.

He has also hired my sister to take the photos, so I will be in front of the camera for this wedding! The date is June 23d, 2007. I will be there!


I discovered that, by the end of today, I will have spent 29 hours in class this week, and 22 hours sleeping. Pharmacology test went great, though, so I guess it was worth it? This afternoon is Professional Skills (i.e. crossword class) and Zoo Class (my favorite!), then work, then sleep!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Aria Photos

Welcome Aria! She arrived weighing 6 lbs 7 oz and 20'' long at 3:39 PM. She is I think the most fragile little thing I have ever seen in my life. I was brave though and held her, and once she was there she was just as snug as can be. I am happy we share 1/2 birthdays - hers being Aug 14th and mine being today! She will be going home in a few days once Natasha has recovered. Then it is life with little Aria! She makes me realllly want to move back to the city now. A baby just changes everything huh?

Welcome to Aria!

One new little being has changed so much- congratulations new parents, grandparents, and uncles :-)

Welcome to the world, Aria!

Aria is here!

Ladric just called and he reported that Aria is here! 6 lbs something (I forgot) and healthy. Natasha is doing well. Happy brithday! I am going with my parents over to the hospital right now! Pics to come...

Valentines Day

I told Chris I would post something lovey-dovey today, so here it is...

It's more technically lovey-macaw-y, but it comes up when you Google "lovey-dovey", so it's close enough for me. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


This morning Megan's Saturn died at the light turned green while she was on Snelling getting ready to turn onto University. During rush hour. It had been in neutral (that seemed to help) and when she put it in drive, it just turned off. It started again on the second try (hoonk hoooonnkk) but thats still no good! I had put off replacing the EGR because 'things seemed to be working' and it was too cold. Well now it the warmest its going to be for a bit I hear and things were obviously NOT working.

So, Megan drove down, I let the car cool down, removed the old EGR (it looked perfect) and brought it to AutoZone where they replaced it for free (vs $110) and I returned to install the new one. I did it and took the car for a drive and that must have been the issue because every thing feels fine now! I did all the things it used to hate and it obliged nicely. So, hurah! And now the new one is under a 1 year warranty too.

So now the question is, should Megan sell it now and get a new one? Now might be the best condition that the saturn is in... Or it might just keep going and now I do know how to fix a good chunk of it. Hmm..

crossword foreshadowing

So today is the third time I've done the crossword in two weeks, and the third time that "Aria" has been an answer to a clue. Lazy crossword writers, or some sort of cosmic coincidence? Hmm...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Boundary Waters

The Forest of the Future

Ack, this is the second time I've heard that moose and pines may be gone from the Boundary Waters in as few as 50 years... Scary news. I hope we can avoid it. So many people are focused on the effects of climate change in the rainforests, oceans, Arctic.... What about in our backyard?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What weekends are for

This is what weekends are for...

Happy Puppy

Megan, Winnie and I just got back from the park and Winnie had a much much better time than last week. This was her first time back in over a week, as last time she was being very aggressive in a way that was very unlike her and troubling.

But starting this thursday things are rather suddenly back to where they were. This is great news! Now when she gets into semi stressful situations (being left alone, people entering the house, big dog at the park etc) she has been able to turn her nervous self "off" shortly after them like before. Where as recently, she would stay "on" indefinitely. It was as if she was in her own little nervous world, oblivous to anything Megan or I had to say. Something stressful would turn her "on," and that was it. All she wanted was to be close to us, preferably touching.

Her Clomicalm is supposed to start working after 2-4 weeks, and three weeks was last thursday. I don't think its a coincidence that her snap back to normal came so fast. Its kind of like her ears have been unplugged. All the things that used to motivate her are interesting again, and we can use them to try and train her how to react to stress better.

Megan has also worked hard to vary Winnie's schedule even more so she doesn't get bored, as well as some new thinking toys to keep her working. It also helps that her dad's work schedule has shifted towards the evening, so Winnie has been able to stay home a few days a week too. Megan went to a lab on the "Gentle Leader" head halter and now Winnie has one. It has been great for distracting her from situations so she learns not to over react. She starts over reacting, give it a light tug to get her attention, and then reward her for being quiet or whatever. And the treats are back big time! Treats from strangers, treats for being quiet, treats for sitting... Lots of positive reinforcement.

So whatever it is, it seems to be working so far. I am sure there will be good days and bad days. I keep telling my self that It took her eight months to get really house broken. Every time we were sure she was ok, she would relapse and it was back to square one. In the end it became as much about Megan and I learning about Winnie as it was about her learning about "outside." I am sure this is much the same thing.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Yet another..

Capsule Design. More info to come. They are looking for young designers, and I was referred by a friend who works on their marketing side. Possibly part time to start, ramping up as time goes on.

As they say, Developing...

Family planning

The time has come for Chris and I to make some serious decisions about future members of our little family.......................

What kind of fish should we get for our new tank??? I got a 43 gallon tank this summer at Petco for $43 (the kind of deal I just can't pass up). I've never set up this large of a tank, and as anyone who's ever had fish knows, this is about as exciting as fishkeeping gets (except for when your fish have baby fish, perhaps). So the decision of what kinds of fish to put in it can't be made hastily.

Anyway, the first step is to decide what types of fish based on what kind of water they need. The options are:
  • freshwater tropical- pretty much the only kind of fish I've ever had, and the most common fish you see in pet stores. This includes your tetras, platys, angelfish, catfish, rainbowfish, etc. Lots to work with, inexpensive, and easy to find. Also lots of variety to choose from as far as what kind of tank we make it- Amazon River species, Asian blackwater species, cichlids, rainbowfish? River fish, lake fish, shelldwellers, aggressive, community?
  • saltwater tropical- easily the "sexiest" of the home aquaria, and something I've never been brave enough to attempt before. They are incredibly beautiful, delicate, and generally very expensive. They are also fairly needy, and would probably be eating a higher quality of food than Chris and I. They need some extras on the tank that other fish don't need as far as filtration and lighting. This includes clownfish, saltwater angels, blennies, wrasses, plus all those fun invertebrates like anemones, urchins, shrimp, crabs, and starfish.
  • coldwater- these are generally the "easy keepers"- goldfish are the most common coldwater fish. There are some very nice varieties of goldfish, but frankly I prefer to see them in an outdoor pond than in a tank. 43 gallons is also fairly small for goldfish, since they can get very large and tend to be very messy. The other type of coldwaters that I could try are native species (sunfish, darters, minnows, etc). I have always wanted to keep some natives, but was hindered by the illegality of it (for some reason you can take fish out of lakes to eat, but you can't legally take fish out of lakes to keep them as pets). However, there are at least a handful of petstores that sell captive-bred natives. Sunnies in particular make pretty little tank fish.
If anyone has any opinions, please comment!

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Woo hoo! A mere two days after ordering it, my new black Macbook has arrived. It is a beautiful thing. No sticky keys from that unfortunate Coke-spillage incident, and no bruised screen from trying to rub off a smudge a little too hard. I will take a picture of it as soon as I can, but for now, enjoy the first pictures it has taken of us :)

On an unrelated note, Winnie Bear had her first really good day in about 2 1/2 weeks (since I first posted about starting her on anxiety meds). It's like suddenly, whoever flipped that anxiety switch on decided to flip it off today. I got home from school this afternoon and she was excited to see me, but not panicky-excited like she has been. She asked nicely to play, she was hyper-crazy outside like usual, and climbed up in my bed for a nap instead of slinking away to her crate to sleep alone. We did bring her to the vet to have some bloodwork done, just in case. She's not showing symptoms of anything else, but since anxiety can be medically related (especially to thyroid problems), I wanted to be on the safe side. This good day may be isolated, or it may be the start of an upswing for her, but either way I am so happy to see the corgi girl I know, finally free of whatever dark cloud has been over her for the past couple of weeks.

popping in

I'm still alive! Just computer-less and swamped by school. Lousy timing that my new laptop is arriving the day before a test... I can't even play with it! To be on the safe side, I am having Chris keep it until Friday so that I'm not tempted.

Not much to say, except that I drove up from Northfield on the morning that that 42-car pileup occurred on 35. Thankfully I was well past there by the time that happened, but it still took a full 3 hours to get to St. Paul. I also had a little spin-out myself and bumped into the median on 494, but thankfully I was going slow to begin with, and the 4 inches of snow on the shoulder slowed me down even more. My car shows no signs of damage.

The Large Animal Hospital has a camel. She's really really cool, but also really grumpy. I'd be grumpy too if I were a camel in this sort of weather, and if I had to bunk with a bunch of cows and horses.

Off to school!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Apple is fast

Megan purchased her new computer yesterday morning at around 8:00 AM, that is 6:00 AM California (Apple) time. According to the FedEx Tracking Page it was picked up 20 minutes later, and the "package data" (I assume address) was not even put on it until 11:11!

So did Apple ship this before they got the order? Or was it just good timing? Either way, that brings down the "will ship date" from the advertised "3-5 business days" to "after breakfast."

It is slated to arrive tomorrow. Megan shipped it to Olaf because they will have some one to sign for it for sure. Last time she sent it to her house and could not get it for 3 days because no one was home to sign for it and it turned into a huge pain. Hopefully this will be easier.

Then Megan can get back to regular blogging!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

And another

I just got an email from an Olaf friend who is working for Larsen design encouraging me to apply there for their interactive design team. What is going on today? Future plans all spreading out before me...


Ooooh boy. So now that 1mile is starting up and I have my jobs at the caf and ArtOrg going I get a call saying that my friend Pete is leaving his design job in Northfield that I have been eyeing for quite some time now and that his job is going to be open to applicants. Here is their web page.

I talked to one of the owners, and it is a full time position, but they are willing to split it into two half time or something like that. It would start in two weeks. I am going to get an email describing more about the job, but I know that it pays well (especially compared to the caf) and the work environment would be good.

But there are of course problems.

#1 I work 10 hours a week at the VRC and have a contract that runs until August 31st. Plus I like the job.

#2 I am moving to St. Paul May 1st, and that is 2 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days away. This job is in Northfield. This is the reason Pete quit (after 2 years commuting). It effectively adds 10 hours a week to the job, all of it on the road. Plus gas.

#3 I am working on starting my own business, and this would put a huge damper on things.

But, It would be steady work with a good paycheck that I knew was coming in a field I enjoy. Portfolio/resume builder for sure.

So what do I do? In an ideal world, I would work for them half time until May while they conducted a larger job search and then move up to St. Paul where I start my successful company and work from the comfort of the lofts with zero commute. Perhaps I can simply ask for that, give or take a month or a few hours per week, and see what they say. It seems insane to pass on such a great opportunity though. Ak, what do I do?!


Ok, after my last snafu I have been authorized to post this computer update and I think this should be the end if it. After doing the math, it really makes more sense to buy an apple refurbished computer of the exact same make and model that was stolen. There was none available last night, but this morning there was so Megan bought it and it will ship in 3-5 days with 2 day shipping. This brings the total net losses from this entire ordeal down to just under $300 to replace the window, the computer, and the books.

Now can I say things are getting back to normal?

Code 32

Remember this photo from this summer? I post it again because megan came down last night for some post test relaxation (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and on the way down here check engine light came on again but this time we were able to take it to the auto parts store and have it read! Yay! It was code number 32 that means the EGR valve is not working. This is a little frustrating because I replaced the same valve this summer at a cost of over $100. Good news again is that it has a 1 year warranty so they will give me a new one.

The EGR valve's job is to help reduce NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions - a prime cause of smog. At high operating temperature (warm engine, lots of RMS) NOx will be formed. To prevent this, the engine sucks in some exhaust to act as an inert gas and prevent the formation of NOx. What it happening here is the valve is sticking open, so at low operating temperatures it is still sucking in inert gas and that is starving the engine for air and causing it to hick-up.

This has been your car 101 for the day.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Macbook update

UPDATE: Oops this is a case of don't blog before the fat lady sings or something. There is STILL an argument between the insurance agent and the insurance company (?) over what to pay for, the replacement cost of the similar computer, or the value of the computer. The difference is about $100 but its a stick in things anyway. Stay tuned...

Since Megan is not here, I will give a little update on the computer situation. Where is she? Well she is out buying her brand new Macbook! Yup no refurbished or used or anything, her insurance agent said they would pay for the comparable model today! (that is option number 1 below)

That means an upgrade from her old one. Whats new?

• Intel core 2 duo 2.0 ghz - same clock rate but up to 64 bits from 32 and effectively 10-15% faster.
• 1 gig of ram up from 512 mb.
• 120 gig hard drive up from 80 gigs.
• no more sticky keys from spilt beverage.

Things are returning to normal.

"Every morning I seize the day, but by noon it has escaped..."

Well, test is over. I think this one may be this semester's "sacrificial test"- one grade sacrificed for the sake of going to the MVMA convention. It was worth it (I hope).

With that out of the way, I can start thinking seriously about getting a new laptop. Here are the potential scenarios:

1) The insurance company decides to pay me the amount I paid for my first laptop ($1300), making it possible for me to buy the newer model of my Macbook.

2) The insurance company decides to pay me the amount my laptop was worth, since it was 6 months old and there's now a new model out. This means I should try to get an exact replacement of my Macbook (~$1000 when they appear on the Apple refurb page).

3) The insurance company for whatever reason decides that my laptop wasn't covered, leaving me totally screwed financially.

So... since I don't know what the insurance company is up to, I feel like I can't make a decision either way. I'm in limbo. I can afford to buy a new one right now, but how do I decide when I don't know how big the insurance check will be? Do I buy a new Macbook? Do I replace my old one? Do I go as cheap as possible, even though I loved loved loved my Blackbook?

Any opinions are welcome............

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I got to spend almost three days at the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association convention at the Minneapolis Hilton! It was a lot of fun. On Thursday, I wasn't planning to go at all, but one of my friends convinced me that whatever I'd learn there would be more interesting than what we were going to learn in Neurology (not a hard case to make). So, I went and learned about avian radiology and the avian gastrointestinal tract. Very very cool. I love the way they alter cat/dog medicine to make it work for exotics. For cats and dogs, you have two traditional x-ray views- either the animal is on its back or tummy, or it's on one of its sides. But for birds there's a third view called "bird in a box". You literally put the bird in a box, just small enough that it can't turn around, and take the x-ray horizontally, so you get a nice image of a perching bird and you don't have to anaesthatize the birdy.

Friday, I had to work the coat check for SCAVMA in the morning, but I did get to go to a really good talk about separation anxiety in dogs. Winnie exhibits almost all of the common signs of separation anxiety (pacing, panting, excessive vocalization, yawning, drooling). The only symptoms she's missing is the one that's worst for humans (destruction of property) and the one that's worst for dogs (self-mutilation). The speaker described how to teach a dog with separation anxiety how to be alone, so I've already started working on it with her. Winnie has always been crate-trained, and crated when we leave her alone in the house, primarily because of her housebreaking issues. However, dogs really shouldn't stay in crates more than 3 or 4 hours at a time, which is why I've opted to bring Win to school instead of leave her home. But since we can finally offically declare her housebroken (knock on wood), Chris and I Winnie-proofed my bedroom and fixed the doorknob so that the door can be firmly shut. The hope is that, eventually, Win can be left in my room during the day while I'm a school. We're going to have to work up to it slowly, but hopefully soon she'll be able to be like most stay-at-home doggies. I think the next few months will be filled with stuffed Kongs and thinking dog toys and plenty of exercise (once we can go outside without risk of death by windchill).

So anyway, that was Friday. Saturday morning I got to hear Dr. Steve Marsden, one of the most well-known holistic veterinary practitioners, talk about the use of Western herbs in veterinary medicine. I wish I could have stayed to hear his afternoon talk about Chinese herbs, but alas, studying for immunology had priority (what's that about not letting school get in the way of your education?). Anyway, he was a good speaker, and really blew the myth that there's no research to support herbal medicines right out of the water. Honestly, they've been around a lot longer than drug companies- why wouldn't there be any research about them? Since I don't know much about diseases yet, most of what he said was over my head... but, plants are cool. That's the gist of it.

I also got to see Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald at the lunch on Saturday, which was really cool. If you've never watched Emergency Vets on Animal Planet, you won't understand... But eek, he's a famous vet!! He also happens to do stand-up comedy (every week for the past 25 years). This one made me giggle:

A man goes to his doctor and says, "Doctor, you have to help me. I'm 88, my wife's 87. She's really vain and won't believe that she has a hearing problem. Can you make her a hearing aid?"
The doctor replies, "Yeah, I'll tell you how to do the Home Hearing Test. Start from 40 feet away, and ask her something. If she doesn't hear you, walk to 30 feet from her, and ask again. Then 20 feet, then 10- however close to have to get until she hears you. Tell me how close you had to get, and I'll make her a hearing aid."
The man thanks the doctor and goes home to do the Home Hearing Test. He starts from 40 feet away- "Honey, what's for dinner?" No answer. He gets 30 feet away- "Honey, what's for dinner?" No answer. 20 feet away- "Honey, what's for dinner?" No answer. Finally, he gets 10 feet away- "Honey, what's for dinner?" She replies, "For the fourth time, chicken!"


Anyway, I had fun schmoozing with exhibitors and talking to grown-up vets and pretending I knew what everyone was talking about. It will be interesting to see how much more I get out of these conventions the farther I get into school. For now, it is back to studying my -ologies (immunology tonight) like a good baby vet. Still 10 1/2 hours til the test- plenty of time!

Da Bears

I am in Minneapolis for the "official" Schommer superbowl party. Chips, dip, and pot roast!

Who am I rooting for? Who else, Da Bears! Chicago is close enough to Minneapolis, and what is Indianapolis? The only thing of note has the numbers "500" after it.

For some reason this superbowl has split down ideological lines on the blog sphere. Some liberal blogs are rooting for the Bears, and conservative blogs are leaning towards the colts in my unscientific poll.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Car update

Well, after living with Megan's saturn for the past few days and reading I can conclusivly say, that indeed a gremlin has gotten into her engine.

Every discussion on line that follows its symptoms (perfectly sometimes) ends without resolution, more questions, them changing every part in the car, and people asking, 'if you ever figure this out, tell me because its been 2 years!'

The check engine light did come on, so if I can find someone to read it then I might know more. I even have my bets on what number it will be. (P0-301 - engine misfire) I will let you know if I ever find out!

Friday, February 02, 2007


I have been working on designing my logo and web page and such, and I thought I would post this video to celebrate good design.

The funny thing is, this video was made by Microsoft for its design team to make fun of them selves.

(via BoingBoing of course)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

two important things to remember

1) The physiology equation of the day was "Happiness= Reality-Expectations". So, keep expectations low to keep happiness the highest. This is good math (especially when they are returning tests).

2) There are those moments of clarity when you suddenly understand why you make yourself work hard for something. Today, I had one of those moments when I learned that you can radiograph whooping crane eggs to see if the chick is positioned correctly to come out of the egg- if not, you can assist it to prevent what would mean almost certain death for the chick. That. Is. So. Cool. Remember things like that.

Watch this spot

Breaking News!

Breaking News! The city of Boston has been virtually shut down due to thousands of suspicious boxes places over the entire city in public places!

Click here for an exclusive photograph.


UPDATE: Terrorist training tools now available for children!

Volvo Green

Via one of my favorite sites AutoBlogGreen comes news that Volvo might one up GM's Volt concept that I wrote about last month. I say one up because it has the same idea - plug-in at night, range extender engine re-charges the batteries - but it uses a diesel engine. Diesel engines have fantastic efficiency running at consistent speed, and with this technology it would be running at 1 speed all the time when on.

I would not buy anything Volvo has to offer right now. Since they were purchased by Ford in 1999, they have been pushed up to Ford's high end luxury car market with safety being their brand selling point (as always). But, if they can manage to pull this off before GM, and sell it at a reasonable price, they would have a winner!

Top 10 Signs You Have a Bad Vet

10. When you hand him your cat, he asks uncomfortably, "Monkey?"
9. Two weeks later, your dog coughs up a rubber glove.
8. Big sign in waiting room: No Pets Allowed!
7. Diploma looks a lot like menu from Chinese restaurant.
6. Always saying "I've got a tick in my pants."
5. Sends you a card every spring: "Time for your dog's annual neutering."
4. First question, "What ails your varmint?"
3. He has a lot of posters up advertising cockfights.
2. He himself wears one of those big funnel shaped dog collars.
1. He bites!

Bonus indication you may have gone to the wrong vet......
Sign in front:
Joe's vet and taxidermy.
Either way you get your dog back.