Thursday, November 29, 2007


Things I did in a surgical suite today:

-removed one canine testicle
-removed one benign adenoma from a dog's paw
-injected a lidocaine bleb into aforementioned dog's paw
-tied two sutures

I am a rock star.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

YouTube Republican debate

Megan and I just finished watching the second half of the republican YouTube debate and I just had a few thoughts.

1: Huckabee was a pro. Every answer he gave was clear and loaded. I keep saying watch for him, because if he keeps this up he might even get this thing. I was very impressed. (UPDATE: People who matter agree)

2: Hunter. Wow, how did he get on stage! I had never heard him before but wow.

3: Romney was really thrown by not being able to use "Islamofacism" every other answer, and it showed.

4: Giuliani: NY, 9/11, I love NY, NY is like America, 9/11.

5: Ron Paul thinks he can use the "REVOLUTION!" schtic and win the Republican nomination. Come on!

6: Thompson was his usual boring self. One joke though.

7: McCain was his normal campaign bluster. He has no idea how to get back in this race. He is one part macho military man, one part "straight talk" one part statesman guy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Study break

Touched again by tragedy

This last weekend one of my neighbors from first year at Olaf was killed in a car accident. He transfered to Gustavus junior year, and they have a news item about the accident on their homepage. Thankfully his brother looks like he will be OK. I have always kept in touch with him after he left Olaf because we shared a mutual close friend. It is very surreal, and I have not gotten my head around it yet. I will be going to the funeral this Saturday.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Alas, while I started out break with every intention of doing nothing related to school, I started making flashcards yesterday to study for my upcoming parasitology lab practical exam, and just now finished. They all look basically the same- either some variation on this:

or this:
... with subtle differences in each one that I'm supposed to be able to use to identify the bug down to genus, and sometimes down to species. Who knew you could learn so much by looking in poop?

The rest of this semester is a hodge-podge of final exams, mini rotations, lab practicals, "client simulation activities", preceptorship hours, and Swine Core (oh boy, swine). After classes end, it's my birthday (yay!), then Christmas, and then Chris and I are considering taking a trip up north to go skiing. I've never been skiing... But I'm excited to see what the Gunflint Trail looks like in the January (although if we don't make it up, we can still indulge in the new Bearskin Lodge webcam to get a peak of the lake in the winter). I like to think of our ventures into the wilderness as trials that I can look back on during these rough parts of the school year and say, "I survived a deafening thunderstorm, made it through a sea of wild rice, and completed a dozen portages with an enthusiastic corgi attached to my waist- Parasitology's got nothing on that." This coming semester is going to be rough, so I think I need a new wilderness challenge to boost my courage. Snowshoeing is too easy. Skiing to a yurt when I've never skied before is hardcore. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Break time!

I survived this last round of exams, and while my GPA took a hit in some classes, I actually fared pretty well in Pathology. Yay!

Aside from exams, I've been getting some good work done with the Holistic Club. We had a speaker come in to talk about avian acupuncture (yes, it can be done- but usually by injecting a little bit of an irritating substance at the acupuncture point rather than by keeping needles in). We already have our next talk lined up ("Paradigm Shift and Oriental Medicine in Veterinary Medicine"), and actually have another talk scheduled after that. I saw an article about some new research performed by Dr. David Jacobs, a professor at the U of MN School of Public Health. His findings indicate that nutrients given in isolation (like a vitamin C pill) act differently in the body than those same nutrients given in a whole food (like an orange). I thought his hypothesis was interesting, and very counter to the usual nutrition line of "Bodies need nutrients, not ingredients." I emailed him to see if he's be interested in speaking to vet students and he said that he'd love to come talk to us about how animal nutrition is handled. I want to set it up as a lunch meeting, but yikes, what pressure! How do you choose a lunch for a nutrition guru?

The vet school yoga class is going well. We just had our third session, and had a faculty member join us for the first time (yay). I'm enjoying it. It's so different from the rest of the school week- no one else is telling us to slow down, to listen to ourselves and to not do more than we can handle!

Outside of school, things are good. Winnie's ear is looking lots better. I just bought her a can of "Turducken" food for Thanksgiving, but I have a feeling she'll be sneaking some real turkey, too...

Friday, November 16, 2007


I discovered this while not paying attention in class the other day. My desktop is this picture of Winnie:

See the branch sticking down into the water on the left side? Do you notice a strange little face sticking out its tongue at you? Close up:

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I have not written about this in a long time, but since Subaru "killed my car with the new Impreza, the opposition has delivered. Mitsubishi showed off its new 2008 Lancer Evolution today and yeah, that's a winner. Compared to the bulby large nosed goo from Subaru (below) this thing looks like what it is supposed to: a street rally car. So, put me down for the 2008 Lancer!

In the meanwhile the Volvo is humming along intimidating all in its path! And I got a complement for my old school Apple sticker in the back window the other day. It was on there when I bought the car and I thought I would get more comments from random apple heads. I guess Mac Addicts arn't what they used to be.

EDIT: Added question. How come any one who ever rides a BMW motorcycle always wears massive amounts of safety gear while people who ride low Yamaha rockets will ride with a helmet on and no shirt? Always wondered.

Ok, back to non-gear head blogging. Carry on.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Michael Pollan, the author of "The Omnivores Dilemma" that Megan blogged about in August, has a new book out in Janurary called, "In Defense of Food." It is based on his one rule for eating that Megan found a while ago in a 2007 article in the New York Times magazine. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." It is nice to see him expanding that point now into a book, it will be interesting to see where he goes with it. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Presidential update

I have been reading and writing about how I see the changing presidential primary field and with under seven weeks until Iowa - things are getting close.

So here are some changes that I have been noticing.
  • My assurance that Hilliary has the lock on the Democratic nomination took a big hit this last week. Perhaps I spoke too soon! After her dismantling at last week's debate she has hit problem after problem while Obama and Edwards are going strong. In fact, a new Iowa poll showed all three of them lined up in the mid to low 20s and Hillary's lead in New Hampshire is dropping as well. So look for a tighter race going in.
  • Key however, is that while Obama is rising in Iowa and NH - he still has a long way to go for the rest of "super-duper" Tuesday. but I think he has a chance now.
  • Question: If Edwards were to quit today, where would his supporters go? My guess is strongly Obama, but I will have to sniff this one out.

  • I would up Mitt Romney to first place in the Republican odds after Giuliani has said that he is skipping New Hampshire and Iowa. But I thought he had such nation wide appeal? Romney is going the opposite way and I think it will pay off in the end.
  • Ron Paul had a killer fund raising streak last week earning him $5+ Million in one day. Perhaps Republicans will have to stop ignoring/black listing him now! However, I do not see this changing his odds of winning. It does up his chance of influencing the future of the republican party however.
  • Huckabee is creeping up there, keep an eye on this Souther Baptist minister - he is a dark horse. And when he says holy warrior stuff like this it only makes him stronger:
“People look at my record and say that I’m as strong on immigration, strong on terror as anybody. In fact I think I’m stronger than most people because I truly understand the nature of the war that we are in with Islamo fascism. These are people that want to kill us. It’s a theocratic war. And I don’t know if anybody fully understands that. I’m the only guy on that stage with a theology degree. I think I understand it really well. And know the threat of it is absolutely overwhelming to us.”


Quick update on the previous post:
  • Megan is currently on-time for her exam later this morning.
  • Winnie does has an ear infection in one ear and now has some anti-bacterial/anti yeast goo to help clear it out. She is very unhappy about the entire thing and was looking very sad yesterday. No smile, no energy, and her bad ear drooping and gooey from medicine. But she was already feeling better this morning after one dose. We also got more medicine for Pipkins chronic ear infection. He has stabilized but still gets disoriented. At least the fish don't have anything wrong with their ears!
  • All the fire trucks left Cafe Biaggio. The same thing happened a few weeks ago, who knows what keeps going on.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Life got busy

I promise to be back blogging after this week, or at least before Thanksgiving. For now, a brief summary:
  • I showed up to an exam nearly an hour late due to misreading my schedule, which I thought was only possible in my worst dreams- but hey, I survived, and at least I showed up clothed, which made it better than my very worst dreams.
  • Winnie has an ear infection, which means a trip to the vet tomorrow- pretty much the worst possible timing, as I have an exam tomorrow afternoon and another on Tuesday afternoon. Poor bear is very uncomfortable, and as I watch her scratch at her ouchy ear I can't help but narrate it in the voice of Dr. Torres, the U of MN dermatologist- "eetch, eetch, eetch, all dee time eetching! She ees mee-ser-a-buhl, tut tut tut."
  • There are many fire trucks across the street at Cafe Biaggio. I hope everything is okay.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Special Projects Associate

A bit of good news, I have been hired by the Macalester Library as a Special Projects Associate. This combined with my current position as Visual Resource Curator brings my status up nicely to the full time range and all the job related benefits associated with that. So I am now free to follow my dreams and start skin diving for fresh mussels and um, this. Weee!!!

Anyway, both positions relate very well with each other and it will help define what I do for both much better. I have spent enough time working with people from the Library that I sort of feel like I already work there, and now it is official! So good deal all around.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"How to Say No to Your Vet"

Last week, Slate published an article that ruffled some serious feathers in the vet world. Entitled "How to Say No to Your Vet", Emily Yoffe describes story after story of vets taking advantage of pet owners. Vets are in it for the money, she implies, and not to better the lives of animals and owners. Owners love their pets so much that they just can't help paying for the services that vets offer, whether or not they believe their pets need them.

While she has a point that vets should not take financial advantage of owners during crises (like the guy who brought his dead dog in to the vet) and the need for good, honest communication between vets and their clients, she also seems to imply that vets should not offer the best available care because after all, they are just animals. She writes:
I am grateful to the vets who saved the life of my beagle, Sasha, when she was hit by a car, and I quietly handed over my credit card when the bill for $2,000 came due (although I did manage to decline the offer of the special "orthopedic quality" fix of her injured ligament for an additional $1,500).
I'm impressed that she can be proud of the fact that she declined to get higher-quality care for her dog. She talks about it as though the vet were trying to add on options to a car. More expensive surgery is about providing a better fix, a more comfortable recovery, and a more reliable return to a normal life- not about adding on a deluxe package so you can tell your friends that your dog got human-quality care. By the way, if you get hit by a car, good luck getting out of the hospital only $2000 poorer.

The kicker to the whole article is her support from Dr. James Busby, the kindly old rural vet from Bemidji. Dr. Busby only offers the services his patients need, and says that he'd never enter veterinary medicine today now that it's in such a horrible state with so many money-grubbing vets. What Ms. Yoffe fails to mention is that Dr. Busby is on a limited license since he went before the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. Dr. Busby was performing sub-par medicine, including not examining animals before performing surgery on them, re-using dirty needles, sterilizing instruments in a solution that he changed only once a month, and performing surgery on animals using neither gas anesthesia nor oxygen. Ew. Not a great guy to hold up as an example of how vet med should be practiced.

Dr. Busby told Ms. Yoffe what she wanted to hear- that it's okay to only give minimal medical care to your pets. She thinks that vets should only offer the cheapest option, and anything better than that exists simply to line vets' pockets. Of course vets should be sensitive to financial constraints, but not offering high-quality care is just as rotten as not offering anything but the most expensive. I'm glad that vets understand the importance of preventative medicine. The author's daughter's pediatrician doesn't think a heart murmur is worth checking out with an echocardiogram, but her vet thinks the cat's murmur is? Sheesh, lose the pediatrician and start taking the kid to the vet.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Optimistic forecast

I liked NOAA's version of tomorrow's forecast:
Monday: Scattered flurries. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. Breezy, with a west northwest wind between 24 and 28 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph.
There's a sense of optimism in calling the temperature "a high near 43" rather than just "a high of 42."

Whatever the temperature is going to be- brrrrr! This will test my devotion to riding the bus every day...

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Last Thursday, the 25th, a bizarre scenario lead to the death of an Ole grad. Kate Ann Olson, class of 2006, answered a Craigslist ad for a nanny job and was killed by a 19 year old kid.

Neither Chris nor I could place her, even though as we looked through photos of her, she was often with groups of our friends. I finally discovered a connection today- one of my teachers from Tartan was Mrs. Olson, Kate's mom. Mrs. Olson was so excited when she found out that Lindsey and I would be going to St. Olaf, because her daughter was going to be an Ole too. We saw her on campus regularly when she was visiting Kate, helping her move in or out of dorms, Christmas fest time, graduation.

I'm sorry, Mrs. Olson :(

Winnie and the giant cookie

So last week when we stopped by the grand opening of Urbanimal on Grand Ave., they were giving away goodie bags for Halloween. Included was a GIANT dog cookie, nearly as long as Winnie's head. Not only was it a giant cookie, but it was a giant peanut butter cookie, Winnie's favorite. She's been pampering this thing for a week, tucking into many of her favorite hiding spots and moving it around multiple times a day. She finally decided to start eating it today, and considering how rarely she eats her favoritest cookies, I had to catch it on camera.

Step one: hunt for a good spot for chewing

Step two: check in with mom to see if she's gonna yell at you for chewing on the couch

Step 3: Get to work!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Extreme co-op-ing

Today Megan and I took the training course to become certified Co-op volunteers! Now our organic fair-trade hemp byproduct granola hippie sandals are 15% off! Kidding aside, I have grown very fond of our co-op and found out that it is the only co-op left in the metro area that runs on volunteers since the recent shutdown of North Country Co-Op in Minneapolis. Our lesson tonight gets us the discount and the exclusive blue card for this month. I am signed up to cook on Wednesday morning and that will take care of December.

Megan and I have been trying to seek out as much locally grown food as we can lately, mostly from Minnesota and Wisconsin. We are not that strict but this summer we ate lots of corn and tomatoes, and now things are moving on to potatoes, yams, and squash. It is really very interesting to watch what changes in your diet with the slight restriction of what we see as normal - having anything we could ever want whenever we want it. Ironically it makes you try new things. Like yesterday we had Kale instead of mixed greens and it was great! And today I saw the local cranberries were in and got excited because it was something new. Never mind the 20 lbs of apples hiding in the back of the fridge. Living where we live in the concrete jungle the seasons can kind of slip by if you let them. But if you are eating tamari covered pumpkin seeds and curry with stewed onions and yams you can't forget! We will see how we do when real winter gets here and "local" will be Florida, but it has been going good so far.

And as for why we are doing this, that might have to wait for another post but eating local just keeps coming up as one of the best things to do if you want to live a low impact life, and improve the economy around us. The food is also fresher and tastier in my experience, since they can harvest it closer to when it needs to be on the shelf rather than calculate long shipping time and spoilage.

One more note, today is our six month anniversary of moving into our dream-come-true apartment. That seems like no time at all, but then Northfield feels like a lifetime away too! Things take time, but we are definitely settling in here well.


Boo! Megan and I dressed up to go out on Halloween night. Scary don't you think?

interpretation please

My fortune cookie gave me this fortune today:
You think that is a secret, but it never has been one.
What does that mean??