Sunday, December 30, 2007


Here's the Grand Marais forecast, according to NOAA...

EDIT by Chris: Here is the forcast for mid-trail according to NOAA:

Brrr! Our main days will be New Years and Wedensday, so you can see those are going to be cold. I fatefully said yesterday looking at our huge pile of warm stuff that it was too bad that we wouldn't really get to test these because 4-5 layers when it is in the 20s is silly. 4-5 layers when it is -15 is a different story! 

Saturday, December 29, 2007

More Skiiiiiiss??!!

So remember when Megan got skis for her birthday just a few days ago? Well look at this! Megan and I went to the REI scratch and dent sale to see if we could pick up a  good warm jacket for her. We did, a nice Columbia sport. Full of layers, zippers, and a weather-proof shell. But then I walked over to the corner and on the floor were these nice looking skis. I picked them up and they said $99! Bindings and all. The regular price for both would be $270. And they just happened to be exactly long enough for my height/weight. Wow. 

So, boots. I still needed boots. I walked over to the boot section and left Megan guarding our goods. She was asked several times if she really was going to get those (clutching the skis, yes!!). I had looked before and found an ugly pair that worked but was really too big. I brought them back and dug around some more and found a slick silver pair just my size for $50. They are skate style boots, but if I don't latch the ankle braces and loosen the rear straps they work great. 

So thats $360 worth of ski for $150. I couldn't pass that up! They are also my first real pair of classic skis. I have always used borrowed pairs in the past, and from people who have been heavier than me so I would always have real problems getting stick while kicking forward. Perhaps that is why I have never really liked classic style skiing when I was racing. I was also never any good at it. So now we are really geared up to go up north! Lets go! 

Friday, December 28, 2007


Ah, another Christmas is past. We had two Christmases this year, one at my parents' and one at Chris' parents'. And there is a third coming some time in January out in Wisconsin with Chris' grandparents and cousins. We had our own little Christmas morning here too, under our pretty tree. Winnie finally picked up on the idea of opening presents this year, and got really excited when we both started ripping up paper. She opened up her bone by herself (in the photos below), then promptly buried it back in the wrapping paper.

There seemed to be a bit of a kitchen theme with presents this year- we got a great mixer, a nice big pot for making soups and pasta, a beautiful slate cheese board, a cute little food processor, Woot Wine, an awesome corkscrew, and a basket full of vinegars and other yummy things for spicing up our cooking. It feels like half the time we're at home is spent either cooking or eating, so it's great to have so many new things in the kitchen to play with!

We tried to give a lot of handmade and local things this year, inspired by our trip to the first Craftmas Spectacular held in Uptown in early December. We found out about it when some of our neighbors advertised that they'd be participating, and ended up finding a lot of great artsy-crafty things there. We followed up with a trip to I Like You, the store that sponsored the Craftmas show, and found more good things there. Then, after finals, we both went on a crazy baking spree and produced several dozen cookies and candies and about five gallons of fruit soup. Yum...

Now that Christmas is over, it's time to prepare for our trip up north. We bought most of our food today. I still need some winter supplies, so we're hitting up the Scratch and Dent sale at REI tomorrow morning... do winter coats ever get scratched and dented?

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Here is a photo of Megan and her new birthday cross country skis! I had several great photos of her on their (and her) inaugural run this afternoon but the camera mysteriously lost the formatting on the card so they were erased! Doh. Well we will get more tomorrow.

We went to the legendary Finn Sisu on University Ave by the most convoluted route I could cook up on google maps and gave her a card to open with the directions. Thoroughly turned around we drove up to the store and got the skis! We were also lucky enough to be helped by Ahvo himself. He is a hilarious guy, and was very happy that Megan was getting classic skis. He said that classic was more artistic and beautiful, while skating was all over like a conductor (he acted all this out).

He also showed us what is new in waxing, and a lot has changed in the last 6 years! We bought a tape that provides kick in lieu of traditional ski wax yet lasts all season, and this paste that you rub on and it acts as glide wax in lieu of traditional hot waxing. And wow, both work great! Lots of kick and the glide felt like normal but with much much less work and mess.

After we waxed up the skis, we went out to Como to try them out. The last time I was there was in high school and it was -10˚ with 30 mph wind, but today it was 28 and sunny. Perfect! After a few halting steps on the new skinny skis Megan was going along well and by the end of our time she was doing a good kick-glide-kick-glide and even did a hill.

We are going to head out again tomorrow and try some more. I don't work again until after Christmas, and Megan doesn't have school again until the second week in January, so this really is vacation!


Bwah, birthday skis!!!!

More later!!

nooo it are my birthday!

nom nom nom / nooo it are my birthday
moar funny pictures

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Final grade

Talk about a photo finish...

My final grade in Parasitology comes to 449.18 points. The cutoff for an A is 450 points.

Do you think they'll be nice and round up?

I hope they're in the Christmas spirit!

**Update: They rounded up!!**


I'm in that funny post-finals place where I'm exhausted, but still too charged from finishing that last exam to try and start relaxing yet, so I thought I'd post a little summary of this semester's courses.

Path was our biggest class of this semester, and of our vet school career thus far, at a whopping 7 credits. We had class every day, and lab twice a week. We experienced quite the range of odors (I think the cow hoof infected with necrotizing bacteria was the worst) and sights, and I can't say I'll miss that lab, but it was really amazing to see all the changes that the body can make to try and adapt to diseases, cancers, injuries, or aging. The lecture component felt a bit like a whirlwind tour, since we had a different professor nearly every week teaching a different section of the course. Next semester we start clinical pathology, where we'll learn less about what we'd find on necropsy and more about what we'd expect to see in a live animal. I hope I remember some of what we learned this semester...

Parasit was our second hardest class, ending at a final list of well over 200 parasites whose names we had to know, their lifecycles, how to diagnose them, how to kill them, and how to keep animals from getting sick with them. Bottom line? Don't poop in cow pastures or pig barns, and always cook your meat thoroughly.

They warned us at the beginning of the course that the majority of vet students hate epi. They were right.

Sort of like parasitology with the long list of names, but thankfully bacteria don't have different kinds of lifecycles. The best part was talking about antibiotic resistance and how vets play a role in the development of things like MRSA.

Tying in with Parasit and Bact, this semester's Pharm course was about anti-microbial agents, with a little bit of anti-cancer chemotherapy thrown in. I always enjoy our pharm courses. Our last lecture ended with a slide that said this:
History of medicine:

2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D. - That antibiotic doesn't work anymore. Here, eat this root.


Clinical Skills III
Clinical Skills this semester focused mainly on our mini-rotations, a series of 2-hour blocks where they lets us invade the hospital. It was nice to get to know where each specialty is located within the hospital, and makes our fourth-year rotations seem a little less scary. The best rotation was surgery, where we got to watch surgeons do some crazy procedures and make them look at easy as clipping toenails. Maybe someday...

Zoo Class
We finished our third and final semester of zoo class. I'm going to miss getting to talk about lemurs and cranes and tigers, and all the crazy challenges of working with wild animals. It was a good break from our usual courses.

It was a good semester- a little heavy on the lectures and light on clinical application, but next semester will be much more lecture-oriented, so I really can't complain.

Time for a break!

Finals tracker

Parasitology lab practical
Parasitology lecture final
Pathology lecture final
Epidemiology lecture final
Swine core take-home exam
Zoo class final presentation
Zoo class final paper


Time for birthday?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sail the high seas, in 2008

Wow, via Auto Blog green I found this video of something I have heard of for the past few months. To save fuel on big ships, simply attach a sail! Of course it is not so simple, but this looks like a working prototype of one of the leading ideas. Basicly, you throw a big kite a few hundred feet up into the air and it pulls you forward, even if the angle of the wind is quite off. It also has the benefit of stabilizing the craft. It is supposed to provide 30% of the ships power when in operation. Talk about a heavy duty hybrid!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More from Michael Pollan

The New York Times has a nice little article by Michael Pollan today about MRSA and Colony Collapse Disorder. The money quote:
We’re asking a lot of our bees. We’re asking a lot of our pigs too. That seems to be a hallmark of industrial agriculture: to maximize production and keep food as cheap as possible, it pushes natural systems and organisms to their limit, asking them to function as efficiently as machines. When the inevitable problems crop up — when bees or pigs remind us they are not machines — the system can be ingenious in finding “solutions,” whether in the form of antibiotics to keep pigs healthy or foreign bees to help pollinate the almonds. But this year’s solutions have a way of becoming next year’s problems.
Let's just say that Swine Core did not leave me enamored with the swine industry...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Google Street View hits the Twin Cities (and beyond)

Woh check it out! Google street view is live for the metro area and goes all the way down to Northfield! You can find our apartment quite well, and even drive through St. Olaf. They didn't cover Macalester, or several other landmarks, but there is a lot there. I had thought that I had seen the Google VW Bug with the camera array on it while I was driving over 280, but I am not on there. You also can not see into our apartment, which is good.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


As finals inch closer, I've started my usual quest for ways to keep from studying. My latest favorite? Cutest Flash game ever:


My high score is 24,520... anyone want to try to beat that?

EDIT: Chris, 47,800 :D
Chris, 77,170 :D:D The bird is the key..
Chris, 316,830 -- and I retire. To be fair Megan is trying to do this with her track pad! Track Ball FTW!
Chris, 574,200. One Million here I come!

Chris, 20,140,690

Friday, December 07, 2007

Winter Adventure!

I have not had much to post about but here is something, Megan and I are going up north! Just a few miles past the cabin even. We made reservations for three nights, the first in a B&B on the 31st and then in a Yurt (pictured right) for the 1st and 2nd. So, a REALLY quiet new years for us but thats what was available!

It should be an adventure. We hope to get back to the cabin for a winter visit and check out some trails around the area. It should be cold and snowy, but they have a sauna next to the Yurt and we wont have to worry about wolves eating us like winter camping...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like......


No, Christmas!

And presents?

Oh boy...

Part 2

Alright, Chris keeps squirming over my spleen picture, so here's an LOLcat to wash away the image for those of you who have a hard time finding humor in pathology...

funny pictures
moar funny pictures


I'm studying for tomorrow's pathology lab practical, and can't help but giggle at this image. The first task we always have in path lab is to "characterize the lesion". In this case, it would be something like "Spleen, nodular lymphoid follicular hyperplasia, focal, moderate, subacute to chronic." One of my classmates characterized it pretty accurately by calling it a "creepy little man". It does look much more like Elmer Fudd pushing his way out of the surface of the spleen than any type of pathologic lesion: