Friday, April 24, 2009

Bil-Jac Pet Foods Nutrition Scholarship

Congratulations to Megan for winning the Bil-Jac Pet Foods Nutrition Scholarship this year! The U has a very boring discription of the award, so I am stealing it from Kansas.
"Student must be a second or third year student in the CVM, student should be enrolled in small animal studies, student exhibits scholastic achievement in the upper 1/3 of his/her class, and should exhibit a desire to promote greater awareness of small animal nutrition."
That Megan does. Congratulations! Winnie is for spending it all on dried liver...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I have not written much about the codified torture regimes that have been practiced by the United States in the past few years because well, it bothers me too much. Now with the torture memos and legal opinions public it is clear that everything that was guessed at was in fact - true. The punishment of those "bad apples" at Abu Ghraib was only because a) they got caught and b) they were not torturing "right." Meaning they didn't put a neck brace on their victim before they slammed them into a wall.

The administration at the very top ordered and organized a system of torture to get the info they wanted, like a link between Sadam and 9/11. Not to prevent a ticking-time-bomb "24" type scenario that always gets thrown around. And of course, that is what torture does and has always done - generate false confessions. But some how, our government took the SERE program, which uses the knowledge we learned from our enemies about how to generate false confessions to prevent false confessions in military situations, and applied it to our prisoners. Which generated false confessions, and false intelligence.

And the wording and language used to make torture OK is really something amazing. So, with out saying more, here is someone singing the passage on waterboarding.

EDIT: Andrew Sullivan who has been a very vocal critic of torture policies, writes a powerful condemnation of the entire ideology of power and torture that the Bush administration created.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Safe and sound

I'm sitting in a cute little coffee shop in Old Town, Fort Collins, enjoying a day off of clinics since the doctor I'm externing with doesn't see patients on Tuesdays. Yesterday was exciting- I got to:
  • help with a research project examining chronic lameness in dogs via force plate analysis
  • learn how to objectively assess chronic pain in animals via CSU's nifty chronic pain scoring chart
  • place my very first acupuncture needles (super exciting when I felt a slight tug of the surrounding tissue, telling me I hit the right point)
  • meet a darling corgi
  • tour CSU's gorgeous clinic and hospital
  • study for boards a little (note to self: review anatomy)
  • see some pelicans swimming in the little pond outside the vet hospital
The weather is lovely, despite Colorado getting hit with a blizzard the day before I arrived. The Denver airport had just a hint of snow left, and temperatures are in the 70's today. I'm off to explore Old Town...

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Well after failing at twitter I can sort things out here. Another reason not to post anything comment-y on twitter, there is no edit function if you are wrong! You are just wrong forever.

Anyway, now that I have a team to live up to, I am even more motivated to hit the streets. Or hills, which I am apparently good at. This article explains why,
We all know that lighter riders climb faster that heavy ones. So remember to watch the weight - both your own and the weight you are carrying on the bike. It costs a lot to reduce the weight of your bike by a pound, but that extra water bottle or weight in your fanny pack could easily add up to a pound and really add up on a ride over hilly terrain.
So my carbon-fiber body is suddenly worth something! I would be a lousy time trial rider because the resistance comes mostly from the wind and road but I am well suited to hills where the resistance also comes from gravity. So my low weight ratio kicks in and I can squirt up.

To develop my strengths I am going to be working the hills, and there are a few nice ones near by. Today I did a route that starts at the boat landing on the Mississippi and ends up on pelham st over 94. Here is a map. My twittering mistakes were many, but the real route is .9 miles one way with 154 ft accent. I did it 5 times for 770 ft, when my goal was 1,000. So more next time, but I got out so late it was getting dark already.

To compare, the Ohio st. hill is 118 ft, in .3 miles. That is a good one too. Got to keep it up on the flats too though, the cross season doesn't have that many hills to work against and I always get burned in the flats. Just like I did cross country skiing back when I was racing in high school! Oh well, I have always said I need something to push against.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chris the Crossniac

Wahoo, I have moved from being an unofficial member of the Crossniac syndicate to an official member this year. The announcement is here. I am looking forward to a good long summer of hills and a good long fall of jumping over things! Big thanks to L. for facilitating, teaching, training, and doing just about everything that is Cyclocross. I couldn't have done half of it without you.

So next race I will officially be out of my snappy black-everything uniform (minus the helmet) and into some proper colors. Lets get the season started!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

lessons from orientation

Some things I've learned this week:
  • I'm not really a fourth year until the current fourth years graduate, even though I've already started rotations. So, I'll officially be a fourth year on May 4th!
  • When I have a patient in the hospital, I am responsible for that animal's care from 6 AM until 8 PM. That will make for some darn long days.
  • When I have Small Animal ICU clerk duty (about 20 times throughout rotations), I have to take care of my own patients' treatments, plus stay until midnight to help take care of the intensive care patients.
  • Our hospital has procedures for how to deal with clients who threaten our lives, clients who threaten to take their own lives ("If my dog dies, I'm going home to kill myself"), and clients who come in intoxicated. Scary that all those happen often enough that we have to have procedures.
  • Even animals that appear completely paralyzed can miraculously regain full function of their legs if you decide to take them outside without a leash on. Always use a leash!
  • On average, doctors interrupt their patients within 18 seconds of asking the patient why they've come to the clinic.
  • People do crazy things when they get scared, sad, are grieving, or feel guilty. I'm supposed to learn to not take it personally.
  • My classmates and I will be relying on each other more than ever- as important as playing nicely together has been for the past three years, it's essential to our survival in clinics.
  • Offering a hug to a client can be considered sexual harassment, but backing away from a client who tries to hug you can make you look not compassionate and uncaring.
Orientation ends tomorrow... Then we have one last party as a junior class before we head to clinics for real. Bring it on!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fourth year?

I have one last exam (Ultrasound) to do next week, but aside from that, I think I can say...

I'm a fourth year!!! Orientation to Clinics starts on Monday!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Minnesota bounty

I spent some time today traveling around campus buying locally-produced goodies... One of the great advantages of being on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota! Every Wednesday from 3 to 5 PM, the Dairy Salesroom and Meat Lab sell products made by the food science students, from meat and milk produced by animals raised by the animal science students. Today I picked up some Italian sausage, bacon, bratwurst, a bone for Winnie, and fresh cream cheese (completely unlike any store-bought cream cheese I've ever had). I also stopped by the annual plant sale held by the graduate botany students (aka Phytograds), where I picked up some fresh basil and mint, and a lovely little daffodil. Happy spring!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sink or swim

Clinical rotations are supposed to be where you sink or swim- where you find out if you have what it takes to go beyond book-smarts to actually apply that knowledge to real animals. Since there's nothing like a major life transition to freak out my subconscious, I've had all sorts of crazy dreams lately, including:
  • all my of fillings falling out, followed by all my teeth. Apparently this is a common theme in dreams, that could symbolize several things- feeling anxious about physical appearance (no more than usual...), fear of growing old or being abandoned (hope not!), or a fear of making a fool of yourself in a specific situation (ding ding ding, we have a winner).
  • receiving an exam and a bubble sheet, but discovering to my horror that the exam gave me no multiple choice answers to choose from.
  • the worst of all- I actually performed the terminal surgery, but I had to do it on Winnie, with the rationale that if I wouldn't do it to my own dog, why would I do it to any dog? It made sense at the time, but the next day I was horrified and so sad I didn't have Winnie anymore. I couldn't understand why I hadn't used a laboratory beagle or not done the surgery at all.
Hopefully my mind will settle down once clinics start! Just a few more days until orientation...