Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A thread

I got back from the farmers market yesterday to find that my trailer attachment was being held on by 4 metal threads. The braided wire I had used stretched out, and once it got long enough the PVC tubing was able to rub right through it. It chewed through 4/5 wires completely, and then ate through most of the remaining one.

Back to the drawing board for this design!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

So you suck at mountain biking...

Well its not so bad. But my first foray into mountain biking was not the most graceful thing I have ever done. I crashed a lot. I hit a tree with my handle bars, I lost control on a turn and landed sideways in the bushes, I did a big crash after I lost control on a sand bar that almost sent me rolling all the way down buck hill, and skidded out on another corner. But I did get this cool picture of me looking determined!

Worst of all though, I got a dreaded DNF (did not finish) when it was just too much. I was too banged up, and too tired to properly control the bike and I figured I could either end now or end in a crash some place else. So I rolled off. It also turned out my front tire was flat, but we didn't see that until we got home.

So, here is looking towards the Cyclocross season which starts in September when I will have the chance redeem myself as a competitive bike rider!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Rotation #7: Dermatology

Dermatology is portrayed in Grey's Anatomy as a magical place where the doctors are calm and relaxed, they serve water filled with floating fruit, and everyone is dressed in pastels. Dermatologists work 9 to 5, no weekends, no on-call duty, and as they say, "there are no dermatologic emergencies."

My experience on the veterinary dermatology service hasn't involved any fruit-filled water, but it has been a nice change of pace from Small Animal Medicine. The biggest difference is that we don't have any hospitalized patients, so we get to focus only on the clients coming in for appointments. We also see a lot of long-term patients and spend a lot more time on client education than some other services, since animals with skin disease can require fairly intensive management to keep their diseases under control.

Derm is a huge part of veterinary medicine (Dolittler puts skin diseases as her #1 and #2 most common types of appointments), so it's been good to get my feet wet working with some of the most common types of skin problems. We've seen food allergies, environmental allergies (aka atopic dermatitis), sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange, endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases like onychodystrophy (where the body attacks the nails) and sebaceous adenitits (where the body attacks the sebaceous glands of the skin), and some unusual diseases like Daschund Pattern Baldness.

Despite the economy, the Dermatology Service is still booked out for over a month in advance. I don't mean to sound cynical, but I suspect the reason that people are so willing to treat their pets' skin diseases is because they are embarassing (dogs with inflammed skin or hair loss are very noticeable on walks or at the dog park) and annoying (the constant licking, chewing, biting, and scratching of an itchy dog can wake owners up at night and drive them crazy during the day). It's relatively easy to ignore a limp, brush off those little lumps and bumps, or think that drinking more or eating less are just signs of old age.

Nonetheless, I think it's wonderful to see owners that are willing to devote all the time, money, and energy that it takes to manage what are often lifelong diseases. The differences that a dermatologist can make in an animal's quality of life can take a long time, but they can be dramatic. For example...

Treatment of generalized demodectic mange can turn a dog from this:
into this:
I don't think I'd ever specialize in dermatology, but it's nice to have a better idea of how to diagnose and manage the most common conditions I'll be likely to see in practice.

Next up is another Small Animal Medicine, then the wedding!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Toy Camera app

So the camera on the iPhone is pretty good, but is not the best. You can tell it is a cell phone camera and the photos can often look a little dead. So I bought app for the iPhone called "Toy Camera" by Japanese developer Takayuki Fukatsu for fun. All it does, which I usually can't stand, is apply some photo filters to the picture you just took to make it look like it was taken on a cheap toy camera of various types and with various films. The thing is, it seems to really make the photos better! There are a few reasons for this I think, primarily because that it adds a film grain which hides some of the typical (and ugly) digital blur caused by tinny cellphone lenses and sensors. I like the more subtle color modifications, like low saturation, which act to warm up the often flat default shots. But the more extreme ones like high contrast black and white are fun too.

All this made me wonder though, in 40 years will there be a "cell phone" filter to make your crisp photos look like they were taken on an early iPhone? Ah nostalgia...