the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Friday, October 27, 2006

I Did Freeze

yeah, i'll say that field work in the fall is definitely a BAD idea. i'll be glad when it's over. i wasn't alone in my suffering, though. rochelle valiantly stood by me... and we both bitched about it a lot. it was SO freakin' cold. it was the kind of cold where i stepped into the water and it immediately made my feet hurt. when rochelle and i were marking seagrass shoots so i can go back later and see how much they grew, my fingers went numb. it was horrible. oh, and sampling two experiments in one day is also a VERY BAD idea. we quite literally finished by the headlights of the suburban. and the park service guys so did not come kick us out when the park closed at sunset. so we finished processing the last sample in the bug-infested dark. i bought rochelle dinner that night. it was so awful, she deserved something good for helping me.

the day we left port st. joe was really pleasant, though. we slept in a little (well, we got to wake up after the sun was up, so it was an improvement), hung out on the balcony of our hotel room watching a swarm of seagulls and pelicans diving for fish (it was like an episode of Blue Planet, i swear), and then drove all the way back down hwy 98 to pensacola. once we arrived in pcola, i swung by the hangar and picked up my pretty, pretty ice pilots tickets. i squealed with excitement when i discovered the 'bring a friend' coupons. i was planning on bringing some friends at some point, and now i can bring them for free. then we stopped by cordova mall so rochelle could get her ring cleaned, and after that we continued our journey back to DISL, where we unloaded and cleaned out the suburban. then we headed back to mobile, and it was only 5 pm when i got home. it was pretty sweet.

i'm super excited about tonight. you know, the ice pilots' home opener. i was delighted to see that bridgeport finally assigned us a defenseman and that adam tichauer was waived. not that i have anything personal against adam tichauer, i've just always been pissed that half of this season's defense was here last year during The Worst Year Ever. somebody had to go.

i was also delighted last night by the flyers' game against atlanta. they actually managed to avoid looking horrible and pathetic for john stevens' NHL head coaching debut... and they won in a shootout. who would have thought that atlanta putting in a cold goaltender for the shootout would be a bad idea? i was so surprised to see kari lehtonen in the shootout when hedberg had played the whole game. it worked out well for the flyers, though, and they scored their second win of the season. man, that sounds sad.

anyway, i'm looking forward to tonight and to an ECHL season that will (hopefully) wipe the last one from memory.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm Going to Freeze

hello all. i am currently busy damning the fact that i chose to engage in field work in the fall. i have apparently just come to the realization that field work involves water, that water is wet, and that it gets cool and windy in the fall, especially at the beach. what the hell was i thinking? why would i ever think that getting wet and chopping up seagrass on a windy 46-50 degree morning (and on a day with an afternoon high of just 67-68) is a good idea? why? why would i do this to myself? i am not a masochist. i like myself kind of a lot. and yet i torture you, self...

as you might have guessed, i have to go port st. joe tomorrow to sample my field experiments. that really sucks, as the low tonight is 46, and the high tomorrow is 68. at least i won't get into the water until tomorrow afternoon. but tuesday... let's just say i'm going to freeze. the overnight low tomorrow is 43 degrees in port st. joe. add a 15-25 mph wind and water to that, and that makes for one shivering and miserable and wet latina.

rochelle is my bitch, er... helper for this trip, but i don't think she really minds the cold, being from st. louis and all. i've advised her to bring along a wetsuit just the same. i wonder if she'd be willing to come back with me in a couple of weeks when i take the experiments down... if not, i'd better start begging for help now. i guess she'll be able to make a more informed decision about next time after we return on wednesday. we shall see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


i thought that i'd be a little nervous this week because of the motorboat operator certification course and my complete and utter lack of experience pulling a trailer or driving a boat. but it isn't as bad as i thought it would be. i'm actually having fun with it. and all of this is coming from the girl who isn't even really comfortable backing the truck by itself.

yesterday was the first day of the class, and we spent the morning in the classroom going over the (extreme) basics... like the parts of the boat and trailer. then we went out and looked at the trailers and stuff and the different boats that DISL has. then we watched a video on visual distress signals. and then came the fun part... we went down to the beach and shot off some day/night flares. and we also had to practice putting out fires. i was a little nervous about that part. you know, with my being the queen of the kitchen fire and all. but it was fine. i showed that gasoline-fire-in-a-huge-metal-bowl who's boss (i am). after that, we watched another silly video on trailering, and then we had to actually practice trailering.

i don't think i did too horribly for someone with absolutely zero trailering experience. plus, i got stuck with the truck in which the bench seat in front doesn't move up (one of the lever things is broken), so i couldn't really reach the pedals without scooting up on the seat. that kind of sucked, but i managed. mike (guy teaching the course) told me i did pretty well, anyway. i only squished 2 out of 12 cones when we had to weave in and out of them. i pretended they were ducks. i was a little sad about the two 'ducks' that sacrificed themselves so that i could learn to drive a trailer properly. what if they had been real ducks? well, a real duck would probably have panicked and run/flown out of the way. but still...

i didn't squish any cones when i was backing onto the 'ramp' that was really just a space in between four cones. i had to start over a couple of times, but i just get so confused with all the mirrors and the trailer going the opposite way of the truck and all. it takes me a minute to readjust. after i successfully backed the boat onto the 'ramp' twice, mike was like, "gimme 5. now get out of here while you're ahead and get robbie in here." robbie was my partner. he was giving me directions while i was backing up. then i gave him directions. after all that, mike made me park the boat. i only had to start over once that time. like i told mike, there's no law that says you have to get the boat in the water on the first try... as long as i don't crash into anything i'll be fine.

tomorrow we have to practice falling overboard and hauling ourselves back into the boat. i think that's going to be hard. i'm having flashbacks of maine... you know, when SOB cameron jumped off the dock with me, and then three people had to grab me and pull me out 'cause i couldn't do it myself. in my defense, i was fully clothed in jeans and a jacket, and i was drunk, and i was holding a smirnoff ice and kate's glasses... and laughing and being pissed off all at the same time. i'm going to use the 'get one leg over the side and roll' technique. it's gonna be hard, and i'm probably gonna hurt myself, but by george, i can do it.

ooh! in other news, the flyers really suck and really need to get their shit together and are overall just really disappointing right now (i'm still hoping for improvement - they've got good stuff to work with, they should just never, ever let robert esche play again. 9 goals on 37 shots? that's pathetic, i don't care if his defense was non-existent). i couldn't even make myself watch all of their game against buffalo last night. yikes. after the 5th goal in the 2nd period, i was like, "that's it. i can't take anymore." and esche had such a brilliant 1st period... what the hell happened? so really, he allowed 9 goals on 25 shots just in the 2nd and 3rd periods. at least when niittymaki loses, the games are somewhat close. i know that the rest of team isn't exactly on top of its game, but esche isn't exactly playing well, either. i think it's about time niittymaki was officially named the flyers' #1 goalie... and for the rest of the team to learn how to finish on golden opportunities (of which mike richards seems to get more than most. i like the kid, but he needs to get it together, too).

that's not what i intended to write when i started with 'ooh! in other news...' i intended to say that i got a new cell phone, which wouldn't really be that exciting if it weren't for my brilliant choice of ring tones... wait for it... the danger zone! sweet! chad was like, "you would." i love it. to me, that song is hockey. the ice pilots should totally start coming out to that song again. it was so perfect. when i was choosing songs for my ringtone i was stuck in a 3-way tie among green day's "when i come around," bon jovi's "livin on a prayer," and billy idol's "rebel yell." those are all fantastic songs, i know, and they would all make great ring tones, but i just couldn't choose between them. and then in a moment of intense inspiration i knew what my ring tone should be. "the danger zone." kenny loggins. it's great, i tell you.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's Been a Busy Week

so it's been a while since i've updated this thing. kind of a lot has been going on. i went to port st. joe last weekend to set up two more field experiments. chad joined me. i missed what i've heard was a great hockey game saturday night between the (kinda sucky) flyers and the rangers, but chad and i did get to watch the lightning game, since port st. joe is in florida, and the local cable carries sunsports. (former ice pilot) ryan craig has got to be a freakin hero in tampa right now, since he's apparently the only member of the lightning who can score. well, fedotenko did score that one goal... anyway, i was proud. i was pissed that chad and i decided to watch the flyers/pittsburgh game thursday night instead of the lightning game (which they won in a shootout, and in which ryan craig scored both lightning goals in regulation). man, did that flyers game ever suck! what the hell was robert esche thinking? he was terrible in that game, and he hasn't played since. the game tuesday was good... niittymaki played well, and the flyers actually pulled off a win at madison square garden. maybe they should make that their home arena. they can win in that building. niittymaki also played well last night against montreal. his teammates just can't seem to score.

anyway, the day after chad and i came back from PSJ i received an email from DEP andy saying that our deminimus exemption is in the mail. i was excited that he came through for us... and that i hadn't just set up illegal field experiments. i'll be going back to PSJ week after next to sample. i'm in the process of begging for help. i think i have a taker. the problem is that i have to be gone for three days, and a lot of people are taking classes and thus don't have three consecutive days to spare.

i've been working on stats from my spain project with kelly a lot. we worked on it all day yesterday, and we're meeting tomorrow after our lecture to start on the presentation. today i finally got around to taking the boater safety certification exam to get my vessel operator's license. i kicked its ass, if i do say so myself. now i won't be completely clueless when i take the motorboat operator certification course next week. let's just hope i don't crash the trailer into the dock.

in more exciting news, the fedex guy delivered my flyers tickets today. they're so pretty... all nice and season ticket-y looking. there's a picture inside the wachovia center on them. section 109 row 12 seats 1 and 2. i can't wait til march.

chad and i also decided that we should take another day trip to atlanta this hockey season to see the lightning. or if you prefer, Ryan Craig vs Glen Metropolit. i wasn't even aware that metro was playing for the thrashers this year until i was watching a game the other day, and the announcers said his name about 5 times in a row. and then he scored the most beautiful goal against boston last night. i was all like, "hey! i took a picture with him when i was 14!" anyway, if anyone cares to join us for a marathon day either the day after christmas or a thursday in february, tickets were pretty cheap last year. they have a good college discount. i think it's two for one, so two tickets (pretty good seats, too) were only about $75.

well, that's all for now. adios!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ha Ha, Bitches!

so, kelly and i had our meeting at the DEP office in pensacola today. it was pretty much a big fat waste of time. at least we got a hot lunch date (with each other) out of it. but i so could have used that time to do something else, and everything that was accomplished could have been done over the phone. at least our new friend andy (DEP guy) was nice.

so, we started the day by picking up the sea lab car and taking the 9:30 ferry to fort morgan (which doesn't really save a lot of time, but it saves mileage on the car) and driving from there to downtown pensacola. we scoped out the building where we would meet our new buddy andy then headed over to mcguire's for lunch. kelly's boyfriend was a teeny bit jealous when she told him she had a hot lunch date... but he cooled off when she told him it was with moi.

kelly had never been to mcguire's before, and she totally dug it. we split a plate of nachos. kelly actually thought that i was exaggerating when i described the sheer massiveness of mcguire's nachos... until she spotted the waitress coming with our food. we barely put a dent in them, and each of us walked away with a full to-go box. but they were delicious. and the sea lab car now reeks of nachos.

anyway, after lunch we headed back to the DEP office at the governmental center for our 1 pm meeting with andy. pretty much, he asked exactly what we need to do, how much seagrass we need to take and why, what our exact methods are, etc, etc. so we told him. and i informed him that the total amount of seagrass we will need from all three bays is 3 square meters or less. and even that will be collected over the course of a year and from different places. his reaction: 'what? that's it? this is what all the fuss was about?' and then he said that we don't even need a permit. ahhh! wtf?!? i've been going through all this shit for 4 freakin' months, and i don't even need a freakin' permit?!? nope. instead, he's going to give us what's called a de minimus exemption. basically, that means that the amount of seagrass that we're taking is so small that it will pretty much have as much impact on the grass beds as a vacationer walking through them. all we have to do is email him a map of our specific sites, GPS coordinates (which they already have, 'cause i sent them to the last guy that told me the permit was practically in the mail), and a written description of exactly what we're doing at each site. no bigee. kelly and i will do that tomorrow. but i won't be truly happy until i am holding the exemption form in my hand. i've been promised results before, and to no avail. i'm trying to have faith in you, andy my friend, but i've been burned by the DEP before.

so, after a half hour conversation that could have taken place over the phone, kelly and i proceeded to miss the 2:45 ferry back to dauphin island and thus were forced to go to the fort morgan marina for ice cream and fuze drinks (they're supposed to be vitamin-packed and good for you). then we caught the 4:15 ferry back to the island.

end of story.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

In the Mood for Change

as you may have noticed, i woke up this morning feeling the need to make some changes. so i started with my blog template. after a year and a half of the same old template, i decided that my blog needs a fresh look. and i also decided to change my profile pic. i did this several times before sticking with the one you see here. it may change again soon. i have several pretty good ones. i might also change my facebook picture, even though i really dig the one i have on there now. nicole calls it a sex kitten picture.

i don't know about that. i took it sitting in front of my couch while wearing absolutely no makeup. can one be a sex kitten without makeup?

anyway, i am also planning to start seriously decorating my house. as soon as i find the time. damn, i'm going to be busy for the next month. see, i'm still dealing with the damn DEP in florida. i still haven't gotten that last permit that i need. and half the stupid DEP quit. and they switched our permit application from the panama city office to the pensacola office without telling anyone. anyway, we're meeting with those idiots tuesday to straighten this business out. then next weekend it's off to port st. joe with me to set up two field experiments. and i have prep work and data analysis from maine and spain. my spain presentation is october 27 (same day as the pilots home opener). i'm also taking the motorboat operator class at DISL so i can learn to drive a boat... and back a trailer. that's in the middle of the month.

ooh, i ordered almost 250 prints of pictures from maine and spain, so nessa and deva, you guys will have lots of photos to peruse when i see you guys again. i've got a ton on shutterfly, too. between the two trips, there are nearly 1000 photos total. we pooled all of our pictures, so i have access to everyone's, not just mine.

ok, that's enough for this morning. hope you guys dig the new template.