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The Mind of Cillana
11 most recent entries

Date:2006-08-15 23:15

Wow, I haven't written on this thing in soooo long.

I got a new rabbit last September. His name is Jerry Maguire. My other rabbit, Q-Tip, hates him. I tried to get them to bond, but eventually gave up. I just let them out to play at different times. I love them both so much. I squishy they cheeks! *kissy noises*

School is good. I finally got my GPA back up to a 3.0. Just one more semester to go. I'm graduating in December. I took Ornithology last semester. I used to be a pretty casual birder. Now I'm like EXTREME BIRDING!!!! I also volunteered to help catch and band birds. I want to go again this winter.

My plan for a field job this summer fell through. I did manage to get another lab/microscope job though. I did find an awesome two week field job (this week and next) that I so wanted to go on, but unfortunately I've been having inner ear problems since around July 1st. I decided I'm not well enough to driving up and down the Atlantic coast catching fish in the marshes. Some days I can't even handle my lab job. My ENT couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I'm going to see a vestibular specialist at the end of August. I need to know if he can fix me before I make any big plans for after graduation.

Date:2005-07-03 19:22
Subject:2nd week at LUMCON
Mood: accomplished

Monday: We went out on the RV Acadiana out past all the islands into the deep blue Gulf of Mexico. We caught lots of different crabs and shrimps in the trawl net. We also got a bunch of ctenophores and squid and an huge spotted australian jellyfish. We caught some small fish that we threw over board. Just about all of the them were eaten by the dozens of gulls and two huge amberjacks (little cousin of the tuna) that were following us. Almost everybody (including the teachers but not the captain of the boat) fell asleep on the way back. Jeane, Leah, Malorie, and I fell asleep on the bow of the boat and got really sunburnt. Jeane and I were the worst since we're so pale. We did put sunscreen on and reapplied. Just not enough times apparently.

Tuesday: There was an alligator in the parking lot before class. We got to see some old guys wrangle it. They tyed it's mouth and legs up and hauled it down the road to release it. It wasn't a real big one, but big enough that you wouldn't want it to get a hold of your leg.

Wednesday: We went to Isles Dernieres (Last Islands) on a small but really fast aluminum boat. We had to hold on real tight so we wouldn't fall overboard. On the first island we went to we ate lunch and picked up a bunch of seashells on the beach and chased down ghost crabs. Damn they're fast! On the way to the second island, we had a pod of dolphins come just a few feet from the boat. They were soooo cute!!!! There were baby dolphins!!! There's no dredged channels or docks for this island so we had to anchor way out in the water and walk to the island. We picked up a bunch of hermit crabs in the shallow water at the beach and used our yabby pumps to suck ghost shrimp out of their burrows in the sand. There were a bunch of tiny shorebirds running around the island going "peep! peep!". I think they were sanderlings. There was a willet flying around yelling at me. I guess I got too close to her nest. We walked to the other side of the island (the gulf side) and played in the waves. We were having too much fun and didn't want to go back, but eventually our teachers said that we had to get back in the boat or they would leave us.

Thursday: Somebody caught a baby alligator and we all posed with it for pictures. They're so cute when they're little.

Friday: We drove to Port Fourchon on the other side of Terrebonne Bay. LUMCON has a camp there that we stayed at. We collected some crabs and snails at the waters edge around the camp. I found a really big sea anemone. I sliced my thumbs on oyster shells trying to get the anemone. After that we ate boiled blue crabs and brown shrimp that were caught a couple hours earlier right there at the camp. I don't like crab, but the shrimp were really tasty. I had to wear rubber gloves since the salt and spices kept getting under the bandaids on my thumbs and it really hurt. We found a few tiny crabs and mantis shrimp that got caught with the brown shrimp and accidentally boiled. After dinner we went to the beach. There are a lot of rock jetties on the beaches at Port Fourchon, so we got to see new animals. We went out on the rocks and counted barnacles, oysters, and snails in quadrants. The waves were really strong and it was hard to stand up sometimes. Nyah slipped on an algae covered rock and cut her leg on a barnacle. I slipped in the mud behind the rocks and just fell on my butt. After that we walked down the sandy part of the beach with flashlights and headlamps (it was getting dark by then). We looks in the shallows for anything different. We sucked up stuff with yabby pumps again but just got more ghost shrimp. On the way back we walked along the sand dunes and randomly chased and terrorized ghost crabs. Back at the camp we watched Finding Nemo before going to bed.

Saturday: After having breakfast at the camp we went back to LUMCON then I drove back to Baton Rouge and played with bunbun. :)

Date:2005-06-25 12:23
Subject:1st week at LUMCON complete
Mood: optimistic

Thursday we went out far into the marsh on the pontoon boat and studied marsh periwinkle snails. Jeremy and Jeane were in my group and Nyah, Evelyn, Malorie, and Leah made up the other group. We waded through the shallow water in jeans because the saltmarsh grass is sharp. I cut my thumb and arm on it trying to pick up snails. I almost poked my eye out too. We marked off sections with hula hoops and counted how many snails were on the grass stalks in the hoop and how far up the stalks they were. We also measured wind speed, humidity, and temperature at different heights in the grass. Fire ants tried to sting me through my pants. At one point I looked down and there was a crab clinging to my jeans. Jeane found a huge spider on her pants and freaked out. Jeremy got ants in his pants. The sulfur smell was really bad in one area. Especially since we had to lean down towards the mud and water to pick out the snails as we counted them. I got light headed towards the end and had to go sit down. After that we went back to LUMCON and did the same thing in the marsh right next to the dorms. No ants there but I found a hole. I took a step and fell in the water up to my hips. It was too muddy to get a good footing so Jeremy had to pull me out. He had managed to step over the unseen hole when he was walking in front of me. I got first dibs on the shower after class since I was the muddiest.

Friday each group made graphs and powerpoint presentations with our snail data. We presented them in the autotorium that they use for broadcasted classes in the spring. There is a slight delay between what we do, what's on the screen, and what's on the image of the screen on the screen. We were cracking up playing with the delayed images while we were waiting for the teacher to get his laptop so we could start our presentations. Malorie was doing the wave all by herself. After that we went back and cleaned up the lab. I tried to rescue some dwarf livebearers to take home but I didn't have nets to catch them with. I ended up with a male and female and two unknown fish. I think I hurt the female getting her out of the metal sieve. She started to go belly up when I was getting ready to leave so I poured everybody out into the pond behind the dorms. I think I'll go back some other time when I'm not in class and try to catch some with nets.

I got home Friday night around 9pm and bunbun didn't look too happy to see me. I think he was mad. So I took him out and we snuggled on the couch while I watched Animal Cops Houston (they rescued 55 bunnies, so cute!). He must have forgiven me though because this morning when I walked into the livingroom, he ran around in circles in his cage as he usually does when he first sees me in the morning or when I get back from spending the weekend at my parents' house.

Date:2005-06-23 07:28
Subject:LUMCON Chronicles Continued
Mood: relieved

Wednesday we didn't go out in the field. We identified and preserved specimens collected the day before. We also discussed a research paper that we read the night before. After dinner we decided to go see Batman Begins. I developed a migraine during the 30 minute trip to Houma. I had to make Malorie pull the car over at McDonalds in Houma so I wouldn't puke. After catching my breath and splashing cold water on my face, I decided to switch vehicles and ride with the other half of the class in Jeremy's jeep. The weird smells in Malorie's car weren't helping things. At the theater I ran around asking strangers for pain killers since I left mine in my booksack back at LUMCON. Eventually I gave up and tried to enjoy the movie despite the sharp pain above my right eye. It was really good. I think maybe the best of all the Batman movies. On the way back, I rode with Jeremy again tried to keep my eyes glued to the outside so I wouldn't get sick. It was kind of hard since it was dark so I couldn't see much and I was having trouble keeping my eyes focused since I was so tired. I had to make them stop about half way back so I wouldn't puke. I fell asleep as soon as I hit my bed.

I feel much better this morning. :)

Date:2005-06-22 07:33
Subject:More adventures at LUMCON
Mood: chipper

Let's see... Monday we went to collect crabs on a mud flat and a rocky shore. I got stuck in the mud several times, once above my knees. I slipped on an algae covered rock and fell on my butt while trying to catch sea roaches (crustacea: isopoda). We finally realized they were impossible to catch by hand so we just picked up a rock they were all hiding under and took the whole rock with us. We all got very dirty but had lots of fun chasing after the crabs and trying to avoid getting pinched by the really big mud crabs and blue crabs (the fiddlers and baby crabs don't hurt). Also, I added a new bird to my life list. Standing out on the balcony of my dorm I saw black necked stilts for the first time.

Tuesday we went out on a pontoon boat and did mud grabs, plankton tows, bottom trawls, and water samples at 5 different locations progressing up a bayou. We didn't get much in the mud grabs, just a few polychaetes (marine worms) and about a dozen small clams. We got a lot of little tiny crustaceans in the plankton tows as well as a few ctenophores (jelly animals). The first bottom trawl we got over 70 blue crabs, about a dozen brown shrimp, a few mud crabs, a pistol shrimp, and an old crab trap. We caught a few fish too but they got thrown over board since this is an inverts class. We tossed the blue crabs too. They are so common that they aren't worth saving for specimens or to put in the aquariums in the lab. Some were pretty big though and if we had had enough icechests we could have kept them to eat. :) In the second trawl we caught a few more blue crabs and fish, TWO old crab traps, and a TIRE!!! We nearly destroyed the net getting the old broken traps off so we decided not to do any more trawls since the farther upstream we went the more civilization and more junk in the bayou we found. The tire was crawling with baby mud crabs. It was covered in oysters, mussels, and barnacles. We also picked up some clumps of water hyacinth. There were lots of little crustaceans and insect larvae living in the plants. We also got some dwarf livebearers. I had been wanting to collect some of these cute little fish to keep in an aquarium. I think I'm going to take them back with me on Friday. I added yet another bird to my life list. I saw a black-crowned night heron for the first time. I didn't get sick on the boat, but afterwards I couldn't stop swaying to the rythym of the waves and got a bit queasy.

Date:2005-06-19 22:19
Subject:First Day at LUMCON
Mood: ecstatic

A few weeks ago I met a girl on facebook that is in both my classes this summer. Her name is Malorie. She goes by mally_moe on LJ. We followed each other to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON). After driving really for 2-3 hours and getting a little lost, we arrived at the end of the earth aka Cocodrie, Louisiana. We start 6 weeks of marine field classes tomorrow morning. After attending orientation and getting a tour of the facility, we started to get to know the other people there. There are a total of 6 girls and 1 guy in the Marine Inverts class that starts tomorrow. My roommate is named Jeane. Like me she's into birdwatching and has a bunny back at home. Malorie and her roommate Leah (also from LSU) share a bathroom with us. The other two girls in our class, Evelyn and Nyah, share a room across the hall. The guy, Jeremy, is in the boy's wing of the dorms.

There are fiddler crabs running around everywhere. It's hard not to step on them. Some guy from the other class, Intro to Marine Zoology, caught a big speckled kingsnake and we held it and petted it. It didn't try to bite at all. We had pizza for dinner. The dorms are really nice. One entire wall is one-way glass and looks out onto the balcony and across the marsh. Jeane, Leah, Malorie, and I went to Walmart to get snack food. We had to drive all the way back to Houma, about 30 minutes away to reach civilization. Well there are lots of houses on stilts and shrimp boats out here but not much else.

Date:2005-06-14 22:37
Subject:I'm baaack!!!
Mood: dorky

Yes, now that I'm finally done with my amphipod project, I may actually have time to write on this thing again. And *gasp* actually update my photo gallery. I still haven't gotten a new camera, but I have a back load of pics to post on my gallery. Yes, I broke my Olympus C-740UZ on my trip to Shipp Island, MS. I want to get a new Olympus C-765UZ since it will only cost a little more than it would cost to get my old camera fixed. I want to hurry and get it so I can take pics at my summer field classes (start on Monday), but I'm afraid if I spend all my money on a new camera, something may come up this summer when I'm not working. As for the fall, another Prof. wants me to come count crustaceans for him. Apparently he heard that I'm really good at it. O_o I'm not sure if I want to do that since I have a ton of labs to catch up on next year. Maybe I can get a job at the library and study when no one is looking.

I've been rewatching old Inuyasha episodes and decided I was curious enough to try to figure out what the two species of birds in the intro are. Sorry, no screen caps. The birds playing in the puddle (about 00:18) are Parus major or the Great Tit. The huge flock of birds flying when Inuyasha is standing on the cliff (about 00:50) are Bombycilla japonica or the Japanese Waxwing. You can see some nice pics of these and other japanese birds at this site.

Date:2005-04-12 17:30
Subject:busy busy...
Mood: busy

I managed to survive my Physics and Oceanography tests today. Wee!

Now I have to prepare for SARs in Marine Vertebrates class tomorrow. No, not the disease... Stock Assessment Reports. I have to do a 5 minute speech on the current stock of Sei whales. I hate talking in front of people. Yeah, there are only 7 other students in my class, but I still don't like it.

I also have to go find some articles at the library about my 15 amphipod species to use to help write the report for my independent research project. It's hard to believe I've been identifing, sorting, and counting these little crustaceans for almost a year now. Now, I'm like, "OH SHIT!!!! I have to be done in less than two months!!!!" I'll be getting paid for 4 weeks this Friday instead of two because the damn secretaries lost my time sheet and I didn't get paid last time! I'm so broke... I had to spend all the money my grandparents gave me for good midterm grades and my tax return on the pet deposit for the apartment I reserved for August.

Date:2005-04-12 10:00
Mood: confused

My angst tastes like...
Find your angst's flavor

"Sour yet intriguing, your angst is of the romantic variety. You probably spend a good portion of your time daydreaming about that one person you want, how your first date would be, how you'd love to do certain things, and above all how everlastingly happy you would be together. While there's nothing wrong with this, you know that it's unhealthy to spend too much time dreaming and not enough time in reality, and to build lofty goals and fantasies that no actual person could ever hope to achieve. Try to center yourself and cut back on time spent in your fantasy life; you may find out all that experience creating romantic moments has made you quite the charmer if you would only try!"

Okay... O.o I guess that sounds like me... kind of... I do like limes though. ;)

Date:2005-04-11 17:25
Mood: sad

There are cute cows in the field behind my apt. Usually they are way on the other side but they are hanging out by the fence now. It's raining and most of the trees are by the fence. They're talking to each other. Kawaii!!!! I peeked at one through the teeny cracks in the fence. Then I said in my normal soft voice, "Hi cows." She freaked out and bounded off. Cows don't like me!!!!!

Date:2005-04-11 12:07
Subject:I'm new!
Mood: excited

I'm new to LJ so be gentle!

Time for lunch. I'm making frenchbread pizza. Yum!

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