Saturday, July 21, 2007

Oh, I Knoooooow Where You At!

But I'm out of town. Which is nice and fun and all, but I opted to get my copy of Harry Potter from, which means I won't even start reading it until I get home on Monday in time to fly back to my hometown on Tuesday. So, although I will be flying without my new laptop, which will take about two weeks for me to get back, I will have the book everyone else is reading. Hooray for conformity!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Heart Finals

I have four laptops in my apartment right now, and the only one that is working properly with anything like reliability is a six year-old Mac. Unfortunately, it won't run the exam software.

My old PC laptop has started freezing periodically (most notably while trying to load the exam software for my first final of the quarter).

The new laptop needs to go see the warranty repairman 120 miles away to get the backlight behind the LCD display replaced or fixed. "You see nussing...."

The laptop the technology people kindly checked out for me has what can only be described as a lazy eye. The mouse pointer keeps wandering rightward across the screen, never to return. It's the Cleansweep Seven of laptops.

See what I did there? Not only am I pitiful and bitter, but I'm also a complete geek. Not even a clever one.

Also, all my new tutorees keep asking me what law school's like and if I like it. I realize that now is not the time for me to answer that question as the hopeful little lights fade from their youthful and untainted faces.

It's for the best that I won't be working during PC.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Don't Like Calling the Coppers--Honest!

Usually, I'm the first person to take sadistic glee in something. Calling the police on my upstairs neighbor and his "posse," however, stands as an exception. I hate doing it, but they just won't respond to reason.

Exactly one week ago, at about two in the morning, I rolled out of bed and strode into the parking lot to ask the young gentlemen to please stop making noise outside my window as I had class in six hours. They didn't, so forty minutes later, I called the local police again.

Right now, at eleven on what is for them a school night and for me finals time they are out there again. I hate it.

The thing that really gets me is that it usually isn't a party, per se. They are just hanging out. The problem is they are doing it outside of my window and not inside of the guy's apartment.

Who hangs out outside just for the heck of it when it's so muggy out that it feels like you're trying to breathe underwater?

More importantly, how in the world can I get them to stop for good (short of eviction)?
You've got to draw a line somewhere. I think that line should be, at the worst, when you can't wipe without the aid of a device.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I May Stop Celebrating Holidays Altogether

This is going to be just as bad as the picture indicates.

I spent the Fourth of July studying like a good law student. I even got up early (8:30 AM!) At probably 1 PM, I wind my way back to my room for some reason or another, and there I see it.

There is a snake in the middle of my floor. The lights are dimmed, so it actually takes me a couple of looks to see that is, in fact, what it is. Even worse, I can't figure out if it is alive or not.

Suddenly, I feel the need to call everyone I have ever known. Fortunately, Ursa picked up.

The cat, in all of her glory, has plopped down next to my little guest and is rolling around on top of it. The snake doesn't move, so I figure she must have killed it already. I lure Fatty McSwattinpaws back to the bathroom with false promises of food and begin to try to figure out what in the hell I'm going to do with a snake corpse.

An hour and a half later, this is no longer a relevant inquiry because it's freakin' gone.

This is the point at which I really lose it: There is a live snake in my apartment. In my bedroom, of all places. I let the cat out, shut her in with the snake, throw on some clothes, and evacuate to Ann's, stopping only to pick up a cake as a token of my appreciation.

Several hours later, I came home to find a very proud cat purring and rolling around to make sure that I see what she has done to her new and former friend. A married friend of mine who lives in my complex came over with her husband, and they picked it up and took it outside for me.

At least I got free hamburgers and homemade ice cream (compliments of Ann), and the cat has acquired some sense of accomplishment. Likely she won't be useful again for another two years.


So, I looked up ol' Snakey, and I found out that he was a rough earth snake. This information turned out to be interesting in two ways:

1) They are rarely seen above ground. This was a great comfort to me because clearly my first priority was to make sure that nothing like this ever, ever happened again. It is likely that he was driven up by all of the rain.

2) "Rough snakes are completely harmless if encountered, but will readily defecate (poop) on you to defend themselves. This is just a way to get larger animals to leave them alone, however, and it is hoped that you will learn to leave them alone when they do this! Although they do not strike, they do have teeth, but their mouths aren't large enough to grab human skin even if they tried!"

Of course. Of course I got the pooping snake. I've already got the pooping cat (she's a little...Golemy...about her litter box. I actually have to put her in a separate room to clean it because she gets mad that I'm taking her little treasures away). I'm really glad I didn't watch this whole thing, because I know, just as I know that the sky is blue, that the minute my cat's swats resulted in a pooping snake, she thought, "COOL! DO IT AGAIN!" (Only not in so many words. Even for a cat, she's rather dim).

I need a carpet shampooer. Now.

Monday, July 02, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green

Fiance found the article below today on Fark and just would not be distracted from poor George's plight. He kept talking about poor George's sad little face and how difficult it must be to be George. I, on the other hand, suggested that maybe there was a good biological reason why George was the last of his kind. Click on the article to view it in its original context.

I don't envy these poor zookeepers.

Search for "Lonesome George" mate is "long shot"

By Alonso Soto

PUERTO AYORA, Ecuador (Reuters) - While scientists search for a mate for "Lonesome George" -- the last known survivor of a species of Galapagos tortoise -- some say the effort to fend off extinction may be in vain.

Even if a mate is found, George has not been interested in reproducing in the past and may not know how, former keepers and others who have worked with him said.

"The search is a long shot," said Linda Cayot, a science adviser for the Galapagos Conservancy and former keeper of George. "George may be physiologically incapable of reproducing."

Until recently, George was thought to be the last member of a species of giant tortoise found only on Pinta, one of the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador.

Earlier this year, however, scientists at Yale University in Connecticut said they had found a male tortoise on the island of Isabela, another Galapagos island, that was the offspring of a Pinta male and an Isabela female. That suggests there may be Pinta island tortoises on Isabela.

But even if a potential mate is found, George has shown little interest in reproducing with the female tortoises who are kept with him in his pen at the Darwin Research Center.

"He has problems ... he probably never saw a female and male of his own species reproducing," said Swiss biologist Sveva Grigioni, who worked with George 13 years ago.

Even when younger males were introduced to the females in the pen, George failed to get the idea.

Grigioni, now back in Switzerland, said she could normally get tortoises to ejaculate within minutes, but spent months manually stimulating George and never extracted semen from him.

Age is not George's problem. He is estimated at between 60 and 90 years old, and could live to be 200 and still reproduce, scientists say.

The visual differences in tortoises from different islands were among the features of the Galapagos that helped 19th Century British naturalist Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution.

Since then, the tortoises have been hunted by pirates for their meat and their habitat eaten away by goats introduced onto the islands. George, who weighs 198 pounds (90 kilograms), was found on Pinta in 1971.


The possibility that he is not the last of his kind has drawn international notice. The New York Times expressed a fear George could lose his kudos as "the world's rarest creature," a feature that wins him donations from across the world.

"Until now he has been the main tourist draw at the Darwin Research Station, the prime example of what fund raisers call charismatic megafauna."

But for Henry Nicholls, the author of "Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon," a partner would bring more attention to the long-time bachelor and his home.

Ecuador has declared the islands at risk and the United Nations says efforts to protect them should continue. Although George was feared to be last of his particular species, some 20,000 giant tortoises now live on the islands.

"Any findings will show that rather than being a static story with a dead-end this is an ongoing novel," Nicholls said. "Nobody will forget he was and will continue to be Lonesome George."

It's Times Like This When I Realize That I Could Be Much Sneakier