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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Welcome back!

I'm back home after a week of camping in the desert and a week of failures at the Desert Outpost. It was are some high and low lights....
  • Most of what I planned and tried in the field didn't work. In the end, some data turned out ok. It isn't too exciting, but solid enough for dissertation/publication and that was all I needed.
  • The weather was more extreme than expected. 115+ on multiple days. The physically taxing work combined with the heat was rough.
  • I hardly slept at all. Lots of wind to blow the tents around and 100 degree heat at sunset.
  • Camping alone is not something I had done before or will ever do again. I had a major anxiety attack the first night and went back to Desert Outpost 2 nights early to avoid doing it again.
  • People are awesome. The staff at the site were super helpful. Another guy I have seen every summer for the past 3 years remembers me, asks great questions about my work and shared a mango with me. A local business also was very supportive and gave me great deals on supplies. Seriously. Awesome.
  • More awesome people: you might remember the worst conference ever from March. Luckily, some networking I did there payed off. Two profs, 5 students and a kid came out to help me and rocked out some data collecting.
  • I found a western diamondback rattlesnake while herping.
  • Some javelinas were all up in the neighboring campsite. Like 10 of them and they were fighting and eating up all their food. Some old dude with a thick Texas accent yelled "Git! You git outta herr!" at 2am. Hilarious.
  • Doing labwork was a comedy of errors. Running out of reagents, power outages, people I was working with getting sent home early for ridiculous reasons. In the end, none of my stuff worked but the ball is rolling and hopefully the lab will turn out my samples quickly.
  • Less than a week after I got back, V is off to his first conference! We spent the week hanging out and enjoying each others company so I am just now getting back to the blog and catching up on any blog reading!
  • I haven't been alone (well, it is just me and the pets) in my house in over 2 years! It is weird but the quiet is strangely nice. Plus, with nothing else to do, I can get some old projects done. While there is still one coat to go, our living room is almost all painted!

I can't wait to catch up on all the blogs and am very happy to be back! Exciting times- it is open season on postdoc positions....

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Blogger ScienceGirl said...

The desert outpost is rough - and I have never even tried camping there! Just hiking around all day long in that heat is crazy enough. Glad you survived!

9:22 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Wow! It sounds like you had quite the adventure there. I've never camped on my own before and I think I would've done worse than you. (But yay for getting enough data collected!)

9:25 AM  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Congrats on getting the data you needed for your dissertation. I had to look up the meanings of "herping" and "javelinas". Now I'm really curious about your research! Welcome back!

3:35 PM  
Blogger DancingFish said...

Sciencegirl- You should try it sometime. Waking up to coyotes can be cool and falling asleep under the night sky out there is just an unparalleled experiance.

Amanda- The problems camping alonr totally blindsided me. I really thought I would be fine. Yay for data indeed!

Mad Hatter- Thanks! The herping and javelinas aren't directly related to my research- just interesting distractions at the end of long days. I bet you are glad you looked up javelinas though. They are the coolest!

4:09 PM  
Blogger ScienceGirl said...

We normally stay with a relative or another there, but one of these days I hope to get to sleep on a porch of this house at the top of a mountain (we live the furthest so normally it is claimed before we show up, but I have hopes!) I agree that the night sky there is absolutely amazing, and I have spent many evenings star gazing or at the observatory.

8:06 PM  
Blogger botanybabe said...

glad you are back. sounds like you had some wild experiences. glad for that. and glad you are home safe.

11:12 AM  

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