Sunday, December 21, 2008

Deer Mouse: The Grim Reaper of Rodentia

My mom always told me that I worry about things I shouldn't be worrying about. And the things I should be concerned about, I could care less.
So true.
I wish I could stop it, but it's just who I am. And though I have come to accept my personality, it still doesn't change the fact that it can be frustrating and completely debilitating sometimes.
I worry. Worry about me, worry about you. Worry about freekin' tidal waves and cancer
(but I feel the cancer worrying is totally valid).
But today's worry REALLY takes the cake.
I was watching TV in my half built abode when my eye caught a darting movement. It was a little mouse eating Daisy's bird seed she had discarded and I squealed. Not because it creeped me out, but because it was so damn cute. It had cute eyes that bulged out of its head and a fluffy white belly...
Whoa whoa whoa. White belly? The secretary in my brain began going through the filing cabinet, throwing irrelevant (or perhaps relevant) information on the bottom of my amygdala. This mouse is not the average grey house mouse, I thought, don't remember what it's called but I do recall it carries a (cue scary music) DEADLY disease.
Panic mode instantly sets in. The next thing that comes to my mind is get on the internet.
Ah, the internet. What would I be without it? Probably a lady with of sounder mind. The internet is a hypochondriac's friend and enemy. Got a symptom? Look it up. A quick diagnosis with a few clicks of the mouse.
My research led me to the deer mouse. Brown, white belly, cute bulgy eyes...and just as my secretary informed me, potential carrier of the hanta virus.
The lady in my brain needed more info and my mind was cluttered with questions that needed to be filed for future use. The sponge needed soaking.
Well, calm down Katie. Let's see what the hanta virus is in the first place.
Type type type.
Hanta virus is a disease that deer mice can transmit. You get it simply by inhaling mouse poo dust.
Oh great, so essentially: Where there's mice, there's poo. Where there's poo, there's poo dust. And where there's living things, there is air that can carry the poo dust.
Okay, okay. Well probably only the elderly and people with bad immune systems get it, right?
Type type type.
Oh no, not at all! Anyone can get it, and half of those who do die.
At this point I should just stop myself from seeking any further, but I don't.
Type type type.
Oh, even if you do seek medical attention early, you can still die. And there have been outbreaks in the bay area.
My stomach is in knots. Because my eyes gazed upon a deer mouse, I am now convinced I have the hanta virus. And there is nothing I can do about it except sit and wait and realize I have no symptoms.
And if I do get it...I will be the glass half empty girl. Worrying that I will be the 50% who die. And I know it's not that I'm scared of dying, I'm scared of never seeing anyone again.
It's time like these I wish my Mom was here. Well, I always wish she was here.
But she was really the only person who could make me feel better.
She would say, "Well Katie...if you have it, then you have it. Cross that bridge when you get to it."
She'd also say, "And you want to work with wildlife?"
Yes, yes Mom I still do. Even though those little buggers can kill me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I love that she hangs out with the dogs.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spider Dump

I witnessed something crazy the other day. A big fat juicy spider taking what appeared to be a juicy spider dump. I believe it was some sort of orbweaver. Crazy though I had been watching at the exact moment it decided to take a crap. 
"Do spiders crap?" My boyfriend asked.
"They gotta get rid of waste like everyone else, don't they?" I replied.
If anyone wants to know what a spider taking a crap looks like, the spider wriggles and strains really hard, and then a few drops of clear goo fall out. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Disorder of the Colony Collapse

Einstein did NOT say this:
"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live."
A creepy story, it would be. A true story, it is not.
What is true though is that worker bees have been magically disappearing at an alarming rate since 2006 and scientists are still not entirely sure what is happening to them. They are agreeing to disagree. Some say it's just a natural cycle of bee mites or bee disease. Others say it's Global Warming. And other theories include use of cell phones and genetically altered crops. It all depends on the bandwagon you jump on. 
If you don't agree with altering crop genetics, then make sure you claim that's why the bees are dying off. If you think Global Warming is surely fucking with colony order, then say so. No science is needed. Just your opinion.
The point I'm trying to make here is, scientists need to stop bickering on why they're right and instead do some hardcore research to prove it. Or maybe everything is causing the bees to disappear and everyone's right. 
Can't all scientists just get along?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Completely Random Blog in Which I Discuss a Website and Kicking Dogs

Have you ever had a dream that somewhat correlated with what was happening to you in your real environment? This has happened to me a few times and it always involved my pets. I'll explain.
One morning, while I was sleeping in and my sister was getting ready for school, I had a terrible horrible almost real dream about a terrible horrible almost real gremlin with these big yellow eyes staring at me intensely. I woke myself up to keep me safe...only to see a pair of big yellow intense eyes staring at me! It was my sister's insane cat, Gray. She always looked at you like that when she was ready to attack. I screamed at the top of my lungs and instinctively threw my comforter at her. How in the world did my brain know she was staring at me? Or was it just a coincidence I was dreaming about something staring at me?
Case 2. Early this morning, I was dreaming about standing in the ocean knee deep and discussing with these fellas about how deep you can go before a shark attack is likely (Shoulder deep in dream logic).  Suddenly as I stood in the water, about to wake up because I don't like sharks, something brushed across my foot. I kicked like I had never kicked in my life! My dog, Oscar, began to wail. 
"Crap Oscar!" I said half asleep, "I told you I don't want you in the bed!" It was all his fault of course. Poor wiener dog, he's already got neck/spine problems enough as it is, then I go and kick him in the face! I would have much rather preferred kicking my other dog, Sophie,  who is young and hardy.
And you know how they say dogs forgive you? Well, that wasn't the case with Oscar. He didn't want to be anywhere near me in the bed. He would not lay down unless there was a barrier (my boyfriend, John) between us. He wouldn't even look at me! Can you blame him? He was just laying there minding his own business when his ear happened to lightly graze my foot then BAM! Out of left field came my foot...hard.
And that in a nutshell is the danger of having your small doggies sleep in the bed with you. 

Haagen-Dazs wants you to save the bees! And with this cute little interactive site, how could you not? Save the bees! But that's another blog.
Till next time!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poor Chimp is a bit humorous though.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Anxiety Disorder and Evolution

When my body seems like it's not helping me, I start to think why that is. Aren't our bodies (in
an evolutionary sense) supposed to keep us alive so that we are able to be fruitful and multiply? The day after I went into aniphilactic shock after taking an antibiotic called Levaquin, I felt betrayed. Why do our bodies react in this way? If I was a caveman and had no access to an epi-pen, I would be a goner! And well, that's when it hit me. In Darwin's eyes, I was not a fit person. But then again, cavemen didn't have access to Levaquin either!
"What's the evolutionary advantage of being allergic to something?" I asked my biology teacher.
"Well," she considered, "it's the body's way of telling you never to go near that allergen again."
I still wasn't satisfied. My caveman self would be dead and not get another chance to go near that allergen again.
I researched a little and stumbled upon a quote I liked:

"The important thing to note here is that... just because a feature has evolved does not necessarily mean it has a purpose." -Ethan Benatan

It still irks me a little bit though. Ever since I first learned about evolution, I think of everything biological in an evolutionary sense. It's a hard habit that I can't shake. However, I do believe another lucky gene I have received from my bloodline did have an evolutionary advantage.
I was a born strange. Everyday I thought I was dying. I thought the people at the Cheez-It factory poisoned my beloved snack. I never wanted my parents to go to a gas station because I was positive that's where murderers hung out. I was always sensitive to any environment I was in. It wasn't until I was 8 when doctors finally put a name to it. They told my parents I had Anxiety and Panic Disorder. It actually left me in peace for a while but then reared it's ugly head when I was in high school. Again, I felt like damaged goods. Not a fit specimen so to speak. But to make myself feel better, I came up with this theory.
Anxiety and Panic disorder would have been a good thing to have, if it did exist in caveman days. Someone who was hyper aware of their environment had a better chance of not becoming a meal than the person who let their guard down for a split second. They then lived to pass on those lovely genes to me.
But it leaves me with questions. Did some of our way ancient ancestors have any kind of mental illness? How did mental illness come about? Are we the only animals that can get this disease? What would be an evolutionary advantage to, say, schizophrenia?
These are tough questions that I think even the smartest scientists would have a hard time answering. 
About that schizophrenia thing here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Parrots are smart, that we know. But is hard to believe that they have a sense of humor? Not for the people who live in the mountains of New Zealand. While I "researched" for this blog, I came across this funny little story:
"One winter, a group of Kea at a Craigieburn Range ski hut came up with a new prank. A small gang of birds waited on the snow-covered roof over the doorway. They were alerted by a nearby sentry each time an unsuspecting occupant was about to exit the hut, and with precision timing would kick snow onto the person's head, cackling raucously. By the following winter, the trick had spread to Arthur's Pass, 30 kilometers away."

Ah, the Kea. In some ways, it looks more like a falcon with its blah coloring and longer, thinner beak. And well, it can eat like a falcon too. Kea are omnivores. They eat fruits and daisies, insects and carrion. When Europeans began to settle in New Zealand, they introduced sheep into the environment. During the harsh mountain winters, farmers would claim that they saw Kea attack the sheep's back and tear out its fat around the kidneys. This was doubted by scientists until 1993 when they captured video of a Kea attacking a perfectly healthy sheep. But for the most part, the Kea sticks to smaller animals and has taken a liking to any human food they can get. Stolen or handed to them. Their relationship with people is mixed. Visitors love to interact with these curious birds only to find that they are a little more curious than they'd like. Kea have a habit of tearing off the rubber parts of cars and pulling out the wiring of ski lifts. Not to mention those pranks they like to pull! Keep your backpacks zipped closed because these guys will pull out anything they like and fly away with it. 
FAVE FOOD: churros
HOME: Southern New Zealand
HOBBIES: talking smack about humans, organizing shiny objects by size
LIFESTYLE: dabbles in polygamy

Being evil little buggers:

Oh, but they're so cute:

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Conversation over Dinner

"Eat some ham," my Grandma said. To which I replied, "I don't eat that Grandma. I'm a...mammaltarian." I have thought about it now and realized mammaltarian is the wrong term. The word in front of tarian is the food that you do eat, not what you don't eat. So I am more of a poultrytarian. I don't know the correct term for my diet, so let's just pretend I am smart for now.
It all began about a year ago when I was happily crafting in front of my TV set. The news was up next where they promised a "shocking" video on cow torture. Naturally, I had to stay tuned and at first I regretted this decision, but now I realize it was for the best. There were video clips of these douche bags torturing sick cows at a slaughterhouse while the news anchor narrated. I wanted to puke. The guys did everything, from electocuting them, stabbing them to dragging them from forklfts. At this point in my life, I was known as the whopper queen in my family. I LOVED meat, especially cow. But I also LOVED animals. As my boyfriend watched me sob out of the blue, I made a vow to never eat cow again. My justification for this being, "I am not supporting assholes that torture cows." This vow progressed the next day into, "No mammals at all." Because pigs are smart. But that's another story.
Back to the dinner:
"Oh, so fish and poultry aren't as important as mammals?" My cousin asked. I knew someone was going to say this.
"Yes and no," I answered.
Back to the justification:
You see people, it is my personal belief that mammals are slightly more, how do I put this, magical than birds and fish. There is something special about the mom and baby bond that most mammals have. A lot like love. They have emotions. They make tools. However, a lot of birds (and some fish actually) do these things as well. But do they do it just to ensure the survival of their genes, where mammals actually love and some even laugh? I digress.
Back to the dinner:
"I'm still eating poultry right now," I began, "because I love meat. I couldn't see myself being completely without the stuff. And I try to eat free range."
All I really heard was blah blah blah coming from my mouth. I was a hypocrite. I love chickens and a thought popped in my head, "Duh Katie. You were just at the farm park a few months ago where you witnessed with your own eyes what looked like a mama hen breaking up huge chuncks of bread for her chicks to eat."
"And she didn't eat any herself," I said under my breath.
Back to the justification:
There isn't one really. Just that I'm a hypocrite. I enacted the chicken, turkey, and seafood law of 2007 because of one thing: Clam chowder. Goddamn, that stuff is tasty. And tuna...and crabcakes! Mmm. And then I started telling myself that not eating cow would be hard on my system, and that I should still eat poultry, just not as much.
The after effects:
I did notice that after a few weeks with no whoppers, I was very light-headed. Now, this might have been all in my head (haha, pun) or the lack of iron in my system was messing with me. However, I was wrong when I thought it would be hard to resist a whopper or a strip of bacon as soon as I smelled it. It was easy, and I can't imagine myself eating that stuff every again. And by the way PETA, I am not any healthier now than I was before when I would eat a whopper at least 5 times a week. In fact, you could say my health has slightly declined. My cholesterol used to be stellar, now it is a few points over.
Back to the dinner:
"Well, you need iron," my Grandma said.
"My cholesterol is bad," I replied.
"Then don't eat so much cheese," my aunt yelled.

Ah yes, did I mention I LOVE cheese. Yep, it comes from a cow, and probably extracted inhumanely but PLEASE don't take the cheese away from me! It'll be all I have left once I give up flesh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Zoology Class Fall 2004

The slightly dingbat student that the class had adopted as "that girl that always has something dumb to ask*" raised her hand in the middle of our teacher's introduction. Something declared by the teacher (who has a doctorate, mind you) didn't sit right with the front row student. "So you're saying we're animals?" She asked.
"Yes. We're animals," our teacher replied.
"We're animals?" She asked again in a tone that sounded like she was waiting for the punchline.
A look of shock, dissapointment, heartbreak washed over the dingbat's face. I remember thinking to myself, "Why is she so crushed?...and how could she not know this???" It was then that I realized there are still "those people**" in this world. The people who think they are so special, so above everything on earth (instead of one with it) that they become almost angry and defensive when it comes to certain scientific discoveries. "But that's okay," I thought, "I'm glad she's in this class because it will broaden her horizons."
A month later, the teacher was going over our first test scores and telling us what the correct answers were. "Now I noticed that all but one of you got this answer right." She began, thinking carefully how to go about phrasing her next sentence. "When I asked what the age of the earth was, I wanted the scientific answer. Now, I know that some of you have certain religous beliefs and that's great. But since this is a science class, your answer needs to be about 4.5 billion years old and not 7,000 years old. Is this okay with everyone?"
Everyone knew who that one person was and we each took a turn staring at her. The dingbat continued to look distant as the teacher talked, but she held her head proudly as if to exclaim, "Nope, no horizons broadened here."

*Alright, while I strongly believe there is no such thing as a dumb question, as I have had some dumb ones myself, this girl had REALLY dumb questions. Questions only an 8 year old should ask.

**Don't hate me. Whatever you believe is fine with me. But a science class is not the right place to hold tight to your religous beliefs. Why did you take the class in the first place? And do you realize you're being graded?