click me: She Drives Me Crazy

Hey everyone!  As you read this, I’m sitting in the Mpala Research Centre’s extensive library, i.e. one of the hotspots for Wifi on-site.  Interestingly, in addition to its numerous books on Kenyan ecology and critters, it houses an impressive collection of CDs from the past 30 years or so.  I’m currently eyeballing a lone copy of Fine Young Cannibals’ 1988 album, “The Raw and The Cooked”.  Next to it is Tracy Chapman’s “New Beginning”.

Conclusion: the MRC is basically summer camp, only with more science and fewer waterfront sports.

I’m writing a blog post currently, 10pm on a Wednesday with a 7:30am meeting waiting for me, because we watched a scary movie on base this evening after dinner. I know. I know. Let’s play good-idea-bad-idea. YOU GOT IT: bad idea. It was actually a terrible movie and most people wouldn’t be scared of it.  But anyone who’s ever attempted watching a horror film with me knows that EVEN IF my logical brain can recognize a genuinely bad scary movie premise, I will sit there and think, “yes, yes; now is when I die going to the bathroom from my room to get a drink of water.” Add to that a 200m walk outside back to the cabins from the library, and you might as well just sneak up behind me and yell “BOO” because I’m honestly expecting it. Anyway. Here I am, trying to distract myself from my creeping terror by talking about science and nature. In terms of my project: things are still moving slowly, but I think I’m making headway. I’m hoping to get the litter decomposition bags out in the field by the end of this week, if not the very beginning of next week. I’m also hoping to get more soil sampled soon, so I can test out different kinds in our carbon analyzer; my goal with that is to compare soil respiration rates between plots that allow herbivores, and those that exclude all herbivores (except the rodents and the insects, which of course aren’t excludable…even if you really wanted them to be, or so I hear from grumbling grad students).

In the meantime, here’s a photo update.  I’ve put in some portraits that I’ve taken; I love portrait-taking, and I have a bunch more, but I’m realizing that I haven’t asked permission to put a lot of them online.  So I won’t.  But just…imagine a lot more!  Of different people!  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

thatstheticket

...what I did today.  Try and fail to fix old crumbly plastic screws.
…what I did today. Try and fail to fix old crumbly plastic screws.
well, fine, if you feel that way about monkeys then.
well, fine, if you feel that way about monkeys then.
my evening, ladies and gentlemen.
my evening, ladies and gentlemen.
the MRC at dusk
the MRC at dusk
I got a hankering for apple pie one night, so I made some.  Altitude + no recipe + limited supplies + sweetened with banana when I couldn't find sugar + then finding sugar when it was too late = zero hopes for this pie.  Therefore wine.
I got a hankering for apple pie one night, so I made some. Altitude + no recipe + limited supplies + sweetened with banana when I couldn’t find sugar + then finding sugar when it was too late = zero hopes for this pie. Therefore wine.
but actually, it looked okay...?
but actually, it looked okay…?
honestly this was so wildly surprising: it tasted pretty good!
honestly this was so wildly surprising: it tasted pretty good.  Solving sweet tooth issues, one pie at a time.
I'm going to write an etiquette book called The Care and Keeping of Your Carbon Analyzer.
I’m going to write an etiquette book called The Care and Keeping of Your Carbon Analyzer.
waiting for all the pizza to come out before we ate it.
This was when we went into town to run errands, and ended up at the only REAL pizza place in all of Nanyuki: this random stone-oven pizzeria run by an older Italian man.  We obviously had to get everything.  This is Georgia and Michelle waiting for all the pizza to cook before we ate any of it.  (Spoiler: we did not wait any longer after this.)
Genuine Italian pizza in downtown Nanyuki: who would have guessed?
Genuine Italian pizza in downtown Nanyuki: who would have guessed?
The aftermath, when we realized we'd ordered an entire 1.25 pizzas per person.
The aftermath, when we realized we’d ordered an entire 1.25 pizzas per person.
Make way for ducklings!
Make way for ducklings!  Outside the pizzeria.
Mt. Kenya is somewhere over there.  In the meantime, here are Grace and Matt.
Mt. Kenya is somewhere over there. In the meantime, here are Grace and Matt.
GOOD MORNING WORLD.  The view from my dining room window.
GOOD MORNING WORLD. The view from my dining room window.
my whip.
my whip. *brushes dirt off shoulder*
The rhino conservancy a few miles down the road.
The rhino conservancy a few miles down the road.
This photo makes these folks look descended from the heavens.  What you can't see is the massive bowl of popcorn they were semi-fighting over.
This photo makes these folks look descended from the heavens. What you can’t see is the massive bowl of popcorn they were semi-fighting over.
Grace at sundowners: Eagle Scout rock.
Grace at sundowners: Eagle Scout rock.
GIMME A RING, GUYS
GIMME A RING, GUYS
soka (soccer) on the village field before dinner.
soka (soccer) on the village field before dinner.
shooting other rocks, if I'm remembering correctly.
shooting other rocks, if I’m remembering correctly.
gazing into the distance.
gazing into the distance.

I’ll be back with an update on what I’m doing, science-wise, tomorrow!

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