Monday, June 25, 2007

8 Random Facts

Ricardo from My Biotech Life tagged me with the "8 random facts about me" blog meme. OK, you asked for it...

Here are the rules:

  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
  1. When I was younger I wanted to be a medical doctor. A short stint as a phlebotomist in a hospital convinced me otherwise. Let's just say the glamorous portrayals of medicine in popular culture are somewhat exaggerated.
  2. I've always had a penchant for unusual pets. I suppose the most unusual was my pet leech. Currently my companion animals are more conventional: a dog, Sarah, and a cat, Penelope.
  3. I've held several of the "Worst Jobs in Science". Perhaps one of the worst was mosquito researcher. Does sticking your arm into a cage full of mosquitoes every day so that they can obtain a blood meal sound worth a 15k a year research assistant salary? On the plus side, I soon attained a remarkable lack of sensitivity to mosquito salival antigens.
  4. I did my MS on pronghorn behavioral ecology. My project involved spending hours observing pronghorn through a spotting scope waiting for them to defecate so I could collect their scat for later chemical analysis. To this day, I get a Pavlovian response when I see ungulates defecate.
  5. On the plus side, I did get to capture a several day old pronghorn fawn while ear-tagging. To hold this skinny bag of bones, gaze into its enormous doe-like eyes and feel (and hear!) its thumping heart against my chest is still one of the highlights of my life.
  6. I've got a reading addiction; I'm a compulsive reader. Books, magazines, the backs of cereal boxes etc. I've actually been fired for reading on the job. Twice. Luckily I now work in a field that doesn't discourage reading on the job.
  7. My favorite wildlife encounter occurred on a backpack trip in Yellowstone. My friend and I spotted a grizzly sow and three (!) cubs approximately 100 m away. My friend had to stop me from approaching closer, otherwise I probably would have met the same fate as Timothy Treadwell.
  8. My favorite job was working as an Environmental Education Intern in Northern Minnesota. I taught XC skiing, snowshoeing, wilderness camping, and played "educational" games like tag and hide and go seek with grade school kids. If it wasn't for the $50 a week plus room and board, I might have made a career out of it.
I'm tagging some of my favorite blogs including, Sandwalk, Bioephemera, ERV, Interrogating Nature, Mixotrophy, Science, Politics & Religion, This Week In Evolution, and Twisted Bacteria.


  1. Number 4 just made me laugh!
    Great list!


  2. OK, John, I'm tagged. I'll do my best to keep the meme on. But... I was just wondering... twisted question, sure, but... is there any relationship between you working as a phlebotomist and your decision to have a pet leech???

  3. is there any relationship between you working as a phlebotomist and your decision to have a pet leech???

    Both were rather random occurrences. The leech was passed on to me by a former labmate. Phlebotomist? Who knows what I was thinking that summer.

  4. #4 made me think of a lab mate of mine a few years back. He was developing a method for fecal contamination source tracking using coliphages. He needed to collect fresh -ahem- material from different animals to screen for the phages. One target was seagulls. Collecting fresh material from gulls turns out to be quite easy. If you get to the beach early in the morning before a any of the birds have taken their first flight of the day and chase them. The birds will lighten the load (so to speak) before taking off.

    I've forgotten most of what I learned during my graduate work but it is good to know that the most important information has stuck with me.

    I'll write a list but tagging 8 people is going to be hard. Many of the blogs I read have already been tagged.

  5. Oh, as if I didn't have enough to do this week! ;)

    I've responded over at my blog and tagged more hapless victims. . . I agree, though, it was hard to think of eight that I don't think have been tagged yet.