Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why British Airlines Rocks (And I'm about to pass out)

Well, I'm in London. I haven't slept in longer than I can remember so please excuse any typos here...I'm writing this on borrowed internet time.

British Airways was training security personal. Training them to take everything out of my overstuffed bookbag. That's been the only bad part of the trip, everything else has been decently smooth. My plan to meet up with the two other students flying through London were messed up because I had to go through immigration in London to check and recheck my bags so this has been stressful and keeping me from sleeping in the really nice 'quite room'. A very nice woman at KLM check-in desk checked my bag at 9 am local time...even though I wasn't supposed to be allowed to check in until 3 PM local time. I just hope my bag makes it!!!

Top 5 reasons why British Airways rules:

5) The food. The food was awesome. They served me a hot dinner complete with chicken, mashed potatoes, and carrots. On top of that was a really good bread roll with butter, a very fresh salad, a decent piece of cheese cake, AND a candy bar. Wow. After all that it was tea time. Tea time...was awesome. A few hours later I was eating the breakfast croissant they served with strawberry jam. Then it was Tea time again! Did I mention the tea was served in little actual tea cups? I stole those for the trip. Love the british....that takes me to number 4. I started this trip at 138.8 pounds, I don't think I've lost that yet.

4) The British accents. Enough said.

3) Really nice seats with all sorts of headrest options. Nice pillow and blanket. Air Conditioning...which I will miss terribly. And free headphones....on to reason number 2.

2) Personal touch screen TV in seat. Not just that, it had a decent music selection, 70 movies to choose from (I watched There Will Be Blood....I give it a 7/10) and an Indiana Jones style trip tracker with a countdown to arrival. It also told me all kinds of cool stats (I was at 35050 ft going 568 mph)! Best of all, a little movie detailing how immigration would work in the terminal I was to arrive in.

1) The person I was seated next to. A hardcore creationist who couldn't understand why I would ever want to go to Kenya. We chatted for 15 minutes, then she popped two Valium and slipped into a little medical coma for the rest of the trip. Does this count for British Airways? Why not?

Hi Mom!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Field Guide to the Scorpions of Kenya

Things are starting to get very exciting and hectic with just a few days left before I leave for Kenya! Thanks to a lot of help from fellow Cornell entomology major and scorpion enthusiast Anthony Auletta I was able to finish a project I've been hoping to accomplish for a few months. Scorpions are a relatively unstudied group taxonomically and no good field guide exists for Kenya or any of the surrounding countries. We spent several hours scouring the internet and primary literature to complete a useful field guide to the known scorpion species of Kenya. This will be an invaluable tool for me in the field as I attempt to identify and photograph the majority of known Kenyan species. I'm making the guide available for download here for anyone that is interested. (Enter the three letter code in the upper right region of the screen to begin the free download: appx 45 mb)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fun Homework

Thanks to Stephanie's mom I'll have a great macro-lens for the Kenya class. Of course, I've never shot with a macro-lens before so I had to learn to use it. So homework for this weekend is practicing on local insects.

Convergent ladybugs....converging.

Scorpion face.

Crane Fly.