What do you expect for $8.56?

You haven’t seen me in a while, but trust me when I say that my hair was getting quite unruly. It was half-way down my back, full of split ends, generally in bad shape. So I had to get a haircut. Except for that I’m woefully broke. See the problem?

But there is no problem! Because good old Ames has it’s very own beauty school, where not only is everything dirt cheap, but Iowa State students get an additional 30% off the cheapness. So for a mere $8, I got my haircut.

And it’s pretty bad. For better or worse my hair is of the variety that it’s really hard to screw it up too badly, but it also takes a certain something to make it look particularly good. I would give this cut about a 4 out of 10 – not disastrous, but definitely not good. Not that I’m too concerned because I think I might be able to style some goodness into it. We’ll see.

Oh, the $8 haircut also took an HOUR AND A HALF. No kidding. Precious moments I could have been studying roundworms, gone forever.

Anyway, tomorrow is the annual hay ride, and I’m (excuse the farm pun) totally on the fence as to whether I’ll go or not. On the one hand, it is a fun time with friends, and I need to be careful I don’t get totally anti-social. On the other hand, it’s going to be really cold, and I have a ton of studying to do, and it really is just drinking with a bunch of youngsters. So yeah, I’m on the fence.

I’ve gotten busy all of a sudden with school. There’s a Pathology exam Monday and Parasitology on Tuesday. I’m not horrified at the thought, but it’s going to be a lot of studying. And in microbio (the study of bacteria, if you will), we’re given two unknown bacterium and have to go through various steps and tests and trials to figure out what they are. One I’m reasonably sure is Streptococcus dysgalactae (causes mastitis in dairy cows), but I’m not too sure about the second one. I really want it to be Bacillus anthracis (yes! Anthrax! They let me play with Anthrax! Not to worry, it’s a pretty non-pathogenic strain of the stuff, but bad all the same), but I’m afraid that it’s going to fail it’s penicillin susceptibility test, which would rule anthrax out and force me to go through all the other Bacillus species, if not back to the beginning entirely. It really looks like a bacillus, and anthrax is known to cause septicemia and acute death, which is my history, a cow feeling ill and then dying hours later, but anthrax is susceptible to penicillin, so you see if my unknown tests not to be susceptible then it is not anthrax. Really, I kind of love micro, as you can see there is lots of figuring and problem solving and reason that appeals to me. But things aren’t black-and-white all the time so it can be discouraging. For example, the first thing we have to determine is are the bacteria rod-shaped or round? And while round usually is clearly round, rods aren’t always rods and are often more round than anything. Annoying. And if I called my hopefully-anthrax-unknown a rod but it was really a circle, then I have to go back to the beginning and start over which is annoying. But I really am pretty sure it was a rod. And it does LOOK like gracillis. Ok, I will now end the geekiest and most boring paragraph I’ve ever written.

But while I’m on the subject, let me just comment on how difficult it can be to use my words this semester. Even the little ones are irritating and not-pretty…for example, say this a few hundred times: “Is this a coccus? I can’t tell if it’s a cocci or a rod!”. But it’s really the long things that are difficult, and as a result, harder to memorize. Erisipelothrix rhusiopathiae is another possibility if that unknown isn’t anthrax, Parelaphostrongylus tenuis is a roundworm found in the brain of white-tailed deer and Ancylostomatoidea caninum is the official name of your puppy’s favorite hookworm. Yuck! It’s hard enough knowing stuff in your own language – when you have to figure out how to spell and pronounce new words it just adds more unwanted complexity. Oh, and once you go from the organism to the disease the word just gets longer…and infection with A. caninum (thank God for abbreviations) is called “ancylostomatoideosis”. I think. Sorry… I guess I’m on a roll for geeky and boring paragraphs.

Ok, enough whining. Tomorrow’s my father’s birthday – Happy Birthday Dad! I hope you have a great one. xo

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