Friday, May 13, 2016

The Best $5 I've Ever Spent

The nature vs. nurture debate rages on, but neither are particularly friendly forces.  In the wild, baby elephants that can't keep up with the herd are left behind.  If they don't bond with their mother, there usually isn't another elephant that will feed them.  Nurture isn't that great either: baby elephants are left nosing at their poached mothers or fall down abandoned, but uncapped wells as settlements expand and contract.

In Kenya, some of the babies that are rescued end up at the David Sheldrick Center inside the Nairobi National Park, raised there by humans until they turn 4 and are slowly integrated into wild herds in one of the Tsavos.  For one hour each day, the orphans romp around in public.  The entrance fee is 500Ksh, and it's the best $5 that I have ever spent.

First is feeding time

Some decide they can feed themselves

When the milk runs out, they attack the trees
They play with each other

their caretakers

and finally their adoring fans



And then they say good bye :(

video

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bueller? Bueller?

video

What (re-)introduction can I provide that tops Dr. Frankenstein's?  None that I can think of.

I truly feel alive, again, after a school year that really did a number on me.  I survived, even thrived by some measures, but the last thing I wanted to do at any point was rehash it in writing.  But spring semester has ended, and I find myself jovial enough to reconnect with you all, on this the 7-month anniversary of my most recent post.

I scrolled backwards in my calendar and thought "wow, that stuff happened...yesterday, it seems like".  It has been an eventful ~210 days.  In very rough order:

* I became the official bunny volunteer at the animal shelter.

* I joined a community handbell choir.  The average musicianship is quite high because it contains so many ringers somehow associated with IU's Jacobs School of Music.

* I have become a dedicated fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  They play hockey well, and seem like nice enough people off the ice.  I am decidedly not a dedicated fan of the Chicago Blackhawks.  They play hockey well, but do not seem like nice enough people off the ice.  A Pens-Stars Stanley Cup Finals series would suit me just fine.

* A follow-on from that: I am learning to play hockey.  The next oldest student in my hockey class isn't in double digits for age yet.  At the beginning, I was twice as tall, but had half the skills.  However I have the advantage that I have already learned how to do complex skills with my body, and thus am just layering these new skills on top of a strong kinesthetic sense.  It's a disadvantage to be learning to stand both on the ice and off the ice at the same time.

* I joined a biomechanics study that requires me to wear a FitBit for an entire year :/

* I fostered another rabbit, this one a beautiful whiskey red colored Belgian Hare, named Rosalee.


* I broke my foot (stress fracture that felt unlike any other stress fracture I have ever had) on New Years Day.  Thanks to extraordinarily generic medical care, I was in and out of boot three times with multiple re-injuries until the second week of April.  I had originally been offered a recovery time of 4-6 weeks.  A full 18 weeks later, I am finally running 1.5 miles at a time.


* This spring semester I taught a 3 credit-hour lecture class to 221 undergraduates, while the regular professor was on sabbatical.  My sole assistant/co-conspirator was my grader, an undergraduate who took the class last semester.   Many many times I would look around and think "they're just going to like....let me do this.  Isn't anyone going to check up on me?  Hmmm, guess not."  I will never fear speaking to groups of people ever again.


* This spring semester I completed a 10-hours-per-week clinical practicum at a local high school.  Next year my clinical internship at the same site counts 20-hours-per-week.


* This spring semester I took 9 credit hours of classes that I didn't teach.


* This spring semester I taught triathlon swim lessons at the University's recreational swimming facility.


* To facilitate learning hockey, this spring semester I got a job at a skate guard (you skate during open skate to make sure the Rink Rats don't bother the nicer and less-skating-abled patrons) at the local rink.  My first minimum wage job since the summer of 2000!

* I'm sure there is more...oh yeah, I taught weight lifting at 8 am every morning.  I may have spent nearly the entire spring semester in a boot, but I was not out of shape by any definition.

A good portion of that ended last week.  Tomorrow I start summer classes.  Because of the devolving situation in Turkey, July will most likely be spent in Israel.  Mom and I intend to revive the "Best of the West" tag in August before fall classes start.  


WARNING: For the next couple of weeks I am going to be posting about last summer's trip to Africa.  I need to get those posts and pictures secured somewhere that isn't my head.
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