I know I said I wasn’t going to blog today, but it’s like X-Tina says…
This might be a kind of boring post though (poppy dance music video notwithstanding). I’ve gotten a few questions lately and since I don’t respond to comments on the blog, not everyone gets to hear the answer. Most likely this is totally fine with everyone, because if you didn’t ask you probably don’t want to know, right?
Well, like it or not, that’s what’s coming at you – answers to questions you either a) didn’t ask or b) don’t wanna know about.
1. Katie, is that real?!?! Why in god’s name would you get your tongue pierced?!?!?*
Many of you noticed a bright metallic object in my mouth in the world’s least flattering photo on the internet from yesterday.
Yes, that is a real tongue piercing. I got it done when I was 18, 3 days before graduating high school. My tongue was so swollen, I could barely speak, couldn’t eat my graduation cake, and nearly forfeited my graduation present from my grandma (who’s kind request that I wait until after the ceremony I unkindly ignored.)
2. Katie, whatever is that delicious looking sauce on that bowl of beautifully steamed veggies?*
The sauce on these veggies is an eggplant-curry dip that I whipped up. It is made up of…eggplant and curry paste. I know, the people from Top Chef are sure to come a-knocking any moment now.
If you like those two things it is good, otherwise…meh.
Also, in the interest of honesty – those steamed veggies came from the hot bar at the local hippie store. I was feeling lazy after slaving over that sauce.
3. Katie, I notice that you have pipes that could scare a linebacker….what can I do to get guns like those?*
Hard work, dedication, and a personal trainer who accepts cookies as payment help, but really let’s be honest. I’m just a machine.
4. Katie, you are so smart and you are almost done getting your PhD. Can you tell us all about your research?*
First of all, I am only hoping that I am almost done. Let’s not count those chickens before they hatch, okay?
Second, to my fellow nerds (and the nerd-curious out there), the rest of this post is for you. If you don’t care, you should probably skip to the end.
Some days, I work hard….other days I hardly work.
You’re getting what I call my “elevator speech”, which is what I would say to a stranger in an elevator who asks what I do for a living.
That’s not true, actually. I’d probably just say, “I’m a student.” And then they’d look at me all aren’t you a little old to be a student? And I would notice that look and think about saying no, I’m in graduate school…geting a Phd. But I wouldn’t say that, because I think it sounds pretentious.
Looking into a nest – see the eggs?
My dissertation has three main chapters:
1. The effects of physical characteristics of nesting habitat (think thickness of vegetation, amount of water, temperature, proximity of open areas, etc.) on the likelihood that a bird’s eggs or babies will be attacked by a predator (snakes, hawks, rodents, parasitic birds, etc.).
2. The genetic structure of small, isolated groups of breeding birds. These guys nest in really small groups (5-20 birds total) that are at least 30 km from one another. This can limit the amount of gene flow and can lead to inbreeding.
We all know what happens then….
3. This is the chapter that I am currently working on. I have a ton of nesting data from birds that are marked, and I’m hoping to be able to show that females (the ones who choose the nest location) pick sites that are similar from year to year if they are successful, but move to a new location with different physical characteristics if they are lost to predators.
The bird I am studying (the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher) is endangered and their nesting habitat is being destroyed by us humans. The whole point of all my research is to figure out what they need to increase their population size, so that we can restore the habitat to what they like.
Of course, if you don’t care about birds, then my research is lame and a waste of your tax dollars. Because I am funded through the federal government. So, if I haven’t thanked you yet, thanks!
To my fellow nerds – what kind of research do you do?
To the non-nerds – how boring was that?
I’m off to a teaching conference in Phoenix, Trader Joe’s list in hand. Thanks for the recommendations!
*All questions are paraphrased and/or made up.