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Tue, Feb. 17th, 2009, 11:26 pm

So I've just been watching "The Departed" on TV2, which is one of New Zealand's public television channels. In case you're unfamiliar with this movie, it has a lot of graphic violence and strong language. People get shot in the head with appropriate splattering and stuff, and there are (according to IMDb) 237 uses of the word "fuck" and its derivatives. I've been surprised in the past at some of the stuff that is broadcast on regular TV here, but I thought surely that this movie would have been "edited for content".

I was right, sort of.

I've seen this movie four or five times (it's a really awesome movie), so I'm pretty sure I noticed everything that was edited out, and it was all in the first ten minutes or so. They cut a few seconds off of a scene where Costello shoots two women on a beach, and they cut out one use of the work "fuck" after the cops-vs-firefighters rugby game, and they cut the line spoken by Matt Damon a moment later where he says "Fuckin' firefighters are a bunch of fuckin' faggots" or something like that. That was it. For the rest of the movie, every drop of blood and every obscenity (including the C-word) was left in. This wasn't even late at night or anything; the movie started at 8:30pm. So what was the point of the tiny bits they did cut out? Was it to tone down the beginning in case someone started watching with kids or whatever and realised it wasn't going to be appropriate? Or was it just for running time? I doubt it was since they only cut a total of maybe 10 seconds.

They did have a warning before it started that the movie had strong language and violence and was rated adults-only, and at the end they showed an address and invited people to write in and complain if they felt that TV2 had violated its broadcast standards.

Interesting, huh?

In other news, I start the 4th year of vet school on Monday. Two more years to go, people!

Mon, Nov. 10th, 2008, 05:29 pm

Can't quite bring myself to study for my last exam for 3rd year, so what do I do? I update Livejournal! For the amusement of the five or so people that might happen to read it.

So we've had a busy exam period this time around. Since Tuesday, October 28th I have taken a Parasitology written exam, a Clinical Studies written exam and prac exam (which involved doing stuff to live cows and dogs and horses and sheepses), a Pathology written exam and prac exam, a Microbiology written exam, two Pharmacology multi-choice computer tests, and one Poultry Fish and Wildlife Management and Disease (yes that is the title of the course) written exam. This Wednesday I will take a Pharmacology written exam and then I will be DONE with my third year of veterinary school! Huzzah!

Meanwhile the weather here is starting to feel more and more consistently like summer, though we still have the occasional lapse into chilliness and rain. This last weekend was absolutely gorgeous, which was good because I took Saturday evening and most of Sunday off to go with Russell to Wanganui for a family party (his uncle's 60th birthday). So I met his dad (had met his mom and sister before) and about 7 million other relatives. Seriously. His dad has four brothers and five sisters and they were all there, plus numerous cousins. And I thought I had lots of relatives! Bit scary meeting them all, but I had quite a good time. Spent the night at Russell's sister's house rather than drive back to Palmy, and I actually enjoyed playing with her kids (ten-year-old and four-year-old), which surprised me.

They had an election here in New Zealand on Saturday, and now the National Party has taken over power from the Labour Party, so Helen Clark will step down for the new Prime Minister John Key. There are other parties in the New Zealand Parliament apart from Labour and National, which are the main two; I used to understand how it works back when I took a course called New Zealand Society, but I've forgotten. At any rate, change has come to New Zealand just as it has in the US.

I hear my dog's tail thumping on the floor behind my chair, which means he is wagging while lying flat on his side, which he only does when it is time for him to be fed. Therefore I shall get up from my desk and go feed him. And then perhaps I shall try to force some Pharmacology into my exhausted brain. Two more days...

Tue, Oct. 28th, 2008, 07:27 pm

Russell brought me flowers today. :-)

Thu, Oct. 16th, 2008, 12:17 pm
Vet 4th year

This is the list of courses I take next year:

227.401 Veterinary Pathology II
227.402 Equine Clinical Studies
227.403 Health and Production in Deer, Sheep and Goats
227.404 Cattle Health and Production
227.405 Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
227.406 Pig and Poultry Health Production and Management
227.407 Veterinary Biometrics and Epidemiology

Of those, the ones that I expect will be useful to me in my future career are the pathology one, the small animal one, and the biometrics/epidemiology one.
I really, REALLY wish they would let us choose our tracks earlier in the program.

Tue, Oct. 14th, 2008, 09:44 pm
Unlucky weekend

So it was an eventful weekend for people living in my flat.

Sometime between 8pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday, my car got broken into! Bastards jimmied the lock on the front passenger door, though fortunately it still locks/unlocks using the power locks (though I can no longer lock/unlock it manually using the key). They took my radio/CD player, which I only bought in February, and my Jump Little Children CD that was in the player at the time. Nothing else was taken, not even the other CD's that were in the glove box. Also no other damage to the car, so I guess I got off easy, but it's annoying. Car break-ins are extremely common in Palmy, I think pretty much every one of my friends has had it happen at least once, and I've heard of quite a few that happened this weekend to friends or friends-of-friends. Stupid thieves. Fortunately I found the receipt for the radio, and I got my police report today, so my personal property insurance will cover it. Don't know if I'll bother getting the door fixed since it still locks and my deductible is probably more than the repair cost would be.

That's not as bad as what happened to my flatmate Leith this weekend, though: she went whitewater kayaking with an Alpine Club trip, got trapped underwater at the base of a waterfall, came very VERY close to drowning and lost half of one of her front teeth where her paddle hit her. It was all caught on video and was quite scary to watch, even knowing that she was going to be ok (albeit minus part of a tooth). Scary stuff.

There was fun stuff this weekend, too, though. Saturday night I went to a barbecue at the flat of some friends of Russell's, and I made the most awesome pasta salad. Besides pasta it contained broccoli, celery, red pepper, yellow pepper, green onion, and cherry tomatoes, with a creamy avocado dressing thinned down with a bit of rice vinegar. It was reeeeally good. The weather has suddenly gone from chilly/rainy to hot/sunny/summery in the last few days. The wisteria is blooming! I love spring.

Sun, Sep. 21st, 2008, 08:53 pm
school ugh

Been very busy with school stuff lately. We had two tests week before last, both of which were OK considering how little I studied for either. This past week we had an assignment on bovine obstetrics due, which was reasonably interesting but time-consuming. This coming week we have a scary microbiology lab test, and Friday our big assignment for pharmacology is due. That's definitely the one that's been causing the most stress; it's a group assignment to write a review of a drug (pimobendan). Sounds simple enough, except that this sort of thing has NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER being a group assignment. It just is not feasible to try to split the work for something like this between four people and have it come out as a coherent paper. It sucks. The drug is pretty cool though.
Lots of other tests and one more assignment still to come in the next four weeks, then the semester ends and we get to take our nine exams. Sigh...

Despite all this I was able to go on an excellent tramping trip last weekend. It was a trip I had agreed to lead ages ago, which is good because if I hadn't been the leader I would probably not have gone due to all the work I should've been doing, but that would have been very sad as it was a great trip. We went to the Mangatainoka Hotpools in Kaweka Forest Park. It was a four-hour drive away, mostly on crazy twisty backroads, some of which were gravel and which at one point crossed a small river without the benefit of a bridge-- there was just a concrete ford about a foot underwater to drive across. Fortunately my car survived. It was a three-hour hike after that to get to the pools, mostly along a river and a fairly easy walk, just a bit of up-and-down that made it interesting. The group was great, nine people total and I really enjoyed them all. Nice mix of old and new club members, too. I was also pleasantly surprised by the hotpools, they were actually a good temperature. There was a hut about 45 minutes' walk from the pools, but we had brought tents and the weather was good so we camped right at the pools instead. I set up my tent on a sandy beach by the river and got to listen to the water rushing past all night. It was great. Maybe I will quit vet school and just go live in a tent at the hotpools.

Wed, Sep. 3rd, 2008, 09:01 pm

I got to drive the tractor at the dairy farm today! Whee big tractor. AND I got to use the big arm thingy on the tractor to pull concrete posts out of the ground. Vroom vroom.

Sun, Aug. 24th, 2008, 06:55 pm
break time

Tomorrow instead of going to class I get to stay home and sleep in because it's the start of our two-week vacation! Well, I don't really get to sleep in because I have to be at the hospital at 8am to give platelets. And it's not really a vacation because I have to work my butt off to try to get caught up on all my study and assignments, because the second half of the semester is really scary.
But at least I don't have to go to class!

I did not study at all this weekend, figuring that I deserved at least a couple days of actual break before I get down to it. So Thursday night (yeah, I know, not really the weekend but we only had four lectures on Friday that I didn't need to be too awake for anyway) I went possum-hunting with Richard and Leith! It was reeeeally cool. We went to a forest near campus that has a couple good hiking trails and did this one called the K-Loop, which goes up along the edge of some farmland and then back down through the woods; started around 8:30pm and it took us about three and a half hours, but we were walking slowly for most of it because we were searching for possums. And we found 'em! Five of them, but two had babies so really we killed seven possums. Remember that possums do not belong in New Zealand and are evil and destroy the native flora and fauna. Plus they have really luxurious fur (these are fluffy Australian brush-tailed possums, not ugly North American opossums), and you can pluck out the fur immediately after killing them and sell it for about $110/kg. Our five possums yielded about half a pound of fur, but after a few more trips we will have enough to be worth selling. So it was a fun night of hiking and spotting possums. I even shot one myself (after Richard shot it first but it wasn't quite dead, so he let me shoot it in the head to finish it off).

Friday night was also fun, it was the Alpine Club's Annual Dinner, which is our formal dinner where we eat a nice meal and have a guest speaker and give out awards. We had an entire restaurant booked out, and the food (Italian) was excellent. The speaker was also excellent, it was a guy named Clive Jones who has climbed Mt. Everest and many other big mountains; he mostly talked about Everest and had really cool photos. The awards were good too, Hank got an award for Best Dog (he has been on several club trips), but I had to accept it for him since he wasn't allowed in the restaurant. I also got a small award for services to the club. It was also Russell's birthday that night, so I had made him a two-layer chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting (I even put writing on it!) and it was mostly shared out to people sitting around us. It was yummy. After dinner we went down to a bar in the restaurant basement, which was very crowded and had a DJ playing very loud techno music that people were dancing to. I eventually got into the dancing as there was nothing else to do and no way to have a conversation with anyone, but I was happy enough when we left to go to the Celtic. There was a live band there but it was at a reasonable volume. We hung out there until the bar closed at 2:30am, then we crammed six drunken people plus myself as driver into a station wagon and I drove around dropping people off all over town.

Didn't do much of anything Saturday, mainly due to not getting out of bed until like 1pm and then going back to bed at about 7pm. Today I had agreed to drive Sara to the airport in Wellington, which was fun because Leith and Kay came along and we made a day trip of it after dropping Sara off. We went to Wellington Zoo, which is small but was neat because Kay did volunteer work there, so she knew all the animals' names and could tell us all sorts of stuff about them. Then we went to Lush and I bought a bath bomb, and then we got gelato.

Tomorrow I must crack down on the studying. After giving platelets that is. For purposes of reminding myself, here are the things I must do in the next two weeks, in order of priority:
-read a kajillion articles about a drug called pimobendan and write a 1500-word summary of its effects on dogs that have congestive heart failure due to dysfunction of myocardial contractility
-review and memorize everything about all the bacteria we've been taught in the last semester-and-a-half of microbiology
-answer nine questions about bovine and equine obstetrics in 300-500 words each
-review and start to memorize all the drugs we've been taught in the last semester-and-a-half of pharmacology
-study for the parasitology test that is on the Tuesday we get back
-study for the poultry/fish/wildlife management test that is on the Thursday we get back
-meet with my group for the poultry/fish/wildlife poster project, decide on a topic, research it, and mostly do the poster
-study some virology
-study some pathology

That should keep me busy.

Tue, Aug. 5th, 2008, 06:37 pm
Vet plague

I think I'm coming down with this flu-like illness that's been passing around the vet students so devastatingly that we've dubbed it the Vet Plague. Grr. I hate being sick. Right now it's just a sore throat, but I doubt it's going to stop there. Various of my classmates have had symptoms ranging from high fever to coughing/sneezing to GI upset. Our lecture halls sound like tuberculosis wards with all the coughing and hacking. I just hope I'll have a mild case.

I went caving last weekend! It was fun, except for when I fell out of the bottom of a chimney and landed on some rocks and then had the girl above me fall on top of me. Many interesting bruises and sore spots from that encounter, but fortunately no real injuries.

I'm amazed at how many assignments, projects, and tests we have this semester. Normally I can get by with moderate amounts of work/study throughout the semester and then a huge constant-study marathon at the end during study week and exam period. This time, however, I am pretty much already in exam period mode and we are only three weeks into the semester. And it's going to be like that for the next thirteen weeks. Sigh...

Russell gets back from Europe on Sunday! Haven't seen him in two months.

Sat, Jul. 26th, 2008, 04:37 pm
Halfway Day

I'm halfway done with vet school! Yesterday my vet class had its huge Halfway Day outing to celebrate this fact. This was funded mostly by calendar sales, plus a few other fundraisers; in total we raised about $25,000.
Yesterday we piled onto two buses at 8 in the morning and were driven to Taupo, which took about four hours. About two-thirds of the class were dropped off in nearby Turangi for a day of whitewater rafting, while the rest (including myself) went to Taupo Airport for skydiving. I didn't actually jump because jumpers had to pay $100 of their own money (the fundraising only covered half the jump), which didn't seem worth it to me for a tandem since I've done 67 solo skydives. So instead I took over my friend Kay's really nice camera and scurried around taking a zillion pictures of everyone else getting ready to jump and landing with their tandem instructors. The weather was picture-perfect, which was really lucky since it had been cold and rainy every day for the last three weeks or so, and today was freezing cold again with sleet/snow.
After jumping the dropzone took us into Taupo in some vans; we dropped off luggage and checked into our hostels, then hit the town for a snack and took cabs out to the free hotpools in Spa Park. We had about forty minutes to lounge in the hot river before zipping back to the hostels to change for our dinner cruise. The people who had done rafting didn't get to town until 5:30, so they didn't have time for hotpools; I'm glad I went with the skydivers.
The cruise was sort of neat I guess, but not really that exciting since it was too cold to hang around in the outdoor areas, and the windows got too fogged to see anything from inside the boats, so really it was no different from having dinner in a hotel ballroom or something except that occasionally the floor rocked back and forth. The party itself was great though, lots of music and drinking and a really excellent meal followed by more music and lots, lots more drinking. We were on two boats that were tied together so there was sort of a loud boat and a quieter boat where you could actually have a conversation. The boats hung out until about 11pm and then took us back to shore, where most people continued partying at various bars in town until the wee hours. Should come as no surprise that I chose not to do this, so I went back to the hostel and slept.
Got up early this morning and braved the cold with a few other early birds to go get a nice breakfast at a waterfront cafe. I also convinced a few people to go get gelato with me later that morning, since I can't get gelato in Palmy. The gelato lady was very surprised to get any customers since there was freezing rain falling by that point. We walked back to the buses eating our delicious gelatos and got some very funny looks from people.
Bus ride back to Palmy took awhile since there was snow on the Desert Road, but it was fun anyway.
It is absolutely freezing in Palmy, I am huddled by the heater in my room waiting for the other heater to warm the kitchen up so I can go make some brownies instead of studying.

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