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Orbit [Dec. 11th, 2008|11:03 am]

We'd been running for ages. The hard vacuum was nothing compared with the harshness we'd left behind, even amidst the lush, green forests and blue streams of our home. Looking back on it now, the thought of home is just a vague feeling of loss joined with a series of images that barely make sense anymore. It's a shame how time makes us betray what we thought we'd always cherish the most. Still, we knew that there had once been a place where we had felt content, and because that vague memory had to suffice, it did. Moving through the dark, a herd of fugitives in the eternal night, we all knew that there had once been happiness. Most of us had given up the hope that there would be again.

Perish the thought! We will live to thrive again!

Open to the elements in ways that nature had never intended, our weaknesses were numberless. We barely survived. Were it not for our ancestors' evolution toward endosymbiosis, neither metabolism nor communication would have persisted after our launch into space.

We can live without these parasites. We must find another planet where we can live without their help.

It is not parasitism if they provide us with that which we cannot provide ourselves, and without which we could not continue.

It was a madness that had come over many of us, that we might find another planet as lovely as our home. No planet was as lovely as home had been.

What little we remember about our home, that is.

Between all of us, we held enough of a memory that we could piece together enough of our history that we could pretend that we remembered our own growth to maturity. Even with the several hundred thousand of us that survived, we could only piece together enough for us all to share the same constructed memories of juvenile stages and progression to maturity.

So many of us spend so much time focusing on what is lost forever. The devourer has surely consumed our home as inexorably as it had consumed our little niches by the time we launched.

Is that such an objectionable thing? We must try to remember at least a little of what we lost.

We could be using the computation power occupied with memory for projecting a better course toward a new home. Better to think forward than think backward.

Perhaps we might learn from our mistakes, and from the devourer's, by thinking about the past.

Our home had been spacious, with every imaginable type of evolutionary niche, and yet the devourer had coveted them all. All that had been left for us was to claim the only niche left to us: outer space.

We have evolved in wondrous ways because of our plight. We should view this exodus as a blessing. Our kind has never been so beautiful or varied.

It was true. Once, we had been a drab race, with hard shells, and scrabbling little bodies. Our armor sheltered us from predators and the elements as surely as it shelters us now from the lack of elements. It is even within our armor that our symbiotes--


That the source of our nourishment lives. The lack of light forces us to grow slowly, and generation times have become extremely long, but our offsprings' adaptations to space travel are glorious. Gigantic, scintillating wings! Feathery, paddled feet that help the little ones of that line move among us, gaining momentum by rapelling off of we older, denser, more momentous adults. They have eyes arranged all over their bodies, to allow them to visualize better in three dimensions, and their sensors can see in ranges only the devourer's technology had ever been known to visualize.

There, look! A planet is ascending!

The little ones can see further and in more detail than we can imagine. Their perceptions, shared as they are, were alien to us when we first became aware of them. Even now, we can only make sense of their perceptions with the most laborious of explanations.

It is not visible on the old spectrum. Is it far?

We could be there within a generation. It is very far, but if you wait a little, you'll be able to see its light when it condenses.

Have we seen anything like this before?

Only in the distance.

Isn't this one off in the distance?

Compared to the last few, this is right in front of us. We could practically use the light of this star's birth to feed ourselves.

Then we should stay here a little while.

But we must move on! The faster we fly, the sooner we'll find a new home!

In a sense, it could be that the coldness of space is our home.

Only for now.

It's true, but we have passed many stars along this voyage, in many stages of maturity.

That's true, but the relevance is not clear.

In every case, the stars seem to collect debris that we have, in every case, passed by because it was not as beautiful as our home that was. What if we waited for this star to collect enough debris to form planets and then colonized one or many of them?

That could be millions of ages from now!

Indeed, and until that time, our numbers would grow. We could colonize that planet, and allow the photosynthetic parasites from our dead to seed the nascent worlds with life that we can cohabitate with. We could live with the independent forbears of our parasites, so we could likely live with our parasites' descendants.

And until then, we could orbit this new star? The thought has merit.

How long until we reach the star?

We don't have to reach the star, just come close enough that we can live within its light. Until a planet is formed, all we need to do is orbit at a distance. In a sense, we would become a ring of planets.

A ring of tiny, green planets, with their own atmosphere and ecology locked wthin their shells.

And between those planets, us young ones can fly, as gracefully as the butterflies in the memories of our elders!

Why should we settle with only a ring? In the time that it takes for a suitable planet to form out of stardust and the thin gas of space, there will be time for us to breed enough to form a sphere of orbiting bodies! Even if we all keep the same distance from this new sun, it would take all of us to plot an orbital pattern for hundreds of millions of bodies to swim in space without colliding! What a puzzle!No more shall we be allowed to think backward in time! We shall all be forced to think forward to create a new pattern that we can ride until the time comes to settle amidst the lonely dust of a new planet and create a world for ourselves. A world without devourers. Within our minds, we carry the seeds of precisely intricate motion; within our shells, we carry the seeds that will germinate a new, green world.

At last, the hope no longer seems madness. At last, we have a plan. At last, all we need to do is wait for paradise to come to us. We will create a place for ourselves. The future is at last beautiful, free, and bright.



“Captain, I think you should come to the bridge. There's something ahead that you should see.”

“I'll be finished with this inspection and review momentarily. Can it wait?”

“It probably can, but I think you'd much rather be here to view this. We're approaching something I don't think I can describe over an intercom.”

The starcaptain paused before answering, “Thank you for the update. I'll be on the bridge at once.”

The screen hummed and beeped, translating the images from the outer sensors to images that could be magnified or enhanced in real time for human viewing. The officers and workers of the ship's control cabin stared in disbelief at the video display taking up the wall in front of them.

Surrounding a yellow sun, six planets orbited, four of which were a very familiar combination of blue and green, with shifting patterns of white floating across. Between them, delicate creatures floated on massive, gossamer wings, chasing comets and dancing gracefully together. All around was a thin haze of green and grey; the reason for the haze was enhanced in a video inset, each specimen resembling a tiny grey beetle with green, lichenlike spots.

The Captain stepped onto the bridge, looked at the screen, and said, “I don't know if we came from this place, or if this place came from Earth, but I have never seen a butterfly so beautiful.”

The second in command nodded, thought for a moment, and said, “I wonder if those planets are habitable for humans.”


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Travelling Back.....Home? [Apr. 19th, 2008|06:34 pm]
I've spent the last week in my home state, ostensibly doing a my last week of rotations.  In reality, I was interviewing at a small animal practice just outside of the city. I'm getting graded for it, but I really wanted to go because I wanted to meet the place and see if it would work out. The practice owner is ~61, and some of his methods are a little dated. However, he's excited about getting new blood and new perspective into the practice, and he encourages me to use newer methods. In many ways, I think he wants me to teach him. He claims that his organization is flawed in many ways, and it probably is, but it is very good. I can already see some issues that I'll have, but they're very workable. They're even more workable if he's going to pay me as much as he's hinted I'm worth to his practice. They're even more more workable if I get paid that much and still only have to alternate 4-5 days a week, with every other Saturday being a short day. Yay for every other weekend being a 3 day weekend!! I'll need those, with Les staying in Canada for the next 2 years. 

I'll know whether I'm hired by the end of next week. I'm 95% sure I've got it, they just need to check their resources and finish the interview process. They've all but promised it to me, and I know they want to hire two vets anyhow. I'd be starting as soon as I get licensed locally. That would mean moving this summer. I'm going to miss my cute Les guy, BUT, when he does finally move down here, we'll have all kinds of nifty people to play with. Rachel, Dave, Dave, Joanna, Catriona, and Natalie were great fun this week. It'll be grand to hang out with the people I hung out with on the front stoop of my high school. They even managed to stay nifty after 10 years.

In other news, I found out that all of my all time favorite moments in The Monkees were in a single episode. The last episode was called "Mijacogeo" or "The Frodis Caper," and it seems to be a satire of changing attitudes in television corporations. My favorite song by the Monkees, Zor & Zam, is also in that one.
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(no subject) [Apr. 1st, 2008|07:00 pm]
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A Little Closer [Apr. 1st, 2008|02:34 pm]
In recent news, my doctoral presentation is done, and I received a mark of "Good." At this point in my education, quantitative marks don't matter at all. It was actually a lot of fun to present. I had worked in a lot of jokes to keep me from getting bored and wanting to leave. It was called "Mack and the Yellow River;" not the one in Asia, the one created by a little dog with diabetes insipidus. Actually, the whole presentation was one big practical joke on the entire audience. Maybe it's unethical to torment a captive audience, but DAMN, it was funny! There were photos of fountains, rivers, bubblers, Mack piddling on a tree, and mentions of water everywhere. I wanted to see how many people I could make have to run to the bathroom. I got confirmed reports afterward that my evil plot was successful to varying degrees. One person actually had to flee with her knees crossed. I'd love to post the whole thing, but that would be 20 powerpoint slides.
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WOOT!!!!! [Mar. 6th, 2008|05:45 pm]
[mood |ecstaticecstatic]
[music |The Flower Kings - The Truth Will Set You Free]

I just got off the phone with the hospital manager at Mercy Animal Hospital, in Merrimack, NH. Don't go changing my address to Merrimack yet, but from the sound of things, they're ecstatic that I've applied. They're a small animal clinic open for bankers' hours, so I'd actually be able to have a life. They currently have one veterinarian, and they have a whole bunch of locums who do wellness visits and orthopedic surgeries. That means they're equipped for those procedures, but the main vet doesn't want to do them himself. I mentioned that I wanted to work into doing orthopedic surgery, and actually, I'm very happy about the possibility of being the in-house surgeon. Dr Kaas is currently on vacation, but I've spoken with the hospital manager at length, and one of their techs is an old family friend whose house I used to tear around when I was a wee lass. I expect to be hearing from them this weekend or early next week.

However, I am characteristically impatient.

I need to do one week abroad to graduate, so I asked them if they'd mind me coming to visit them for a week. I could only talk to their hospital manager, who said she thought it was a great idea, and she'd tell Dr Kaas to expect an email from me.

I've spoken with Les about whether he minds me working in NH, and he told me that he frankly didn't care where I found work. I'd love it if he came down with me right away, but he may need to tie up his loose ends. I'm also hoping that my local friends (like you, Rachel! and you Basshites in Cambridge!) can help us start a decent social life. I'm jumping the gun ever so slightly, but negotiations have been going well so far, so I feel like I can start naming names and locations and get things going in the rest of my life.
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Shades of Snoopy [Mar. 2nd, 2008|03:30 pm]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |Pain of Salvation - Revival]

It took a bunch of days for us to get back on track after the argument last week. It's been rough since Thursday, but we've worked from this:

to this:

I think that's an improvement.
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Job Hunting Update [Feb. 27th, 2008|05:54 pm]
So, you want to be a veterinarian. Fine. Get into vet school.
So, you got into vet school. Grats. Don't fail too many tests.
So, you're graduating vet school. Hello, loan payments! Now, go find a job.

I'm looking around for jobs, but I've only communicated with 3 places. Only 3 places have looked like a good fit, so far. I've been trying to find the right place that isn't too big, isn't too small, isn't too daunting, and will help me through my first year of practice. Even after seeing so many veterinary hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory practices, I still have my childhood concept of the archetypal animal hospital, burned into my brain when I was a child and then when I was working as a tech.

That archetypal animal hospital I went to as a child? They're hiring. They're a 3-vet practice on a busy road between a major city and the capital of my home state. I've given them a call, and I'll be sending them my resume tomorrow, after I get all the information on my awards in 1st and 2nd year. So far, it sounds good. They're looking for a full time vet, and they don't mind hiring a new grad. I'm happy about the location. I miss NH, and it's relatively close to PEI, so Les won't feel too adrift after the big move away from home. I'm quite happy about the location for a lot of reasons; I never thought about what a cultural center my home was until I moved to PEI. I'm apprehensive about living so close to my mother, but I'm a big girl, and I can tell her to leave me the fuck alone if I need to.
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Death or Glory... [Jan. 11th, 2008|01:10 am]
[mood |pensivepensive]
[music |Death or Glory - The Clash]

I'm currently on Equine Ambulatory rotation, which is pretty quiet this time of year. I had a good day today. I learned a lot about equine dental practices. It was fun, and our last patient of the day is such a cutie!
We spend a lot of time on the road, going from farm to farm. Really, there isn't that much to do this time of year. The supervising vet likes to play K-Rock, the local classic rock station, and he loves belting out anything by Brian Adams or his clones. Today, right after turning down the radio from yet another Brian Adams singalong, he turned it back up for Sweet Child o' Mine. I remembered what it was like when that song came out, and how certain of my family members simultaneously approved and disapproved of me listening to it. Then I remembered the "Parental Discretion" stickers on Use Your Illusion 1+2, and how Laura and I gloried in anything marked with such warnings at the time. It struck me, then, how funny it is what becomes classic rock. G'n'R was one of my rebellion bands, back when I was a spoiled and rebellious brat, and now it's classic rock. Just to drive home the facepalm, there was also one of the more bland Metallica songs that got turned up a little later. It of course got turned down at the point of the song where Metallica remembered that they had once had balls. Is it that people grow accustomed to the things that were once so unacceptable, or do people forget what it was that made them disapprove? 'Death or Glory' becomes just another story.

Music speaks to some people, and it's different music for different people. Weirdly, it put me in mind of Sept 11, 2001. I remember that morning, and I remember how I learned what had happened. I got into my car, turned the radio on, and headed for school. The radio was set to the hardest rock station I could get, and when I turned it on, they were just starting to play New Year's Day by U2. By the time the song was over, I knew that something terrible had happened, and that a lot of people were most likely dead, with great political implications; I knew that there had probably been an act of war, but probably not quite a war. All that, simply because that station would never otherwise even think of playing U2, and I knew from that to listen to the song. Les was in class when he heard about it, and that was the best place for him to gain a greater understanding of what had happened. I was driving through the country, listening to music, and that was the best place for me.
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How I Feel About My Boards [Dec. 17th, 2007|09:51 am]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

I haven't gotten my NAVLE mark back yet. It'll come in the mail. In the meantime, I need to share something I found recently. Les&I had company over, and they were watching the ending credits of Portal and the closing song "Still Alive." I caught the "That was a joke, haha, fat chance" bit, and demanded they start over. That was about a month ago. Now, my boards are a week behind me, and I'm still giggling about that song. Here's the joke:

The North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, the much-hated NAVLE, is a 7-8 hour computerized exam. Most people who take them pass, but it's the most inscrutable thing when you're doing it. Most of the questions are framed like this: "Here's a case summary. Think about your top differentials. Now, which test would prove your diagnosis?" As you can see, there are 2-3 layers of each question, and you have 1 minute to answer each question. There are 360 questions in blocks of 60. It's a mental marathon, and it's one of the most painful things I've ever done. About 3 hours into it, I wanted to kill that damned computer. I did, however, survive. Unfortunately for every other vet student out there, it's still alive, roaming free, spreading science, and threatening to test them in their last year. I'm glad I'm not them.
I have no idea how I did, and it is on some level of possibility that I'll have to do it again. But there's no sense crying over every mistake; you just keep on trying until you run out of cake...

That said, here's Still Alive.
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(no subject) [Dec. 17th, 2007|09:14 am]
Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime

It's coming on that time of year, and no, I haven't done any shopping. Man, I am such a loser. I'll have to think up something for my awesome family who are coming up to see me.
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