Thursday, February 23, 2006

Newport Aquarium

Hello all, once again. I don't really have anything new to report today, but I did want to fill everyone in briefly about my trip to the Newport Aquarium. Monday afternoon we headed over there with my Biology Lab group, since we have been studying a lot of the organisms they have there. I took a few pictures while I was there, so I thought instead of writing about everything I saw, I could just post those pictures and talk about the experience in another post. So for now, enjoy!

:One of the first things we saw as we went into the aquarium - a giant skeleton of a sea turtle. Very impressive!

:Some very colorful fish that I just had to photograph. Not exactly sure what they are, but hey, they look nice.

:One of the giant turtles/tortoises that was in it's little habitat. It was interesting that he's standing up like this, since before he hadn't been moving at all.

:Some miniature turtles swimming around in their habitat.

:Now here's a turtle (or was it a tortoise???) crawling on land.

:Now here's some miniature alligators all poking their heads up! It must be feeding time or something...

:Another land-dwelling creature - a large python of some sort.

:One of the most interesting sea creatures we encountered in my opinion - the puffer fish.

:In my opinion, one of the best photos of the entire trip. Here is the underside of a shark (with the very large teeth!) as he swam over us in the glass tunnel.

:Here's another shark as he swam towards the glass. Boy does he look happy!

:And now to my favorite animals of all time - the penguins! We had waited for them to jump in the water to swim, but alas they decided not to.

:Another shot of the wonderful penguins. This particular species is the Emperor Penguin.

Well, that's all for now! I'll make sure to post sometime after I get home and get settled this weekend. So, until then, the week's half-way over...REJOICE!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder...

As you might be able to tell from my title, I haven't been blogging very much lately. In fact, it's been over two weeks since I last posted! Some of this might be due to a lack of things to discuss, a hectic lifestyle, or just a lack of energy for typing up anything on here. Actually, it might be a combination of all three. So, here we go once again, and I'll discuss some of the high and low points of the last two weeks. I'll try not to make this much too long, but then again, no promises...

Here's something that interests me: snow! Over the past two weeks, it has been snowing here and there, but not amounting to anything. In particular, it snowed one Saturday and Sunday (can't remember if it was a week ago or the week before that) all day on and off, being especially hard at some points of the day. Overall, I think we got about an inch of total snow, but if the sun hadn't been coming out after each round of snowfall, we might have gotten some really decent accumulations. The last batch of snow to speak of occurred early yesterday morning, which no one had really expected at all. I woke up to white on the ground, which I believe added up to about an inch. Apparently it created a few problems on the roads, since no one had expected the snow to come at all. But, as I stated before, nothing too good by my standards. I think Knoxville has actually been getting more snow than Cincinnati!! But, there's one thing Cincinnati's been getting that Knoxville hasn't: temperatures in the single digits!!! I think last night we had a low of around seven degrees, and they were discussing below zero temperatures in some locations. Temperatures like that make me feel thankful that I can be inside in the warm buildings.

As far as school goes over the past two weeks, would utter chaos be a good description? I think it would... There has been a lot going on, mostly due to the fact that we are nearing mid-term. This coming week, I know of four tests and one quiz that I will be having: Spanish test on Monday, Chemistry test and Biology Lab quiz on Wednesday, and Philosophy test and Biology test on Friday. I think I mentioned that I had a Chemistry test a couple weeks ago, but I also had a Biology Lab test and a Chemistry Lab test. So, in summary, lots of tests, lots of studying, lots of chaos. The Biology Lab test was the worst of them all. I think the average grade on that test was around a 70, which is not good at all. There were a lot of questions about class, genus, and species names of certain organisms, but these concepts were not stressed very much in class, which led most of the class to miss those questions. This was the case in all of the Biology Lab sections, not just my own, and the lab instructors are getting together to see if they can remedy the situation at all. My instructor in particular discussed that some questions may be thrown out, and he also gave us a small extra credit opportunity that involved finding pictures of the organisms we were studying. The results of these "instructor meetings" have not been relayed to the students, but I will be sure to update as soon as I find out.

Tuesday of this past week was probably one of the best days I have ever had! Yes, that was Valentine's Day, but that only had a minor influence on my day. It started the night before when I got a mysterious Valentine card and a bag of candy attached to my door. I had come back from somewhere and saw it on the door, not knowing what in the world it was. I looked at it and it was a Valentine from a friend of mine here. She and I had almost all of our classes together last semester, so we got to know each other because of that. It made me feel really good that someone took the time to think of me, especially since I had been having such a stressful couple of weeks. Then Tuesday morning in my Chemistry Lab class, we got back our tests from the previous week. I earned a 97%! I had not anticipated at all that my grade would be that high, but after thinking about it, I did know a lot of that material, and I did very well with the calculations and problems in the test. To top that off, after we did our experiment for that day, which involved working in groups, I showed our data to the instructor. This experiment involved rate constants for chemical reactions, and the average rate for my group was 150. After I showed that to her, she was extremely impressed, and mentioned that the actual value was 160. She said our data was excellent, considering that any value between 120 and 200 would be good. So, I must have had a pretty big smile on my face after that class, but it was justly so.

Also that day, I went over to check my school mailbox only to see something stuffed in there. I tried to pull it out to no avail, and found that it had been bent and crammed in there somehow. I maneuvered it around a little and finally got it out, and found that it was from home! I opened it when I got back to my room, and it was a Valentine's card from my family. I was so happy to see that, and it was great that they remembered me on that day. It was just the "icing on the cake" as they say, and it topped off my very nice day.

Outside of school, there really hasn't been much to mention except for the events of last Saturday. That was one of the days it had been threatening to snow, but up until about 6:00 PM had done nothing. I had decided that I was fed up with having nothing to eat in my room, so I decided to drive down to the local Kroger and pick up some things. And what do you know, it started snowing as I was driving down there! It was very strange for me, as I have never really been out driving in the snow. (The only other time was when my mom and I visited up here last April and it was snowing as we drove to Church that Sunday.) It was a very nice feeling, yet cold nonetheless. I spent about thirty minutes in the store looking at possible snacks, breakfast foods, and lunches (for on the weekends), and finally came out with a little less than $20 worth. As I walked out, it was snowing even harder than before, and this made me feel even better! Not to mention the fact that I know how some actual food in my room in case I ever feel like a snack (which I found out I am actually not as hungry when I have food in my room).

Other than that, nothing extremely exciting has happened since my last post. All I have been doing lately is looking forward to my "Spring Break" as you can see at the top of my blog. It starts on Friday after my last class, and I will be going home! I absolutely cannot wait any longer, and my brain needs a good rest from all this school work. Also this week, my Biology Lab class will be taking a "field trip" to the Newport Aquarium, which is just a few miles away into Kentucky. We will be looking at a lot of the organisms we have studied lately, most of which are aquatic or marine. I think this will be an excellent opportunity and it should be a lot of fun. Besides that and all the tests, that's all that will be going on this week. So, please pray that I will be able to make it through this week! I will let everyone know later on how everything goes.

Well, that's really all I have to say for now. I will try to update from home next weekend or sometime soon after, and I promise not to go another two weeks without an update! Until then, I hope your weekend has gone well, and have a very productive week.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

First Tests of the Semester and Other Updates

Once again I have taken an extended break from blogging, and for that I apologize. Since I last posted, there have been a few developments in my classes and I've actually gone off campus. I guess I'll start with my weekend, since there really wasn't anything interesting from last week to report here. On Saturday, I actually managed to leave campus for a while! After having a long conversation about food with my cousin Amanda (I can't exactly remember why this was a conversation...), I began to crave Chick-fil-A, and the only one of those is at the mall. The closest mall to here is the Kenwood Towne Center, which is about 10 minutes from here. I've only been there on one other occasion (I think I actually did blog about that way back when), and I was hoping that this time it wouldn't be as crowded, given the last time it was before Christmas. Well, I was right about that, and I was actually able to move about in there! I had some of my Chick-fil-A (boy was that good...) and looked around at some of the stores that they have. All in all, I had a very good time for my weekend.

Okay, now for the major part of my post this week: the tests and other upcoming events. I had my first test on Monday, and this one was in Chemistry. I studied as much as I thought was prudent, but I still didn't feel especially confident with the material, since I wasn't sure what kind of problems would be on there. But, I still felt okay about it, since I had some of it before in high school. So, I went in there expecting the worst so that I could maybe have some confidence. Thankfully for me, thinking that way paid off! I got the grade back from that test yesterday, and for the first test of the semester, I think I did pretty well. I got a B, which for not knowing what to expect and the first test of the semester is good in my book. Now I know what his tests are like and I can see how I need to study for tests in the future. Since there are four other tests and a final for this semester, there will be plenty of chances to improve that grade.

The other test that I have this week is in Biology, which is coming up tomorrow afternoon. This one is also the first for this class, so again I really don't know how his tests are going to be set up. This one covers a lot of material, mostly evolutionary theory, population genetics, bacteria, protists, and some animals. So, I guess I will be studying tonight and parts of tomorrow for that test. Since I don't have any classes in between 10:20 AM and 12:30 PM, this will be my time for some studying. I'll let everyone know how it went sometime this weekend.
Well I really should wrap this up and get to other important things, but I'll be sure to post an update on Friday or Saturday. Until then, enjoy the rest of your week, and have a great weekend!