June 08, 2008

Like Being in Florida Again

HOTOuch... it's gotten very hot here in Worcester. I'm supposed to go on a collecting trip to Purgatory Chasm with my adviser on Tuesday, too. Let's see; 95° and humid, so it ought to feel like about 110°. Yummy. I'm sure there will be plenty of fungi and beetles, though.

It's suddenly like being back in Florida again. One trick I learned from collecting there was to freeze a couple of blue ice packs the night before and take them with me into the field. I keep one in my pack with a cloth so that when I wipe the sweat out of my eyes the cloth is nice and cold. Then I tuck in my shirt and throw the other ice pack down there; it helps in keeping cool and lasts for a couple of hours, at least. When the pack in my shirt gets close to body temperature I swap it for the one in my pack. That's usually good for three to four hours of not having heat stroke.

I'm also going into the field on Wednesday. I'm supposed to be bringing an undergrad from Holy Cross with me and meeting up with another grad student from Harvard at the Wachusett site. If you ask me, anything above 80° is too hot, but 83° is better than 95° and since we'll be at a higher elevation it should be a few degree cooler. No such situation at Purgatory Chasm; it's about 600 ft. closer to sea level than Wachusett. We'll no doubt be taking the full brunt of the miserably hot, muggy weather on Tuesday.

Have I mentioned lately that I'm biology's bitch? Well, clearly I am.

On a much more positive note, I've gotten a number of helpful responses back to an email I've sent around to people who work with beetles. I've already received some useful advice and will be getting sequenceable specimens from as far away as Indonesia and New Zealand over the course of the next couple of months. Coleopterists are a fine bunch of people — almost as much so as mycologists! (I kid, I kid)

As for today, I think I'll stick around here and avoid the heat. I have a paper to finish reading and revising, anyhow. My only venture outside of air conditioned comfort today will be a trip to the supermarket. I was planning to go collecting, but between the price of gas and the 102° heat index, I think I'll take it easy on myself. I hadn't originally planned to collect on Tuesday, but my adviser wanted to hit the field. I'll just do Tuesday instead of today.

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