Friday, 23 May 2008

Bleeding chicks and transitions

I had a great day today. How is this for quality education: my department rents us a car (environmental car, of course), to drive out to an old research grove in the middle of a military training area, where old Jackdaw nestboxes host a small colony of crows. We rob the nests, measure the chicks, and bleed them for an anti-body study. Like vets or something, drawing blood from pink little monsters. Can't quite describe why, but its really cool, and totally unheard of in Canada to let loose a couple students like us to handle chicks in such an invasive way.

I've done it before in Alaska, but more experience is always good. I guess? I don't really know what this will all lead to. But I feel good doing it. How many students can say that and mean it? How many professionals?

So, the pace of school is slow and cool as June approaches. Its already so bright here. Soon, I will kiss the stars and night goodbye as I head up to northern northern swedish moutains for 5 weeks over the solstice. Until then, I don't know what was the climax, but things are unraveling. Everytime I meet someone familiar, it could be for the last time. Few of my friends now will be back in sweden in the fall when I return. I don't know where I will live, and have the choice of three cities... slowly saying goodbye to a great ten months. I had good friends, a good corridor, good education, fun distractions. Sad to see it go. But that is my life: go, go, go!! I don't plan on stopping any time soon, but at 25, I'm aware of some ancient genetic programming thats nagging me to settle down; that its only in this frivolous modernity that one can be thrown so much strange shit and think its normal.

Go! God is a verb.

Birds and Baseball Bastard

We can't loss, so why not play relaxed?

Some birds during my Ornithology course at Lund, and the traditional swedish sport called bränboll, spring 2008

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Den sista Bränboll spel

The last burnball game.

At first, you don't think its true, you must of heard wrong, a mistranslation from swedish to english. But its true: for the last two weeks, every day, from five to eight thirty, my student housing building, called the Paratheses, has been playing in a self organized tournament of "burnball", a bastardized version of baseball, each student corridor against the other, obligatory and highly competitive.

People take it serious (and for a good reason...) For the last month, everyday, people have been practising out in the middle ground of the "Parathesis", training their batting arms, catching one handed, and throwing.

My corridor's bats were stolen... sabatoge! A dirty trick in a dirty student tournament. A serious dirty tournament, for at the end of the two weeks, the two losing teams from each division (remember the American League and National Leagues?) play each amidst a hailstorm of week-saved garbage being thrown in inebriated volleys from the balconies of the other non-loser corridors. Trash, old tv's, stinky containters, fish eggs, rotting fermented herring. You name it, they throw. And the grand losers, have to clean it all up in the end.

Then they erect a giant beer tent, and the modest student residence of 300 grows to thousand for the legendary Bränboll fest.

We play under the threat of punishment. My corridor, mostly inert swedish girls, almost lost last year. This year, we managed to avoid being in the final losers game by an opponent team to lose on purpose, with baked cakes, punch and waterpipe.

Our team is called "Kärlek utan granser" ("Love without limits"). Other floors called themselves "Love hurts" "We eat blackeyes for breakfest" "Love for a price" and "Fuck Love, we just want to fuck."

So, lets recap just how rediculous this whole concept is: the tournament is a long tradition, completely self-organized, obligatory, and the whole point is to just avoid losing and thus cleaning up the damn dumpster. Unheard of in more civilized countries like Canada.

We play our final game in a couple minutes: non-serious, enjoyable goofy game as we're under no duress of losing. I'll have a beer in my hand and rubber boots, as the field has become mud after two weeks nonstop play.