Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hello Svensson Lab!! Here's my travelogue:

Well, I left about 1 month ago and boy has it been a fast month!! I first went to my mom's house and recovered a little bit. I had been in Italy for a meeting and workshop, then I swung through Sweden for a couple days, then flew to Washington State in the northwestern corner of the USA, and by the time I got to my mom's I was pretty worn out. (The photo is of my mom's place, with the Olympic Mountains in the background; the Subaru behind the white car is my new set of wheels.)

After a couple days I bought a car and drove to Oregon to visit some long lost friends. The day after I got there I went and watched one buddy play drums in a surf rock band, and then we walked down the street and I watched another buddy play guitar in a bluegrass band. My job through all of this was to drink strong ales, which I did admirably. Also while in Oregon I went to a shooting range and generally blew stuff up. It was at this moment that I truly felt I'd returned to the US. =-)

After Oregon I went to visit my dad and some other family for a week or so (this involved fishing, lots of motorcycle riding, and deck repair). Then I visited my sister and my nieces, and some other old friends (more beer). Then I returned to my mom's, regrouped, and headed out across the country.

First I went to San Francisco, which was about a 15 hour drive. This is not a productive direction to go when one wants to get to the eastern side of the US, but I had to pick up my desert tortoise, Squiggles. Boy has he grown over the last couple years!!! I quickly realized that she wasn't a she, but a he. I still call him she a lot, though. I also visited several old friends and played on the beach. Yet more beer was drunk. After a couple days in SF, I hit the highway, with Squiggles bravely riding shotgun. Two long days of driving got us to Fort Collins, Colorado. Guess what? Yup: more friends, and more beer. Some hiking and donkey petting. It was wonderful. Then we packed up and drove from Colorado to Hanover, New Hampshire, which took 3 long days of driving (Squiggles, to her, um.. I mean, his... credit didn't complain about the cheap, dirty motels I chose along the way). Dartmouth College is in Hanover, and New Hampshire is in the northeastern side of the state. Total distance from Washington to New Hampshire: 6709 km. Does Lund feel just a bit warmer? It should (sorry). My new postdoc is here at Dartmouth College in the Ryan Calsbeek lab. Ryan works on the evolutionary ecology of lizards, and does creative, first-rate work. I feel very lucky and excited to be here. My job, though, is to fire up some newt science.

Now that I am sort of settled in at Dartmouth, tomorrow I am to do my first day of field work catching newts with someone from the McPeek lab. During my travels I didn't answer almost any emails, and I have hundreds to deal with -- sorry!!!! Be patient and I'll get to you. But right now, as I settle in, every minute is booked and I'm doing my best to catch up.

I'd like to give a warm THANK YOU to everyone at Lund University, and especially the Svennson lab, for an outstanding 2.3 years!!!!! A finer group of people could hardly be found, and I now look forward to visiting you all as my "old friends", and drinking beer, and posting it on a blog. I am a different person as a result of my time with all of you. =-)


  1. Shawn! Great with some travel reports on the blog! Your post reminds me about the famous novel "On the road" by Jack Kerouac! We surely miss you all, the lab-meetings are not the same without you :(. Luckily, we have the blog, in addition to e-mails to keep in touch!

  2. Good to hear you are doing so well. Sounds like a great month of adventure, lucky you and squiggles didn't meet any Norman Bates types in those skanky motels.... Just think of the people that slept on those same sheets mmmmm, not a place to take a uv light.

    Was in Canberra last week for an Aussie conference, met up with Tonya which was great.

    Have fun in your new lab, and be sure to tell Ryan that it isn't as much fun as the Svensson years ;-).

    Hope to talk soon, although i won't bother e-mailing you for a while seeing as you are sooo popular, mister 100's of e-mails. whenever I go away I also have hundreds of e-mails too, mainly about enlarging my manhood, keeping it up, or the chance to get my mucky fingers on $2.5million as someones uncle/brother/goldfish has died and left them loads of cash they can't get their hands on and desperately need my help.....fool me once!!!!!!

  3. Ok, Tom, you're right -- not hundreds I'll actually read and deal with, but enough I don't have the fortitude to answer them all at once, and basically I needed to offer up and excuse for my lameness. Buy y'know, some of said emails even have the audacity to require work of me!! Sux. I just got into this business (busy-ness?) cuz I heard the beer was good.

  4. Hej Shawn!
    We had a few warm days up here in Stockholm recently... now I know it was just a friendly hello from Shawn and Squiggles.
    What a great way to get yourself readjusted to America- beer and a road trip, who could ask for more? Send us some pics of the leaves changing in NH!