Interrail vs. Self-Planning

Recently, I read a piece from a travel blog I like a lot, On the Luce, on the popular Interrailing. I have never used an Interrail pass personally, but I’d like to speculate on the pros and cons based on Miss Lucy’s post.

To summarize, Interrail is an extremely flexible service that lets young people travel within a country or between several countries by rail, getting on and off when they please over a fixed time period, for a fixed price. Eurail is the sister service for non-European citizens or residents. 

I have traveled through quite a bit of both Germany and Italy by train, both for ten days each, which more than the maximum time allotted for the Interrail passes. For simplicity sake, I will only use my traditionally booked Italy route to compare to the Interrail and Eurail passes.

Here was my route (taken in mid-March 2016) and current, average prices on the Italian train service, TrenItalia, for the last week of July (for last-minute planners) and the second week of August respectively:

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My View: Recreational Hunting

As I have mentioned, I work for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, a state government agency dedicated to habitat and animal conservation. We get a lot of our funds from selling hunting and fishing licenses, which can be somewhat controversial for some people. As a conservation major also interested in animal ethics, this is where morals and practicality clash for me, personally. For the purposes of this piece, I will only be talking about legal recreational hunting even though I acknowledge there are groups of people who must hunt to maintain their livelihoods.

Now, I will attempt to debunk some of the most common concerns about recreational hunting:

“[H]unting is bad for the environment because many animals are getting killed”: Not true. Bag limits (the number of animals that can be killed to sustain a healthy population) are tightly monitored so that the quantity of animals taken from a population during the hunt will have a negligible effect on the habitat and population as a whole. In fact, without hunting, a lot of animal populations would be out of control. For example, the white-tailed deer is a really important big game species. As settlers moved west, the deer were overharvested for their meat and buckskin. To raise deer numbers again, hunting seasons were reduced, bag limits became minimal and Buck Laws were put in place to take advantage of mammalian polygyny (meaning, one male can mate with many females, reducing the reproductive need for males). However, with the new regulations, populations grew faster than the environment could sustain them (nearly doubled in a decade), leading to starvation. Today, overpopulation and human conflict is still a problem even though 3 million deer are hunted annually. (All white-tailed deer information came from a university module lecture given by Dr. Andrew Smith in September 2016)

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Music Monday: Top Ten Rise Against Songs

I’m going to start doing a (more or less) random music-related post every couple of Mondays for Music Monday!

Yesterday, I saw my favorite band of over a decade, Rise Against, for the sixth time at Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix. With that, here are some of my favorite songs by them (in no particular order):

“Everchaging”: Among the raw punk tracks of their first album, this is a bittersweet ode to love and loss and how neither are a straight path. This song is so emotional it literally leaves me breathless (even when I’m not singing along at the top of my lungs driving in my car…). This song has recently gained an extra special place in my heart as at one of their gigs, the lead singer, Tim, and I shared a moment where we screamed the last, “And you can’t leave me if I’m already gone” together.

Six Ways ‘Til Sunday“: A youthful anthem with an outro that will have you dancing in your seat (or where ever you’re at, really).

“Blood-Red White and Blue”: I used to cite Heaven Knows as my favorite song off this album (Revolutions Per Minute) and although that song still means a lot to me, “Blood-Red White and Bluegoes so hard. It is my favorite song to watch live in front of a massive audience at Germany’s Rock AM Ring off their documentary “Another Station, Another Mile” (sound familiar?). I was blessed enough to see this song live at the intimate gig I mentioned in the previous paragraph and it was amazing! Rise Against has had a strong hand in my political thought, introducing me to the quote, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and taught me how to question capitalist institutions such as factory farming and racism. My favorite political lyrics of theirs come from this song: “Would God bless a murder of the innocents? Would God bless a war based on pride? Would God bless a money-hungry government? No! Would God bless our ineffective court system? God bless the sweatshops we run. God bless America, God bless America.”

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June In Review

June started out landing in England after about a full day of traveling. A week into my trip, my boyfriend Dan and I broke up. It was hard at first, having to deal with the emotional side of things while also dealing with the logistics (picking up my stuff from his parent’s house in Oxfordshire, finding a place to stay) but I stand by my decision. My parents were kind enough to fly me home early, sparing me about a week of sulking in Brighton. My plans of going to the University of Sussex for my Master’s degree have not changed and those who think there was any chance of that clearly don’t know me. I am excited to return to the city I love on better terms in September.

The day after I arrived back stateside, I moved out of my university apartment, away from my Neanderthal roommates and back home. I spent the next week relaxing at home: watching Netflix, spending time with family and friends, unpacking and more.

Also, I got another tattoo! Sorry, Mom. It is a traditional style dagger through a rose with the banner “follow your bliss” around it, a recurring theme in the music of my favorite band, Senses Fail. The tattoo drawing took about half an hour and the inking took about an hour and a half. Yes, of course it hurt, but it wasn’t unbearable. The fact that the needle only makes contact with your skin for 5-20 seconds at a time before a short break of similar length and having the excess ink wiped off with a cool towel helps a lot. In fact, I think after the fact was a lot worse: my leg was hot and sore, it hurt to do just about anything for the first few days, but it was worth it, I love it!

Since then, I’ve just been working. I made a post about my first week on the job here.

What I’m watching: Legend, Matila, Schindler’s List, Doctor Strange, Daddy’s Home, Rough Night, Kill Bill (Vol. 1 & 2)RuPaul’s Drag Race (season 8-9), The Office (U.S.) (seasons 1-2), Sense8 (season 1), Shameless (season 7), Wonder Woman

What I’m listening to: Hospice by The Antlers, Wolves by Rise Against, Third Eye Blind by Third Eye Blind, The Things We Think We’re Missing by Balance and Composure, Lost Forever // Lost Together by Architects

What I’m reading: Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

My View: Heterosexual Pride

June has been dubbed “Pride Month” (after the Stonewall riots in the same month in 1969), where those in the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.) community all around the world celebrate their identity and raise awareness with marches, rallies, parades and more.

Recently on Twitter, “Heterosexual Pride” has been trending again. Both in subtle ways, for example, justifying the Pride posters directed towards straight people with slogans such as “I’m a straight man with gay pride,” to not-so-subtle ways such as actually comparing the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community to those of straight people and arguing a place for straight people in the community. I know, right?

My personal experience with these nonces started with Enter Shikari, my favorite band, posting about how disappointing it is to see this trend every year. There were two types of responses that rubbed me the wrong way. First: pretty much ignoring the voices of those who are oppressed for their sexualilty and/ or gender identity. “To be honest why do we need a day to celebrate anything. We are all equal, celebrate unity!” To that, I say, sure, we are all human, but capitalist social, economic and political systems depend on us being not treated equally based on race, gender, class, sexuality and more. But that’s for another time…

Additionally, several people called out the band for being “intolerant” and “heterophobic,” claiming that it’s as bad as being homophobic and citing the “horrific tweets bashing straight [people]” as if they are the end-all be-all of discrimination. Even in Western societies, the LGBTQ+ community is still marginalized and many people are uneducated despite the large presence of the community.

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New Job

As I mentioned a bit ago, I got a summer internship at the Arizona Game and Fish Department. I was lucky enough to be one of the 50 hires for this paid, full time position. My internship will be split between the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Safari Club International headquarters. My job descriptions (respectfully) are as follows:

“Intern will assist in tracking Gould’s turkeys in Southeastern AZ (Huachuca and Chiricahua Mountains) via on the ground telemetry and fixed-wing telemetry flights. The intern will also gather data on nest sites, mortalities, and map roost trees. Will collect turkey observations. Intern may be required to camp out for several days at a time to gather data. Bi-weekly reports will be written to inform AGFD and NWTF of progress. May also analyze and/or input data in the office. Work schedule is flexible; weekend work will likely occur. Intern may work with non-profit organizations and other volunteers while collecting data. Other duties may be assigned pertaining to turkey research or other game management at the supervisor’s discretion.”

“This intern will be a split position with Safari Club International (SCI) in Tucson, AZ. The intern will work about 40 hrs/month for SCI assisting with the implementation of International Wildlife Museum and Conservation Education Center programs and exhibits. Incumbent will learn and deliver conservation education programs to the public. This will include assisting in delivery of the Summer Conservation Science Adventures Youth Program and give guided tours on such topics as habitat, predator-prey relationships and other wildlife conservation concepts. AGFD duties will include similar outreach events as well as different program work including Terrestrial Wildlife, Fisheries, and Habitat. Job duties may include but are not limited to assisting on wildlife surveys, conducting turkey telemetry and gathering nesting data, collecting creel data, measuring vegetation, answering nuisance wildlife calls, assisting on habitat improvement projects, hauling water to wildlife water catchments, performing basic maintenance on catchments such as trimming brush and skimming algae. The intern may also be tasked with analyzing turkey and/or bighorn sheep habitat at the discretion of the supervisor. Other duties may be assigned as needed. This intern may work in the heat for long hours and may camp while conducting surveys or collecting data. A physical is not required and housing can be provided if necessary. This internship may be extended an additional three months into the fall pending candidate performance.”

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