Saturday, December 30, 2006

A vacation dissected

My vacation is coming to a close and once again I have to ask myself, where did it go? Well, here’s at least a partial explanation:

Tuesday: errands in Columbus
Wednesday: driving to NY
Thursday: Abducted by Aliens?
Friday: Researched video cameras obsessively.
Saturday: Bought video camera and did other last minute Christmas shopping.
Sunday: Drove to and from Syracuse. Did Christmas Eve stuff.
Monday: Christmas. Can’t expect to be too productive today.
Tuesday: Boxing Day. This isn’t really a good explanation for the day, but I’m using it anyway. I did attend a Mission Shower.
Wednesday: Returned/exchanged things, ate some white hots, caught up with Amy.
Thursday: Alias Season 5. The whole thing.
Friday: Dentist, camera supply shopping. Caught up with Vivek and Brett.
Saturday: Got ready to leave.
Sunday: singing in church, driving to OH

The real answer is watched way too much television. I watched about 18 hours of Alias, 6 hours of Record of Lodoss War, The World Championship of Pop Culture, Marie Antoinette, The Prestige, Dracula, The Descent, Superman Returns and Lady in the Water.

This is my life.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Brain Stew

A week ago I was too busy to write. This week I’m too lazy. Those are the two great pitfalls of blogging. But I thought I’d write to inform you, the internet, that my internal chronometer has been permanently broken.

This all started last Sunday. I was doing my normal last minute cramming for our Monday exam. In the end I went to sleep at 5 and got up at 7. I took the test, ran some errands and eventually decided to take a nap before going to Home Evening. But nothing. After an hour I got up and piddled about until the event. Then people came over to watch Monday Night Football until about midnight. So I’d gotten about 7 hour of sleep in the last three days, but still wasn’t tired. So I started playing video games, figuring I’d just stop when I got tired. I hadn’t gotten tired by 7 in the morning, but I started shivering. I figured that this shivering was my metabolism slowing down, so went and got in bed. I woke up at 11, not exactly refreshed but awake.

I had intended to leave that afternoon, but it was about 8 that night by the time I was done with all my errands. I decided not to make the 6 hour drive then because I had no idea of where my clock was. Again I stared shivering, so went to sleep around 11, waking up at 5. I don’t believe I have ever woken up at 5 without an alarm clock before, and kind of hope it never happens again.

So now I just sleep when I start shivering. Perhaps someday I’ll once again get tired when I need to sleep like a normal person.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I wore a t-shirt and shorts today. Global warming is the greatest thing since Tivo. From now on all innovations should be measured against Tivo instead of sliced bread. Tivo is far more beneficial, rendering the bread comparison obsolete.

Back to gluconeogenesis.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Never a Sweeter Sweater

I’m preparing to end my social hibernation in preparation for the coming test, which usually includes a distinct lack of blogging. However I thought I’d quickly answer some questions raised by my recent spat of pictures.

First concerning where I got my sweater; this is an interesting story. I knew that the sweaters that I currently owned were not quite ugly enough, and that DI would be the perfect location to find an ugly sweater. Unfortunately I lacked the time to drive to Utah to pick one up. So I sought a local thrift store. Luckily OSU has its own thrift store just north of campus. I started there, but found that they had the convenient hours of 10 to 3, Wednesdays during academic terms. Seeing as it was a Thursday night the day after finals, I was out of luck. I next tried a vintage clothing store, where they only had ugly sweaters of the $50 variety. As important as winning stupid contests is to me, I couldn’t justify paying that much for a moderately ugly sweater. This stop was really only noteworthy because I had to walk up and down High Street to get to the place. High is a very interesting street because on one side of it is the nice sunny OSU campus, and on the other side is the dark underbelly of the ghetto. So while I walked up and down the street I met some interesting folk. Two people told me to put on a coat. I was walking down the street coatless, as I’m wont to do. After all, 40 degrees is really long-sleeve weather, 30 degrees is jacket weather and 10 degrees is coat weather. But evidently these individuals disagreed and thought I should know about it. Another guy with an impressive grey afro tried to sell my cigarettes, which just didn’t make any sense. It seems like he’d make more money peddling a more serious drug than tobacco. And the oddest was a gentlemen who wanted to know where X church of the X was (that’s not what he said, as that would have been VERY weird. I just don’t remember the particulars.) I didn’t know, so he proceeded to walk along with me. He let out of constant stream of “Gotta go praise Jesus. Praising the Lord, gotta get to the church to praise the Lord. Gotta praise Him, sing His praise, praising the Lord” and so on. Eventually he stopped to ask someone else where the mystery church was located.

I eventually headed home, and remembered that there was a second hand furniture shop near my apartment. I stopped by and found that they did in fact have a clothing section. I perused the men’s sweaters and they didn’t have anything nearly ugly enough. They certainly had a great many sweaters that I wouldn’t wear, but nothing truly hideous. I explained to the salesgirl that I needed a gaudy Christmas masterpiece of a sweater and she lead me into the women’s section where they had the Holy Grail: the ugly sweater section. It makes no sense to me why women, who stereotypically are more attuned to aesthetics and fashion should have such a variety of ugly sweaters. But evidently they had had several requests of the previous weeks for Christmas sweaters and had clumped them all together. And dismissing some truly awful numbers that were more expensive than I wished to pay for an evening’s shock value, I found an 8 dollar sweater complete with fake ribbon, sequins and a generally grodey aura.

The rules of the party were simple: wear a sweater. The uglier the sweater the better. The focus was sweaters of the Christmas variety, but that wasn’t strictly required. One guy had a John Deere sweater, and my roommate borrowed my BYU sweatshirt (he went the U, thus considers BYU apparel the heighth of ugly.) We had a number of school-teacher sweaters, which have their own variety of ugly. My addition of an ugly moustache, hat and belt buckle was merely an example of my thinking outside the box. There was no official 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, but my prize for International Award was announced 2nd. Lolly (his name is Lawrence, but he made the mistake of telling me that his family calls him Lolly) seemed to have won first place for his skin-tight ensemble. He can be seen in the Family Photo, where he is wearing the white holly-decked turtle neck and appears to be pouting. This is not my HE group, just a group of church folk, posing in a traditional family fashion.

And now that I’ve added another twenty minutes of delay, I must get to work on memorizing glycolysis for the 8th time in my life.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Winner of the International Ugliness Award


I won second place for my ugly ensamble. To accomplish this task I included 4 distinct flavors of ugly. The gaudy sweater was obviously required to qualify. To this I added the horrendously large belt buckle, the clashing Soviet hat, and the porn-star moustache. Personally I felt I was robbed of 1st place, but his sweater was equally gaudy, sleeveless and skin-tight. Luckily the prize was the same: a jar of organic peanut butter. Posted by Picasa

Family Photo


Behold the glory of the Ugly Sweater Party. Behold! I don't know if this just came in vogue this year, but I had never heard of one, and was recently invited to 3. Evidently this is the future of yuletide theme parties. Posted by Picasa

Hello weirdness


Only in China have I seen signs stranger than this. Posted by Picasa

Like Pong, only not really


Here Bryce and I try our hands at Beer Pong. Sober hands I might add. However the intoxicated ones we played narrowly defeated us. I guess experience trumps coordination. But they did thank us for a good game and invited us to play any time since we "took the game seriously." Posted by Picasa



This is the great game of Cornhole, found at all Ohio drinking parties, tailgates and Nascar meets. It's moderately entertaining at best. Posted by Picasa

5 of Ben Folds' Variety


Here's the Post Gross Toast. English was too cool to come to the party and Godzilla left early to go back to the missus, but here's the remainder of Table 10, the best anatomy group to ever grace the dissection room. Posted by Picasa

Standup Kind of Guy


This was me doing my standup schtick at the ward variety show. I used up all my funny in the act so have none left for this caption. Posted by Picasa

Shoe In


This is the one, the only, The Shoe. It took me over a month to realize that they call it this because it's shaped like a horseshoe. I just assumed that they were working by the same logic that dictates that a nut makes a good mascot. Posted by Picasa

The Buckeye Masses


I tried to take a picture that would indicate how many people were at the Michigan game, but am too short. Perhaps this gives some indication. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Why would sick ever mean great?

I’ve got a bad case of roommate-itis. No, Bryce hasn’t been bothering me, he just gave me some nasty flu. Whenever your roommate gets sick, you know there’s a chance. He’s coughing and sneezing and dripping on everything in the apartment, and it’s really only a matter of time. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that we also go to school, church and social activities together. I hoped that my super-WBCs would get me through it, but sadly they have failed me.

I was doing fine until Monday evening. In fact I engaged in a rousing Uno game and may very well have infected numerous others. Then around midnight I started to crash. The next morning I decided that I wasn’t going to get anything from class, so enjoyed a couple extra hours in bed. I actually enjoyed an entire day in bed, but I did get some good studying done later on.

I’m glad that I’m sick this week instead of next, when I’ll be cramming more for the exam. It’s unfortunate however, because I’m supposed to sing a solo on Sunday, and my voice is currently out of whack. Interesting story: I was at choir practice this last week and they asked who wanted to try the solo. They had done this two weeks ago, and several people volunteered and did an acceptable job. But really, who asks for volunteers for solos? The choir director should have some idea who the most talented singers are and should ask them to add their talents to the piece. But no, we had amateur hour at choir practice. Anyway, this last week she again asked for volunteers and no one spoke up. Eventually I said I’d try it, and was immediately assigned the part for the program this coming week. Perhaps the congestion will add some gravitas to my voice.

Another interesting story: Bryce, feeling guilty for infecting me, gave me some of his medication last night before bed. His father is a doctor and he probably has more drugs than he really needs. And regardless of his need for the drug, I shouldn’t take someone else’s drugs. But I did and didn’t feel anything for the couple hours that I was awake studying and watching House. I wasn’t terribly surprised since my body seems very unresponsive to stimulants. Bryce said the drug kept him awake, almost like speed. I fell asleep with no problems, but became wide awake around 4. I was still tired and sore from the flu, so went back to sleep. I would fall asleep, have crazy dreams and come wide awake again. I ran through this cycle a half dozen times before I had to get up in the morning. I guess that pharmacokinetic stuff they’re teaching us must be true.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A week or so ago

The weekend after our final anatomy exam was a bit surreal. For starters I had only gotten 2 hours of sleep the night before the exam. This doesn’t affect me too much initially, but by the following evening I start feeling a bit displaced. I don’t get tired exactly, I just feel like I should be sleeping. But instead of sleeping I was at the Post Gross Toast. This is the party where we celebrate not failing for the first 3 months of med school. It’s also where a large portion of the class gets quite drunk. The drinking effect was further compounded by the fact that the next day was the Michigan game and evidently the only way to experience the best football game in the nation is to be extremely hammered. Not only drunk at the game but drunk for the 24 hours proceeding the game, as well as some time afterward. Whereas alcohol is frequently consumed at med school events (the irony isn’t lost on us), it was consumed more this night.

Drunk-watching (a subset of people-watching) is an enjoyable activity. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it’s certainly the best thing to do if you’re at a bar for a couple hours. I said the weekend was surreal and for me dealing with drunks is somewhat surreal. You know that their actions and conversations aren’t normal, and yet they’re happening right there in front of you. You’re never sure what they’re going to remember or if they’re being uninhibited or acting contrary to their actual feelings. You pretty much have to discount anything that you experience that night as being outside your normal reality. Even weirder is to imagine myself in their situation. What kind of drunk would I be? The world shall never know.

The next day was the Michigan game, perhaps the most important day of the year in Ohio. I’m only partially joking. The fact that we were playing Michigan, and that we were ranked 1st and 2nd in the nation was all-consuming upon the minds of nearly everyone in the state. Normally I don’t deign to grace football-related activities with my presence, but this particular day I deigned. I had nothing to study, everyone else was doing it and the event might never happen again. We started by going tailgating around 10. It was unwise to try to drive in Columbus on this day of days, so we walked to the medical school parking lot. Here a group of med students had gathered to celebrate our impending victory. There was a surprisingly large amount of free food considering the poor nature of the students involved, and even more free alcohol. We enjoyed some bratwurst and fried cheese, which is quite likely the least healthy meal of all time. We played some corn-hole and Bryce and I also played a game of beer pong (don’t worry, we had designated drinkers.) After a couple hours of hanging out in a parking lot we called it quits and headed over to the stadium. As did a half million other people.

The stadium fits 106,000 people, who all hang out around the stadium before the game. In addition another 400,000 come to see the spectacle that is game day. There were booths and tents everywhere, even a number set up in the middle of the road. Luckily the roads are all blocked off the night before. The sea of red was really quite impressive. More impressive were the people with football fields shaved in their hair, homemade OSU sweaters and creative anti-Michigan wear. The “Ann Arbor is a whore” shirts were amusing at first, but ultimately lack originality. I decided that if I get bored next year I’ll make a shirt that says “Ann Arbor accepts financial reimbursement for sexual services.”

We saw the sights around the stadium, then snuck into the skull session. I’m really not familiar with this tradition, but basically it was a pep rally that the OSU band (“The Best Band in the Land”) puts on immediately before the game. They did seem pretty good but I have no way of knowing if their boasting is justified. Eventually Bryce went into the stadium (he was the lone member of The Five to have a ticket) and the rest of us walked back to my place to watch the game on our big screen. We did win and maintain our 1st place ranking going into the bowl game season. I suppose it’s nice being the best, but I really found the situations surrounding the game more interesting than the game itself.

Go Bucks.

PS. Our basketball team is now also #1. I’m obviously good luck for this school.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The end of anatomy as we know it

In honor of the day after Thanksgiving, I’ll try to make you lose your appetite. And I realize that it’s now 2 days after T-day, but it’s a vacation and I can’t be bothered to write a whole entry in a single day.

This last unit of anatomy was probably the most interesting. We had a full month devoted to the head and neck, which was a very high time to body surface ratio. They did throw more histology and embryo at us, but it still afforded us the luxury of more time per body part.

Certain parts were very interesting, as I expected them to be. We got to remove the brain early on by using a bone saw to remove the skull above the eyeline. We don’t get to dissect the brain until next year, but the exterior is the most interesting thing initially in any case. The inside really looks like 18 shades of pink jello, which I’m not looking forward to relearning. The eyes were also quite interesting. The eyeballs themselves were rather plain, but all the muscles and nerves attached behind them were fun to pull apart. The larynx was pretty neat as well, though our vocal cords were pretty mushy and indistinct. The surprising thing was that even parts that I was dreading turned out to have their own value. The nose was surprisingly complex and the system of sinuses was interesting. We dissected the heck out of the neck, separating it into layer after layer, and actually found some interesting connections. The tongue actually has more than a half dozen muscles relating to it and pulling it in different directions. Some days were certainly tedious (due primarily to the small nature of the nerves and vessels in the head) but I never dreaded coming to class.

Working on the face is supposedly the most difficult emotionally. But we’ve been working with this body for the last couple months and I was really past being bothered or grossed out. I personally skinned a good portion of his face and scalped him. I also sawed his skull, though Riley did the final chiseling. He also sawed the head in half vertically. So although we’ve all become callous enough that this didn’t bother us, we did have our grossest moment of dissection. As I’d mentioned, I used the bone saw to work through the skull. But even though I’d cut all the way around, it wouldn’t come apart. So Riley took a chisel to it and still we weren’t able to separate the two halves. Finally we decided to go deeper with the chisel, risking damage to the brain. Riley hit a spot in the back of the skull and all of a sudden blood started gushing out. Understand that cadavers aren’t supposed to have any liquid blood in them. It’s all been drained or congealed by the time we get the body. So having semi-coagulated blood pouring out onto our table was quite the shock. At this point we remembered the blood we’d found in the spinal cord and realized that this had come from the space around the brain. We have no reliable way of recording how much blood attacked us, but we’ve guessed between one and two liters. After we’d cleaned the blood off the table, cadaver and ourselves, we finally got the skull off.

And that folks is the end of anatomy. I’m sure I can come up with gross stories from other classes and everyday life, but they just won’t be the same.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

escapism over real-life

I actually have all manner of moderately interesting things to report on, but instead I’m going to do some movie reviews.

Casino Royale – numerous thumbs up.

I didn’t feel like studying last night, so a friend and I went to the new 007. When you find a girl that wants to see an action movie you run with it. Although not a cinematic classic, I place this pretty high in the Bond franchise. I enjoyed the Pierce Brosnan movies, but Daniel Craig’s Bond would totally wreck Pierce. There’d be no competition. The opening action sequences were amazing. I admit that I’m a fan of parkour (martial arts applied to urban environments) so may be biased, but the seen at the construction site and embassy were phenomenal. There were many spots of action throughout, though the movie did drag a bit near the end. This film removed a lot of the Bond sex and replaced it with actual romance, which I think improved the film. The one-liners were kept to a minimum, which also grounded the film. It certainly wasn’t a perfect film but it was definitely the best 007 since Goldeneye and probably the best since Roger Moore.

Here’s my list of Bonds:
1. Daniel Craig (basing a number one spot on a single film is risky, but I’ll change it if he falls from grace.)
2. Sean Connery
3. Roger Moore
4. Pierece Brosnan
5. Timothy Dalton
6. That hack Lazenby

Stranger Than Fiction – 8 out of 9 stars

This movie was great. I’ve been seeing a lot of enjoyably bad movies lately (my most recent viewing had been Crank) and it was nice to switch it up and see an straight-up good movie. Again it wasn’t perfect, but it was very rewarding. I know I’m mimicking every critic in the world, but Will Farrell actually acted in this movie. Much akin to Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love and Jim Carey in The Truman Show, we get to see him attack a real film. It’s not a Will Farrell movie, it’s one that happens to have him in it. And he completely nails the character. His performance, and the whole movie, is completely deadpan. It never ceases to be amusing to place people in these surreal situations and watch them work their way through. The humor is all high-brow and the drama is understated, but seems sincere. A good time will be had by all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Social Experiment #86

I've been systematically shortening the length of my sideburns over the last week, seeing how long it took someone to notice. Today was the day.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sabotaging Myself

I endlessly sabotage myself. I'm busy in general. I'm especially busy since it's a week before our final anatomy exam. So what do I do? Volunteer to make a t-shirt for our lab group. Yes, I'm a moron. Here's the most recent version of the design.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A li'l sumtin sumtin

I often have excuses for ignoring this thing, but not this time. I’m lazy. But this is common knowledge, so no one should be surprised.

I’ve done some interesting things lately. I attended my first Ohio sporting event on Friday. It was not a Buckeyes game, although we did hear some Buckeye cheers, which makes no sense whatsoever at a NHL Hockey game. But really everything in Columbus goes back to the Bucks, so we just ignore it. The Bluejackets aren’t a particularly good team, but it was a fun game. Students get in for 9 bucks, which is exactly what I was willing to pay for an evening of entertainment. We played the Calgary Flames and won during sudden death. The evening was young so we followed up the game with a championship match of Trivial Pursuit. Yes, we are in fact the nerdiest people you know. I’m proud to say that we’re starting to diverge a bit from our normal Fab 5 of first year med students and even have females hanging out with us. Amazing I know. Also amazing is that my team managed to win TP against the trivia powerhouse team of Mark and Matt.

This last weekend was Stake Conference, which is unfortunate because I don’t really like our stake. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, it just doesn’t fit well with me. At Priesthood leadership I got a couple hours of instruction about leading Aaronic priesthood quorums and how to be an effective ward mission leader. I don’t feel that this instruction was the most productive use of my Saturday night. The general session was little better. But my bishop did buy us pizza, and free food fixes most everything.

We sang in Stake Conference on Sunday, which went better than expected. We took off immediately and attended a baby blessing of a friend of ours. There were an insane number of kids in the ward (my brief headcount indicated 1:1 child to parent, with few children over 5) which made for a tumultuous meeting. But I did discover that some friends of mine from NY live in that ward so it was good to reconnect.

A good portion of Sunday night and Monday was taken up by watching over an interviewee who was staying at my place. I’ve had three BYU guys stay with us so far, but this guy was from Illinois. It’s interesting to so quickly change from the interviewee (I interviewed here in February) to the all knowing med student, who leads tours and receives rapt attention.

Well I’ve delayed studying long enough. My further musings will have to await another bout of procrastination.

Song of the moment: “Stolen Car” Beth Orton

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Long Halloween

For you pop culture aficionados, the Long Halloween was a Batman series from the early nineties. It, along with Batman: Year One, serve as the major influences of Batman Begins. Now enough with that nerdage.

It seems that we’ve been celebrating Halloween for the last month. I think Halloween is great, but I don’t want to celebrate any holiday for a month. If I was into that I would be an ancient Greek. We had a Halloween dance a couple weeks back that seemed ridiculously early. This was however the only event I dressed up for, so perhaps I should consider it the main shebang. Did you know that Spellcheck recognizes shebang? Weird. In any case I went as the scariest creature in Ohio: the wolverine. My costume was too subtle for the general populace to grasp, but as proven by the title of this post, that doesn’t bother me greatly. I wore a Michigan t-shirt (which I had borrowed for use in our movie) along with a Hugh Jackmanesque leather jacket, jeans and boots. My hair is rather long at the moment (with both the general length and sideburn length violating BYU standards) so I was able to fashion my Wolverine tufts rather easily. However since it was a church dance, I wasn’t there for very long.

We had a med school Halloween dance, which I skipped to go to the ward film festival. Evidently I missed a great many slutty nurses (this seems to be the female, and sometimes male, outfit of choice this season) which was disappointing but almost certainly for the better.

The bishop had a Halloween party this last weekend, which I also missed. Instead we went to see Jon Stewart and the Daily Show cast perform. I wasn’t able to secure a seat to see the actual Daily Show, which is here at OSU all this week, so settled with this live performance. Although the moderator, a dean from the humanities department, left much to be desired, for the evening was still enjoyable. We ended up catching the very tail end of the party to search for slutty nurses, but there were none to be found.

For Halloween itself I threw a movie night. Because there is no such thing as a scary movie (I watched the Excorcist and part of Hellraiser this week, both of which failed to impress) we opted for horror/comedy. It was a close race between Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters 2 and Tremors, but the giant worms won out in the end. I can’t say that the evening was a tremendous success, but it was enjoyable. I’m not sure what a tremendous success would have entailed; perhaps reenactments and abundant praise for my taste in movies. Neither occurred, but we do have a couple new catch phrases to throw around the med school.

Next up: Thanksgiving. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan. Maybe I’ll just do Halloween again.

Song of the moment: “Transylvanian Concubine” Rasputina

Monday, October 30, 2006

Back from vacation

I have been a bit slackerly about my blogging of late, but I suspect that you’ve survived. If you have perished, my apologies.

Normally the week after a test is the least busy of the cycle. However last week I was occupied by my new hobby of film-making. I had known about the ward’s film festival for almost two months now, but wasn’t sure if I’d contribute anything this year. For better or worse I get to use med school as an excuse to get out of any time commitment presented before me, and wasn’t sure if I wanted to jump into a project at this time. But I saw that the post-test week coincided nicely with the festival, so I went ahead and planned a movie.

I must admit that I cheated. I did a re-make of a presentation I had made several years ago. I was assigned to make an instructional presentation for a technical writing class and had to put together a Powerpoint on my chosen subject. Whereas most people instructed the class on scientific or domestic tasks I presented “How to Stay Single at BYU.” I’m moderately proud that I got a 100%, which in a curved class didn’t make me the most popular person. In any case I took the 2 minute presentation and modified it into an 8 minute film, modifying BYU jokes to Columbus/OSU jokes. If Scorsese can do a remake than so can I.

I put together the script about a month ago, roped in some actors, borrowed a camera and filmed the day after the exam. It was a bit of a hectic project, but it certainly could’ve been worse. My cast of 9 were largely cooperative as our supposed 2 hour filming time turned into 4, plus an additional couple scenes filmed later that night. But 100% of the filming was done in one day, which was a very nice change from my previous projects.

No matter how many times I do this, I find new ways of complicating the process. This time my problem was my camera. I borrowed one from a bishopric member in the other ward. I got it a week beforehand and saw that this one used mini DVDs. This was a step up technologically from my previous camera, which I assumed would be a plus. It was a helpful format for the filming, but made me miserable when I tried to get the data into iMovie. I could bore you with the details, but the final story is that I had to converting the file took 5 different steps, each requiring a new computer program, none of which I knew about or how to use. I spent about 12 hours working with the files before I was able to start the actual editing of footage for the movie. Luckily iMovie didn’t give me any problems (a first) and the actual editing was done in a single day. I tweaked a couple things before the festival, but was largely done with plenty of time to spare.

The festival only ended up having 3 movies, so no official awards were given. But each group got a bag of candy, and ours was a variety pack of candy bars (versus skittles and Crunch bars) so I’m taking that as a victory. We had pretty constant laughing for the movie, so much so that I only think they heard half the jokes. I’m counting it as a success.

How did this film compare to previous efforts? It’s a much quicker film than my previous three, which I think is an improvement. The scenes are so short that it doesn’t bog the film down if the joke doesn’t work or goes over the audience’s collective head. I think I have a greater variety of jokes in this film, which was also a goal of mine. I liked my Swicket movie, but I realize that the majority of the jokes are either sarcastic cut-downs or obscure historical facetiousness. This one is quite a bit more basic in delivery, and I think was more successful because of it.

Now it’s back to business as normal. Three more weeks of anatomy!

Song of the moment: “Please Don’t Talk About Murder While I’m Eating.”

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This week in TV

Need some help with your TV watching? Here are some of my latest reviews.

This weekend I caught the Heroes marathon. I must say that this was some good marketing. They let the show run for a couple weeks and get some good reviews. Then they go back and show all the episodes over again in one night so those that are now interested can catch up. Way to go ABC. There are many reasons to watch this show. First and foremost, it has Weiss from Alias. Any show with Weiss is worth watching. It also has people with superpowers, which is just cool. They do a reasonably good job of making these superpeople fit into our world, with the notable exception of the flying brothers. I can suspend my disbelief to allow telepathy, precognizance, increased healing etc. But flying? The story is interesting, the actors are good, it’s definitely a good watch. Honestly it seems more like a miniseries to me, but we’ll see if they can sustain it.

I gave 30 Rock three weeks to catch my fancy. The first two weeks fell quite flat. I really wanted to like this show, but it was making it very hard on me. I find Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin very likable, and was willing to ignore Tracey Morgan. Finally this third week it lit up. I can now recommend this show.

I admit that I only gave Twenty Good Years one week to impress me, and it failed. The other comedies that I watch (Scrubs, The Office etc) have no laugh tracks because they know that the material is funny. I think laugh tracks are a crutch. TGY relies on this crutch quite heavily. John Lithgow is amusing, but this should would have us believe he is hilarious. Perhaps it got better after the premiere but I haven’t had time to spend on it.

Lost is keeping up appearances. I can’t say that much happened in this week’s episode, but it kept me interested the whole time. I discovered that watching Lost is more fun with a group and a Tivo. Bryce and I kept stopping the episode and spouting mad hypotheses about what was happening. I called both plot twists with Sawyer, but got one way wrong with Jack. Next weeks we’re going to place bets.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I’m still in search of a scary movie.

It could be my general emotional invariability, but I have yet to find a movie that scared me. Sure I can find ones where I’m startled, but that is hardly what I’m going for. I have also found movies that I find gross. I watched the first thirty minutes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and gave up on it. It wasn’t too scary, it was just entirely unappealing. I like eerie movies, but again eerie isn’t scary. For instance I quite enjoyed Silent Hill from earlier this year. I was never scared during the two hours of film, but I enjoyed the unsettling atmosphere conveyed. Startling, gross, eerie, but scary these films are not.

My latest attempt was Open Water. For those unfamiliar, this was from a couple years back and is about two scuba divers that were accidentally left at sea by their diving group. It’s based on a true story, which is supposed to make it scarier, as is the home-video-esque filming, a kin to that of Blair Witch. Sadly neither of these factors worked for me. Sure I’d freak out if I had sharks nipping at my legs, but watching these characters in peril didn’t convey anything for me. So it failed to elicit a scare in any way. Furthermore I didn’t like the movie. I’ve liked many of the movies that have failed to put a shiver through me, but this one just wasn’t very good.

Some friends invited me to watch Saw 1 and 2 with them this weekend and I declined. I suspect that these follow more in the gross out than scary category. But I’m running out of ideas. Any suggestions?

Ring – moderately creepy
Ring 2 – lame
Grudge – Super lame
Blair Witch – best I’ve found, but I can still go camping without trepidation.
Pscyho – silly
Silence of the Lambs – great, but not scary
Alien – great, not scary
Excorcist – need to see all the way through
Omen – ditto
The Shining – too slow, and Jack isn’t scary
Nightmare on Elm St – silly
Seven – saw on TV, so a lot was removed.
28 Days Later – great, not scary
Dawn of the Dead – old, too slow. New, entertaining but not scary.
Night of Living Dead – original was too fake. Remake was pretty good.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

No Talent Hacking

Commercials drive me crazy. Like most things this stems back to my ego; if someone makes their career out of making commercials they should be able to do it better than I think I could. My current gripe is against unoriginality in advertising.

LG recently launched a campaign for their Chocolate phones using Goldfrapp’s song Strict Machine. The phone and commercial have been very successful (you could argue which prompted the other) and the song was briefly the most downloaded song on iTunes. Great for LG, great for Goldfrapp, great for everyone. Then Motorola releases their new KRZR phone and guess what band they play on their commercials. Oh yes, Goldfrapp, this time singing Ooh La La. That took a lot of thought.

At least Goldfrapp is a relatively new band and thus the two cell phone companies are going with something “hip.” There are currently two commercials for upcoming movies (Flushed Away and Stranger than Fiction) using the song Don’t Bring Me Down by the Electric Light Orchestra. I like the song, and can kind of see the connection to either movie, but of the thousands upon thousands of songs available today, they both decided to use the same one?

Originality people. That’s your job so do it.

Song of the moment: silence for hardcore studying.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


In honor of the height of the World Series, I'm posting an article I wrote about baseball several years ago. Feel free to ignore it if you've read it before, or don't care about baseball, or don't care what I think. But if you don't care what I think, why do you read my blog? Weirdo.


I consider myself a patriot. I love my country. “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free,” as the hillbilly national anthem goes. With that said, I hate baseball. I really don’t want to be tried for treason, so I’ll change that to I have severe reservations against the playing and viewing of the popularly conceived American Pastime. I mean really, is baseball the American Pastime? How many of you say “I’ve got 15 minutes to kill, let’s go play baseball? Television is the American Pastime. Or eating cereal. Or playing Solitaire. On the computer of course, not using real cards; that takes too long, involves remembering the correct setup, and tempts you to cheat. Why do I dislike baseball so much? What did it ever do to me? Let me tell you.

Baseball discriminates against nonathletes more than any other sport. I suppose I can’t say any sport with much certainty since I’ve only played 3 sports, but it discriminates more than basketball and poker. And poker is a sport; it’s on ESPN. Of course by nonathletes I mean those that stink at sports, either through a lack of practice or natural inability to move in any coordinated manner. That is to say, me. I suck at sports, all sports, including poker. If I learned anything from “physical education” in elementary school, it’s this: the most important thing at sports isn’t whether you’re good or bad, but whether people can tell if you’re good or bad. When you’re playing basketball you can get lucky and make some shots when you have absolutely no skill. Getting the large ball in the large hoop which is relatively close to you happens a lot more often by chance than hitting that tiny ball flying past you with a piece of wood. When you stink at basketball your teammates can compensate. They can ignore you for most of the game then only pass you the ball when they’re winning by several dozen points. They can even ignore you for the entire game, call you Handicap and leave you behind at the church when they go out for victory Slurpies. Or so I’ve heard. If your second baseman sucks you can’t just ignore him. You can’t just say “Just pass it to third, we’ll just pretend there is no second base.” Well you can, but the other team is going to get the hint, start running straight from first to third and the pitcher is going to get run over in the cross traffic. When you suck at football, it doesn’t really matter, because there’s a billion other players on the field and no one will ever notice. When you suck at volleyball it doesn’t matter because so does everyone else and no none really knows the rules anyway. In hockey you’re considered mediocre if you can stay upright on the ice. Alright, I lied: I’ve played sports other than basketball and poker. I just pretend I’ve never heard of other sports so when I get roped into playing I can pretend it’s my first time and have an excuse for sucking.

In baseball the most enjoyable part, batting, takes the least time and is the hardest to do. Now, I acknowledge that a large part of my animosity towards baseball comes from the fact that I am horrible at it. But even if I were good at it, I think I’d hate being on the field. How fun is playing left field? You stand there, squint, pretend you can see what’s going on at home plate, and pretend that you have some impact on the outcome of the game. I really should bring my cards out with me so I can play Solitaire, except for the fact I can’t remember how to set up the cards and I cheat. I could practice my poker too, except for the fact that I’m standing in the middle of a field, by myself. Even if the Right field guy were closer, he got put in the outfield so is obviously unpopular, perhaps even more so than myself. So I just practice my poker face, which I could be doing in my nice comfortable, air conditioned home. The only fun thing is batting. So I endure all the card playing in the outfield, then more card playing on the bench waiting to bat, then finally I’m up. About 20 seconds later I’ve struck out and back on the bench. For some players it takes longer than 20 seconds to strike out, but not for me. I’ve waited all this time, being bored doing something I suck at, for 20 seconds of being excited and still sucking. How are you supposed to hit that ball? It’s tiny, breaking the speed limit, and I’m not even allowed to use my actual body to hit it. I have to hit it with a stick. At least I know I have enough coordination to get my body to hit the ball. I’ve played dodgeball, I know how to connect a body and a ball. So this should really be my strategy. Get hit, get myself some battle scars, which supposedly chicks dig, and walk to first base.

Baseball reminds me of getting shot. I’m not saying I’d rather shoot myself than play baseball, I’d rather do most anything than shoot myself. I’m just saying the actual sport fundamentally disturbs me because I feel like I’m getting shot at. The baseball is the smallest ball of any sport. I’m not considering the golf ball because it ruins my point, and because while poker is a sport, golf isn’t. Funny pants, golf carts, and being popular among old and rich people, don’t get me started. It’s not as bad as figure skating, but doesn’t have the scantily-clad women to redeem it. So this tiny ball is thrown as fast as possible in my direction. It’s traveling much faster than any other object I regularly have to deal with. Usually things traveling at pitching speeds, such as free-way traffic, trains, the space shuttle etc, are to be avoided. They have big signs saying “Stay away from this area, or you’ll probably die.” But not in baseball. You need to stand right there next to the bullet-like object. You need to try to connect with the bullet-shaped object. It goes against all the bullet dodging instincts action movies have installed in me. Baseball’s really the only sport where I fear being killed. Getting fouled in basketball might hurt, but I won’t die. The football won’t injure me. The people following it might, but we’d have padding, or be playing touch football, where no one ever gets tackled (right.) A hockey puck would hurt, but again, I’d have my Kevlar padding in place. But not in baseball. Did I say my strategy would be to get hit by that ball of death and get to walk to first? Maybe I should reconsider.

Perhaps baseball’s worst sin is making me use my left hand. Get it? Left hand in Latin is sinistra, which is also used for wrong or evil. I love Latin jokes. My left hand is completely useless. I make fun of my whole body, but in actuality everything I’ve ever accomplished with my body has been with the right side. Those complete luck shots in basketball? My right hand. Punching my little brother while “boxing?” My right hand. My left hand is completely ineffective. I don’t know if it’s a Democrat or what, but for some reason I’ve never been able to use my left side as well as my right. And in baseball they want me to catch the aforesaid bullet-ball with my left hand. They do give me a glove which gives my fingers a bigger surface area and webbing between them, which helps. But my Creature from the Black Lagoon hand is even more uncoordinated than my unfettered right hand. When are they going to stop making sports that require me to properly use several parts of my body at once?

Theoretically I’d like to be better at baseball. But this would require practice. I’ve got to tell you, I don’t even have time to play all the video games I own, let alone all the new ones I buy. I don’t really have time to practice something that I currently dislike and may very well hate even when I’m good at it. But even if I built up the motivation to go practice, it’s very difficult to do on your own. It’s hard enough to get people together to play a scheduled game. Pickup baseball just doesn’t work. Twenty people don’t just show up at a field without a significant effort. Baseball just requires too many players. It’s far too bureaucratic. Three on three baseball, now that’d be awesome. But it’s hard to find people to play, and it’d be even tougher to find people to pity-practice with me. You can’t really practice much on your own: I’ve tried that throwing the ball in the air and swinging thing. For one thing, it requires using my left hand. For another, the pitcher is never going to be standing over my head and dropping the ball straight down towards the plate. It’d be easier that way, but I think baseball would lose whatever appeal it has. I suppose I could ask someone to pitch to me so I could practice, but pitchers are almost as popular as quarterbacks, and I don’t know those kinds of people. Plus with just the two of us there he could miss and peg me in the head, and I’d likely die. At least at a game people would see it and I’d get a nice funeral. If we were alone he’d just panic and run to Mexico, there’d be no justice, and I’d end up haunting the baseball field and sitting in left field for all of eternity.

So we’ve established why I dislike playing baseball. In all honesty I’ve made most of that up, because I don’t often play baseball, since I hate it. But as a certified couch potato I feel I am qualified to rant about how bad baseball is to watch. For starters, it’s boring. It’s the most boring sport ever created. Sure they only score once an hour in soccer, but they’re always doing something. You can see people running around, doing bicycle kicks and admire the beauty of dreadlocks flapping in the wind. Plus the female players seem intent on taking their shirts off now. Basketball’s fast. Hockey’s fast. Football is fast, then nothing, then fast, then nothing, but they’ve got flashy graphics and commentary to fill the time. Baseball is slow. You can tell it’s 110 degrees by how slow everyone moves. It’s a little more entertaining when you’re actually at the field and you have the horribly fattening ball park food to eat and idiotic mascots to laugh at. But then you can’t change the channel after 3 minutes when you realize nothing is happening. You have to understand that baseball is a sport where half the players are standing around and want nothing to happen (on the field), and the other half are standing around, doing nothing, only hoping something will happen (on the bench). Only the pitcher and catcher are actually doing something. Everyone else is just hoping and desiring. Some say that hope and desire are what makes the game special. I say hope and desire aren’t much fun to watch, unless it’s sinful desiring, which rarely occurs in baseball. The only thing that would make baseball exciting is putting money on the game, in which case you feel dumb if you lose and feel guilty if you win.

Well I suppose most of you think I’m a Communist Pinko now. But I say you can love America and not it’s Pastime. And baseball’s not that bad; there are worse things. I’ve mentioned golfing and figure skating. There’s also Dungeons and Dragons. How about the Bubonic Plague, that’s certainly worse. Baseball’s just not for me. When we’re all in the Celestial Kingdom and have perfect bodies, I’ll give baseball another try. That is unless baseball tryouts are part of entrance into the Celestial Kingdom, in which case I’m screwed. But I’ll really be happier playing poker in the Terrestrial Kingdom than solitaire in the Celestial. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Why I should run the world

Or at least my ward.

Yesterday we had a ward service project. This I support. But our service was for OSU. Why do service for the largest, best funded organization in town? That’s like us sending all our foreign aid to Switzerland and ignoring all the developing nations. Furthermore we did the “service” project in exchange for OSU providing us with their buses for ward trips. Every time they mentioned the project in church they both said that it was service and that we needed to do it so OSU would continue to help us. So it was really a bartering project, not a service project. They said that we needed 100 people for 3 hours to finish the project (they would never tell us what the actual project was, so we didn’t know what to expect.) Knowing the size of our ward, I felt obligated to help us achieve something resembling that 100 number, despite my objections to the project and my relatively busy studying schedule of this week. We ended up with 34 people, and we finished the project in about an hour. Either they intentionally misled us as the needs of the project, or they planned it exceedingly poorly. That’s not to say that this was a horrible experience. It was relatively easy (cleaning parking garages), I had fun and I got free pizza. But there’s a lot of room for improvement.

I’m going into studying hibernation for the next week, so you’ll only hear from me when I am purposefully avoiding studying.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Product Endorsement

I am a connoisseur of all manner of prepackaged foods, but candy bars are a particular favorite. I try not to indulge too often, but on Saturday I was next door to our local International Store (I don’t remember the name of the place, so we’ll settle with that generic name) and had a craving for some Cadbury goodness. I’m sure when other people buy imports they get art or furniture, but the only thing I get from outside of the country is candy. And luckily this store has a reasonable candy section crammed between the pottery and the wine.

I bought two new varieties of chocolate. The first was a Yorkie bar. I’d seen them before at Many Lands in Provo, but never ponied up the 1.50 you must pay for fine imported junk food. The main reason I bought the bar was because it has the awesome slogan of “Yorkie: Not for Girls.” It even includes a crossed-out female silhouette in case an illiterate woman attempts to buy one. I don’t know how well this advertising goes over in Britland, but I thought it was pretty awesome. I was disappointed to find that it was just plain chocolate, but it was certainly better quality than Hersheys. It is also shaped a bit like a Toblerone, which at least provided some tactile variety. All in all a good buy.

I had actually gone to the store to buy a Flake bar and was disappointed to see that they were not currently carrying them. If you’ve never had a Flake you should fly to England immediately (or Canada if you’re lazy) and get one. They’re awesome. Basically it’s just chocolate but it’s been rolled extremely thin and layered on top of itself. They’re a pain to eat, but definitely worth it. Instead of Flake’s they had SnowFlakes, which are much the same as the original, only in white chocolate. They did have the audacity to cover the outside of the white chocolate with regular chocolate, thus eliminating the distinctive shape of their predecessor. The SnowFlake was tasty, but it was no Flake.

And now you know.

Song of the moment “Faster Kill Pussycat” Paul Oakenfold featuring Brittany Murphy

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pertinent Points

1. On Friday I learned how to play cornhole. According to wikipedia this game is popular among college students in the Midwest (it originated in Cincinnati) and Nascar enthusiasts. It’s kind of like horseshoes using beanbags, and played in teams. I cheated though, because I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to be drunk to play. One of my anatomy buddies bought a house and we played at his house warming shindig. Good times.

2. On Saturday I cultured myself by going to the Gallery Hop. Once a month all the art galleries in Columbus stay open late and the spaces in between them are filled with street vendors and performers. And tons of weirdoes. But really, the weirdoes were more interesting than the art. Some of the best were a satyr/mime guy, a band with a drunken Bjork imitator and a handsaw player, and roughly 2000 gay men.

3. On Sunday I got my calling. It only took 9 weeks, not that I’ve been counting and with each passing week growing more confident of the ineptitude of the ward. And after all that I was called to be the Elders Quorum Secretary, which I’m pretty sure constitutes just going to EQ, which I usually do.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Another week in anatomy

Once in a lifetime. Hopefully.

Yesterday I skinned a penis then split it in half.

Today I removed a leg. I split the pelvis in half using a chisel, cut through the perineal cavity above the thigh and pulled the leg away from the body. Holding the leg, I’d say it weighed forty pounds.

Weird stuff.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Two unrelated points: Lost and Tornados.

I suppose I’ll start with tornados, since they actually involve my life, not just an hour in front of the television. We had another tornado in Columbus yesterday, this time considerably closer to my apartment. Other than a barn burning down because of lightening, I haven’t heard of any specific damage the tornado itself did. The real problem for me was the hail. The radio said that the hail was dime-sized, but when I went out into the storm (because I’m smart like that) it was most definitely nickel-sized. I suppose I can be thankful for no quarters or half-dollars falling from the heavens, but I was rather put out by this hail and it’s impact on my car.

When the hail first threatened to smash the windows of my apartment (I don’t know what the structural integrity of these windows are, but it was certainly quite loud) I thought about going out to protect my precious Subaru. But I really had no options of where to move it, so resigned myself to whatever damage might occur. I checked it this morning and it was mostly alright. There are no obvious dents, though you can see some pock marks if you move back and forth. Yet another weather adventure in Columbus.

Last night was the season premiere of Lost. I had caught myself up a couple weeks ago in preparation for the event. I inadvertently got my roomy hooked on the show as he watched a couple episodes with me and he’s been watching the first two seasons the last couple weeks. He hasn’t quite caught up to season 3, so I had to promise him not to erase any Lost episodes off the Tivo until he gives me the go-ahead.

Honestly the episode wasn’t amazing. It was good, but not like last season’s premiere. Last year they hit the premiere and the show flipped inside-out, much as Alias would do every season. The big reveal (which I’m obviously not going to reveal to you) just wasn’t earth-shattering. Interesting, but it didn’t really surprise me. Whereas the average episode of Lost gives you several “what the heck is going on?” moments, this episode only had a couple, below average and certainly below what you’d want for a premiere. But I still have high hopes for the season. The last season lagged a bit in the middle, but ramped up very well near the end. There are still plenty of mysteries left on this island and it’s going to drive me crazy having to wait a week between each show. I suppose I could study.

Song of the moment: “Overkill” Colin Hay

Monday, October 02, 2006

Vital Information For Your Everyday Life

Random facts:

1. Friday was the first time I have ever overslept for an exam. Luckily oversleeping did not make me late, it merely deprived me of the two hours of morning studying I had allotted myself. While I love sleeping-in, oversleeping vexes me greatly.

2. I misspent two hours waiting in line for John Stewart tickets today. We were actually there for three hours, but I considered the first a valuable investment. The remaining two hours in line (which was impressively long) weren’t profitable since we could’ve returned tomorrow and gotten the same general admission seats. We did get some studying done. Hurray for the anal triangle!

3. I dissected the anal triangle today. I’m not going into any further detail on the subject. It was less uncomfortable than dissecting the testicles a couple weeks ago, but certainly not one of my favorite regions.

4. I’d say that 90% of my fruit purchases in the last 6 years have been bananas. Bananas are not in my top 5 favorite fruits.

5. ILP, the program that sent me to China, has requested to use my China blog for their promotional materials. I believe they’re just going to use the pictures, since the commentary is a bit erratic for their purposes. If you haven’t spent at least 3 hours looking through the website you should.

My China Blog

And if you must know, these are my top fruits, in no particular order: strawberries, cherries, pineapple, lychee, green grapes, seedless oranges and kiwi.

Now you know.

Song of the moment: a tie between “Slow Ride” by Foghat and “Don’t Bring Me Down” by the Electric Light Orchestra.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

7/208 a Doctor

Gutenmorgen Aller!

I’m currently celebrating Oktoberfest, in case you were wondering.

Friday was our test, which I’ll comment on a bit. Well first I’ll comment on the utility of anxiety. As I prepare for a test I have two types of anxiety. The first is for the test itself. The second is for the studying process preparing for the exam. I both dread taking the exam, and the countless hours of studying leading up to that point. Both of these anxieties are somewhat useful. If you had no anxiety you wouldn’t prepare or take anything seriously, and thus would never get anything accomplished in your life. However these two types of anxiety often have a reciprocal effect on each other. If you’re really nervous about the test you’ll get over your studying anxiety and make yourself do it. If you’re dreading the studying you’ll avoid it by telling yourself the test isn’t going to be that hard so you don’t need to study. Unfortunately I hit a point in the middle of the week where I lost all anxiety for the test and the only thing remaining was a dislike for studying. It’s nice to be able to go through the actual exam without any foreboding feelings, but they’re really necessary for the week beforehand.

Luckily I managed to study anyway and did relatively well on the exam. In the words of my roomy we “rocked it like a hurricane.” And of course the Scorpions who sang that famous metal anthem were in fact German and we listened to them on the way to Oktoberfest Friday. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The exam consisted of five parts. The first was Physician Development, where we actually practice doing physicals on actors. The most noteworthy part of this part of the test this week was that they tricked us by giving us female patients. Finding her heart sounds only involved moving her breast a little bit, but when I had to measure her liver I spent a couple minutes tapping and pushing her ample bosom around. It’s not exactly that I’m being immature about the procedure, but it just hadn’t factored that into my daily schedule. The second part of the test involved identifying body parts in the cadaver lab. It is pretty incredible to me that I can now identity most every muscle, bone, artery, vein, nerve and duct from the neck to the waist. This is however my least favorite part of the exam. I much prefer the computerized testing where I know there is some clue as to the right answer in front of me. We took an additional anatomy exam, an embryology exam and a biostatistics exam, none of which were very noteworthy. Then we were done and we don’t have to worry about testing again until Monday.

Our celebration Friday night was Oktoberfest. Oddly enough there was also an Italian festival going on at the exact same time so we had to decide which nationality was cooler. Italian sausage vs. bratwurst? The bratwurst mein freund. Unfortunately we didn’t actually bring any directions with us so we spent about an hour finding the German Village portion of Columbus. Once we got there it was late enough, the line was long enough and the prices high enough that we opted not to go in. So what did three single guys (and one married guy) do on a Friday night? We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond of course. To be fair we went to a tavern and walked around while we waited for a table to open up, and they happened to be the only store that was still open. But it was still mighty lame.

Saturday I did approximately nothing. I got nine hours of sleep, watched a session of Conference, went to the post office and watched some Scrubs reruns. It was quite marvelous.

Song of the moment: “Rock it like a Hurricane.” The Scorpions.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lest a week go by unridiculed

I am alive, but studying furiously. Well sub-furiously because I’m going to give a brief movie review. But after that the furious studying shall return, and continue until Friday at roughly 2.

On Friday we saw Snakes On A Plane. You may be saying to yourself, SOAP (you have to admit it that it’s cool when acronyms are actual words) didn’t that look like the worst movie ever? This was the genius of Hollywood. They created a win-win-win situation. If the movie is great, I win by spending my dollar on it. If the movie is horrible, I win by spending my dollar and getting to make fun of it. And of course everyone wins by adding yet another movie to the Samuel L Jackson canon, in which he has played himself in every entry. The question is, which was it: great or horrible? Amazingly, stupendously, extremely satisfyingly horrible. We cracked up throughout the entire movie. Every aspect of the film was over the top, even the horrible music video they play during the credits. I enjoyed it approximately 30 times more than the Pioneer Activity we stopped by on the way there. Of course the movie was so horrible that I can’t really recommend it to anyone I know, lest they think that I believe it to be a good movie.

Back to memorizing coronary arteries and cardiac veins. Come hither sweet Friday at roughly 2.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ignoring lecture

I’m currently sitting in an International Health meeting. My primary reason for being here is to see if they’ll give me money to travel around the globe this summer, preferably to beautiful locals with beautiful women. A close second is the free pizza. With green olives! This meeting has already been worth my time.

Things have been pretty busy, hence my lack of writing. I’ll save the anatomy until last so you can stop reading before the end if you so desire. I’ll briefly cover the social scene, since my socializing has been rather brief. My ward is rather small, though it has been growing the last few weeks as the undergrads, dental and pharmacy students moved in. I should point out that it is highly unfair that I have already been in school for 6 weeks and the other students start tomorrow. But despite the relatively low number of LDS people in the area, they have a lot of activities. Many are rather unfortunate affairs (80’s Dance, Karaoke night, Pioneer Celebration) but at least they’re trying. I miss having my vast social network of BYU, but I’m slowly building up friends and associates in this ward. But most of my recreational activities devolve into our med school clique. There are 5 of us single 1st years and we do stuff together most every weekend. We’re not helping each other branch out much, but we have a good time.

Socializing with the rest of the med school presents difficulties. There are tons LDS students, but the vast majority are married. We went to the LDS BBQ last weekend and were surrounded by dozens and dozens of kids. So branching out to upper levels of the school doesn’t work too well. We also try to branch out to the heathen masses, but this is hard as well. The primary weekend activity of med students is drinking. It’s a bit ironic, a bit sad, and darned inconvenient. We sometimes go out to the bars with the class, but without being intoxicated the bar is only interesting for about twenty minutes, sometimes less. So we have to organize our own events to get to know people. I threw a House party a couple weeks back, and Bryce has a weekly racquetball tourney.

We’re now taking Biostatics instead of Histology, and are keeping up our Embryology and Anatomy. We spent quite some time on the arms, which was sometimes hard (there are TONS of muscles and nerves in the forearms and hands.) Not only are there tons of muscles but they all have crazy-long names. Flexor Digitorum Profundus? There must be a shorter way to say this. There was a lot of fat and fascia in the hands to clear away, but otherwise things were pretty clean. The hardest thing was when we had to pull the humerus from the glenohumeral joint and break into the head of the bone with a bonesaw. Most of the body is pretty dry by this point, but the bone marrow felt like warm snowcone. After we spent so long in the arms we did the lungs for a single day. A day! We worked with the heart for a whopping two days before working onto the abdominal cavity yesterday. It was an odd experience to hold a heart in my hands and even odder to clean out congealed blood (which once you wet it feels like red wasabi.) Try anatomy, it’s a blast.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lost Time

How could I best ruin my study time for the next test? Probably get a girlfriend. Thank goodness that hasn’t happened! But the second worst thing would probably be start watching Lost. Guess what I did this last week?

But after some less-than-productive late night sessions I polished off the second half of season 2 and am now ready for season 3 to start in a couple weeks. This show is pretty amazing people. Not worth flunking out of med school for, but close. Did you realize that the Sprite commercials with Sublymonal advertising link back to Lost? Somehow they’re connected to the Dharma Initiative. How crazy is that?

My Tivo is currently set to record the following shows:

The Office
Family Guy

If only I had time to actually watch them all.

Monday, September 11, 2006

No longer testy

I finally awake from my social hibernation.

I had my first exam of med school on Friday, which completely monopolized my time for the week beforehand.  Really it should have occupied my time for the four weeks beforehand, but I’m a crammer.  I always have been, and this is the first time that I’ve really needed to change my ways.  I think I did alright on the exam, but that week before was a rather unpleasant experience.  In order to avoid that experience I need to implement the steady discipline study regime that they’ve been advocating for the last ten years.  

Although some law school students may disagree, med school is dang hard.  This fact hadn’t really hit me until this test.  Each individual lecture seems reasonable enough, and I felt like I was taking in the information.  But then I started to review what we’d been learning.  The major difference from undergrad and med school is that they don’t give you much time to digest the material they present.  They just keep pouring out tons of information, day after day, reviewing very little and expecting you to not only understand, but memorize everything they say.  The material isn’t necessarily much harder than college, but you really have to have it mastered.  Knowing everything about everything they’d mentioned in class, plus things mentioned in the course packet, and familiar with hundreds of pages of textbooks, along with several recommended computer programs takes A LONG TIME.  

I started studying hardcore over the Labor day weekend.  I soon realized that I was nowhere near knowing all that I needed to know.  At this point I cut back to four hours of sleep per night to fit in more studying.  By Wednesday I cut back to three and Thursday I cut back to two.  I realize that getting two hours of sleep before a major exam is a death sentence for some people, but it doesn’t affect me too much.  Hurray for slow metabolisms!  Even after all this I wasn’t really prepared.  Luckily I have amazing multiple choice skills, so think I made it through that portion alright.  But the practical exam was another matter.  The hardest thing about this exam for me was that I couldn’t learn everything I needed to from my text books.  I can handle having to know everything about the brachial plexus (where all the nerves of the arm originate.)  It’s very hard for me to identify one of the dozen branches hidden in the arm of a cadaver.  This practical experience is almost impossible to cram and definitely where I need to focus for the next exam.

But the test is over.  I survived.  I probably even passed.  It was kind of a mind-boggling thing for me to think that I could study more for this exam than any other I’ve ever taken (I studied more for the MCAT, but not by that much) and am still not positive that I passed.  Be thankful that your doctor made it through all of this.

Song of the moment: “Chelsea” by Stefy.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Andre the Giant

With our first exam approaching, I really don’t need extra distractions eating up my day. But unfortunately Agassi didn’t consider my needs.

In tribute to my time in England I try to catch a bit of Wimbledon each year. But otherwise I don’t watch any tennis. This isn’t so much a statement against the sport, since I don’t watch much of any sporting event. Except the Lumberjack Contest on ESPN2, which is awesome. But my superficial viewing of Wimbledon has kept my eye on Agassi over the years, and he is definitely my personal favorite. I think you’d have a hard time arguing that he’s the best player ever, though 8 tournament wins certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at (who sneezes at anything? The expression should really be snort at.) But Agassi is just plain cooler than any other player. Tennis is not a cool sport. It may be popular, it may be internationally viable, but it is not cool. I suppose it’s just too associated with preppies to ever be uttered in the same breath with the likes of basketball and football (not that I like these sports more, they’re just more acceptable in our American culture.)

For years Agassi was the lone island of cool in the ocean of tennis preppitude. Kournikova and Sharapova are certainly adding to the popularity of tennis, but not in the same way Andre did. I’d say he’s like tennis’ Happy Gilmore, but that distinction probably goes to McEnroe. So when I heard that this US Open would be his last tournament, I had to watch his last couple matches. Tivo has helped me cut down on the amount of time this occupied, but again Agassi has complete disregard for my schedule. He kept playing five set games and even added on extended tiebreakers. But they certainly weren’t boring matches.

Sadly Agassi’s career ended today. The fact that he’s an old man finally caught up to him and he wasn’t able to fend off his youthful opponent. But the crowd loved him anyway and he seemed genuinely happy ending it like he did. Kudos to you Andre and enjoy your retirement. Now I can finally get back to studying.

Song of the moment: “Terrible Angels” CocoRosie

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thars a Starm Abrewin

I had my first tornado warning last night. We had everything: thunder, lightening, tornado sirens. Just no tornado. But this did settle a debate raging in my apartment: is Ohio part of the East or the Midwest? Having tornados clearly defines it as Midwest.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Movie Magic

They announced our ward film festival today.  As much as I enjoy making movies, I have yet to get myself motivated to make one when I haven’t had a venue to show it.  So this will probably be the only time during the year when I’m likely to make one.  The problem is the requirements of this festival.  First, there’s a five minute time limit.  Not that I’ve ever listened to time limits, but that is sure limiting.  Second, you sign up for a category of movie and you make the movie with everyone else that signs up for that category.  Teamwork?  I’m not into that junk.  Third, these are the categories:

Based on a Book

How in the world do you make a five minute Horror movie for Mormons with zero budget?  How do a bunch of Americans make a foreign movie?  Who wants to watch an amateur historical film?  This festival has serious issues.

Poll of the day: Which category should I sign up for?  Should I stick with comedy?  Should I sign up for historical and just make it a comedy?  Should I wise up and spend more time studying anatomy?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mortal Kombat-style

Yesterday I broke a man’s spine.  I tore the vertebrae from his body with my bare hands and pulled out his spinal chord.  It was awesome.

Gross anatomy isn’t for everyone.  In fact I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it. I have seen a fair number of surgeries performed, but have never been the one holding the scalpel.  After a week over lectures we were ready for our cadavers.  

My first worry was the smell.  There’s a reason that there is no perfume with a hint of formaldehyde in it.  But after the first few minutes I had completely blocked it out and have hardly noticed it since.  In fact there’s a rumor going around the med students (lacking any scientific credibility) that formaldehyde causes a hunger reaction.  And it’s true that no matter how much I eat before lab and no matter how grizzly our procedure I’m always starving half way through lab.  True lab is three to four hours long and right in the middle of the day, but I get REALLY hungry.  Yesterday the following food references were made: cheese, pulled pork, slim jims, jam, butter, Doritos, spaghetti, roast beef, pizza and onions.  I’ll spare you the details as to which body parts look or smell like the previous items, but suffice it to say that you are what you eat.

I need to make two quick points.  First, I am profoundly grateful for the man who donated his body to me.  I have a good time in lab and will continue to joke about what I’m doing.  I mean no disrespect to the person who used to occupy this body.  I’m certainly not going to use his body parts to play practical jokes, but I don’t have any problem enjoying my dissection.  Second, if you were grossed out by the food comparisons above, you shouldn’t read the next little bit.

Our first day we skinned our body’s back.  This was probably the grossest thing we’ve done thus far.  You have a lot of fat on your back, and fat is not fun to work with.  There are six of us for each body, so there’s a fair amount of team work involved in dissecting.  I mostly worked at removing the skin from the shoulders and clearing away the tissue underneath.  By the end of the day we had revealed all the muscles on the back and neck.  Our second day we started working with the multiple layers of back muscle.  I had imagined using scalpels for everything, but in reality we use a wide variety of tools.  And a lot of the time we just use our hands.  So as we tried to separate our muscles I often find myself pushing my hand down through layers of muscle, trying to find borders or using my fingers to tear up levels of connective tissue.  We started cutting away muscles from their various attachment points so we could fold them away from the body.  So as we get further and further into the body we’re basically unwrapping the muscles and leaving them around the border of the body.  The trapezius muscles fold up by the head and look exactly like seraphim wings.  Yesterday we focused on the neck and the spine.  I spent my time on the spine, which was fine by me.  Most groups used a bone saw to cut into the vertebrae, but we opted for the hammer and chisel.  This wasn’t really a macho thing, just that none of us liked the smell of burning bone.  So I began chiseling into bone, which is an unforgettable sound.  Imagine cracking your back, times ten.  Eventually we started tearing away the posterior segments of the bone with our hands, revealing the spinal chord.  We were shocked to find our spine filled with congealed blood.  This is not normal, and actually indicates that the cause of death listed by the doctor (heart attack and diabetes) may not have been correct.  We ended our day by severing all the spinal nerves and storing our chord for later use.

Lab is no cake walk.  We stink, we spend a lot of the time memorizing structures and we have to make sure not to slice ourselves (two people have gotten stitches already, and I sliced my glove, though not skin, on bone shards yesterday.)  We get splattered, squirted and quizzed for several hours at a time.  But it’s rarely boring.

Song of the moment: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” The Clash

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Little Black Box

So a point of great personal turmoil presented itself several weeks ago: to buy a new computer or not. My computer (a Dell laptop) was almost exactly three years old and functioning at a questionable level. It works most of the time, but has any number of problems. The external wireless doesn’t work terribly well, it overheats relatively easily, it has spyware that I can’t destroy. Furthermore it has roughly 36 of its 38 gigs of memory filled with music. I’m certain I could delete a solid 6 to 10 gigs of music that I’ll never listen to, but don’t have the time to sort through my 7500 songs. The mouse doesn’t work well, the warranty has expired and the virus protection just ended. It still does everything I need it to, but it is by no means the quality computer it once was.

OSU requires you to have a laptop for medical school. This is a silly requirement because what student in their right mind doesn’t have access to a computer. You couldn’t possibly survive in an academic setting without at least regular internet use and word processing. But they feel the need to make it an explicit requirement and they give the minimum requirements your laptop must meet. My Dell had exactly the minimum requirements, so I found myself in a dilemma. Stay with my computer (which has a record of breaking in some fashion every 4 months or so) or pony up 1800 for a new one.

Not only are you required to have a laptop, but they automatically buy you one and hand them out at orientation. The only way to not have it billed to your tuition is to provide evidence that your current computer is up to their specs. I had emailed the computer guys several times to ask them about my computer, but they never responded. Consequently I shoed up at the computer orientation and they had a computer for me. Now my debate was to get the new comps or try to convince them to give me my money back. At this point the little voice in my head reminded me that I’m already 48 thousand dollars in debt and another $1800 is relatively inconsequential. I argued (actually the salespeople argued) that it was worth the money to have complete coverage and “expert” repairs on my new computer for the next four years. I thought back to the hours I’d spent on hold with Dell over the last three years and took the new computer.

Was it the right choice? The jury’s still out on that one. I immediately had problems with my new wireless card. But the nice thing about the med school owning nearly a thousand of these computers is that they just took the computer and handed me a new one on the spot. This one has yet to give me any problems.

Here are some perks of my new computer. It has fingerprint recognition, which is a pretty useless function but pretty darn cool. I swipe my finger across the scanner and the computer turns on. No more typing in passwords like the rest of you suckers. The computer is Tablet PC (an IBM Thinkpad) which is still quite a novelty for me. A pen pops out of the side of the machine and I can right all over any program I want. Consequently I have yet to use a notebook in my first two weeks of med school: all my notes are digital and right on top of powerpoint presentations and pdf files. The computer also weighs roughly nothing. I’m a poor judge of weight, but I’d say it weighs a couple pounds, whereas my Dell was probably about ten. This is quite handy when you bring the thing everywhere you go.

There are relatively few downsides so far. It’s kind of an economy model (they do buy it in bulk) so isn’t the newest or best laptop on the market. It’s not super fast, though certainly adequate. There is no CD drive, which hasn’t been a problem yet, but could be in the future. They did give me a 1 gig memory key to compensate, but I may very well sell it on eBay to try to recoup some of the costs. As long as I block the debt factor out of my mind I’m happy with it. So if anyone wants a Dell laptop that I’ve spoken so highly of, just let me know and you can also further help me slowly climb my way out of the immense mountain of financial obligations threatening to crush my very will to live.

I’m pretty sure you can safely assume that I’m avoiding studying every time you hear from me in the next four years.


I've already seen a number of "Trust me, I'm a Doctor" shirts, so those are out. But what about these classy numbers?

Dr. 1

Dr. 2

Dr. 3

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

T-Shirt Wars

Maybe one more T-shirt before the winter kicks in . . .

Vote now

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cool Points for Ohio

Here are some reasons Ohio is great:

1. It's the first state that starts with O. Thus you don't have to scroll through dozens of states to get to it like you have to with NY.

2. It's almost a palandrome. Oiho! So close, yet so far.

3. You can probably name more cities in Ohio than in any other state (excluding those you've traveled extensively in.) Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinati, Dayton, Akron, Toledo. It's just chock full of moderately famous cities.

4. It's nearly a tessellation.

5. It contains Cedar Point, which is evidently an awesome amusement park.

6. Columbus has Easton mall, which is evidently an awesome mall.

7. There's no sales tax on fast food.

Well back to studying.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Utilitarian Swords


These are my kitchen swords, which shouldn't be confused with my bedroom swords. I left my sais at home but am considering bringing them to use in the bathroom. Posted by Picasa

Call Ripleys


So Bryce and I not only both happened to bring Lazy-boys, but by chance we were both in China last year and both brought Chinese decorations for the apartment. Coincidence? I think not. Posted by Picasa

Luxurious Lounging


Here are our Joey and Chandler Chairs. I called Chandler, so Bryce is stuck as Joey, despite his superior studying ethic. Posted by Picasa
  Posted by Picasa

Mi Casa


A room centered around Dr. Pepper and Asian knick knacks. What could be classier. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm now 1/208 a doctor

So I wrote that last post early last week, but for some reason it didn’t post. But I now have internet at home so only my own schedule and laziness prevent me from writing.

I really liked my first week of school. I’ve been a student for many years now, and am pretty content to stay one for another while yet. The vast majority of this first week was in a large lecture hall, with all 212 of us together.

Sidenote: I’ll give you a brief rundown of our class. The ages range from 41 to 16. Sixteen! you say. Yes, a mere 16. Nothing makes you feel like a loser like having a 16 year old in your class. We spent the first couple days trying to find the kid, but rumor has it that he has deferred for a year so he can finish his PHD before starting med school. Rumor also has it that he has released 2 CDs of piano music, one of which was nominated for a Grammy. We were given a fact sheet for the class and we know that someone released those CDs. I was proud that I made it onto our fact sheet as one of two authors published in nonscientific journals. There are relatively few Mormons in this class, with 9 from BYU, 4 from the U and 3 from Weber state. As far as I can tell the other 8 BYU alums are married, as are two of the Utes and two of the Webers. That leaves only four of us in the singles wards for this year. About half the class is from Ohio and half from elsewhere, with Utah and Michigan being the two runners up.

We’re currently have three classes: embryology, histology and anatomy. Histology has taken up the majority of our time in the first week. This is my least favorite class, mostly because the lecturer is boring and reads from his slides. Also most of the material is review from my neuroanatomy and cell biology classes, which makes it dull. Embryology is harder, but more interesting. I’ve had relatively little of this material so I can pay attention much more easily. Plus the lecturer throws in Prom night jokes, which always helps. The anatomy lectures were fine, but are more interesting now that we’ve started dissecting. Friday was our first day, and I’ll go into more depth about it in the near future.

Perhaps the best thing about the first week was that each club/organization has tried to get us to join. This has meant a lot of free food. Although we did have to eat pizza three days in a row, it was still free. The worst thing was buying our medical equipment. I coughed up 160 bucks for my stethoscope and am still shopping around for my ophthalmoscope. If you’ve got one sitting around let me know. Anything under 400 will make me pretty happy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I had an ingenious idea today (I am in med school after all.) I could write my blog entries at home, save them on my nifty new computer and easily shoot them off while at school. It’s the perfect crime.

When last we spoke I had just made the arduous trip to Ohio. The shopping trip that followed was exceedingly more arduous. I spent a day picking up everything under the sun for the new apartment. This isn’t completely true, since Bryce’s mom had come along with him and they had nearly a week start on us. But I had stayed in completely furnished apartments for all of college and now found myself in need of furniture. I brought a recliner and chairs from home, which contributed nicely to our front area. But we spent the day finding a satisfactory bed, desk, bookshelf, lamp etc for my room. I was very glad when we finished by the end of the day.

Orientation started on Wednesday and was both better and worse than I had imagined. There were some entertaining speakers and I did learn some important information. But at three days long it lasted about two days longer than I should have. I greatly rejoiced at the many free meals provided (I just have to ignore the fact that I’m paying 38 K to be here and I get to consider them free) but sadly had no use for the many free drinks. Each night we had a party at a local bar, which got old after one night. I had never been to a bar before, but the one I visited didn’t do much for me.

So I was more than adequately oriented, purchased most of my text books and was generally ready for school to start. Then I had a weekend to fill. Not knowing anyone in Columbus to distract me, I was actually quite productive. I put together all my furniture on Saturday and spent several hours at the DMV. I gave up my NY license and am now officially an Ohioan. The hardest part of the process (other than paying a thousand dollars in car taxes) was taking the driving test. I had thought they’d just assume I could drive, seeing as I have a license, car, 8 years of experience etc. But no, I had to pass their test. Not surprisingly, I’m not terribly familiar with Ohio driving regulations. So I missed several questions about DUI regulations, but otherwise made it through without incident. I was happy to be rid of my old license, which was rather tattered, listed my name as CJ (my DMV worker claimed my full name wouldn’t fit so changed it thus) and had my eye color as grey. My new license is more accurate, though my head is cocked a bit to the side which will annoy me for the next decade or so.

Church was relatively sedate. Not one of those wild off-the-wall Sundays. The ward seems friendly and I’m slowly building my name repertoire. I had realized over the summer how comfortable I was with my Provo ward, which I had stayed in for 3 years. But between the get together I attended Saturday night and church on Sunday I’m slowly acclimating.