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.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Computerless in Columbus

I won’t have internet for another week, so you may not here from me until then.  But I am alive and doing my med school thing.  Stay tuned for updates.

Monday, August 07, 2006

In One Piece

Today I left for medical school.  I really have zero concept of what medical school will be like yet, so can’t talk about it to any extent.  I can tell you a bit about the trip though.

I put off packing until Saturday, and then stretched it out over Sunday and into Monday morning.  It really shouldn’t have taken that long since half my stuff was still in boxes from my move from Utah, but I am quite talented at procrastinating.  I had some help from certain individuals in delaying this process even beyond my own means which meant that I did get around to leaving NY until noon on Monday instead of 7 or 8 as I had originally planned.

The trip wasn’t terribly exciting.  I had to put aside my beloved iPod since my FM transmitter has yet to come in the mail.  This meant I had to resort to playing CDs (oh the humanity!) limiting my selection several hundredfold.  I’m simultaneously going through several music phases right now which resulted in some very strange mix CDs.  These various genres include alterna-folk (The Beautiful South and The Weepies) Brit-hop (The Streets and Lady Sovereign) and Nerd-hop (The Knives and MC Lars).  Thankfully I had no passengers in the car as they would probably have gone insane.  I also listened to a comedy album by Mike Birbiglia which was quite funny and munched on some delicious oatmeal chocolate/peanutbutter chip cookies.  Combine these experiences with the fact that I did not crash into anyone and was not crashed into (two staples of past roadtrips) and I considered it a successful day.

I unpacked my still unnamed car, along with my mom’s minivan, which arrived about an hour later, with the help of my new compadre Bryce.  I’m currently too lazy to look up how to spell compadre, so that’s what we’re going with.  Again my naming guidelines on my blog are extremely arbitrary so Bryce is getting named and my cookie provider isn’t.  Besides being from Utah and going to the U, he seems like a good guy.  

Tomorrow is a shopping spree, which may be quite painful.  Wednesday through Friday is orientation, which may also induce a great deal of pain.  How exciting!  

Song of the moment: “Mushaboom” by Feist (Postal Service remix)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dilatory Musing

Don’t you think it would’ve been really weird to be watching Star Wars in the theater and have Obi Wan pull out a little cylinder and call it a Lightsaber?  Wouldn’t you just laugh if you were watching a movie and a character pulled out his trusty Lasersword?  But we accept the term today like it was the Queen’s English.

Ya, I’m supposed to be packing right now.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Fast and the Funny

I don’t know if there’s any point of me reviewing Talladega Nights.  You almost certainly know already if you’re going to see this movie.  If you think Will Farrell is a moron you won’t see the movie, regardless of what I say.  If you think he’s moronically hilarious than you’ll see it.  I think Farrell is hilarious, especially when he’s in control of the film.  When you let him write the movie and go crazy for two hours you get some good belly laughs.

The infinite comparisons to Anchorman are well-founded.  It’s a nearly identical story, just replacing a 70s news personality with a new century racecar driver.  He starts out on the top of his game, he gets humbled and rises back to the top.  The same actors, director et al.  But it was hilarious the first time and it was perhaps better the second.  And when they do it a third time (Stepbrothers has already been announced, again with Farrell, Reilly and McKay) I’ll see it again.

With the frequency of the jokes you do have to sit through some poor ones.  The Tom Cruise bit was funny the first time, but not really thereafter.  Other jokes are just wrong, but still funny.  So you get to feel guilty about Farrell’s swearing children and blasphemous prayers, but the blasphemous prayers are HILARIOUS.  If you haven’t seen the previews of the scene, Farrell insists on praying to baby Jesus, not adult Jesus or teenage Jesus.  But he confirms everyone’s right to pray to whatever age deity they wish.  His descriptions of the Savior steal heavily from Monty Python synonym humor, but they still made me laugh.  

If you associate with any males from the age of 13 to 33 (perhaps ranging from 3 to 53,) you’ll be hearing lines from this movie.  I don’t know if that motivates you more or less to see it, but it’s just a fact.  

If you want to see a funny movie, you’re not likely to find any better this season.  It may be too offensive for some, but its cleaner than Farrell’s previous efforts (excluding Elf and Kicking and Screaming) and cleaner than most comedies aimed at adults.  Molly Shannon made me uncomfortable, but otherwise I was fine.  Turn off your higher brain function and stay a while.

Song of the moment: “Space Game” MC Lars

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Subaru, more like Superbaru!

I’ve now had my Subaru for a little over a week.  So far so good.  I never really addressed how I came across this vehicle, so will do so now.

I searched the used car market for over a month prior to this purchase.  In this time I’d say that I roughly tripled my knowledge of automobiles.  This proves my initial lack of knowledge much more than my current wealth of it.  But I can now recognize makes and models to a much greater degree and know a bit about the merits of different types.  The end of my month of searching brought me to my Subaru.

Although Hondas and Toyotas have better resale value and reliability ratings, they lack personality.  They’re the default car: the one you’re likely to buy as a reasonably intelligent person without a strong reason to go elsewhere.  You can’t really be a Honda person.  Subarus seem to have a bit more individuality to them.  Not as much personality as a Hummer or Corvette, but an economy amount of it at least.  They’re a bit more alternative than the aforementioned imports, with nearly the same reputation.  Had I found a great deal on a Toyota I would’ve bought it, but I think I’m happier being a Subaru person.  Subaru has Crocodile Dundee.  Who can really compete with that?  

I would have preferred a normal Impreza to my Impreza Outback Sport, but could not find a good deal on one.  I have no particular need for the hatchback space and the sedan does look marginally better.  But the Sport model was a close second and does serve to set me apart from the other Subarus you’ll see on the road, 80 % of which are Legacy Outbacks.  My model balances fuel efficiency with sports performance pretty well, which is important since you can’t really excel at one without hurting the other.  Ideally the car would have had iPod compatibility and a better sound system, along with spinning hubcaps (kidding), but otherwise I’m happy with the package I found.

The car still remains nameless.  Here are some of my current options:

Green Debbie

Mad nerd points if you can identify the source of three or more of these names.  

Song of the moment: “We Share Our Mother’s Health” The Knife