Sunday, February 25, 2007

Non-weekend Update

So it seems to me that the majority of my posts are just what I did over the weekend. This is mostly because this seems to be the most interesting aspect of my day-to-day affairs. For instance, this weekend I had fried ice cream for the first time at “The Authentic Mexican Restaurant,” had a Tim Curry marathon by watching Clue and Rocky Horror Picture Show back to back, and entered a Pinewood Derby using a potato fashioned into a Graboid from Tremors. Some interesting stuff I think. But perhaps you’re more interested in medical stuff.

We’re currently half way through our Host Defense Unit. This is pretty much a compilation of microbiology (bacteria, viruses and fungi), immunology and some pathology. The microbes don’t bother me much, but the immunology is annoying. Everything is named after arbitrary acronyms which start off cascades of dozens of other arbitrary acronyms. All the systems are redundant and overlapping, and it’s just generally a mess. But I’ve made it through one exam and have another two weeks to shape up for this upcoming exam. This wouldn’t be so bad, but they are making things difficult by adding all kinds of extracurricular requirements. These include:

I have a “senior partner” who I have to visit and analyze her health problems. She’s a nice old lady, but the program is just slow and seems relatively pointless since we practice these skills in a number of other ways.

I’m putting together a presentation on diabetes for the local free clinics. Admittedly this isn’t taking a lot of time, but it’s just an extra thing over my head.

I’m attending the Ultrasound Academy where we learn how to use these machines for diagnoses. It’s pretty interesting, but I’m not very good at it and the meetings are always set for times when I’d rather be studying.

We just had DPR, Doctor Patient Relations, added to our schedule. I agree with the idea of this class (basically working on bedside manner) but it covers a lot of the same material as Patient Centered Medicine, and the meetings sometimes last 4 hours.

I’m the head of the Communications Committee for Project Professionalism. Again this doesn’t really take up that much time, but it’s always added pressure when you’re not only in charge of yourself, but of others as well.

All in all it makes for a busy day. Add to these time constraints that for the last two weeks I’ve been applying for summer grants, and that I now have to apply for scholarships for next year, and it gets very hectic.

And really, this is all quite boring, hence the reason I don’t often go into it. But it is what’s filling my life these days.

I’m currently listening to: The Cat Empire, Lily Allen and The Format.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The sedentary life of a med student

Well I made it through another test on Tuesday. This was immediately followed up by a period of intense partying, which is traumatic for an introvert like myself.

It all started off on Wednesday. For those of you that have repressed this fact, Wednesday was Valentines Day. OSU had the fantastic planning to schedule a Suicide seminar on that very day. Luckily for us all there was snow/freezing rain/too-lazy-to-plow-the-road storm and we got out of school. This made getting the party together a bit harder, but we managed it.

One of the staples of Love Sucks is the soundtrack. The first year I had a soundtrack of 20 songs, split evenly between anti-girl and anti-boy songs. The next couple year this list blossomed to over a hundred. For LS3 I had a good 150 songs, but I selected my favorite 40 for the year and had that as the soundtrack. I’m now up to 220 songs, but made a new clean Love Sucks list of about a 100 and played that. As you’d imagine there are a great many anti-love songs that swear and I now have those segregated from the nice and friendly anti-love songs. So that was taken care of.

Decorations were a bit milder than some years. Rather than having a whole bouquet of dead flowers like last year I only had 2. I had collected a bouquet of dead flowers from a nearby florist (he told me to take whatever I wanted from the dumpster, and I did) but discovered after leaving them in my car as I went to school that they were putrid. So I settled for buying a couple roses and killing them myself. I left one by our heater and put the other in salt water. After a couple days I saw that the salt water was doing the better job and moved them both to this hostile environment. Next year I think I’ll try alcohol. I found a great party store that is very nearly a dollar store. We put up black streamers and black balloons and throughout the party we put together cynical valentines to decorate the walls. I had planned to burn a cheap box of chocolates, but we never got around to it.

The party went pretty well. I think we would’ve had more people had we had less inclement weather, but it was crowded as is, so it was no biggie. Over the course of the evening we probably had 40 people and averaged around 20. I don’t know if my invitations are heavily skewed, but my parties always end up with a high girl:guy ratio and I think we were hitting 3:1 at this particular event. The food is never as popular as I’d expect, but the ice cream bar and Better-than-sex cake were both reasonably popular. People made valentines, but the Girlfriend application that I made a couple years back was more popular. I now have a dozen to read through and make my selection. I set up a booth with Uno and playing cards (labeled Uno Is the Lonliest Number and Broken Hearts) but they weren’t used. But the chatting was fun and I think that’s usually the prime motivator bringing people to parties. Thanks to Catherine for her popup Phobias and Nightmares books, as they were quite popular as well.

The party rapped up around 10:30 so we could watch Lost. The Lost afterparty had a much lower attendance, just about 8 of us. But we were treated to an excellent episode and had some good discussion. In fact we had people over quite late and I wasn’t happy with myself the next morning. But LS4 was a great success and I plan on keeping the tradition alive until I’m hitched.

I followed up my party with another party on Thursday. Two of my friends here in Columbus have Valentines birthdays and because of my party they had their party the next night. It was a much smaller affair, with perhaps 10 people. We ate, smashed cake in people’s faces and played the ever popular (and inherently flawed) game of Spoons. But it’s a fun group and I certainly had a good time.

This was followed up by a party on Friday. This was another thematic affair: A Blanket Party. The groups of girls that threw it had originally planned it for Valentines, but again my traditional fest took priority. The catchline was “Nobody should sleep alone for Valentines” so they planned a snugglefest. Except no snuggling actually occurred. We weren’t there for the whole thing, but we didn’t even use the stockpile of blankets very much. Again there was a great deal of discussing/flirting and eventually a game of Pictionary. It was a very odd combination of Valentines pictures and pictures of diseases. I’m not really sure where this combo came from, but I did make a comment about not wanting to catch Smallpox at the party and I think they may have run with that. Again, a good time.

Tonight is our 4th straight night of “parties.” We’ve got a med student potluck shortly and will then head to an AD party. For those of you who aren’t in the know, AD is what cool people call Arrested Development. My AD experience is limited to watching a half dozen episodes with a girlfriend who was a huge fan. It’s a funny show, but I don’t think it really warrants having its own party. We’ll see how it goes.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Normally I think weather is pretty boring topic. People only talk about it because you're 99% sure that the person with whom you're conversing has also experienced weather, so the awkward pauses will be kept to a minimum. However I have 2 weather related points to bring up:

It's been dang cold in Columbus. I haven't kept track of weather elsewhere, but I'm pretty sure it never got above 20 degrees last week. There were several mornings where I went to school in single digit weather, which became negative with the windchill. I don't really remember being in such a prolonged cold spell.

This week it's warmer (a balmy 20-30) but we had crazy snow today. We probably got 9 inches of snow, which isn't impressive. But then we got about 6 hours of freezing rain. I was running errands for much of the afternoon and every time I came back to my car it was once again covered in a solid sheet of ice. Luckily I'm easily amused and had a good time shattering the ice repeatedly, but it was still unusual. All of the Columbus schools were closed, including OSU. But not the med school! Because evidently we have some special means of getting about town that all other students lack. Well actually I do have my trusty Subaru, but the dean doesn't know that.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Defining yourself by 4 letters

No, not by swearing. But by your Myers Briggs score.

I'm INTJ. We have a professor who swears by these scores and uses them to recommend what medical specialty we should enter. I’m supposed to be a medical researcher or neurologist. What are you?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Calling In Life

As I mentioned yesterday, I am now the Activities Co-Chair for the ward. I got called into the Bishop's office last week and really wasn't expecting a change of calling. I'd only been in the Elder's Quorum for a couple months and figured I'd stay there for some time, perhaps until I left the ward. But I was asked to change and was pretty happy about it.

I had mixed feelings about being the EQ Secretary. I actually do like to organize things, so that was fine. But I really prefer to organize things that I’m in charge of. As secretary I wasn’t really part of the presidency, though I certainly voiced my opinions as often as any of the others. It certainly wasn’t a horrible calling but I didn’t find it particularly fulfilling either.

This calling is an odd one. I realize that activities are important for a Single’s Ward, but they’re certainly not a Gospel necessity. It’s a little odd to think that no matter how good a job I do, it’s not really helping the work go forth. I guess I can focus on keeping people socially active, which I do believe is pretty vital for being an active member. I like my co-chair, I like the committee and it should be an enjoyable time.

I do however need ideas. Let me know what activities you have done that are worth repeating. I guess it would also be helpful to know activities that were colossal disasters. We need to get about 25 activities in per year and I certainly don’t have that many projects in my head.

Here’s my first activity that popped in my head today: American Gladiators. How random is that? And yet, how awesome. I just need to find some giant hamster wheels and we’ve got ourselves a good time.

Punxsy Fun

I had a wild and crazy weekend. I had a weekend up in Kirtland a couple weeks ago (which I have yet to write about) but thought I’d cover this weekend while it’s still fresh in my memory. What was so great this weekend? Groundhog Day!

For the last two years I’ve thrown a Groundhog Day party. It’s an easy event to throw since I just show the Bill Murray movie and we eat some donuts or other treats featured in the movie. But this year we decided to take it up a notch. Since Pennsylvania is only a state away we decided to go to Punxsutawney itself. So we were there, where it all happened. And it was AWESOME.

We left right after class on Thursday. We had quite a few people drop out during the week (we made sure to tell them about how awesome it was afterwards) and ended up with 15 people making the Punxsutawney Pilgrimage. We caravanned out way out to Clarion, which is a couple towns away from Groundhog Zero. The trip was enjoyable and included singing TV theme songs, listening to the Pennsylvania Polka many times over and quoting the movie as best we could. We got to our hotel room around 10 and had a couple hours of fun before going to sleep. Our 2 hotel rooms served quite well to house us all, though it certainly wasn’t my best night’s sleep ever. This was primarily because we had to get up at 4 to head to Gobbler’s Knob. They opened the Knob at 3, but with the winter weather we decided we didn’t want to wait around in the cold for 5 hours.

So we left around 5. Unfortunately I discovered that my headlight was out and it was snowing, which made for a tense ride to our final destination. Luckily it was only about a 45 minute trip and we were in the town itself. We found the shuttle bus and eventually made our way up to the Knob. We had bundled ourselves up very heavily and it actually wasn’t that cold, probably no less than 25 degrees. We made it to the Knob itself around 6:30, which gave us some time to look around before going to see Phil. We weren’t able to get that close to the stage because several thousand people had gotten there earlier than we. Many were also inebriated, which I assume was their method for keeping warm. Drunk people are even funnier at 6 in the morning than at 10 at night. We had a guy next to us keep yelling “Groundhog tastes like chicken!” which got funnier to both us and him every time he yelled it.

The festivities were quite ridiculous. They played such classics as Who Let the Dogs Out and Feeling Hot Hot Hot to get us pumped up. At 7 they had a fireworks show, which was alright, but made a bit funnier because they kept playing the Star Wars music through the whole thing. Over and over and over. The Inner Circle took the stage at 7:20 and started the official ceremony. If you’ve seen the movie, the Circle are the guys in the suits and top hats who officiate the event and are local celebrities. We even had the chance to get their autographs later that afternoon. Phil’s shadow-looking was actually remarkably similar to the movie, but the best thing was watching the crowd go crazy as they held the rodent up and paraded him about the stage. When they announced that spring would come early the crowd went even crazier. It was truly a sight to behold.

We hung around the Knob for a bit after the event, mostly to see if we could get a picture with Phil. The line was too long so we decided we wanted to walk back to town instead of taking the bus. On the way we discovered that the Punxsutawney ward meets just a couple blocks from the Knob. How convenient for us.

We got back into town and had some awesome pancakes at a local establishment. Then we wondered about town, soaking up the Groundhog culture. There were ice statues, chainsaw carving, a whittling exhibit, several craft fairs, several Groundhog memorabilia stores, even a groundhog zoo. We eventually found Phil again and got some pictures. We talked to the Inner Circle and decided that we’d form our own Outer Circle for next year. We danced around pagan groundhog statues, got to know some locals and got sucked into some local “museums.” We didn’t end up watching the movie (it was showing at several theaters) but we did see an autographed copy of the script and Bill Murray’s chair at one of the museums, which were all based out of people’s homes. The weather was pretty perfect. It never got that cold and we had some snowfall throughout the day that heightened the experience. It wasn’t as fun driving home in it, but we all made it.

We’re going back to Punxy next year. We’re going to try to sleep at the local chapel, and if not we’ll try to get a spot in town. It’ll be on Saturday so we think we’ll have a group of 30 or 40 to go with us. I was just called as the ward Activities Co-Chair, so I may even make it an official event. I may lose a few points on our next test due to my absenteeism on Friday, but it was well worth it.

Song of the moment: Pennsylvania Polka.