7 years agoAlsace
9 years agoAlsace
Crossing fingers and wiping brow
Trouble with dreams is you can't pretend
Something with no beginning has an end
So last night I sleep before midnight for the first time in conceivable memory. I say conceivable memory because I really can't remember the last time it happened, nor can I really remember what life was like prior to three days ago. I suspect these facts are intertwined. Turns out improved sleep in both quantity and quality come enhanced dreams. Strange, wild, bizarre dreams.
The first involved me in my new truck, blasting through 4 foot snow drifts. I'm not sure why, or where I was going, but I remember that the truck did well to climb over 6 foot mounds of hard snow, despite being up to the windows in the soft stuff. And in the dream, it didn't need 4wd. It was weird, but not as weird as the ones to come.
The following dreams happened in sequence and were so bizarre that I repeatedly awoke during their stead, my brain shocked awake by the bizarre nature of my subconscious. And once I'd put my head back on the pillow and surrender to my subconscious again, I would be right back in the same place. I finally awoke at 1pm.
It started out with a spherical spacecraft rolling through Manhattan. The alien pilots didn't need weapons to lay waste to lower Manhattan. Thousands lay dead while the military considered its options, holding off a nuclear attack that would have leveled the rest of the buildings and killed millions of people. F-16s and F-22s attacked repeatedly with no success. I got in my truck, picked up my brother and drove as fast as I could upstate. When I got home, more aliens were in my neighborhood, and I drove over as many as I could before finally reaching my house and going upstairs in my old house in the gun room. We loaded up everything we had, I distinctly remember shouldering the 30-30 and popping off a few aliens before running out of ammo and headshotting them with the .22 handgun we had. In my subconscious, I am Jack Bauer. Their death rays (no really, they had death rays), could not kill me, I was always faster. Having saved my family, I awoke.
Weird, I thought. Until I fell back asleep and things took a turn for the even more asinine.
The TVs died. We had to tune into the radio to learn that the alien attack had progressed and every American city was rubble. But the aliens knew that to kill every human would be exhaustive and time consuming, so they focused on the major city centers and turned the un-dead into... the undead. We were told by the newscaster to remain in our homes and pray for the best, but I started to think of my grandparents and armed myself appropriately. Hopping in the truck, I set out to save them. Hundreds of zombies tread after and before me, and I dispatched many by driving right over them, until I reached a military road block just before my grandparent's road. A school bus full of soldiers unloaded and took positions by the intersection, begrudgingly giving me the go-ahead but being forced to continue on foot. I reached my grandparents house and found them huddled up in their house. Zombies entered the front door and windows and I killed them before they could harm us, but the gunshots were sure to alert any in the surrounding area. We knew we had to leave, so we made a break for it. Running through a sea of people, back toward the military checkpoint, we made it to their school bus just as the platoon was being overrun. I closed the bus door and started it back up.
And then I woke up. Really, really really confused. I smirked because zombies? Really? Aliens and zombies? I put my head back down and let sleep carry me away again.
I'd made it back to my old house. The aliens had moved upstate, and so we decided to move on before they could get to destroying our home with us still inside. We piled into my commandeered bus and drove. Zombies were unable to stop the massive weight of the vehicle as we pulled up to the defunct but reactivated Griffiss Air Force Base. Pulled up just in time to see 5 alien spacecraft destroying it with huge lasers. I knew my only hope was to head to the Adirondack Mountains. And so I went, traveling like the dickens up windy country roads in a bright yellow bus. It wasn't long before an alien craft picked us up. Our only hope was to take and old trail into the mountains, and so I took the bus off road. As soon as we hit the forest canopy, I stopped the bus and told everyone to pack all we could, as we were to carry on by foot.
Then it was 1pm, and I just couldn't justify going back to bed. I awoke both proud of and saddened by my subconscious, which earned praise for invoking Shaun of the Dead plot references and lost my respect for invoking Michael Bay imagery. There were movies in my head last night from I am Legend to Mars Attacks, Independence Day and references unmentioned to Evil Dead, in which I used a chainsaw to kill one of the aliens. I should've mentioned that, actually. It was sweet.
Anyway, last night was fucking awesome.
9 years agoAlsace
I use two computers to study. One to stream the lecture and another to actively take notes from said lecture.
Yesterday, my main PC, the one I built and was so proud of back in my senior year of college, experienced some sort of major failure that I haven't been able to fully diagnose.
I'm blaming the motherboard, for now. And maybe a hard drive too. And possibly the graphics card. Quite frankly I'm surprised the whole goddamned thing didn't light itself on fire.
This of course leaves me up a particular foul-smelling creek. Do I build one now or wait a while and re-adapt my study habits? I really liked the system I had. New systems aren't too expensive but I'd really like to build one. And what do I do with this heap of crap? I still have at least 1 viable hard drive. There are some parts on it that are worth salvaging I think. Argh.
Next PC gets mandatory mirrored RAID though, that way I won't be out data (luckily I'm not right now, but it was close).
Basically, this is the last thing I wanted right now. Despite my love of system-building, I could've used the bonus productivity. 2 more lectures to stream today and I'll be beyond it, but for now it sucks. Maybe I'll take it home and
tinker over the breakleave it there to die. (I really wanted to give it to my little bro when I was done with it. Runs circles around the 600 Mhz XP running heap of shit he's got right now).
9 years agoAlsace
See what I did there?
The problem is our society is not about prevention. Our society is about treatment. And reacting rather than being proactive. It's remarkable to me that a managed care plan will pay 10,000 dollars to have gastric bypass surgery performed on a patient, but they won't pay 1000 dollars to enroll a patient in a lifestyle behavior modification program. It's retarded. It doesn't make any sense.
I always like when we have energetic lecturers, and guys who like to drive home points. I like opinionated people as long they're somewhat logical and can back up their beliefs. So one of our lecturers started talking about this and I thought it was interesting. And by "interesting" I mean "true."
For all of the talk of "preventative care," we're not really good at well-visits in this country. Lord knows I haven't had a non-mandatory physical in over 5 years (and the only reason I had one was my application to USUHS mandated one). But I'm a typical 24 year old male with an invulnerability complex conditioned by testosterone to believe that I'm perfect.
Of course, in the event there's something actually, legitimately, medically wrong with me, I've made it needlessly complicated for any doctor who wants to treat me. I have no baselines. Was my QT interval always like that? Was my cortisol level always high? TSH?
Give your doctor good baselines. (For the record, that last paragraph was all hypothetical. After all, I'm a 24 year old male, there is nothing that could conceivably be wrong with me).
Anyway, my real point is that when I was set to embark on the big medical journey I had to attend a series of pre-professional undergraduate meetings, which were slated to impart unto us a deeper understanding of the real mess we were oh so naively getting ourselves into. One of the things that stuck out was that a veterinarian was talking about how veterinary medicine has shifted over the last few years and is continuing to do so to a more "preventative approach." I laughed out loud. Preventative care for dogs? I mean, I love my dog and I'll keep him vaccinated, but it's not like I'm going to go out of my way to give him lithium to keep him from committing suicide. He's a dog for Chrissakes.
This lays the groundwork to the following: If we give such a crap about our animals, as to prevent their inevitable deterioration, why don't we give a crap about ourselves? Clearly there are societal influences, but then again, I'm not a male at any real risk for anything. If I were obese and risk for Type 2 Diabetes, my response should be different. I should be seeing my doctor from a preventative standpoint. Is it that we just don't know the risks? Or do we turn a blind eye to our own? Hell I'm aware of my risks and I still won't see a doctor.
Oh and I even have insurance. That'll complicate things from both ends. Like the esteemed doctor said at the beginning of this: Insurance companies will pay for whatever costs them less on the whole, not what necessarily costs you less. It's about risk management. And sometimes they'll even risk paying more for you down the road if certain qualifications aren't met.
Anyway, my point is that the third party payer system isn't the best. On the one hand they force doctors to justify their actions and prescriptions, and they do subsidize costs of treatment, but at the same time they present loopholes and restrictions that may actually shortchange what is best for you for what is cost effective.
In the coming years, it would be wise for you take interest in managing your own health. Trust in your doctor unless he has wronged you. He is limited as far as what he may or may not be able to do with you, and in all likelihood, he's balancing the demands of the insurance company with the demands of the patient.
Legally, we are prohibited from making exaggerated claims about the potency of the nutrients in this bottle. Therefore, legally we wouldn't tell you that after drinking this, Eugene from Kansas started using horseshoes as a thighmaster or that this drink gave Agnes from Delaware enough strength to bench press llamas. Heck, we can't even tell you this drink gives you the power to do a thousand pinkie push-ups... just ask Mike in Queens. Legally, we can't say stuff like that - cause that would be wrong, you know?
I'm a sucker for good copy. It's really its own art form - you can't offend your consumers but you don't want to come off looking stupid. BK wrappers used to have great copy. Woot.com, same thing. Now I'm drinking Vitamin Water (I haven't been taking my multivitamins like a good boy) and I love the stupid copy on the side of their bottles. I like to be entertained while using a product. Makes me feel better about wasting money on bottled water.
9 years agoAlsace
At least, I'm trying to. Haven't updated in a long while and you know what that means. Scattered thoughts and a far too long journal.
Sitting on an angry chair
Angry walls that steal the air
Things haven't been going so hot for me over the last week, but upon review they've looked a lot better in hindsight. A few days ago we had a "conversation with the dean," a program designed to get our dean down to the student level to possibly address a few issues. Our school has gone overboard pushing us toward "professional" conduct at all times (including adding a "professionalism" clause in our handbook that could very easily be used to curtail one's right to speech). In any case, there were the regular loudmouths who came out and attacked him from the get-go and put him on the defensive, which meant he'd make snide comments and sharp replies. I probably shouldn't have asked the question, but I thought I'd give him an easy one, so I said,
"We've had seven addenda to our handbook this semester and I'm just wondering where we are, if there might be more coming."
"Well would you prefer we just stick to bad policies?" he replied, taking an inappropriately aggressive tone.
"Uh.. I wasn't trying to be confrontational, I was just asking a question.."
"Well I'm not so sure that you were."
I wasn't happy with that exchange at all. I just put the mic down and let the next student rip into him on a whole different topic. It wasn't worth starting an argument, particularly not with the dean. But I can tell you for damn sure that I wasn't being confrontational. If I was, I would've torn him a new one for his "Would you rather stick to bad policy" comment. But I didn't. I just wanted to know if there was more on the way. In all honesty the amount of changes is pretty inappropriate, there've been 7 addenda and 3 different edits to those seven, all of these changes happening after we've all invested around 80,000 dollars into our education. I hesitate to really say "bait and switch," but I can't think of another term for it. I'm not going to enumerate each change in policy here, but suffice it to say these aren't small rule changes.
In spite of my confidence that I'd asked the question appropriately, I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering if I'd taken the wrong tone. But since that date several people have told me that I hadn't (unsolicited). Thank God.
Heartbreaker, your time has come,
Cant take your evil way;
Today I was a small group exercise to save our dummy, "Stan." Mr Stan comes in complaining of a crushing pain in his chest, radiating to his jaw. It showed every sign of a simple heart attack workup, but the team fell apart under crummy leadership. I'd been hesitant to helm the ship again after believing I performed terribly the first time (it was two weeks into our cardiology course and it was predetermined as per the exercise that Stan had to die in that one). But after watching what happened today it's pretty clear that you need a strong leader. A better team would've been nice. I'd keep one other person from this group and throw the rest out.
The Leader: Our leader was ineffectual, couldn't make up her mind about dosages with the dosages in front of her. Was charged with writing tests ordered, times thereof and medications administered and times thereof on the white board. Failed to do all of these things.
History Guy: Our guy who got the history was rather redeeming. He got a good history under the conditions and asked appropriate questions. At the end he was thinking about ways to improve, and that's why I'd want him on my team.
Medication Dispenser: Our girl who ran the IV turned into the chief talker, pretty much making ridiculous claims and talking to the dummy like he was 4. ...He's a dummy voiced by a human, not a child. It was frustrating.
Monitor: My task was to watch the monitors. Not hard, except for reading the world's smallest EKG. But because of this I ended up telling our leader what to do, what drugs to give and at what dosages.
Airway Control: Our airway guy was the biggest roadblock I've ever met. He didn't ask "Why give [x drug]," instead he'd say "Don't give that drug." For example, we'd administered 3 mg of IV morphine (an executive decision because I figured with a max dose of 10 on the sheet, it'd give overhead for more as needed). He decides to tell us that we can't give him more morphine because he's not due. ... and further after he tried to stop me from giving a third dose of nitroglycerine because "he doesn't need it," in spite of the patient's repeated complaints of pain. Oh and after he resisted putting the oxygen mask on the patient once it was determined to be a myocardial infarct. But of course, this was all before he said we shouldn't give metoprolol because the patient got nitro.
... This is where I get stroked out. In my head, I either know something or I don't. If I don't know something for dead certain, I keep my mouth shut. Apparently other people don't have the same reservations.
Anyway, I have a test on Monday and some lectures to get through tonight. So peace out.
9 years agoAlsace
I'd been loathe to admit it was Christmas season. Mostly because I wasn't very excited about it. There was a modicum of snowfall on Thanksgiving and that's all I saw. While I relent that Christmas season undoubtedly starts on blackest of Fridays, to me it doesn't feel like it starts until it snows. Snow's got that magical feeling to it. Last night and this afternoon it snowed, bringing my spirits up quite a bit. I really do miss the snow. This in between fall/winter crap is for the birds.
Sometimes, on rare occasions I'll scan the radio dial in search of some Christmas music. And this year, it's been characteristically shitty. What happened to the good male voices in music? The deep Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole style singers? Instead we get garbage from guys who fear real singing and instead push sounds through their noses. And the women's side isn't that much better either. I'm so goddamned sick of the Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston voices that it makes my brain hurt. And don't even get me started on the whole "We'll be having a wonderful Christmas time" song, whatever tripe that is.
I like my Christmas music unique. I like the occasional Manheim Steamroller take. Occasionally the Trans-siberian Orchestra in their over-done epic sauce. (Granted, both are overdone now). So what, then, do I like?
Another good one here is by Zooey Deschanel with Leon Redbone. It's probably my favorite version of this one, ever, blows Rod Stewart out of the water, douchebag second only to Michael Bolton.
So, beyond that, what else is good? Experimental music from the 60s and 70s. You wish I was kidding.
Christmas music by: Click links for muzac hosted by some crazy dude who believes in the spirit of giving or something.
The Big Ben Banjo Band
The Living Trio
Ferrante and Teicher
Wayne King and His Orchestra
Caroleer Singers and Orchestra
Herman Apple Ses Carillons Et Ses Percussions
The Hollyridge Strings
Peter Wood Singers and Orchestra
I guarantee that you will not hear most of these songs on the radio. In fact, you may never find these CDs anywhere, but if you do, pick them up. Or find them on this site (where I got all those links), who relishes the vinyl history of Christmas
9 years agoAlsace
I'm guessing this happens to every med student at some point, and I'm not referencing the "Oh my God, I have cancer/ebola/avian flu" response, instead I'm talking about a natural appreciation for certain diseases.
For example, I have no interest in arrhythmias. Why do some people get tachycardic? Some bradycardic? Meh. It doesn't light my fire.
But let's talk about Graves' Disease for a minute. I love Graves Disease. (I love saying things like this cause it sounds so screwed up). But in reality certain disease processes are fascinating. The life cycles of parasites is completely 100 percent fascinating to me. So is the underlying pathology of Graves'. It's so elegant, in my head, that I can't help but appreciate it.
The simple normalized version is this. There's a hormone your pituitary secretes that stimulates the thyroid (TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone... tricky huh). In Graves' disease, your body produces an antibody (much like those that bind to germs/viruses) that latches onto the TSH receptors in your thyroid. So the thyroid thinks it's getting a signal from the pituitary to go go go go: T3 and T4 (hormones that increase your metabolism) get secreted like crazy. Meanwhile, your pituitary gland is like "HOLY SHIT THERE'S T3/T4 EVERYWHERE MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP" so it cuts production of TSH.
And your thyroid gland is all like, "TSH, I don't need that shit. The antibodies are still telling me to googogogogogogo." Low TSH be damned, your thyroid is still rockin out producing hormone, ramping up your metabolic rate.
MEANWHILE, back at eyeball ranch, the muscles and fat behind your eyes gets all inflamed and pissed off and bulges your eyeballs out. No really.
Luckily Graves can be treated with drugs or radioactive iodine. The thyroid is an easy target for radiation because it's the only gland in your body that gives a crap about iodine
Subsidizing fertilizer instead of converting to cash crops as suggested by the west and the UN, has drastically decreased famine in the African country of Malawi.
This isn't the first time that I've read an article suggesting that western ideas, including aid to Africa (for famine or for HIV/AIDS) is only exacerbating the situation. Being that I don't know, and don't really have the time to go into these things, it makes me wonder: Are we deliberately torpedoing the African continent just to exploit it? It's not exactly a new idea, as it's been made sexy by movies like "Blood Diamond," but I'm just pondering. Are our people just wrong? Or is Malawi just benefiting from a few lucky breaks? Would the Malawi model work across Africa as a whole?
Post edited 12/01/07 8:31PM
American lovechild of Hugh Laurie and Hugh Grant.
Fan fiction is only marginally better than slash, but that's like comparing Pol Pot to Hitler, respectively.
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