Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy New Year!

I know it's still 2010, but who am I kidding if I think I'll post anything else between now and 2011. I'm generally pretty busy lately, between the hours at work (Sunday I worked 15 hours, 19 minutes) and the two growing boys. If it weren't for a case of redbull induced insomnia (brought on by a single redbull this morning, and a coke tonight, I'm a lightweight sometimes), I wouldn't have time for this.

There's a lot that has gone on this past year which I haven't posted about, and most of it's been good. We've moved out on our own for the first time in our married lives. Finances take on a different tone whenever you're providing your whole livelihood, but "awesome" is not a big enough word to describe what it's like to have your own space for your family, so the added stress is worth it. Adding to the stress, my mother in law has to return to her former position at work, which means that she will not be working from home anymore. She has been good enough to watch our kids for us while we've been at work, and as she will no longer be able to do that, we've had ample opportunity to reconsider our current career choices, to see if MJ can get more flexibility in her schedule so we can do with less babysitting. It's likely that she'll be switching to part-time at the airport, and resuming her career as a massage therapist. That should give her greater flexibility, more pay for fewer hours, and get her back to doing something she's loved. We're still looking into it, seeing if it's as feasible as we hope, but it looks good so far.

I've had my first interview for medical school. It's the one I really want to get into, too. Acceptance would mean I can stay around here for the next four years, and from everything I hear or read, they've got a really good program, amazing equipment and facilities, good partnerships with a number of local hospitals, and a reputation for having a good, cooperative, uplifting student body. I felt pretty good about the interview day, and I loved the campus, but I know that for any applicant the statistics are against you. For the 2012 graduating class, 1132 applicants were invited to interview, and of those, 270 were offered acceptance. Many of them must have had more than one acceptance because only 156 took the offer. I'm more interested in the 270, since I just need to get as far as the offer, but that's still only about the top quarter of applicants who looked good enough to interview, that are accepted. I have never had any difficulty keeping in the top quarter academically, but this isn't the usual competition. I've heard that some people find out that they are accepted within a matter of weeks, but I believe the normal thing is to hear in mid to late March which of three categories you fall in. One is most likely accepted, the second you may have good chances especially if you rank towards the top, and the other, you just hope you have some eggs in another basket somewhere, because this one's not going to work for you. I have a few other eggs, but although I know I'll love wherever I go, I've got my sights set here.

In lighter news, the trip to DisneyWorld went very well. Much of that is already on my wife's blog, but there are a couple of things that she left for me. First, in Florida, they call a speed bump a hump. We had a few giggles on that one. That's right. We're mature like that. The other, is that Taco Bell officially has the worst toys in their kid's meals. First, here's the top view of the box it came in.

The text on the bottom of the box read, "Careful when opening, the box is part of the toy." I like to picture some executive in CrapToys, sitting at a desk and thinking to himself about how you can get a kid a toy, and he'll just play with the box. And then he thinks, "Eureka, I've got the perfect toy!" That's right, when you've got to save the box to play with, you know the toy inside's going to be good. And here it is.

We call it BoxHead, and it served the purposes of entertaining him in the car, for all of a minute or so. We're not sure what you're really supposed to do with it. The head, being a cardboard box, is a little fragile, and the desk is practically broken as soon as you put it together. It also came with a sticker sheet, although stickers don't really adhere to the box, or the desk thing, or the plastic body. Maybe it's the stickers that sucked, but if you really have to draw that line, try to figure out which part of the toy sucks more, the whole toy is crap.

Good trip though. We got to swim in the ocean and watch the sun rise while swimming in the ocean. We got to take the kids to Disney while they're still young enough to be free, and we got pictures to prove it to them later. Good times.

So that's 2010 thus far for me. looking forward for a couple more things before the year's up, the first Christmas on our own, and for anyone who's not up on current astronomical events (which included me until Sunday), today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night, and about midnight, the full moon will be blotted out by the Earth's shadow. Sort of poetic and all. The last time a lunar eclipse coincided with winter solstice was 1638, so that's fun. I've been a little bit of an astronomy nut since taking a physics lab where the instructor gave a couple points of extra credit for anyone who went to this after school event by the astronomy club, and signed a sheet to show that we were there. The sheet actually signed us up for the astronomy club, so I got a few emails from them for future events, and I have since seen Jupiter and a couple of its moons, seen mercury cross in front of the sun (using a hydrogen alpha filter on the telescope of course), and sort of saw the eclipse in February 2008, but it was a bit cloudy. I'll likely be up at the in-laws, where there are no city lights, to see this one, so hope for clear skies.

Update: Scratch that eclipse thing. Apparently that was last night. Things I read said it was on the 21st, but I think they're just stretching to make the solstice thing fit. I go on today, and notice things are saying, "depending on where you live the eclipse will be either late on the 20th, or early morning on the 21st." Awesome. There's always the one on June 15th next year, if you're in eastern Africa, the Middle East, or India, and the one on December 10th, which should be going on here just before sunrise.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

So, I know I don't blog much these days (or ever), but this one is too good to not share.

Hacked Games Super Mario Bros - Watch more Funny Videos
You have to love the internet.

Want to play it?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Quality if not Quantity

I know I don't post all that often lately, but I just realized how little. I was collecting a few blog posts for I Write Like, and found one at the bottom of the front page from August 16th 2009. In nine days this post would have been exactly one year older than the one at the bottom of the page. I feel bad, but at least you are all getting quality if not quantity. It seems I write like Dan Brown, David Foster Wallace, Dan Brown, and Edgar Allan Poe in the posts Atheist, Haitian Orphans, Freakshow, and Skepticism respectively. I'm not actually familiar with David Foster Wallace, but I hear he writes like Dan Brown and Edgar Allan Poe, and he's got three names (each of which could feasibly be a first or last name), so he's got to be good.

There have been a few things going on. I have a job. It's not anything with chemistry, or a lab, or anything that's good for medical experience, but they do pay money, which I'm going to need if we want to get our own place any time soon. I just need to learn a list of airport/airline codes and acronyms. I'll be working on the ramp at the airport throwing bags. It should be a decent job for the next year during the application process, and MJ should be able to go to part time once I start bringing in the insurance.

The dog has been ill too. Penny's staying up at the in-laws where they are better equipped to let her run around the house and put her out in the yard after her twice daily treatment. My mother in law is great for helping us out with this. Penny has developed a swollen fluid filled cyst on her neck, for which she has been taken to the vet twice to have drained (this is not counting the time Penny scratched it open and it bled out on the deck right in front of my brother in law), and once to have it opened up properly so we can wash it out with a syringe full of betadine twice daily. We need to reopen the incision with the tip of the syringe, and irrigate. I've done it twice, once with MJ and the other with my MIL, who has been good enough to take it on so I don't need to choose between making the 40 minute round trip twice a day, or just living up at her place.

Also, I've got my application for medical school submitted now. I've got five letters from five professors, I have what I hope are good MCAT scores (although I won't really know for ten more days when they release them), and I've got the whole Summa Cum Laude 3.93 GPA (although AMCAS figures GPA differently, so it may be a little different). I've think I've talked up my personal experience section enough, but I'm relying more on my academic record and hopefully MCAT scores a little more than the previous experience. The five lucky schools I've applied to are University of Colorado, University of Utah, Stanford, Yale, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I've also been looking into the Caribbean schools, always popular as a backup, but it's a little tougher to tell what's good.

So, that's about all that's big going on, that and the boys seem to be waking up from their naps, so I'd better go anyway. By the way, this post is also a Dan Brown.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


So, the other day I was asking Jack-Jack what various animals said, like you do, and we got to the chicken.  I asked what the chicken says and he says "Mugget" (which means nugget if you didn't catch that).  Good times. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Creepy and Good

Amid studying for the MCAT, sending reminders and requested information to professors for letters of recommendation, and working on my resume and job search, I came across this oddity online.  
The guy makes drawings on post it notes, some of which are pretty creepy, but all of which have a nice style. 
By the way, Father's Day was awesome.  Nothing really beats spending a day out with the family, followed an evening with the wife after the kids have been put to bed.  It was a welcome break from the tension of trying to get one's life organized and moving forward. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Hate to do it, but I've had to delete a couple of spam comments now, so I'm going to have to put up the word verification. I suppose this will make my wife happy. She likes to try to pronounce the things, and gets just a bit too excited when they sound like a word. You all may have noticed that she sometimes includes the word verification word in her comment, but you should see it on this side of the internet. I don't remember the last time she's left a comment while I'm around, and not told me what the word is. I have decided to find it cute.

Not that I blog too often or anything. This has been a busy semester, and this will be a busy week. Seems when they hit, they hit. The checklist includes the following:

X Midterm Lab Practical for Biology Lab
X C. Fern Lab Report for Biology Lab
_ Glycolysis Test, Part II for Biochem
_ Carboxylic Acid Test Part I for Ochem
_ Carboxylic Acid Test Part II for Ochem (He's been doing 2 tests per week)
_ Plantae Test for Biology
_ Experimental portion of lab writeup for Ochem Lab
_ Book Review for Nuclear Dilemmas
X Radical Evil Reading for Philosophy Sr. Seminar

Yeah, it will be a fun week. Three down, four more for the week, and two more as soon as I can manage. Also, MJ's going back to work tomorrow. I don't know how we'd manage without MJ's mother and sister helping with the kids, but that doesn't mean things will be easy. There is a total of one day a week we'll have off together, so unless it's Sunday, I'll either be at school or watching the kids. It might be tough to find time for the next round of busy when it hits.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I got into a nice little discussion with a guy in my biology lab. He knows I'm a pre-med student, and I'm big on science and all, and wanted to know if I believed in God. Turns out he's an Atheist himself, and didn't understand how someone can balance reason and science with faith and religion. I told him that from a truly scientific standpoint (a.k.a. skepticism), one can only go as far as agnosticism, and that Atheists assume too much.

As I see it, Atheism is just another religion. There is no evidence proving or disproving the existence of any god, so all religions take an irrational stance when they claim anything about theirs, or lack thereof (even Occam's razor is a matter of probability, not certainty, if you wanted to go there).

As I've said here before, I'm at peace with this. There are so many assumptions we take for granted every day, like the nature of cause and effect, concepts of good and evil, even the existence of things seen and unseen which are alleged to make the world work as it does (just think of the four fundamental forces). Logic, it seems, can tell you things about the world only after a set of initial assumptions, albeit some come more naturally than others.

Anyway, it turns out that he can admit he has no proof against God, as I have no proof of God, and that we accept our beliefs more on faith than anything else. For his part, he says he never really got into the fire and brimstone he heard from everyone around him (growing up in the bible belt), and didn't want to accept a religion he couldn't honestly believe in. It was, I think, the best explanation I've heard from any Atheist. It's a whole lot better that the tired old, "why is there suffering in the world," bit.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Haitian Orphans

It's always sad when things that should matter all the time, only matter because of a current trend, like being nice because of the Christmas spirit. The post 9/11 patriotic surge (which had no small part in the patriot act) was one such event. the tragedy in Haiti is another.

My current philosophy professor said yesterday that he was watching Larry King Live (he claims this is not a common occurrence), and they had rich people who wanted to adopt Haitian orphans. The representative from the adoption agency said they had no more Haitian orphans, but would gladly accept support for other orphans, I don't recall if they were from Somalia, or Mumbai, or what, but the rich lady responded, "No, I want to help someone who really needs it," as if no other orphan could need help as badly.

The professor said, and he seems right, that it seems more like she'd just be embarrassed if all her friends had Haitian orphans, and hers was from the Dominican Republic, or even FROM THE UNITED STATES! One of the other students coined the term "Knockoff Haitian" which accurately describes the phenomenon.

Now, I wouldn't knock any sincere effort to help those less fortunate, but as the adoption agency said, first, there are many other children in dire need of help in the world, and second, adoption is not a spur of the moment decision based on a current trend, but something that should be planned for.

And I thought it was bad when parents got their kids pet bunnies for Easter.


In case anyone is concerned with the well-being of the silver man, I have an update. I mentioned a tall thin man, dressed in a silver bodysuit, with a white painted face (black around the eyes), and huge black boots in my philosophy class. For the first time in a while, someone knew exactly who I was talking about. This guy has seen him downtown, and it seems silver man has a silver girlfriend. I suspect now, more than ever, that they are from the future. Perhaps T-Bone (one of the bike messengers around here) finally got his KIBX (his time machine) working, and these two are the result. That would explain why silver man was hanging out at the physics department. Of course, they might be stranded, and just trying to help T-Bone get the KIBX up and running. I'll let you all know as I find out more.

Side note, the short chubby guy who stands on the corner singing and doing what looks like a blend of sign language and choreography (although I know neither language and am an unfit judge) is doing well. He's currently performing a particularly untouching rendition of Michael Jackson's Heal the World.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom

You'd think that with blogging as rarely as I do, I must be waiting for the perfect things to write about. Nope, I'm just lazy.

Today I noticed subtitles during a song on MTV-U at school. Most often the caption just said "Music" as the song was between lyrics. I go to thinking, not that they can't, but why would a deaf person care to watch MTV? Then I figured maybe it's a sign about how little music is on MTV anymore. Maybe they like watching the other programming. Then MTV News came on, with no subtitles. Brilliant.