Friday, May 29, 2009


Welcome to the 10 o'clock news. Top story today is the alleged steroid use of NASCAR racer Jimmie Johnson. There had been suspicion for a while now, but after failing a drug test by having nine times the allowable amount of testosterone in his blood, Jimmie has been suspended. And yes, NASCAR apparently has drug testing. If you remember back to 2006, Johnson had just won the Daytona 500 and instead of the usual burnout, he picked up his car and ran a victory lap. At the time Lowe's spokesman Bill Nelson said it was just the adrenaline, but Joey Logano contended that that was impossible, no matter how excited he was. Not two years later Johnson once again drew attention during the poll qualifying runs at the Allstate 400 when he set a Brickyard record by getting out of his car and running 187.160 mph. That's when the investigation got into full swing. Multiple inquiries were made and 18 of the drivers were interviewed about Johnson's behavior on and off the track. Tuesday's drug test removed all speculation and all but condemned Johnson. There's been no comment from Johnson or Lowe's racing, but NASCAR drug enforcement official, Steven McNichols said, "What? Umm, we'll suspend him for 2 days? Who cares?"

(For those of you who want to fact check, you'll find this surprisingly accurate, and anyone who's a NASCAR fan will get the one extra joke. I had to look it up.)

While reading Dr. Pettigrew's notes on sleep, I couldn't help but appreciate the irony that I was getting drowsy. It wasn't that it was boring, it was just that I was doing med school stuff. used a phrase and I've been trying to work it into a post for a while but I just don't see it happening. The phrase was "That's so _______ it's almost racist." It just struck me as hilarious for some reason. Like, "That CFMP exam was so ridiculous it was almost racist."

I don't feel like this year is ending at all. I've been at such a high level of thinking for the past 9 months, it's gonna be kinda hard to come down. Kinda like over Christmas break when I couldn't calm down the first week. Wednesday night will hopefully be a good transition. Lately my liver has been bored. It'll regret complaining in about 5 days.

Have you ever really thought about reading? What you're doing right now. You're staring at a bunch of connected lines and it makes sense. How is that possible? Look at the lines. It becomes super hard to read. You can't just do that, you have to just take it in and let your brain decode the symbols. Looking at pictures that tell a story makes sense because you just have to fill in the transitions, but actual writing is just weird. Also, does anyone else see pictures when they read? When I read, I don't see the words, my mind just shows pictures. It's kinda weird. Like I could swear I saw some things in the Harry Potter movies, but they were actually in the book. It's kinda cool.

There was just a commercial for kgb, the service you text questions to. Do they not know you could just call someone with internet access or just have a friend with 3G. Either way, it seems like that service isn't exactly in huge demand. (Sidenote: I ended that first sentence with a preposition. Not grammatically correct, but it sounds more normal than "the service to which you text questions.")

This is the last post of the year. I've got lots of studying to do for the last exams, so I probably should concentrate on that. I hope you all enjoyed this, thanks for your comments. Have a great summer.

Monday, May 25, 2009


How have we gone through an entire class about neurology and we haven't once talked about zombies? Why do they eat brains? What special sustenance do they get from the collection of neurons? Is it the myelin? I bet it's the myelin.

So I was trying to construct a clever joke about an "uncal herniation" (you know, 'uncle'), but it just wasn't happening. It's not that good of a joke to begin with, so no big loss.

Lesions in your non-dominant parietotemporal area that diminish your ability to understand music give rise to a symptom called 'amusia'. I feel like that's inconsiderate. I don't find anything amusing about that....

How cool are neglect syndromes? Your body completely ignores one side and doesn't even acknowledge that side as belonging to itself. That's super weird because you can see your arm physically connected to the rest of your body, but your brain doesn't see it as important. It's stuff like that that makes neurology ridiculous. And then people figured out the pathways of why that happened is even more amazing. Brain and Behavior has definitely given the most interesting diseases, even if we'll never see most of them. I feel like if I became a neurologist, I'd seek out patients with weird disorders just because they're interesting. One of the most odd and probably least suffering causing lesions are when they mess with the valence system. The patient doesn't really care that they're disabled because their brain doesn't interpret the disability as significant. Ignorance truly is bliss. Also, I did the antisaccade test on myself. I even know which finger I was moving, and it was still hard.

FML break:

Today, I was sitting at my college campus, there were good looking girls all around me and I was trying to catch their eye and smile, letting them know I'm available. A butterfly flew by me and I screamed. FML

Today, while interviewing for a job I had to read over the physical requirements for the job. Later on she asked me how flexible I was. Trying to keep a straight face, I told her I was more flexible while I was playing sports but could work on it if I need to. She was talking about work hours. FML

We're finally done with CBLs. I'm so happy med school has taught me how to half-ass a Powerpoint.

I like the weird, semi-practical stuff we learn in school. Like the anatomical reason for most guys hanging left. In class they other day they mentioned when you sleep your parasympathetic system predominates. Makes sense. However, I wouldn't have connected that to why guys have erections in the morning. Point and Shoot! Science is sweet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

All the Bones in the Body

We've dealt with a lot of bones this year. (Insert mom joke here). And overall the bones have been relatively simple. There are tubercles and processes and whatnot, but they've been those pleasant structures that you can always count on for a few points on the exam. I was looking forward to learning all the bones in the body. It's the kind of thing you think a med student should know. Then we got to the head. There are 28 bones in the head. I did not know that coming into this last stretch. And these bones aren't just plates, they're intricate pieces of art like you'd see in a museum carved out of ivory sometime during the Shang Dynasty. I feel like they trained us to let our guard down with the bones and now we have this. It'd be like taking a normal driving test and then at the very end you have to jump over 12 buses and through a flaming hoop.


On a happier note, the NBA and NHL playoffs have been making my life much better lately. They haven't been the greatest for my studying, but I can totally concentrate with hockey in the background, right? I do miss Panger though. This Vs guy just used the phrase "Rockem Sockem Robots" while referring to hockey fighting. No.

"Dude you can shoot lightning from your mouth?"
"Yeah, it's coming from my Palpatine arteries."

I rarely watch Onion news videos, but every time I do they're hilarious. These are two of my favorites lately:

If my emetic center could talk:
"Delicious, delicious, delicious, stuffing is amazing, eat more Lucky Charms, delicious, NO! NOT TEQUILA! ABORT! VOMIT! VOMIT! VOMIT! VAGUS, FIRE FIRE FIRE! ALL SPHINCTERS OPEN! EVERYBODY RUN!!!"

5 more days of class. In retrospect this year has gone pretty fast. Each individual day or week trudged by with the speed of an arthritic turtle, but taken as a whole, it went pretty quick. I think they said we learned 5,000 words this year. How did my brain not explode?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I referenced a while back and we all basked in its glory. I found a different site that's similar in structure, but I found more hilarious. Some examples:

(631): Everytime she opens her mouth it's like a fucking terrorist attack on my life.

(440): The ticket read "Found nude in a tree"

(860): yeah I know. she is a stupid fat trailer trash bitchwhore and I hate her
(860): but when she came up to me in the bar I had to be all like "OMG HEYYY how are you, I haven't seen you in foreverrrrr!!"
(860): but for the record, yeah, I hope she gets mauled by a bear and dies

(802): i can juggle bunnies
(1-802): cool
(802): on fire

(919): I just had to pull over at a starbucks to throw up in the bathroom. They really should not have let me be a lawyer.

That last one makes me laugh because I feel like when I drink and people know I'm a med student, they have higher standards for someone who's going to be a doctor in 3 years. That's just unfair. We're people too.

While researching for our wonderful Case Based Learning questions, I came across this, which is talking about the Posterior Parietal Cortex:

What it does

Nobody knows. Some of us care. When strokes blow holes in the right-side PPC the result is often neglect, a bizarre syndrome in which the patient seems unaware of the left side of space. Sometimes patients don't acknowledge their surroundings on that side, sometimes their own bodies seem alien to them. So it's been suggested that the PPC may have something to do with spatial processing. Other ideas include motor command generation, visuomotor transformation, multimodal integration, attention, consciousness ...

Those first two sentences told me this was a valuable resource. I think that's why my group doesn't ever get picked for "good examples". Also because I had 12 terrible puns about ballism on my slides.

So, a few weeks ago I had a dream about the homunculus. There was this Asian guy who was standing by this fence confused. Against the fence was laying the different parts of the body (in separate pieces) in the order of the homunculus. On the far left was the head, lips and tongue. All the fingers were separate and like 3 feet tall. And the rest of the body was laid out. I explained to the guy all about the homunculus and how it's mapped on your brain. In, like, a full medical explanation. I really need to stop studying in my sleep....

We had our 'Rusty Scalpel' BBQ at the manor tonight. It was delicious. And you know what? Even without one of my abducens, a detached optic chiasm, and missing parts of IX and X, it still tasted delicious.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tribute to Hubble

This truly gigantic picture goes through different things in space and shows you just how small we really are. But just when you start feeling insignificant, the last pictures make us look at the universe in a whole new light. (It won't blow up enough, so you might want to save it and view it from there so you can read the text.)

As easy as it is to think that life doesn't exist anywhere else, there's no way that's true. There's a good chance life exists on one of the moons of Saturn (Titan). It has stable liquid and likely water. Not intelligent life, but life. And with all those galaxies in just some tiny portion of the sky, there are a nearly infinite amount of galaxies out there, each with billions of stars, each with its own set of planets. Life has to exist somewhere else. Intelligent life has to exist somewhere else. We just have to get to it.

Also, the comment that that one galaxy shouldn't exist based on current theories makes me realize just how little we know. We're doing the best with what we have currently, but our theories aren't right, and we know it. There is so much out there we don't know and don't understand, but we keep striving onward. One day we will understand black holes, that galaxy, and how often life occurs, but not today. And not soon. The future holds such great knowledge and promise, I'm almost sad I'll miss it. What we can do today is appreciate the beauty of space and all the bodies it holds. And if you ever get a chance to go to a real observatory and look at the planets through a real telescope, take it. The first time you see Saturn, it'll blow your mind.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hockey Journal

Friday night, my first hockey game in over 4 years. We have 6 skaters.

9:00 - My second time skating in a few years. It feels pretty good. I can still move well and handle a puck with relative decency.

9:10 - The game begins. I'm flying around the ice like I used to when I was 16. I can skate around people and I feel great.

9:15 - I don't remember being so tired after just a few minutes of hockey. Why are my lungs burning?

9:17 - I get the puck on a breakaway and skate down the ice as fast as I can. One on one with me and the goalie. I fake right and go left. My hands seem to forget how to flip a puck. I gently shoot it into his pads. Damn.

9:18 - I can't breathe. I think I'm dying. I take a knee on the ice before the faceoff. Why did I take that breakaway?

9:22 - I get my first break on the bench. Why do I feel like I was just beaten? My entire body is throbbing. No. Don't skate towards the bench. Dang...gotta go back on.

9:23 - I don't even feel like I had a break. My lungs are still burning. My legs won't move. I coast after people as they streak towards our net.

9:30 - The period is over. I sit on the ice, not talking to anyone.

9:32 - The second period starts. I need a new strategy. I can't keep this up. I've been trying not to puke for 10 minutes. We still have two more periods. I'm going to play defense for a bit.

9:40 - Oh crap, the puck is open and there's no one in front of me. Not another breakaway. Can I 'accidentally' fall so I don't have to take this? We're down 2-0, I have to try.

9:40:20 - Seriously? Did I just mess up breakaway number 2 on the night? What is this feeling? Did someone shoot a flaming arrow into my chest?

9:40:27 - The other team has a 3 on 1 going the other way. I could make it if I skated really hard, but I would also puke somewhere in the slot and not be able to move for the next 10 minutes.

9:41 - They scored. I feel like I should have been able to get back. I swear I'm developing Guillain-Barre. My legs just aren't moving.

9:45 - Coasting...

9:50 - Coasting...

9:55 - Just a few minutes left. I can't believe I made it. I haven't puked yet. This is the worst hockey I've played in years, but I'm still standing. I'll take the pride point for being alive.

10:00 - Game over. Loss, 6-0.

Saturday night's game went much better. John Sullivan finally showed up and was immediately the player of the game with 5 goals. I got 2 myself and an assist. I also blew another breakaway (4 on the year) and missed about 30 one-timers from Pete and Dave. In the 3rd period, we started sending breakaways towards our goalie so he had something to do. Ray deserves some special mention for Friday being his first game of hockey ever and doing better than I did in my first 3 years. Stay tuned for more news on Dragon 5. (We'll be changing that. I like 'Hemiballers' myself.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I think we ran out of Legos....

Why did we get rid of the block system? I liked putting all my stuff from a block into a folder and labeling it "Block 4" and then not having to look at it again. I felt like I was accomplishing something. Then, once we finished Phys and Micro and I made a "First Year" folder? It was awesome. This long, drawn out block 6 is starting to get to me. I feel like we're just building this tower of information that keeps getting bigger. Ya know what? Screw it. We're in block 8. I feel much better now.

Either a very confused for very hilarious med student:

Professor: The internal carotids branch and form the anterior cerebral arteries, which are connected by the anterior communicating branches. The carotids also give off the posterior communicating branches which connect to the basilar bifurcation which completes the loop.

Student: What you talkin' 'bout?

Does anyone look carefully at the diagrams in our notes? I sure do. Look at page 489 in the B&B notes. They show reflexes being taken using a CLAW HAMMER. That seems like a terrible idea. "We're gonna do a quick test of your clotting time, you might feel a little prick." *revs up chainsaw*
(I was going to do a joke about using a lightsaber to test for pupilary response, but Family Guy already did it...)

I'm pretty sure I was fighting the Robot War from The Matrix in my dream the other night. Maybe because I feel like we're getting closer to our computers thinking. Or maybe the more I learn, the more I realize that or brain is just a ridiculously ordered mess or wires. What are there, like a BILLION axons and dendrites in your brain? Who keeps them all in order? How are they not knotted? Are we going to be growing computers in the future? What's kinda funny is that I think our brains are already becoming sentient. Washington had a brain for his heart and he helped found an entire nation....
(I watch this video all the time because it makes me happy every time I do. My favorite image is where Washington's reading a newspaper as a British child is being eaten by a lion.)

Flocculus is a fun word to say. Also gyrus, meatus, putamen, and collosum. Meatus counts double because it sounds like a dirty sex act you'd find on urban dictionary.

Every day I wish I could control my dreams. I can never control what I dream about, but I can make myself NOT dream about something. Which is actually pretty useful. I'm going to try for the double negative tonight. "I'm not going to not dream about Marissa Miller." I'll let you know how that works out.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kentucky Derby Megapost

My apologies for not posting on Thursday, I was busy, tired, cold, had a headache, on vacation, pregnant, sleeping, flying to the moon, building a Trojan Horse, trying out for American Gladiators, animating a new series called "Adventures of Captain Stapler", and fending off a dinosaur attack. So I was quite busy.

Why do we enjoy things that are bad for us? Because we know they're bad for us. Once we get to addiction centers of the brain, I'll give a more accurate answer. And you can have multiple standards about lyrical hatred. I sometimes wonder if you took the tune of a popular song and changed the lyrics to something ridiculous or just sang the instructions on how to put together a bookcase, if it'd be just as popular. I doubt it, but a lot of the current lyrics aren't much better...

One of my favorite drinks is gas station cappuccinos. I know it's just water, sugar, and some flavoring, but that doesn't make it less delicious. However, the more I think about it, I think it's because every time I drink one of those, it's because I'm trying to stay awake on a late night drive. Maybe it's more that my body appreciates the life saving properties those cappuccinos offer me. It's kinda like that forever appreciation you have for some who saves your life. That or they just put a bunch of oxytocin in them. On a similar note, I kinda want to know if I could make someone fall in love with me if I cooked them dinner and spiked it with oxytocin. I know it'd have to be over the course of multiple dinners, but still, I wonder...

So there are signs at the Kentucky Derby warning about being addicted to gambling. As I'm placing my bet, I start to wonder if I'm developing a problem. "I'm betting on two horses this race. This is the 5th race I've bet on. Do I need to make this bet? Why not? Is it really that big of a deal? It's just one more bet. I can stop whenever I want to." I wonder if that's what half the world's thinking right now about H1N1 if they get sick. "Oh my God! Is this swine flu? Is my entire house infected? Should I get Hazmat suits for all my friends? Did I make out with a pig in my sleep?"

I love Kentucky Derby hats. Mostly because there's no other situation where those hats are acceptable. I think we need to create a situation in which those hats are normal. They're not a casual Friday thing, but they might be ok for weddings. I think we could make that happen.
(blogspot is being pissy and won't upload a picture right now. Go here)

Who decided on the word 'dysdiadochokinesia'? They deserve a medal. Also, on page 584 on the B&B syllabus has 'corticostriatothalamocortical loops'. That's a twelve syllable word. Nicely done, neurology.

Awesome topical joke:
How do you kill a circus?
Go for the juggler.

I kinda felt bad for the visiting incoming students. Not just for the girls being subjected to our lonely, frustrated gauntlet of guys, but mostly for the lecture they went to. When I interviewed at Emory, I sat through a micro lecture. It wasn't that bad. But a lecture on the Basal Ganglion? I'm taking the class and I had trouble following the lecture. At least they have like 4 months to freak out. If they would gotten to wear 3D glasses, it would have been less crushing and more like a Disney ride.

I always wondered why my muscles would randomly twitch and now I know it's just normal fasciculations. Super cool. Also, I never knew what muscle that was that bulged out when you clench your teeth. Masseter. Sweet.

My best pun from the weekend: Acupuncture pinpoints the descending pain killing pathways.

If you could pick a fantasy world to live in, which one would it be? Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, South Park, Halo? Those are all good options, but can you imagine how much fun driving would be if it was just like Mario Kart?