Thursday, November 29, 2007


So, we definitely just had an earthquake! I had just sat at my desk in my apartment to do some studying and I felt things start shaking. At first, I thought that a big jet was passing overheard. Then, it occurred to me that we are not in any flight path here and it would be very odd for a jet to be nearby. And, it was a lot stronger and lasted longer than an airplane would. So I stood up to see if I was imagining things, and it was definitely still there. So, I walked outside, and everyone else was outside too, asking everyone else if they felt it also. Then, I got an IM from friends that don't live on campus, and they felt it also! So, definitely an earthquake... albeit a little baby one. Don't damage and no one hurt. The internet even managed to not go down!! It can withstand an earthquake, but not rain....odd.

Turns out, it came from Martinique, where there was a magnitude 7 earthquake today. No idea what it wound up being here, but nowhere near a 7. Is it weird that I'm kind of excited for my first earthquake?

As an aside - Dominica, where Ross Medical School is located, is about 15 miles or so from the center of the earthquake, so wonder how bad they got it? There have already apparently been 2 more earthquakes around magnitude 5. We didn't get any of that here though.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jermaine Dupri, we need to talk!

Jermaine Dupri (JD) recently wrote a blog in support of JayZ's decision to release his new album as full album only (meaning you can't buy individual songs, as you usually can). He goes on to make numerous [bad] points. I don't understand why this guy, and the record industry just can't seem to get it. I'm sorry that Apple has stripped away all of your power, but that's what you get for not caring about what the consumer wants. Ultimately, any business that does not care about the customer will lose their business, it's that simple. If you take a look at the current state of affairs of the music industry, as they scramble to retake hold of what they've lost, it's glaringly obvious that it's probably already too late for them. Let's analyze a little of his argument.

Maybe Hova coulda sold another 100,000 to 200,000 units by playing it iTunes' way, but he still had the number one album last week
I suppose that an extra 100-200,000 units is not a big deal to you? He only did 450,000 total, another 200,000 would be a pretty huge chunk of that!!

Soulja Boy sold almost 4 million singles and only 300,000 albums! We let the consumer have too much of what they want, too soon, and we hurt ourselves
But he sold 4 million singles!!!! I can 100% guarantee you that he would not have sold 4 million more albums if singles were not an option. People aren't going to pay $10 for one good song, because we don't have to! Your argument is seriously that you let the consumer have what they want? Have you forgotten who is buying your music in the first place?

Why do people not care how we - the people who make music - eat?

Oh come on, give me a break...I've seen MTV Cribs, you're eating just fine!

Every album is created for you to hear the next song, especially on rap albums. Rappers make intros on their records for a reason- they want you to listen it to set the mood and get ready for that second song
And if consumers want to hear that next song, the way you want us to, we'll buy the whole album. But, I personally don't like rap much at all...I only like a select few songs. Actually, your absurd "intros," which largely consist of ebonics speech, make me NOT want to buy the whole album. There is no chance that I will buy nearly any rap CD, but I will buy a song. That is one sale you would not have made otherwise. Thousands of others feel the same as me. flash...not all of your songs are good!

But that doesn't mean the people who investing their time, money and sweat into a record shouldn't have the right to decide how it's gonna be sold, whether that's in single units or as a whole
You can decide to do whatever you want, just like Jay-Z did. It's just a very bad idea and will absolutely cost you in sales.

Apple, why are you helping the consumer destroy our canvas? We don't tell you to break up your computers into bits and pieces and sell off each thing. When you go to the Apple store you may only need one thing, but you have to buy all their plug ins and stuff. You have to buy their whole package, even if you don't necessarily want it, or your equipment won't work
Apple is helping your sales tremendously. Remember a little thing called Napster, a while back. Then, people were getting your music for free (read: you made nothing). Apple gave the music company an easy and efficient way to deliver their music that consumers actually wanted to use! I can easily get any album I want for free online, but I often pay to get it from iTunes. If it's not on iTunes, or it's not available as a single...I'll let you guess how I get it. Hint: I don't buy CD's, ever, for any reason.
And, they actually do sell computers in bits and pieces. If you're going to give an example of something relevant, at least make it correct! You have to buy an entire computer only so far as you need certain components for it to work. However, you can change these components in countless configurations. And, if it's not required for the computer to work, you can buy it separately. Last I checked, Apple was not bundling external keyboards or mice with laptop computers, didn't include a carrying case, an extra charger, an extra battery, AppleCare, .Mac, or anything of the sort. If they are doing that, I got ripped off big time!! Did they make you buy the USB hub, or keyboard, or AirPort Extreme when you went there?

What it comes down to is that I probably shouldn't have expected anything better from a rapper. Read the article yourself and tell me how intelligent he sounds. (link). Listen to this, music industry, and listen good. What you are doing is clearly not working, because you do not give the consumer what they want. If you continue to ignore the consumer, then your spiral into oblivion will continue.
Jay-Z and JD, you're gonna lose sales by doing it your way, no two ways about it. I'm going to show you, right now, what happens when you don't give the consumer what they want.
Jay-Z's American Gangster...absolutely FREE!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

School updates

It's amazing how much the site visit stats drop when I stop updating! I guess it's not exciting to read the same posts over and over again. I really am going to try to keep updating more often!

Anyway, not too much new going on at school. We got our Histology group project practice back the other day. Dr. G's comments were, "good job." I guess it's a good thing we did it, since that feedback was so helpful. The only reason we did the practice is because apparently, he grades harder if you don't. Tomorrow, we'll have Dr. G back for histo, after having a guy they were interviewing to take his place last week. The guy last week was nice enough, but really pretty useless as a lecturer. So far, they've tried out one replacement for Dr. G and one for Dr. F (anatomy). Neither of them was good, so I feel bad for the incoming first semester class...who knows what they'll get. I've also heard rumors that Dr. Parr may not be around next semester, but it could very well just be a rumor. That would be a shame though, because a lot of people in the class like her. Dr. Parr's tests aren't necessarily easy, but they're fair.

In anatomy, we're dissecting the pelvis. The instructors did a midline cut down the guy and cut straight through his cash and prizes. Although he didn't feel it, I still sort of felt bad for him. It did give a very interesting view though of everything. Also, it made it easier to have more people dissecting at once, since you can just take off one of the legs from the level just above the hip. My group has lab 3 times this week, which is somewhat unfortunate. But, only 4 more lab periods to go and first semester is OVER!! We have less than two weeks of class left and honestly, it has gone by pretty quickly. Seems like yesterday that I thought medical school would never begin. And now, I'm almost done the first semester.


Again, sorry I haven't updated in a while! Dodgeball tournament was this past Saturday though, and I suppose I was the official photographer. Congratulations to the Kinky Menkes (don't ask me what that means, or why they spell it that way). It took a couple of hours of post-processing to get them ready to be uploaded, but they're all on the internet now. Head over to my flickr site (link on the right side of the page) to check them out. The faculty team actually did pretty well this year, plenty of pics of them as well! Unfortunately, my memory card had some sort of issue and about 50 of the pictures were corrupted. I was not very happy about that, but I've reformatted the card, so hopefully it won't happen again. I did still get 352 others!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Update time!

Yeah, I know it's been a while since I've posted lately. Sorry about that, just been busy. Anyway, I've been in a much better mood lately after a couple of good experiences.

First, we had the 4th block exam on Monday. Just one more to go and I'm done with first semester!! However, although I haven't ever failed an exam, I was not very happy with my scores on the 3rd block. I just didn't study enough. Coming out of the last block exam, I felt alright, but not like I did amazing. However, I wound up getting an A in anatomy and histo, and an 89% in MCB!! I was pretty happy with the MCB score since the class average was so low that they spent an additional day grading to see if they could give some points back. Everyone said the test was way too hard, but honestly, I didn't think it was that bad. It wasn't easy, but not impossible either. However, the half of the class or so that failed probably disagrees with me.

After the exam, I actually found a business on the island that gave cheap and fast service!! My muffler was broken for a couple of weeks, but I never had time to get it fixed. I have no idea how it happened, but the exhaust pipe broke off from the muffler. My car sounded awful...a lot like those ridiculous mufflers they put on civics. It really was just embarrassing. So, I figured the repair would be a few hundred dollars at least and take a week. However, I went to some muffler shop in Phillipsburg and while they looked extremely sketchy, the guy welded the exhaust pipe back on in about 5 minutes and charged me $20 for it! He said the repair should last at least a year and now, it seems to be working perfectly. Since I couldn't believe how fast and inexpensive they were, I had them change my oil too, which took about another 5 minutes!

Also, after the block, I went to lunch at Jimbo's with John and Bhaskar. It was good, as usual. John got an enormous margarita and needless to say, he was not quite the same the rest of the day. I got one that wasn't even half the size and I was definitely feeling it. Pictures are attached.

Yesterday, I finally got my car washed. It desparately needed a bath, especially since the idiot at the inspection station made me pull the tint off my front windows. They're not fast, but do a very thorough job. There was basically a beach in my car from the last time I let John use my car when I was away. Now, there's not a trace of it. I tried to catch dinner while I was there (pictures also attached), but they were elusive!

Well, back to studying now! Gotta do well on the next block, so I started studying yesterday (which is the earliest i've ever started)!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cute gallbladder?

this is the first time I have agreed with Dr. G, that a histology slide might be kinda cute. Maybe I've just spent too much of the day looking at them! See the little eyes, and nose, and mouth!! :)

Temple of Ignorance

This picture is from the creation museum. Come on guys....really? How many cans of paint did you sniff before coming up with this? I've never been there before, but I'd like to go! I'd imagine it's mind-numbingly painful to see, while hilarious, all at the same time! i suppose this is what happens when you wade in the shallow end of the gene pool.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just a glimpse...

If you're wondering how hard medical school is, I've decided to give you a little info on what it's like for me. First, I'll let you know that I almost never studied in college, and still managed to make it to medical school. That might explain why I'm in the caribbean...but I digress. Point is, I usually did pretty well without much studying. However, that does not fly at all here!! If you want to keep up, expect to do at least 4-5 hours of studying every night of the week, sometimes more.

We work on a block schedule, so we have all of our exams at once. Personally, I like it that way, but some people don't. Basically, it means that every third week, you study about the equivalent of what you would have studied for a final exam in college. It's fairly typical to get somewhere around 80 powerpoint slides per class per day. In one day, we cover a week or two of college material.

However, that doesn't mean you don't have any free time! If you start studying right after class, you can have a good bit of the night free. And, if you study every day after class, it's perfectly reasonably to take at least one day of the weekend off completely. Although, probably not the weekend before the block exams! People do go to the beach fairly often, go out at night, scuba dive, or whatever. I've been diving 3 times already, and could have gone more if I didn't go home two weekends.

My advice for anyone who is starting med not get behind!! Not even a day! Like I said, one day of class is about 4-5 hours minimum of studying. If you get behind a day, it is hard to catch up. If you get behind a few's nearly impossible. Life in med school is not bad, and there is time for fun, but it's different. I'm still getting used to the amount of studying I have to do (and honestly, I need to keep up a little better), but it's getting better.

Also, med school is an awful lot more interesting than undergrad. Even the classes that you wouldn't think would be interesting, are. I thought I'd hate biochem, but it's the class I'm doing the best in! It's a lot to learn, but it's all relevant. Particularly having been a paramedic, it's interesting to see how all of the diseases I knew of and treated actually occur. It's nice to finally know why I gave the drugs I gave!

Oh, and I finally met trixie the pixie tonight!! I'm not sure if she gives out her real we'll just leave it at that. When I asked her how I new her (she looked familiar from the picture on her blog), someone thought I was trying to use a cheesy pickup line! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

House...not just a tv show

Although I already knew it was a great show, House has now become a sort of additional motivation to study more! Watching it today, I realized that I'm actually starting to know what they're talking about! Certainly, I don't know a lot of it and I couldn't diagnose most of the patients (yet), but I do at understand a lot of the logic.

The most recent episode had a 16 year old boy with a severe midline facial deformity. Of course, being House, there was something else wrong. As it winds up, it was just Lyme disease. But, since we're just finishing up embryo, I was thinking that if he has a facial deformity, he likely has a cardiac deformity. One of the doctors on House thought the same thing!

So, at this point, I'm basically like the doctor with the wrong diagnosis. Not quite ready to be the primary doc yet, but at least I had an idea, even if it was the wrong one! Almost one semester down and I can already diagnose poorly...just imagine in 4 more ;)

P.S. - Some people think stem cell research is a bad thing because you're killing a potential human life, and all life is special. They believe, somehow, that the "life" of something that can hardly be considered human is more valuable than the lives of people who are already very much alive and suffering. In their attempts to convince children (or sometimes even adults) that stem cell research (or abortion, or whatever) is bad, they'll even go so far as to try to say that an embryo looks like a tiny little miniature person. Just to add a little educational material to this post, I've included what an embryo really looks like. I do know what these structures are and what they'll eventually become...but do you? Not very human looking, is it? You don't see a brain to process any sort of thought or pain? That's probably because there isn't one!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Paper never wins!!

I didn't come up with this...but I've always wondered about it. I would have just copied it from where I saw it, but I've edited it for language :)

I understand how scissors can beat paper, and I get how a rock can beat scissors, but there's no freaking way paper can beat rock!! Is paper supposed to magically wrap around rock and leave it immobile? Why the hell can't paper do this to scissors? Screw scissors, why can't paper do this to people? Why aren't sheets of college ruled notebook paper constantly suffocating students as they take notes in class? I'll tell you why, because paper can't beat anybody. A rock would tear paper up in 2 seconds! When I play rock paper scissors, i always choose rock. Then, when somebody claims to have beaten me with their paper, I can punch them in the face with my already clenched fist and say, "oh crap, i'm sorry, I thought paper would protect you, idiot."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back to reality

After an amazing weekend in Florida, it's time to get back to studying. I really didn't do much of anything exciting on vacation, but I got to spend a lot of time just laying around with Heather, which was very nice. It is also always very nice to get back to civilization! I'm sure Heather was happy that we had great weather in Florida, but it's just sorta status quo for me, lately. Heather did ask me a lot though if I was getting sick, and I kept telling her no because I really didn't feel sick at all. But, sure enough, woke up today and I'm not feeling well. Nothing specific...just that yucky feeling you get when sick is coming.

Because I didn't feel well this morning, it was hard to get out of bed. I finally rolled out of bed 5 minutes before class and got there only like 2 minutes late. I even made it in time for the MCB review questions that he does at the beginning of every day. Judging by my performance on the review questions, i'm doing a much better job keeping up this block than I did last. I guess the fact that I actually study this block has something to do with that.

We had a guest lecturer for embryo today, and he was pretty good. I still like Fogg the best, but this guy was close. Hard to compare though because their styles are very different. I heard that this next exam is going to be like 50 questions of abdomen, and 15 or so of embryo. This is absolute BS because we did 1 week of abdomen lectures, during which the power continuously went out, so we barely made it through them. This is in comparison to two weeks of embryo, often with twice a day embryo. I really don't understand their logic here most of the time. I also don't understand why embryo wasn't the first thing we did. We spent plenty time hearing about all kinds of embryonic derivates before we learned a thing about them. We also got a couple of questions on every anatomy exam about embryo, which we spent almost no time covering in class. That really just wasn't very well thought through. In any case, I do kind of like embryo, but I'm going to reserve final judgement until we get test results!

Dr. G gave a histology review today. His reviews seem to be very helpful. He spend the whole time quizzing the class and on occasion, telling people how ridiculous their answers are, but it makes you think and pay attention, just in case he calls on you. He also gets through a decent bit of material, which often shows up later on the exam. I left with a much better general understanding of the GI tract. Now, I just need to continue filling in the details.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How to handle monsters

I know this is old, but it still makes me laugh every time I see it! If you haven't seen it, enjoy.


Alright hollywood writers, you had your fun, caused a disturbance, now GET BACK TO WORK!! Unions have gotten totally out of hand and it is beyond me why corporations have continued to allow their existence. I'll make this very simple...those people in unions are employees of a company; employees work for the company, the company does not work for you. You do not get to set the terms or decide how much you get paid. If they allow you some room to negotiate because they value your work, then congratulations, you're a good employee. But, they certainly don't have to negotiate anything (or at least they shouldn't). Just as they have the right to not pay you more than they want to, you have the right to quit if you don't like it, and find yourself a better job.

The writers are striking because they feel they deserve more money from the sale of online or other digital content. Well sorry for you, writers, but you don't. Yes, you provide a very good service, but like any other employee, you are replaceable. Yes, media is going in a new direction now and there is plenty of money to be made. But, your job hasn't changed at all, so why should your salary? Would it be nice if the studios decided to give you more money since they're doing so well? Sure! But do they have to? Certainly not! And the only thing that bothers me about this whole situation is that the networks haven't fired you yet! If any employee outside of a union decides not to show up for work for whatever reason, they get fired. Plain and simple. Unionized workers should be no different. Even without the union, you'd probably still do your job, because you like what you do. And if you wouldn't, there are no shortage of other people lining up to take your job!

I used to be in the firefighters union when I worked in Baltimore City. I joined the union because it was the thing to do and it was available. I also liked the sticker and license plate you got out of it. They did negotiate raises and better benefits, which was nice, but I would have worked for the fire department regardless. I wanted to work as a paramedic and that was really all that mattered. Union or not, I would have been happy to have the job. Fortunately for the citizens of Baltimore City, we were not allowed to strike as we were essential employees (like police officers and some others). However, I wouldn't have gone on strike anyway! I liked my job and you certainly don't go into the fire department expecting to get rich! Really...did anyone reading this take a job just because they had a union, or did you really just want the job?

Unfortunately, corporations have allowed unions to continue to exist, and put up with their garbage when they decide they need more benefits or money. Please don't think I'm advocating for companies to ignore their employees and not reward them for their hard work. It is in the companies best interests to provide good benefits and a good work environment, as this makes happy, more productive employees. Making your employees happy is important. However, at the end of the day, they are still employees of a company and do not get to set the rules. Like I said already, if you don't like the job, you're free to leave and find a new one. But as long as you are employed by a company, you are not in control.

Since I'm in med school, lets relate this to a physician. Just as you need writers to make shows (which is probably why they think they can demand whatever they want), you need physicians to make people better. If the physicians all decided one day that they weren't making enough money and went on strike, lots of people would die. Clearly, they're important to keep around (much more important than some screen writers). However, while they usually make decent money, they don't always make what they'd like. Fields go in and out of popularity, and salaries change. A super competitive specialty one year may be undesirably the next, that's just the way things work. But, the doctors stick around, because they usually love what they're doing. I will be a physician in a few years and while it would be great if I could make more money (because after all, all physicians are essential and save lives), I'm not gonna walk out because I don't get exactly what I want. And if I did decide to leave, there is certainly no shortage of qualified people just begging to get into medical school to take my place.

So, writers, if you really love what you do, get back to work. We love the work you do too and want to see more of it. But, if you don't want to do your job and are going to let your greed get the best of you, then I would love to see you thrown out on your ass and replaced.

Monday, November 5, 2007

This place is weird

St. Maarten is the only place that I've ever been where it regularly rains while it's sunny! And sometimes, it pours while it's sunny. Today, at least I could spot the clouds where it was probably coming from. But there have been times where the rain just seems to materialize out of nothing. At least it's still warm though, which is something I can't say for home. And, the rain here (other than last week) seems to come and go all within 10 minutes or so. Here's some pictures, all taken at the same time. Notice the sunny blue skies and tons of rain!

As you can tell...I've discovered the camera function of my iPhone. I always wish I had as many pictures to post as Paul, but I don't usually carry around the dSLR. Today, I finally remembered that I do pretty much always have a camera with me! Any requests of things you'd like to see? Just post them in the comments. If they're reasonable, I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

An open letter to NetStar

Please, NetStar, do yourself and everyone else a favor and hire a computer engineer! I do not mean just some guy who fills the position of a computer engineer, but an actual computer engineer! Do you not understand how ridiculous it is that an internet service provider does not seem to employ anyone with at least a bachelors degree in computer engineering. And no, this is not the same thing as information systems.

Further, it would probably be best for you if you did not have your technicians handle customer service. Or maybe, if you're that strapped for help, at least teach them a couple things about customer service. I really could care less if the technician is tired of hearing from me. I am your customer, and I will continue to call until you fix the problem. Since I am paying your for a service, I will not feel bad complaining if you do not deliver that service.

And while we're talking about service, I also don't care what excuses you want to give me, there is absolutely no excuse for a google web search to take over 30 seconds to complete! Dial up internet doesn't even take that long. I also don't care if the service is working just fine wherever you are, because it is not working here. As we both know, wherever you may be, it is not the same as where I am. We are on different networks which are given different amounts of bandwidth. So, the fact that it is working just fine for you does not mean that it is working for me.

What you have at AUC is an amazing opportunity to get yourself tons of new customers. Every semester, there are over 100 students on average coming to the island for nearly 2 years. Many of them will begin their time on the island in the on-campus apartments, which you currently hold a monopoly on for internet. If you provide good internet, we'd have no reason to switch companies when we leave at the end of first semester. This means that from each person you impress in the dorms, you'll likely make an additional couple hundred dollars during their time here. As it stands now, I'd be very surprised if a single AUC student chooses to remain with NetStar when we leave the dorms. While your tech may not care about this (and I know he doesn't, because I've heard him say he hopes I get CaribServe), your sales people and management certainly should!

Let me make this very clear for you. You are losing tens of thousands of dollars because you cannot provide adequate customer service or adequate internet service. Stop telling your customers that they're lying to you (even if some of them are), stop accusing them of just downloading too much porn (because some of us don't), and just fix the problem. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there is a problem, make no mistake.

Why do I have to explain these basic concepts to you? Must you be so extraordinarily dense and insensitive to your customers' concerns? Fix the problems, respond to your customers, and stop sending your business into obscurity as everyone switches to CaribServe. Because, we are switching to CaribServe, and if anyone is not aware of why they should, I am just one of many AUC students that would be more than happy to fill them in.

Poor chair

Today, I went to Zee Best for breakfast. If you have not been there, I highly recommend it. Pretty much all of the breakfast stuff there is good. They also have amazing fresh squeezed grapefruit and orange juice. But, the real reason I am writing this post is because today at Zee Best, I witnessed something that I did not think happened in real life. A rather large man (probably 300 pounds, minimum) sat down and within 5 minutes, the chair buckled under his weight, losing one of its back legs. It was a little funny (if you think you disagree with me, you're just lying to yourself), but mostly I felt bad for him because he was an older guy. I felt a little less bad for him when I saw what he ordered for breakfast. Fortunately, he didn't get hurt.

Not 10 minutes later, another man, easily twice is size and half his age, came walking in. I wanted to wait for his chair to break too, as I'm sure it was only a matter of time, but we didn't stay long enough to see it. We did stay long enough though to see him pack in a few danishes, surely not helping the matter.

For now though, back to studying for the rest of the day. I need to be totally caught up when I go BACK TO THE US THIS WEEKEND!!! Going back to the US is always extremely exciting, especially because I can't wait to see Heather in Florida!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm thinking of generating my own power

Because AUC can't seem to pull it off! If you're coming here next semester, make sure you bring a flashlight! This is now the third day of frequent, unannounced power outages, affecting only the AUC campus. Apparently, they're having a lot of trouble figuring out how to make their generator work...3 days worth of problems. Fortunately, the outages also happen during class, because it's hard to study a lot of information in the dark. Last night, I spent 1/2 hour studying in the dark, by wind up LED lantern light.

This is ridiculous. Did I mention that AUC has yet to offer an explanation, apology, or time frame for getting it fixed?