Saturday, May 31, 2008
The class went very well and everyone passed the practical exam. It took about 7 hours, including an hour lunch and time for the final exam, to get everyone through everything. If you haven't taken health care provider CPR before, there's more to do then you'd probably expect. When I showed up this morning, I figured that being an instructor was a volunteer thing, and I was just being a nice guy by helping out. However, I was happy to find out that I got a free lunch and a pretty generous payment for my work. It was especially nice since I wasn't expecting anything all day. But, now that I know, I'll definitely do my best to make it to the next CPR class! And, since they're currently short on instructors, they always appreciate extra help.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Much to my surprise, this morning (not even 24 hours after sending the e-mail), I had a reply from one of the Kayak.com employees. He actually ran the same search I did, so he could see what I was looking at, and gave a response to each of my questions. Turns out that orbitz didn't show up because Orbitz doesn't provide travel to St. Maarten (which I knew, but forgot). Continental didn't show up because there were only flights requiring overnight layovers, which Kayak never displays. US Air and Delta can show up, but you have to do a flex-date search. I'm not exactly sure why they do that, but it's apparently some sort of necessary business decision. In any case, with an extra 30 seconds of work, you can get US Air and Delta to show up. If you are flying to or from St. Maarten and want to search those airlines, just click on the "dates are flexible" option, and run the search. When you get the search results back, just un-click the boxes for all the days that you don't want to fly. Slightly inconvenient, but it works perfectly and it's a whole lot more convenient than searching each individual website.
So, if you ever need to find a flight anywhere, make sure you use Kayak.com. Service like that is not easy to find anymore! And, they do happen to always find the cheapest flights.
If you're thinking that wheels belong on the outside of the car, not on the inside, you'd be entirely correct. Apparently, when John hit a huge pot hole a couple weeks back, destroying the front rim and tire, it also did some damage to the rear tire. Today, on the way to school, this rear tire blew out of nowhere. Once I took it off, I saw that the rim was also damaged in the same place that the front tire was, but just not as badly. There's also an area on the inside of the tire (circled in red) that looks like it rubbed against the pot hole, but just took a little while to completely burst.
In any case, I pulled to the side of the road, finally figured out where to put the jack, and then got the tire off. But, the stupid jack is not nearly big enough to life the car high enough to put a properly inflated tire on! I had the thing fully raised, the busted tire taken off, and there was absolutely no possible way that I could get the new tire on...it wasn't even close. Fortunately, I flagged down a guy and he pulled over. He had a bigger jack which he used to help me get the tire on. I offered him a couple bucks (since it would have sucked severely if I had to walk to a gas station for help), but he wouldn't take it, saying that he might need the same help one day. It was very nice of him!
So, when John finally wakes up this afternoon, I'll have to tell him the bad news.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
On the positive side, things with the IT committee seem to be going moderately well. I've come to accept that things at AUC are just never going to happen as fast as I think they should, or would like them too. But, things are at least starting to change. Although the current IT department restructuring at AUC is not perfect (an invisible to most AUC students), it is loads better than it was. And, the current people in charge do, at least, want to make things better. The people in charge of IT now want basically the same things that we want, and they're developing plans to implement those changes. Now it just remains to be seen which changes the school will allow (or pay for), and how quickly the ideas can be implemented.
Just as a small update for those concerned about the school's current wireless internet issues (which is most of the campus)...change is coming early next week. You shouldn't be without internet for much longer. And, when it does come back, it ought to be a lot better than it was before.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
After 5 years of preparation, NASA has just successfully landed the Phoenix Mars Lander on Mars. It's taken the better part of a year to get there, but it just touched down a couple of minutes ago. Pretty amazing really, how it traveled there for months, entered the atmosphere, got rid of its heat shield, deployed a parachute, released the parachute, and then fired thrusters to land itself perfectly on the surface, right where it was supposed to land, all by itself. It will now join Spirit and Opportunity, the two rovers which are still crawling around Mars, years after they were supposed to have stopped working. Phoenix, however, is not mobile. It will sit where it is and slowly dig for ice and conditions which could support life. Now, NASA just has to wait about two weeks, while the lander powers itself up and gets itself ready to begin work.
If we can continually put these landers and rovers on the planet, it shouldn't be too far from now when we can go there ourselves!
This is another place that I'd recommend you visit for lunch. It was recently a very overpriced small market with a pretty bad selection. However, it was totally remodeled, bought by new owners, and is now the Cupecoy Market. They've got comfortable seating both inside and out, with a large flat screen inside. They serve great sandwiches as well as some hot items (like lasagna or other pasta) and desert. They have a good selection of snacks and drinks also.
It's not so much of a market anymore as it is a nice place to either sit down and relax, or get a quick and very good lunch to go. In the back, they have a pretty small selection of italian type market stuff, along with wine and liquor. So far, I've had the Caprese sandwich and the italian sub, both of which I would recommend. They do give AUC students a discount, so make sure you ask for a discount card.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
On the other hand though, it's a pass/fail class with no written exams, and it's only 10 classes long. So, it essentially becomes the very bottom on a list of priorities for the semester. We also have the class from 3:30-5:30 in the afternoon (since the 5th semesters are in ICM before us), which is probably the absolute worst time that they could possible schedule a class. It gets in the way of studying for classes that require a whole lot more studying, and count for a whole lot more of our grade. It's bad enough to lose 2 hours of time, but like I said, the specific times couldn't be worse. Also, I have never been a fan of group learning. I don't particularly enjoy working things out with a large group of people who know either the same as me or less than I do about whatever we're talking about. It just seems to make learning go a lot slower than it needs to. It would probably be a lot nicer if our groups were about half their current size. Also, because of the big groups (12 people), we spend an awful lot of time watching other people try to get through an interview rather than actually doing them ourselves. Throughout the 10 classes, you probably spend at least 8-10 hours watching other people interview, and less than an hour doing them yourself.
So, very interesting, but very annoying at the same time. After this semester though, the 5th semesters will be gone, and they are the last class left on the old curriculum. So, maybe the schedule will be a little better next semester.
Monday, May 19, 2008
another comic from xkcd.com
In other news, med micro may have finally became interesting today. Previously, we spent a whole lot of time on epidemiology, which is mind-numbingly boring (imo). However, we finally got to the meat of med micro today...learning about all the various little bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that make us sick, as well as (hopefully), how to kill them. It's gonna be a whole lot of memorizing, but I think it'll be interesting. We also got a new physio teacher today. Hard to tell much from her first day, but so far, so good. Apparently, she just received a very prestigious physiology teaching award. She comes to us from one of the Canadian medical schools.
Shortly, it will be time for ICM 3 (intro to clinical medicine), my least favorite time of the day. This semester, we have ICM for 10 days, over a 3 week or so period. It's gonna be a rough 3 weeks, but at least we'll get it over with quickly. Kinda like ripping a band aid off, very slowly, i suppose.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Image stolen from Randy, from Facebook
To start off the day, we had the Phi Chi Rush BBQ at Dr. Atchley's house. She has a pretty amazing house (with infinity pool!!) close to school, and she's nice enough to allow Phi Chi to use it pretty much whenever we ask. I'm not totally positive, but she's either a Phi Chi member, or an honorary member. In any case, it's great of her to let us use her house! For the past two semesters, we've hosted a BBQ there for all the potential rush people. The purpose is basically so that we can get to know them and they can get to know us a little, before the interviews next week.
For the past two semesters, I've been the BBQ master. And let me tell you, I am a master of BBQing frozen hotdogs and hamburgers! Here's me manning the grill...also a picture stolen from Randy.
When I left at around 3:30, I got home to find yet another party going on at my apartment, which I was not previously aware of. Actually, at nearly 11 at night, it's still going on upstairs. This party was for the AUC gym staff, but along with the staff, there were some gym regulars, Dr. Atchely, some SGA people, and a couple people who were visiting the island and their AUC friends. So, I made my way up to that party and had some delicious food there. I've gotta admit, the ribs, chicken, green beans, baked beans, and potato salad was far superior to my frozen burgers and hotdogs. Jack (my neighbor who hosted the party) is also a pretty excellent frozen-drink maker (that's the technical name for what he does). Hopefully, the party will end sometime reasonably soon and I'll go to bed to face another heavy day of studying tomorrow.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Here, for your enjoyment, is the reason that many AUC students are broke. The casino yelled at me for taking pictures inside, but not before I snapped these two off. As you can see, they've recently upgraded the place with a ton of brand new touch screen slot machines. Seems to me that the more computerized these things get, the more they can control how much (or little) they pay out. Oh well, I'm fortunately not one of the people that can't stay out of the place.
There are tables for poker, blackjack, etc. in one area of the casino, another area with a pretty large sports book and a lot of flat screen's with all things sports playing, and yet another area for poker tournaments, which they have like every day. This is also home of Thai Savannah (the thai place owned by French people), two Italian restaurants, a French restaurant, and Sugarcane Restaurant. Pretty much any way you want to lose your money, they've got it. People with gambling problems (quite a few AUC students)...watch out!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The parking lot outside of the AUC dorms has been sort of a mess since i've been here. There is plenty of room, but people apparently have no idea how to park when they're aren't lines to tell them where to go. This is made worse by the fact that parts of the parking lot are curved and you don't always know if it's OK to park your car in certain places.
Fortunately, the dorm maintenance people have noticed the problem and started painting lines. So far, they've got about half of the lot done, and it looks like they're doing a pretty good job of it. The only problem is that some people don't move their car every day, and now they're in the way. Shouldn't be too much longer though before everyone is hopefully parking a lot better.
When I was walking to my car a few days ago, I found these kittens running around. Mom was close by hissing at me (apparently not very happy that I was so close), but I didn't get her in the picture. The kittens are very skittish though...they disappeared to into a hole which goes somewhere under the road as soon as I got any closer. Probably a good thing though that they don't like being around other animals, because some of the wild dogs have been known to go after the wild kittens.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
2 guys have put Chick and Ruth's Delly (my dad's restaurant) on YouTube while attempting to eat the Super Duper Colossal Burger. One of them succeeded. It's actually the first time I've ever seen the thing, aside from the picture on the menu. It's 3 pounds of delicious cow, plus some vegetables to make it healthy. I'm pretty certain that I couldn't even come close to finishing it, but congrats to the guy that did.
If you want to give it a try, head down to Main Street in Annapolis. It's great for people trying to gain muscle, since it probably has about a week's worth of protein in it. If you want to get your week's supply of dairy in at the same time, get the 6 pound milkshake to go with it.
Since there was one person with us doing their first dive ever, we went to Moonscape Reef, which sits in about 30-40 feet of water. Visibility was decent (much better than it was over the winter). The reef itself was a little dull, with not too much coral happening down there. However, we saw more interesting sea life than I had seen in one place on any other dive. The reef is pretty flat, but it has long distances of overhangs about 4 feet tall, where a bunch of sea creatures apparently like to live. Usually on a dive, we might see a turtle, or a ray, or a shark. But, just during this one tank dive, we saw a shark sleeping under a ledge (almost immediately after touching bottom), a couple eels, 3 or 4 large rays, 3 or 4 turtles, and a delicious looking ginormous lobster. If we weren't with a dive master, I definitely would have had to take that guy home for dinner. This was in addition to all the usual fish that you see in St. Maarten, from angelfish to sandfish. All that, for only $30!!
I'd never been to that dive shop before, but I'll definitely be going back. The staff was friendly, carried all our stuff out to the boat, and found us a good dive site. They also understood that we were all pretty experienced and didn't need a dive master following us around the whole time. So, as long as we stayed fairly close, they let us go pretty much wherever and let us monitor our own bottom time. Of course, the one time that I decide to not fool with my camera is the time that I would have liked to have had it most. Oh well, such is life...good time anyway.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Of course, Office is now not working at all. After doing a quick search online, I found that I am not the only one with this problem, but there's no one with a solutions, yet. Most likely, I'll have to re-install office, from a disk that I no longer have. I should have known not to switch back to Microsoft Office. Looks like I'll being going back to Apple's iWork. It's slightly annoying since when I use Keynote to open a Powerpoint file, I eventually have to save it as a Keynote file. But, I guess that's a small price to pay to use a program that actually works right the first time, all the time.
Every once in a while, I am reminded why I love Apple so much and can't stand to use Microsoft products....because Microsoft just can't seem to get anything right. Their two largest recent products, Vista and Office, are both unnecessarily complicated to use, full of bugs, incompatible with many things that they should easily work well with, and just basically suck. It's really no wonder that even while the economy is supposedly awful, Apple continues to grow at over three times the pace of any other computer company, and consistently easily ranks far above any other computer company in customer satisfaction. Some people probably think that the Mac vs. PC advertising campaign that Apple is currently running is just a light-hearted joke. Unfortunately for PC users, they're dead on.
Update:Thanks to Apple's fantastic Time Machine application (included with their even more amazing operating system), I was able to get Office back to it's previously slow, bloated, but working state. Because of Apple's programmers, who make Microsoft programmers look like 1st grade students that are missing a chromosome, the whole process of restoring Office took about 3 mouse clicks and two minutes.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
It was a little cloudy at the start, but got nicer later on
Fortunately, as usual, tons of people showed up
Dr. G, taking care of business
We found this guy passed out on the beach. Apparently, he had a pretty long night, as evidenced by the beer bottle sitting next to him. Fortunately, he was still breathing (I checked).
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
A bunch of the first semesters apparently took my suggestion and visited Aldywan for shawarma. Fortunately, they enjoyed it as much as I do. But, they've asked for me to keep up the suggestions. So, I think I will. For this installment of where to eat...I'm gonna recommend Pineapple Pete's (somewhere that I'm pretty sure I've recommended in the past). I'll get a picture of the place next time I go out.
The service is among the best on the island, the atmosphere is nice and relaxed, and the food is consistently very good. It's not as cheap as some other places, but I think it's very reasonable for lunch. If you do go for dinner, especially during the tourist season, make sure you have a reservation. The conch fritters are the best on the island, stuffed shrimp is great, and they have great jerk seasoning (it's spicy). Really, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu. The seafood pasta is also very good, and loaded with all kinds of seafood. For dessert, definitely get the coconut bien mi sabe (I may or may not have spelled that correctly). Assuming you like coconut, things that are sweet, and things that are delicious, it is absurdly good.
Maybe the best thing about Pineapple Pete's...when you ask the waitress to refill your water glass (if you even have to ask, which you usually don't), they don't act like you've just killed their dog or otherwise ruined their day. From now on, I'll try to give you somewhere else to go every couple of days.
Tomorrow is the Phi Chi / AMSA Welcome Back Beach Party. It's probably been months since I've been to the beach, so it'll be nice to get out. Maybe I'll get a little tan (finally) while I'm at it. I think I'm also going SCUBA diving Wednesday, so should have some pictures to put up soon.
Clinton continues to amuse me with her "campaign," which is just getting extraordinarily painful to watch at this point. After the failure of her recent pandering, she's realized that about the only chance she has remaining, which still doesn't even give her a chance, is to re-seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan. Keep in mind that when her campaign didn't yet depend on it, she agreed that their votes should not be counted. Although Obama followed the rules and wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, nor did he campaign in Florida (as they had both agreed not to), she thinks the votes should still be valid and she should win those states. Michigan came up with a compromise to re-seat their delegates, that would give her 69 delegates and give Obama 59. Although this was way more than she deserves or will ultimately wind up getting, she denied it because it wasn't good enough for her! I guess this is what happens when you become truly desperate....it's kinda sad, really. I guess she never heard of quitting while you're ahead...or in this case, not too too too too far behind.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Personally, I'm voting republican, so it actually benefits me if she stays in the race. Like it or not, especially at this point, neither one of them has much of a shot against McCain in the general. But, I'm really just getting tired of hearing her voice. It is sort of amusing though, to hear her say that she's steaming forward on the road to the White House, after being pounded in the most recent primaries and losing in every way possible, with practically no statistical chance of recovery.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
1. Don't be scared that you're in medical school, because of whatever rumors you may have heard. Be excited, because YOU'RE FINALLY IN MEDICAL SCHOOL!!! Hopefully, you're finally in the place that you've been dreaming of being at for years!
2. Medical school is not really that difficult! Yes, you read that right. Nothing that we learn is difficult. The only potential problem is the sheer volume of information that we're given. You will cover far more anatomy here in 3 and a half months than you would cover in an entire year of college anatomy with lab. But, if you want to succeed, all you have to do is keep on top of things, leading to...
3. YOU MUST KEEP ON TOP OF THINGS! This means that you should study every day, or at least almost every day. The information is not hard, but if you get behind, it is nearly impossible to catch back up. And, getting behind may be just a day or two. 4-6 hours a day should be sufficient.
4. This may not be true in absolutely every situation, but in general, if you're studying 8 hours a day, every day, you're probably doing something wrong and should seek the help of an academic skills counselor (which AUC does provide). You can absolutely have a life in medical school, albeit probably not quite what you're used to at home. During my short time here, I've been to the beach plenty of times, gone SCUBA diving a bunch of times, flown home 4 or 5 times, gone out to eat a ton of times, and kept up with all my TV shows (of which there are a lot). You just need to develop good study habits, which I'm honestly still working on, and balance your time effectively
5. This may be the biggest one, but a lot of people apparently need to hear it. If you want to do well here, you work hard, and use the available resources, you will become an MD in 4 years. Yes, there are a lot of people that fail here. But, with very few exceptions, it was no one's fault but their own. Like I said, there are a very very small number of exceptions, but your performance is directly proportional to your effort. If you slack off, go to the bars, and spend your money at the casino, you may very well fail. If you don't keep up and study the week before an exam, you will likely fail. But, if you really want to be here, study, and keep up, you're going to pass. Don't let the people who failed get you down. Some (but again, not all) people at AUC seem to think that their failures are everyone's fault but their own. They'll tell you how they failed a class because the teacher was awful, the exam was awful, or whatever else they can come up with. The sad truth though is that it was not the exam's fault, or the teacher's fault...it was probably their fault. Lots of people fail, but MOST people don't.
6. Don't forget where you are...sometimes it's easy to lose sight. If you read my blog regularly, you know that, for various reasons, I am not a fan of the island. However, I am a big fan of actually being in medical school. Despite the minor (or sometimes, seemingly major) hiccups that you may experience at AUC, most of the students are great, most of the faculty is great, and the school will get you to where you want to be. It may not seem like it during 1st or 2nd semester, but this is what you've been counting down every day for. Get your head in the books from day one, but don't forget to have a little fun too.
OK, rant -- off
Monday, May 5, 2008
After class, I spent the rest of the day doing orientation advisor stuff with the first semesters. We had a bus tour that took up most of the afternoon, and then the student mixer this evening. Of course, I already know my way around the island, but the bus tour was pretty enjoyable. We spent a little time in Marigot and on Orient Beach. I have no idea why I didn't think to take pictures of the trip, but now it's bothering me that I didn't! I was also pleasantly surprised to find out how many of them read my blog. Again, sorry for the infrequent updates, but you'll see a lot more now that the semester has started again.
Now, off to sleep to prepare for the second day of second year, tomorrow!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I've been on a few thousand medic calls in the past 9 or so years I've been riding, and I sometimes think I've seen everything. But, this was something new to me. We responded to a car accident, and the driver of one of the cars involved was a paraplegic. When I took off his sweater to take his blood pressure, I noticed his wheelchair bling (the name is mine, by the way, not his, but he liked it). So, I asked if I could take a picture, he laughed and said ok, and now it's on my blog. So, feast your eyes on the first diamond studded handicapped symbol.