Friday, November 28, 2008

Last block exam of med school approaching!

While this upcoming exam is not our last exam of med school (we still have two, half-semester classes next semester), this is our last full block exam! After this exam, and finals the week after, I will never again have to study for exams in 3 classes on one day. I will have to study for the USMLE, which will be far more work, but that's another story entirely. And, as my class discovered early in this semester, it is very easy to study for only two classes. That third class really adds a ton more work. I'm getting very excited to finally be a 5th semester. In first semester, it seemed like it would never happen, but now it's only a couple weeks away! I guess it won't be too much longer until I'm actually a doctor. That still seems like forever away right now, but I'm almost done the worst part (basic sciences).

In other news, the 5th semester party pics have all been uploaded. I had to hijack my parent's internet connection to get them all up in a reasonable amount of time, but they're done. I should have thought of doing that the last time I spent days uploading pics! It takes my internet here about 5 minutes to upload a single picture, and only a couple seconds with US internet speeds. They're all posted at, but here's a few:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

party pics update

Just FYI, I've finished editing the 5th semester pics and they're currently exporting from their original RAW file format to JPEGs. As soon as that's done, the uploading to flickr will begin. It's probably going to take a little while to get them completely up though, since the internet has been less than ideal lately. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No thanks...

Cock flavored seasoning....I think I'll pass. One of many things that I've only ever seen in the caribbean :)
Another interesting SXM story...a friend got a 100 guilder ticket today by the friendly local police force for having an expired AUC parking permit! No, it was not campus police that pulled him over, but the regular St. Maarten police department! They pulled him over for a random check, as they often do to students. Unable to find anything else wrong with his car, they decided to give him a ticket for the expired hang tag. I'm not exactly sure how that's against the law, or why police should care about it, but he's now 100 guilders poorer.

Update: just talked to the person who actually got the ticket. He says he was pulled over because he had an AUC hang tag and they were only getting AUC students, but the ticket was actually for, and I quote, "I don't know." Almost as ridiculous as giving a ticket for an expired hang tag, the cop actually wrote "I don't know" as the reason for the ticket. When he asked what that was supposed to mean, another cop tore it up and wrote "muffler" and told him that he should mind his own business and let the police do their job. Awesome!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gary's Weather Forecasting Stone

While procrastinating, came across this on the interwebs. Enjoy!
Gary_s Weather Forecasting Stone.jpg

Saturday, November 22, 2008

5th Semester Party pics!

OK, I'm not going to lie...I'm VERY happy with some of these pictures. I still have a ton to go and they certainly won't be done tonight (need to study!!), but they're coming along. Here's a small sample, while I pat myself on the back a little ;)
These are very low quality scaled down versions of the originals, but you get the point...
They'll be posted in full quality eventually.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Red Blood Cells...

red-blood-cells.jpgI was up a little too late a few nights ago, and being a little delirious (and having studied too much about blood), I decided that red blood cells are my favorite cells. Most people probably don't have a favorite cell, but now I do. There are a lot of reasons that I came up with to support my choice of a favorite cell. Admittedly, I was not entirely lucid when I came up with them, but they still make sense.

First, I like their color, which is obviously red (or at least mostly red, when they're carrying oxygen). But, that's another thing I like about them...they change color all the time. Other cells are usually the same boring color. Next, they get to travel everywhere. All the cells in your blood travel everywhere, but they're lacking the red color, so they get knocked out of the running. Why spend your entire day in the large intestine, when you can shoot around everywhere in the body?

I also like their shape. While many cells are pretty much square shaped, they're round, with a dimple in the center. They remind me of donuts, which are delicious. No other cell that I'm aware of reminds me of a delicious donut. They can also squeeze into different shapes to fit into places that they really shouldn't be able to fit.

Finally, RBCs don't have a nucleus, so they're kind of loners. They don't need to be like anyone else and have all the same boring DNA as the rest of your body. They did at one time, but they gave it up to do their own thing. They don't replicate, which I would think would be boring, but to each his own. Besides, replication is pretty overrated when you're forced to do it alone ;)

So, that's what I like red blood cells. Plus, they basically keep you alive, which is pretty cool of them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I hate mosquitos!

I'm not sure what's up with the mosquitos lately since it hasn't been unusually wet out lately, but I've killed like 5 of them in the past 5 minutes, while sitting and studying. This tennis racquet/bug zapper thing is really one of the best purchases I've ever made. Considering I'm covered in bites, I think I still have a while to go.

In other news, I've been asked to be the photographer for the 5th semester party again, this Friday. In a very thoughtful move, this 5th semester class scheduled their party shortly after the block exam, well before the next block and finals. So, for once, going to the 5th semester party (and editing pictures, for me), should not get anyone behind. It's at the Westin on the other side of the island, which should prove to be very nice. One more semester until my 5th semester party!!! :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How do you get in?

I'm not sure how this happens (or why), but it can't be a good thing. Seen outside of Lal's indian restaurant.

Party at the gas station!

Sorry for the poor quality, but these people scared me a little, so I took the picture all stealth-like. There wound up being even more, after their friends joined them. They just sat around the gas pump drinking, and I'm pretty sure they were smoking too! Yet another reason that I didn't want to be too close. The only thing they weren't doing at the gas station was pumping gas.

candalope and oninos!

I do really like the food at the Cupecoy market, but the best part of going there may just be their produce tags. From the same place that brought you the corrat, comes the candalope and oninos. If you look closely, you may notice that the candalope is actually a honeydew, but I didn't have the heart to tell them :)

Post block 2

It may be a little late, but I said I'd write, so I am. We did finally get the last of our grades today, and they were about as I expected. None of my grades were nearly what they were last block, but none were too terrible, given how awful the block was. As I've mentioned before, the only real problem the last couple weeks was ICM. There were days the last couple weeks where we were sitting in class until 4:30 or 5 (from 8 in the morning), with only an hour or so break. This was almost entirely due to ICM, who forgot that we had to study for other classes, which are worth over twice the number of credits. It bothers me that nearly the entire class' grades suffered this block, because of a 2 credit class that was largely (but not entirely) a waste of time. By itself, ICM is not terrible, but it just was not a priority for anyone this past block.

Fortunately, ICM is over for the semester, so I can concentrate on our regular classes for the rest of the semester. All of my grades came down this block, but they're not ruined and I can bring all of them up. Since I'll actually have time to study this block, I'm hoping to bring them all back up to pre-ICM levels. Over the last two days, I spent a lot of time catching up on sleep, and went to the beach twice. There are often times that I get a little frustrated with the island, but there are times, like when you lay on the beach after an exam, that I can appreciate some of the things that definitely do not exist in MD.

Saturday, I'm debating swimming about a mile or two to an island off of St. Maarten. I saw it from Orient Beach and it definitely looks within swimming distance, so I think I'm going to try it out. I'm not too worried about making it there, but a little more so about swimming back. The water is really salty on the French side though, so i can always just lay on my back and float for a while if I get tired. Sunday, I may go scuba diving, since I haven't been in a while. Man, it's nice to be done with block 2. Just a few more weeks and I'll be a 5th semester, on my way out of here!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Great billboard...thought I'd share.
plentyofroom418.png 1207×492 pixels.jpgwidth="616" height="195" />

Real post coming tomorrow, including the post-worst-block-of-med-school post.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

so many little time!

Pharmacology may be important and high yield, but man is it hard to learn! I do not even want to count how many drugs I have to finish learning between now and Monday, but I promise it's a lot! I thought it was rough when I had to memorize like 50 drugs for national registry (for paramedic certification). There are days now that we get almost half of that in a day! Here is a sample of some of what I've been trying to do to help myself memorize today. Keep in mind that this is not, by any means, all the drugs or diseases.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cleaning up the golf course

Ever since the hurricane, the golf course has looked more like a very rocky beach, with probably a foot of sand in some places. This particular hole looked terrible, and was definitely unplayable. I really wasn't thinking that it was going to be cleaned up in my time on the island, but I was wrong. Today, there were loaders and dump trucks out trying to clean it all up. I wonder how long it will take them to actually get the grass back to normal? I think this is the only hole that was really destroyed like this, since it parallels the beach, about 10 feet away from the sand.


Anyone want a corrat?

They'd go nicely with the "beef stake" that they were also selling.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Block 2 approaches

Well it's getting close, and stress this block is MUCH higher than last! Last block, we had behavioral science instead of pharm, which was MUCH easier. And, on top of that, the behavioral exam was the week after the block, so we really only needed to study for two classes max at a time. Now, we have started pharm, and it's HARD! Not so much hard as just a ridiculous amount of drugs to memorize. In just one powerpoint, we have 23 drugs to remember - and that's only covering the antibiotics which affect bacterial protein synthesis, and it's not including the less common ones that we also have to at least have some idea about. And, we have that on our regular block schedule. So basically, twice as hard this block as last. Not to mention ICM forgetting that they're not the only class at AUC and scheduling almost the entire semester of ICM for this block. As you might imagine, I've got a lot of studying to do

One good piece of news...i was finally able to accomplish something that actually makes a difference as class rep! Starting next Wednesday, we no longer have double pharm classes on Thursday! Instead, classes will be 60 minutes long (they're usually 50), accomplished by adding an extra 5 minutes onto both ends of the class. The pharm department was VERY against the idea for some reason, and it was very difficult to change their mind. But, fortunately (after getting 100% of the class to agree to a petition), they eventually came around. Thanks to Dr. Yoshida for pushing so hard for us. Even though she's only acting dean, I really hope they don't replace her. I doubt we'll get anyone who cares as much about the students as she does. She's been acting for a couple semesters now, so hopefully she'll at least stick around until the end of next semester, when I"m out of here!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If you like Obama...DON'T VOTE!

I'm really afraid that America is going to make an enormous mistake today and vote for Obama! If you are planning to vote for him, please just do the country a favor and stay home! Good news though is that if he wins, I can just save some money and quit medical school. No reason to work hard to become successful if the government is just going to take your money away and redistribute it to those that did not work for it. Nothing like being rewarded for doing nothing and penalized for success. Unfortunately, people seem to have gotten very caught up in his little catch phrases. But, great speeches do not make a great president, and that's really all he's got to offer.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thanks to the ICM department

I just wanted to take a moment and thank the ICM department for scheduling two real patient exams (with write-up), a lecture, and regular ICM class, the week before the block exam. We really don't need to study, and not getting out of class until 5:30 is awesome. I'd much rather do a mock interview, or even better, watch other people do mock interviews, than study!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

RIP, Ray's Scooter

Tombstone.jpgI realize I haven't been blogging very much lately. It's just been crazy busy in 4th semester, due to our crazy ICM schedule! Block is coming up next Monday, and I don't want to be behind going into it. So, I've been studying most of the weekend, and will be continually studying next week. I'm trying to think if anything exciting has happened since I've written, but my brain is pretty fried. neighbor Ray got his scooter possibly stolen today! He just picked it up from the shop, and it died on him while he was going to get groceries. He went to call the shop to have them come pick it up (of course, they were closed), and when he returned, the scooter was gone! Ray is the third person in a week who has had their scooter or dirt bike repaired, just to have it break down within a day. Apparently, the shops on the island are not very reliable! Hopefully, the scooter was just picked up by the cops since it doesn't have valid tags on it, and he can get it back. I'd give it a 50/50 chance between either being stolen, or having been towed. Someone on the island may just be getting Ray's hog (that's what we've started calling our scooters) for a christmas present. I suppose he's learned a very expensive lesson about leaving anything out where locals might get to it, even in the middle of the day! So, may Ray's scooter rest in peace (or pieces). It was never a very good scooter, but it tried it's hardest, and that's all you can ask.

My scooter is currently in the shop having the tires changed. I'm hoping that since it didn't go in with any engine or electrical trouble, it won't come out with any! But, after the stories I've heard lately, I'm not holding my breath.

P.S. - Ray really prefers to be called Ray-Ray. If you ever see him, that's what you should call him. But, in recognition of his tragic loss, I will just call him Ray today.