Sunday, November 23, 2008

Return of the Mammoth

Original article:

Um, heck yeah we should bring back the woolly mammoth! How freaking cool would that be? Check it out:

In our own back yards! Sure sure, things are getting a bit toasty around here for all that fur, but I'm sure we'll get this global warming nonsense under control in no time. And 10 mil is a small price to pay for this venture, if you ask me.

So close

I'm burned out. I've said that a lot lately, but it's so damn true tonight. I just can't study any more. Saturation point.

I wouldn't say that med school is over-the-top difficult so far. It's certainly a challenge, but I'm pretty good at being in school (and after twenty years of constant schooling, I'd better be). I know how to study, I can usually keep facts in my head long enough to regurgitate them during a test. And I love what I'm doing now--even though I have to wake up at 6 every day, sit in lecture for hours, hurt my back bending over a cadaver for so long, and leave school smelling like a dead body, I love it.

But I am so...effing...tired. I think that we all are. No one wants to be in lab anymore, no one reads ahead or prepares for lecture, more and more people are coming to class in sweat pants. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is our last anatomy exam, and the last day we'll see our cadaver. He was a 67 year old repairman who died of complications with liver disease, and he's barely recognizable as a human anymore. I was studying in lab by myself yesterday, and I noticed that none of his parts seemed to be in the right place. His heart was laying near his head, there was a stray lung by his feet, his muscles were splayed all over the place. One eye missing, brain in a ziploc, etc. I spent a few minutes putting him back together again, closing everything up and covering him with a towel. Strangest class I've ever taken, for sure.

(via freshome)

Well, I suppose I don't have a whole lot more to say. I'm really just trying to avoid looking over the cranial nerves again. Wish me luck! Oh, and what do you think of Amy Lau's "Dexter"-inspired dining room design? Gory and gorgeous, huh?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hearbreakingly adorable

Sorry about this guys.

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

Too cute for words. I'll get back to med school stuff soon. Last anatomy exam on Monday! Tortured sigh...

Friday, November 14, 2008


"Spam, a gelatinous 12-ounce rectangle of spiced ham and pork, may be among the world’s most maligned foods, dismissed as inedible by food elites and skewered by comedians who have offered smart-alecky theories on its name (one G-rated example: Something Posing As Meat).

But these days, consumers are rediscovering relatively cheap foods, Spam among them. A 12-ounce can of Spam, marketed as “Crazy Tasty,” costs about $2.40. “People are realizing it’s not that bad a product,” said Dan Johnson, 55, who operates a 70-foot-high Spam oven."

Read here, of course. Comments? Opinions? Spam recipes?

Little by little

One step closer to a cure! Hip hip hooray!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pictures of the day

Check out today's pictures of the day at They're enthralling tonight!

What a lovely and terrible world we live in. Just beautiful. Goodnight all.

Worst lecture ever

Warning: one big complaint from me, so if you're looking for substance, you might as well skip it. But I've just got to rant for a minute.

I just got home from the most infuriating lecture. It all started yesterday really, when this lecturer (I think he's a geneticist) was supposed to be showing us a video about dismorphic patients. It sounded interesting, so we were all sticking around. First mistake: the man was a half hour late (someone had to call him) and didn't apologize when he finally came down to stick the video in. No explanation, no introduction, just started it and sat down. It turned out to be a video taped lecture (looked like it was make in the late eighties) of a man at some random function giving a slide presentation. Awful. Awful quality, bad speaker, just bad bad bad. This guy couldn't give us a well prepared lecture himself? I stood up and left when I looked at the front row and saw the guy napping. No joke.

This morning he was scheduled to give us another lecture. The man was TWENTY MINTUES LATE again! Second day in a row! Then he spent ten minutes struggling with the computer and trying to find the right power point presentation. Again, no apologies, no introduction. So he now had twenty minutes (technically) to give this long lecture, and he moved at a snail's pace, stopping every slide to ask us asinine rhetorical questions and make terrible, offensive jokes. Some of my favorites: "If you're a man with muscular dystrophy, at least it's comforting to know that your sister with the disease is going to linger while she wastes away! Can you tell I have sister issues?" and "All I know about Lance Armstrong is that he wears those stupid little pink bracelets". He also broke the microphone. The real kicker is when his cell phone rang and he answered it. Twice. I left after the second time.

Ugh! I can't WAIT to fill out the satisfaction survey for this class.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Windows to our soul

Hey all! Far too long since I've posted anything of substance, as usual. The block is winding down, thank goodness, but along with that comes studying galore. Well, in theory. I'm trying.

(tim walker photo via lolita's)

Quite a lab the other day. The orbit. Orbit is a fancy word for eyeball and its surrounding structures (of which there are depressingly many), and I can't say that I was really looking forward to lab. We've been with our body for three months now, and I avoid the eyes. It's not that eyes in general creep me out--I've never had a problem putting in drops, or digging out a stray lash. I'd probably be fine with contacts if I needed them. But the eyes of our cadaver are another story. His lids are (were) stiff and closed, but I would occasionally lift one up a fraction of an inch to see what they were hiding. I would just glimpse a sliver of milky, sunken tissue before closing them back up and looking away. Eyes are so personal! They're not like the arm or the leg or even our abdominal organs, which are almost more like tools. Eyes are expressive, they communicate.

Doug Jones takes center stage as what has become the signature monster of Pan's Labyrinth, the one with the sight-enabled jazz hands.

The eyes always scare me the most in monster movies. It's the worst when the zombie opens its eyes suddenly, and even though you're ready for it, you still jumb because they're oozy and dead and bloody. Ugh, makes me shiver.

Anyway, the dissection focused mostly on the optic nerves and all that goodness, and let me tell you, they're bitchy. Luckily my lab mate Brad took the helm on most of those, working from behind the eye in the skull, and he did a fabulous job. He even found the ciliary ganglion, which is a tiny little structure that's wicked hard to locate (Dr. Jerrett said he'd only seen one in four years teaching gross, so he came over and shook Brad's hand). We're very proud.

My job was to work on the eye that Brad wasn't busy with, finding the muscles and structures from the front. I wasted time for a while separating teeny muscles that make us wink and squint--lots of those too. I finally got down to business and started digging, and after quite a while, I cut the optic nerve from behind and pulled eyeball.

So strange. I'd almost forgotten what I was doing while I was working, because I kind of forget what I'm dissecting and just focus on not cutting too many things that I shouldn't. Everything looks the same from so close up anyway. But now I was holding a human eyeball in my blue-gloved hand. It certainly didn't look like the one above, and it barely looked like an eyeball at all, really. It was sunken, like someone had sucked most of the juice out with a straw (although I know for a fact that there was still plenty of liquid in these bad boys--one of our classmates stopped by halfway through the lab looking a bit disshevelled. He'd gotten squirted in the face by eye juice while doing the exact thing I'd been working on all hour. Someone was looking out for me that day). The sad thing was covered with a thick, milky layer of tissue, like a huge cataract. We could just make out the iris underneath. Brown eyes.

And now our body is one eye down. It's in a ziploc with his brain, nestled on the towel between his legs. Piece by piece, we're taking him apart, and there isn't much left to do now. He's lucky though. Most of the other bodies had their pelvis bisected or their abdominal organs completely removed. He's stayed more or less intact while everyone else is almost unrecognizable as even a human body. What a strange class.

Off to try to study (or maybe just play with the kitten, take a bath, and go to bed. Whatev). Nighty night, folks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another Ramen soup night

My fridge died yesterday! Well, probably sometime Tuesday evening really. Terrible, huh? Most of my perishables perished, which is a real bummer, and the freezer also peed all over the kitchen floor as is defrosted overnight. But my wonderful landlady and her boyfriend showed up tonight with a bright new shiny Frigidaire!

Sweet, huh? Although I feel like Edward Norton from Fight Club--a fridge full of condiments. How embarrassing. At least I have lots of beer! Anyway, the black matches the tiles pretty nicely I think. Unlike my big black faux-leather couch, which just makes me look like a drug dealer.

So I'm off for another non-perishable dinner of ramen soup and beer--grocery shopping tomorrow, I hope. Hope y'all are eating a more nutritious dinner than I am tonight!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

At least I'm not in Russia

My feet are freezing right now. A good friend of mine (who lives in Idaho, where it's actually cold, not New Orleans "cold") reminded me that at least I don't live in Siberia (or Idaho, really). True! But look at the neat hats they get to wear in the military.

Also, baby elephants.

Thank you, New York Times.

Wagon Wheel

Seriously, people. Prop 8? Really? Come on California (and Arizona and Florida). The gays aren't going to take over the world. The children will be fine. There will still be plenty of happy boy and girl marriages, plenty of divorces and broken homes, plenty plenty plenty.

Blech. Anyway, I thought I'd share something with you that my sister shared with me. It's a lovely music video, and I've listened to it about fifteen times in a row to cheer myself up. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

B is for


Believe it or not, this isn't even a Halloween post! It's two days late anyway. But it is related to zombies, kind of. More importantly, zombie food: BRAINS!!!!

Ok, so that was a loose tie in. But brains are super cool, and last week, I got to play with them! That's right folks, the big day came. Brain day.

It's been a rough couple of weeks, and not just for totally lonely, down-in-the-dumps, please-stop-bitching-about-it little me. Our biochem class ended on Friday, which meant a big test, lots of studying, and lots of putting off anatomy. I don't think any of us were paying attention to which anatomy classes we were going to until the professor started lecturing. We've all been on auto pilot. As such, it came as a big surprise to all of us when Dr. Lindsey casually mentioned in lecture that we would be opening up our skulls that day. There we were, paying vague attention to the anterior neck, and BAM! Brain day.

So we all trooped up to lab after lecture, a little perkier than we had been earlier. We had taken off the skin of the face a few days before. Very strange, by the way. Our man was all lips and eyebrows--no more wispy gray hair or wrinkles. He looks really....cadavery.


Anyway, we took the rest of the skin and hair off the top of the skull, and then it was bone saw time. That was rough! It's very awkward trying to maneuver a saw around someone's head when they can't flip over and get into a better position for you. Um. Well, you know what I mean.

We eventually were able to pop off the top of the skull (the calvaria), just like a little bowl (we're usuing it to keep our tools in now). The brain itself was a little harder to get out, because we had to be careful to cut all the right things in the right places. I was working with the scalpal while Brad held the brain out of my way, and once I snipped the brain stem, it kind of just...plopped out. It was very anticlimatic actually. Doesn't it seem that there should be a little more to taking a brain out of a skull? Fifteen minutes, and we were holding this lumpy thing in our hands. It felt like very firm jello, just a few pounds, kind of lumpy and pale and unremarkable. The center of so much activity, our body's computer, and it's sitting in a ziploc in our humidor right now. Lots of deep thoughts in this, but I'll save them for another night.


And that was it! It wasn't even a very long lab. It was one of the more satisfying, although I ended up covered in bone dust and more than a little brain juice.

Anyway, I wanted to share that with y'all, because I think we're on to eyeballs and other fun stuff like that this week. Lots of good stories for you I hope. Have a lovely evening!