Thursday, May 24, 2007

Life Lessons from American Idol

Oh yeah... so that's why I don't really watch. I saw the beginning, with the Minneapolis auditions and the horrid singers, and I saw the final few weeks. I'm happy for Jordin, inasmuch as she has genuine talent and charisma, plus now a car and a record contract and I think the winner gets some money or something. But it's sad to think she'll be another serf toiling in the soul-crushing fields where crap pop music is grown from the dry and rocky soil. Clarkson and Underwood, if they're lucky, may survive long enough to become cringe-worthy self-parodies like Bette Midler. Taylor Hicks was pretty good, but it wouldn't hurt to bring him in to a neurologist. Just in case.

Oh, so that's that Haley chick everyone is sure will appear in Playboy soon. I see... and yes.

Whoa, Green Day. How did a powerful and mature rock band wander onto this show? And, wait, how did a powerful and mature rock band grow up out of Green Day? Damn.

In my house, "This Is My Now" has become a great all-purpose punch line.

"How come you drank the rest of the orange juice and didn't leave any for me?"
"Why are you still up, and surfing the Internet?"
"What makes you so sure it's not going to rain tomorrow?"

Because, baby: This Is My Now.

Today at orientation, our program director said one of the cooler things I've ever heard in all my reading and talking about medical education. I'm paraphrasing.

You know how in some classes, the professor says to look to your right, and look to your left, and think about how at the end of the class, one of those two people -- or maybe you -- will not be there? Yeah, well, we don't do that. You're done competing. You're all very smart. We had about 1000 applicants, and there are between 50 and 60 of you. So you're the top 5 or 6 percent. Now it's time to work, and there so much to do there is not enough time to waste it with competing. Look at the person to your right, and the person to your left. Two years from now, you're all going to finish, and you're going to help one another to get there.

See, that's a reality show I'd be into. Except lacking competition, it would be a little tough to explain, or to follow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A case of the Mondays has been scheduled for Thursday

So, I am all excited to start school. Except for the first day. Day after tomorrow.

I'm in my little study-nook area, where untold amazing things will start to pour into my noggin soon. It's late, but I power-napped today... just because I could. So it's me, a cup o' tea, and Teslagrl's younger and weirder cat, who is apparently diggin' the wood floor because she's rubbing her back on it. So this is what they get up to at night. No wonder they rest up for it all day.

I have most of my forms filled out; the school I was at last year will be sending some immunization stuff, and the school where I did the distance Biochemistry course will send a transcript just as soon as they get the request for it. I read the online orientation info and the student handbook. I have begun to feel like a medical student.

For the Biochem, by the way, I got my usual chemistry grade. Which is to say, I'm a little better than average, but it's clear I'll never be an actual chemist. I always heave a big sad wet sigh of regret when I find that out, but somehow I soldier on.

I know where and when to catch my train on Thursday morning. I cajoled the Future Wife into giving me some cash so I can buy a ticket and everything. (All I had to do was promise not to call her "mommy" when I ask for stuff like that.)

I even have a classmate living a mere four or five blocks away. This will be my daily commuting (and studying) buddy. I guess she'll need some kind of blog code name, but I don't know her well enough for one to present itself yet.

When I left my former job, one of my cohorts in the maroon-scrub-wearing ranks of the ER techs gave me a present: she had gone school shopping for me following the template of shopping for her kids. It was sweet, and wicked useful. Now I have notebooks and pens and a bitchin' stack of note cards, and a box to put 'em in.

I even got myself some new shoes, after about a year of listening to everybody yap about how great Nike Shox are -- and about five seconds after realizing that actually, clogs still look really ugly to me, and anyway in my new lifestyle I'll be sitting down, sometimes.

So, why am I not completely pumped? Why am I a little "mehh" about this orientation day thing? They're providing food, after all.

It's because aside from a tour and some introductions, most of the day will be team-building exercises. Ewwwwww.

I spent twelve years in the corporate world. During some of the most fun years, I was one of those corporate trainers. Although I had my cranial vault firmly incarcerated a fair piece inside my own rectal vestibule, even the younger and far stupider version of me could tell that some of that forced jocularity is just wrong. I know, we have a limited time to stop being 50 to 60 individual schmoes and become a class. We'll have some heavy cadaver-lab stuff to deal with, as a class, as soon as next week. We need to learn a little about who's next to us in the classroom and at the tank. It's a necessary evil. But it's still evil.

Some glimpses of the day, based on photos I saw as part of the tour when I interviewed, and now in the handbook, make me suspect company-picnic-style physical challenges. Didja see "The Office" a couple weeks ago?

I will most assuredly have to say something about it later. But if I don't, it's because it was too horrible to recount, and I've chosen to just move on and concentrate on something more pleasant... like my dead guy.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I live in Evanston now. It's pretty stellar.

There will be a whole lot more about all this. The place is a disaster at the moment; right now we have boxes for art, boxes for about half the furniture, and because Future Wife started working in the Chicago office today and the cats are sleeping, I have boxes for company.

And of course you, my sweet, sweet Internet.

But this is my last few days off -- actual, true days off with no responsibilities -- for quite a while, so I'm taking it easy. I may be showered before the Cubs take on the White Sox this afternoon. I may head to Target later on. I may take a nap.

It's rough, being the future of healthcare in America. But I'm just the guy to do it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Changing Your Life

Back in the day, circa 1994, somehow boxer briefs became a subject of great interest in my home.

This was several homes ago -- way, way back when I was a married guy (or, as I prefer to think of it now, practicing for the day I would eventually be married for real). We were playing landlords to a good friend of the ex, who had become my bud as well. He lived in the guest room, kind of like a nerdy version of Fonzie, to our incredibly young, uptight, and not-at-all self-aware Mr. And Mrs. C.

Can it be true that boxer briefs only came into widespread usage 10 to 15 years ago? Because that's the underwear of choice in Feb World, and it's been that way since... well, since just about that time. This buddy's girlfriend had bought him a pair, and for a few days he couldn't shut up about how great they were. "They'll change your life," he said. It became something of a catch-phrase. And when I got some of my own, suddenly there were two idiots talking about underwear. But the thing is, it was true. Changed my life.

A little. In a very limited way. But still, it counts. And it should be noted that this was like 10 to 12 years before Garden State. Yes, Zach Braff, the Shins also changed my life, a little. But they weren't the first, I'm saying.

It's weird, because as the narrative of my life went on, it almost became a motif. I met others who had similarly strong opinions. One woman I briefly dated declared her love for thong underwear with the snappy phrase "every step's a pleasure." She was, in hindsight, maybe not the best match (or, to be pithy, she was crazy), but she was evidently right -- I recognized the same sort of minor transformation must have happened somewhere in her history.

It's not all about underwear, though. A few other key events and exposure to certain paragons of excellence have "changed my life" in that way, and recalibrated my ideas about the way things should be. Pulp Fiction. Pearl Jam. Having a sunroof in my car. Learning to bake bread. Working in the ER.

I'm in this mood right now because I decided to go a little nuts with my tax return money. I was in Target looking at all the mouthwash flavors, and decided that the acrid sizzling of my poor, sad gums was maybe not even worth it... when I spotted the citrus flavor. I figured if ever I have the ability to just blow $3.29, this would be the time.

Citrus mouthwash might just change my life, yo.

Oh, and also: my Biochem final is done. I'm moving to Chicago on Monday. And grad school starts two weeks from today.