Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why yes. Yes, I do enjoy getting the props.

Today in a lecture, we talked about nosocomial infections (infections that people get from BEING in the hospital, as opposed to ones they come in with). There was a PowerPoint slide about a specific factor that accounts for a big proportion of these infections: people with indwelling urinary catheters account for like 80% of all cases.

I raised my hand and asked the lecturer, an MD who specializes in Infectious Disease, "what about the percentage of people who have catheters? What's their likelihood of contracting an infection?" See, what I did there was to turn it around.

This was, apparently, awesome. It kicked off a tangent, a brief and productive one, with everybody in class clacking away at keyboards and scribbling notes. We got some high-yield and helpful info about how stuff works, that wasn't on the original PowerPoint. I got a compliment. "See," said the MD. "That's the kind of thinking that's worth more than just knowing the factual information."

It was a nice boost, and one I needed, because seriously, sometimes the sheer volume of the factual stuff gets ridiculous. I have always been lousy at the "binge and purge" method of studying, and as a result I've dragged myself, kicking and screaming, into these advanced studies. Half the time, forcing myself to study is like getting a toddler to eat cauliflower. I do not get A's on everything, and truth be known, I rarely get A's on anything. But it's okay. As long as I know that they know what I know, it's okay.

It would be cool if there were some type of exchange rate, where props could be converted to points.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Breaks from tradition

Happy Turkey Day, random Intarweb people!

This will be only the second Thanksgiving since I've had the opportunity that I will not be enjoying the thoroughly amazing meal at my dad and stepmom's. I'm really happy to come from a gigantic, loud, slightly nutty family, and I'll miss them. But that's what it's like at the moment -- I need to make strategic decisions about how I saw everyone a month or two ago at stepsis' wedding, and about the mountain of studying I need to do with my very few days off.

Two years ago was the first time I was out of that particular Turkey Day loop; Teslagrl and I were alone in the big farmhouse out in rural NY State, and I made a small bird plus a Tofurkey, and all the trimmings, myself. I was inspired by the great kitchen at the place we were renting, and my housemate's Bittman cookbook.

This year will be spent at the home of friends who live nearby; we get the Thanksgiving experience but without so much of the traveling. Which is nice, as just this morning it has started to snow a little.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Here's a bad sign...

When the first lecturer of the day starts by asking, "who has Tylenol?", and in response to a sea of quizzical looks, he continues, "...because I guarantee you'll have a headache at the end of this."

Um... yay?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My take on the WGA strike

There's a famous story about old Hollywood. It's probably not true, but it illustrates a point, it's too good not to quote, and it probably has a grain of truth. According to the story, Irving Thalberg, the uber-powerful producer, saw The Jazz Singer in 1933 (...so, not the Neil Diamond one...) and sniffed that sound in movies was going to be a passing fad. The point being, some things never change, and today's studio heads also don't seem to have a solid grasp on how things are going to work in the future, no matter how good they may be at operating under the status quo.

Besides, the wounded moguls are full of shit. They argue that DVD sales and Internet streaming are NOT going to be important sources of revenue, but if that's so then they shouldn't care if the residuals earned by creators (use the word "royalties" and think about book authors, if the legal-speak makes you glaze over) went up from 0.04% (where they are now) to 0.08% (where the WGA wants them). If there isn't any money in these avenues, the studios shouldn't care if they had to give up 8%. Or 18. Or 80.

85% of the households in the nation have cable now. Some TV seasons on DVD outsell some movies. There are more PCs than adult humans in the United States. Consumers spend money on TV in ways that didn't exist 20 years ago. Somehow, I'm sure there will be enough to go around, and I'm glad the WGA is taking steps to prevent getting completely screwed. As Aaron Sorkin said in "SportsNight," anybody who can't make money off these opportunities needs to get out of the money-making business.