Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't Sweat It

Last year, in a daring show of omnipotence, our beloved dental school charged every student a year-long membership fee to a gym that wasn't yet built. Many of us griped and complained (and rightly so) because we were essentially paying to have the new gym built. In the meantime, the company offered us "complimentary" memberships (as if they were doing us a favor) at other local clubs. Unfortunately for me, the amount of exercise I will do is proportional to the convenience with which I can reach the gym...and my temporary membership was to a club that was more than 5 minutes away. (5 minutes of driving = not very convenient = I worked out 3 times last year)

Anyway, as it turns out, I'm actually glad that the school forced us to pay to have the new Spectrum Gym built on campus, because it's so very pretty, so very convenient, and so very awesome. (See pictures below for proof.)

Oh, and here's a picture of me during my yoga class doing my favorite pose. Just kidding! But I am going to try to do that sometime. You'll know when I do, because I'll probably have to wear a band aid over my broken nose for a while.

The new Spectrum is right on campus, and so Jeffrey and I have been enjoying walking right over from school and working out. Jeffrey likes to use the basketball court, cardio equipment, and free weights to work out. I like the cardio equipment and free weights, too, but I also like going to the 1 hour classes that they have. My favorite classes are yoga (of course) and Zumba, which is a Latin dance-styled workout. I had also done classes before at Hendrick Health Club in Abilene like Kickboxing and Step Aerobics.

Even so, nothing could have prepared me for what I stumbled into today.

I decided to try a class called "Athletic Interval." The name sounded innocent enough--after all, I was an athlete not too many years ago. I should have run when the instructor walked in the door. You know you're in for a beating when your FEMALE instructor looks like this:(Oh yeah, that's a woman...see her little triangle top bikini? That's how you can tell.)

Helga* began class by yelling at us to start running, and continued to yell at each of us until we cowered on the floor. They she yelled at us for cowering. At one point, she continually yelled, "Come on! You've got to do this!" at me while I lay quivering in an attempt to do my eightieth push up of the hour. I tried to explain that I was having a difficult time holding my position because my hands were sweating and slipping on the wood floor, and if I did the modified position, my knees slipped out from under me because they were also sweating profusely.

She yelled at me again.

I left when she yelled, "Ok, everybody up! We're doing some more conditioning jumps!"

No thank you, Helga. I will probably not condition anything but my hair for the next few days.

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent (meaning: to protect me from Helga)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Random Facts (this one's for you, Jesse)

I am a fan of fun, random trivia and facts. However, one of my friends is not merely a fan - he is the king of this useless knowledge. This post is dedicated to him; hopefully he can learn a few new facts here. As for the rest of you, feel free to use these to impress family and friends. The last one is, of course, the best, so if you don't want to read them all scroll down to the last one. Enjoy!

- Rats are incapable of vomiting.

- The Bureau of Standards says that the electron is the fastest thing in the world.

- On average people fear spiders more than death.

- There are only four words in the common English language that end in "-dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

- Average life span of a major league baseball is between 5-7 pitches.

- "Go," is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

- The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

- 2 and 5 are the only prime numbers that end in 2 or 5.

- Cockroaches can live up to two weeks without a head because their brain is located throughout their body.

- Only one breed of dog is mentioned by name in the Bible: the Greyhound. (Proverbs 30:29-31, King James Version).

- Donald Duck’s middle name is Fauntleroy.

- Today, about five percent of the entire U.S. potato crop goes to make McDonald’s French fries.

- The Wright Brothers’ first successful flight on December 17, 1903 covered a distance of about 120 feet—shorter than the wingspan of a modern 747.

- Dock Ellis, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1970s, threw a no-hitter while under the influence of LSD. At certain points during the game, Ellis said he couldn’t see the batter or the catcher, and as a result, relied on the
baseball to tell him where to throw it.

- Minnows have teeth in their throats.

- The peacock is actually the male name of the peafowl. The female is called a peahen.

- The Michelin Man has a name – Bibendum, though close friends call him simply “Bib.”

- The tune to “The Star Spangled Banner” originates to the tune of an old drinking song,”The Anacreontic Song.”

- Duct tape was invented in 1942 for use by the U.S. Army as a waterproof sealing tape for ammunition boxes.

- The letter J does not appear anywhere in the periodic table of elements.

- No single word exists to identify the back of a person's knee.

- Until someone finds another one, "the sixth sick Sheikh's sixth sheep's sick" is the most difficult tongue twister on record.

- A raisin placed in champagne will sink and float from bottom to top over and over.

- Fifteen out of one hundred (15/100) people secretly chew their toe nails.

- The might of a hurricane is so strong that in ten minutes it expends more energy than the entire world's atomic weapons put together.

- In the English language, just two words end in "mt". They are dreamt and undreamt (Undreamt is defined as unimaginable).

- "Uncopyrightable" is the only fifteen-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter.

- Most U.S. automobile horns honk in the "F" key.

- It is impossible to fold any piece of paper in half more than seven times consecutively.

- The only mammal with four knees is the elephant. It is also the only mammal that cannot jump.

And finally...

- The average sleeper swallows eight spiders in a lifetime at night. The average person also consumes about a pound of insects in a lifetime.

Have a fantastic day. Until next time...

Good night, and good luck


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Drill Skill

Yesterday in the lab we got to use our dental drills for the first time to cut down a plastic tooth in preparation to put a metal crown on it. We were given explicit instructions that included measurements (literally) to the 1/2 millimeter as to how far we were supposed to drill in certain places. We were also told to be very cautious about not drilling the teeth neighboring our current tooth in the model.

For a first-time crown prep, I was told that I did well with the tooth I drilled. On the other hand, if I had actually done that work in a patient's mouth, I would have had to fill both of the neighboring teeth (to even out the erratic gouges I accidentally put in them) and probably perform some sort of tissue graft to replace the gingiva that I nicked during the procedure. I also cut my own pinkie finger a little bit with the drill.

One good tooth, two damaged teeth, battered gingiva, and one personal injury. Nope--I'm not quite finished with my learning here at dental school. Thank goodness we practice on plastic teeth first! I told my dad this story today, and he revoked his earlier offer to be my first "real" patient.

I pinkie promise (with my uninjured pinkie) that I will get better before I work on any of you, blog readers. But Dad, someone's gotta be first. Take one for the team.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dental School: Verse Two

I don't know how it happened. My summer has ended.

Yes, today is my first day back in the world of academia at dental school. We have been warned and scared by the upperclassmen about this 2nd year. Apparently it is the most difficult year of the four-year dental education. Yikes.

To quell my fears (and allow me to sleep last night), I reminisced on last year's events and how far I came toward those special three letters that I hope to have after my name in three short years: D.D.S. (And by the way, that stands for "Doctor of Dental Surgery," so WE ARE "REAL" DOCTORS! Haha.)

It was interesting to look back over my lab work from the 1st year and see how many of our first projects that seemed so difficult at the time became easy projects that could be completed in a mere half hour or less. The first project that we did in the lab was to fill these tiny wells with green wax using our new instruments. We spent hours on this project, worrying over its appearance and making naive mistakes, only to find that we would soon laugh at the simplicity of its parameters.
The next project involved making rudimentary tooth shapes from the wax using some little blocks that provided a jumping-off point for our waxing. Again, we spent hours on these little teeth, and cursed our clumsy hands for not being able to replicate the delicate and gentle lines and angles that our eyes saw in the demonstration teeth.
Soon we had renewed frustration as we began to wax teeth completely from scratch. Beginning with a flat base or a small preparation, we were to wax an entire tooth, polish it, and demonstrate it to our teachers for a grade. My first grades were not impressive. Tiny dents and minuscule details cost me point after point until I finally realized that dentistry, as they say, is a game of 1/4 millimeters.
Little by little, I trained my fingers to behave and work with the instruments and the wax. Gradually I was able to know how the hot, melted wax would behave before I touched it to any surface. And luckily, with each improvement in my skill, I saw improvement in my grades and in the speed with which I could complete these projects. Even still, the difference between my first time practicing a particular tooth and the second time practicing that same tooth showed vast improvement.
Finally we came to our last projects. One involved working with a material called "composite" which we will someday use on real patients--we were all very excited to be working with true materials. The final exam involved waxing 9 teeth in 2 hours and waxing them in such a way that they properly contacted the teeth on the other jaw.

After reviewing this year's lab work, I felt good about how far I have come, and hopeful about how far I will go in the next three years. It won't happen overnight, but I know that I can figure this out. I know I will be challenged, and I know I will get frustrated at times, but I also know that I will be able to look back and laugh at my first attempts at fillings, dentures, and bridges, and I will be able to look at my good work and be proud of the excellence that I will give to my patients.

For now, though, it's back to lecture...

Friday, July 17, 2009

If You Can't Take the Heat

San Antonio has been ridiculously hot lately. The average temperature has hovered around 100 degrees every day since June, and even the toughest blades of grass that grow in this city have started to brown. More impacting to my life, however, is the fact that my sweet husband's disposition turns increasingly sour as the mercury in the thermometer climbs. The guy just doesn't like heat. (I know, I know--if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen/San Antonio.)

Anyway, with the combined heat and Jeffrey's desperation growing, we began to pray for rain, and today it came! The rainstorm refreshed our grass, washed our cars, and (unfortunately) knocked out the traffic lights in a three block radius from our apartment (a fact that I did not learn until I was waiting my turn in a very slow-moving, non-policeman directed left turn lane at an intersection). In any case, we're still happy for the break in temperatures--although my skin is so unused to double digit temperatures I've had to go find a sweater to wear in the "chilly" eighty degree climate.

Every once in a while I stumble upon a gem of entertainment as I surf the internet. A few days ago, such a diamond in the rough was found. It's a website that compares fast food advertisement pictures to pictures of the same food when ordered. It is commonly known that there are special "food preparation experts" who are hired to make fast food ads, and it is also commonly known that these experts sometimes use non-food products to make the ads look more appealing. For example, I've heard that they use white Elmer's glue in the place of milk when shooting ads because the glue looks better after time and shows up as a more pure white color on camera. Nevertheless, after looking at some of these pictures, one would think that no real food products are used in the making of these ads, or perhaps that the preparers of these real items intentionally smash each one with their feet before serving. Take a look:

Fast food Ad of the McDonald's Breakfast Burrito Beautiful, right? Now take a look at an actual McDonald's Breakfast Burrito as ordered by the website designer: Slightly different than the ad.

Ad for the six inch turkey and ham sub at Subway
And a real six inch turkey and ham Not quite the same attention to detail in perfectly ruffling the edges of the meat.

The Taco Bueno Bell Grande Nachos Ad
Taco Bueno Bell Grande Nachos in reality

And last but not least, my favorite--the Arby's Beef 'n' Cheddar Burger Ad
The real Arby's Beef 'n' CheddarI think that one should qualify as false advertising, don't you?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Drive Me Crazy

We've talked before about the crazy drivers in San Antonio, but we're not done complaining yet! Luckily, Jeffrey and I have devised certain indicators that alert us to dangerous drivers on the streets. Here's what we've come up with so far...

You might be a bad driver if you have a decal of a dog on your car.

You might be a bad driver if you are a teenage girl who has a lei on her rear view mirror.

You might be a bad driver if your car doors are a different color than the rest of your car.

You might be a bad driver if your truck has been lifted more than Janice Dickinson's face.

Watch out for those, and maybe you will be able to navigate the streets of San Antonio, too.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Neighborhood Watch

My parents came down to San Antonio this weekend. I’ve written on the blog before about the surprise boxes that Mom makes for us when we come to Abilene, but this time she made a surprise box and brought it to us! This one was especially great because it had a brand new pale pink set of scrubs—my favorite brand.

While they were here, they told us about the people who moved in next door to them. The new people are a little younger than my parents, and they have been pretty friendly since they moved in. The couple have never been able to have children, so they just adopted twin baby girls. They brought the twins over to Mom and Dad’s house to show them, but Dad was gone when they arrived, so only Mom got to see them that day. After Dad got home from his trip, he saw the man, Alan, loading the twins into the car. Dad went over to them and said, “Hey, Alan—let me see those girls!” Alan, showing off one of the girls, said, “Here’s Madelyn…Emma’s over there, but you don’t have to go over--she looks just like Madelyn.”

Alan had them laughing again when he called my dad over a few days later and said, “Robert, did you know there’s a skunk coming into your garage at night and eating your cat’s food?” Dad said that he did know about the skunk but wasn’t really worried about it. Alan mentioned that he might try to help with the skunk problem.

A few days later, as my parents were leaving the house to go somewhere, they were shocked to see Alan as he popped up from behind some nearby bushes, armed with a pellet gun and wearing shooting goggles. Basically, Alan looked like the man pictured below.
My parents laughed so hard as Alan detailed his “Skunk Plan.” I guess it’s good to have neighbors who look out for you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quote Quota

Warning: Perhaps the only person who will find this post as amusing as me is my mom, the English teacher. Maybe you can even use this in your class, Mom. And by the way, I promise I'll stop posting things about grammar and punctuation--after a post on diction a few days ago and now one on quotation marks, my blog is becoming less entertaining than an MLA handbook!

I stumbled upon a new website recently called (In case you didn't understand from the name, the blog is a collection of pictures of signs that have unnecessary quotation marks. Hence the name.)

I don't know why these make me laugh so much. Maybe because I generally use a different inflection (in my head) when I read words that are within quotation marks. Maybe I just find punctuation errors funnier than the average normal person. I've probably even been guilty of overusing these little punctuations, but some of these signs are REALLY ridiculous! Here are a few examples from the website.
The use of quotation marks around the words "safe" and "comfortable" make me wonder: do the quotation marks mean "relatively safe" and "mildly comfortable?"
Ok, this is just wrong. Where was that little helpful Microsoft paperclip guy when the store owner typed this up?
"Give me" 5? As in: You don't actually have to give me 5, just figuratively.
Rice is "back"...and for those who didn't get Justin Timberlake's memo, so is "sexy."
Underlining and bolding words make them more emphatic. Quotations make this case...wrong.
Reason #6 to complete "high school."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4 July 2009 - The Day the Citizens of the U.S. Had Their Priorities Wrong

Good evening-

I come before you as a confused man tonight. As I sit here at 11:27 pm on 4 July 2009, it would seem that today is the day we honor our country and those who serve our country. On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress approved (not signed, as most people think) the Declaration of Independence, thus essentially guaranteeing that the colonies would not return to British rule. They were proclaiming to the rest of the world that these United States would forever more be free. As a proud citizen of the United States of America, I am humbled by that bold and courageous gesture, and I am extremely grateful for the country that I now live in. So again, it would seem that today is the day we honor our country and those who serve/have served our country.

For some reason, this does not seem the case.

Fast forward 233 years from 1776. We live in a world obsessed with media, entertainment, and superficiality. In the past two weeks, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Steve McNair have all died. In case you are unfamiliar with those names, here is a brief description of those people.

--- Mrs. Fawcett was a movie, television, and off-broadway actress who was very popular in the 1970s and 1980s; she also created a national frenzy when many girls wanted to emulate her hair-style.

--- Mr. Jackson was a pop music icon for most of career, scoring numerous hit records and producing ground-breaking music videos. Toward the late 90s and early 2000s, he became very reclusive and was taken to court for various accusations.

--- Mr. McNair was a professional football player who played for 13 seasons in the NFL. While certainly a good quarterback who once led his team to the Super Bowl, he will probably not be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

So there you have it: an actress, a singer, and an athlete. And yet with one glimpse of the news cycles for the past 15 days, one might think that the pope, the president, and the reincarnation of Mother Teresa had all died. The world has seemingly stopped for the passing of these three people, and while indeed tragic for the families involved, don't you agree that all of this has been a bit overkill?

Especially when you consider that 2 more soldiers were killed in Afghanistan today?

Today...the 4th of July...our nation's Independence Day...two more American boys were killed in action.

Do you know how I discovered this? I saw the 2cm headline in a back section of the CNN website.

Do you know what was on the front page?

Larger-than-life pictures of Steve McNair and Michael Jackson, accompanied by touching articles about how they "blessed" us all with their lives.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is disgraceful. On the day in which we celebrate our nation's declaration of freedom, our media cares about a singer. On the day in which we remember our grandfathers, fathers, brothers, and sisters who have died for our country, we choose to give more attention to an athlete of minor importance. On the day in which we have fellow citizens spilling their blood so that we can get fat on ice cream and BBQ, we choose to honor an actress.

I am truly empathetic towards the families of Mrs. Fawcett, Mr. Jackson, and Mr. McNair. It is a terrible thing to lose a loved one, especially when that loss occurs swiftly, suddenly, and without warning. I certainly do not wish that upon anyone.

But don't you think that soldiers dying for our freedom deserves better remembrance? And of all the times to HEADLINE the fact that men and woman are sacrificing their lives for our iPODs, DVRs, and DVD collections, don't you think that today - 4 July 2009 - would be appropriate?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Those were the words written by Thomas Jefferson some 233 years ago. It is because of those words, as well as all you reading this blog, that our countrymen are deployed half a world away, fighting an enemy whom we will likely never see. I urge you, ladies and gentlemen, to remember those men and women today. Remember why it is that we have a holiday on the 4th of July. Remember why we call this our Independence Day.

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck


Friday, July 3, 2009

Diction=Word Choice

While we were at ACU, we competed in Sing Song. (Readers--if you don't know what Sing Song is, I can't really help you. To those on "the outside," it makes no sense, and to those who participate in it...well, it still doesn't make sense, but it's really fun.)

Anyway, when we did Sing Song, practices were often long and arduous due to the constant repetition of certain phrases by the director. Along with "A little bit louder now," "A little bit softer now," and "Girls, pay attention" was the phrase, "Remember your diction."

The latter phrase alone drove all the English majors in the room crazy. "Diction!?" They would exclaim. "Diction means word choice--how could we possibly remember our diction when we are all supposed to sing the lyrics already written for us?"

What the directors actually mean is "Remember to enunciate--to pronounce the lyrics clearly and distinctly." Unfortunately somewhere along the way, this phrase was shortened to "Remember your diction."

And that's why I wrote this really long and unnecessary introduction to these two stories--to make the English majors happy! Without further ado, here are two stories of diction (the real kind) from this week.

As we walked into Bass Pro Shop last night, a woman in front of us exclaimed, "Wow, they have an upscalator and a downscalator!" And she was serious. She thinks that's what they're called.

Yesterday I signed up for an online survey series that pays a few dollars per survey. In order to choose the proper surveys, I had to fill out a little personal information. As with many surveys, when it got to the part where it asks about race, the choices were A: White/Caucasian, B: Black, C: Asian, D: Hispanic, E: Other, and F: Prefer not to answer. Pretty standard situation. A few other questions had the "Prefer not to answer" option, as well. However, when I got to the marital status question, the answer choices were A: Married, B: Single, or C: Refused.

Refused? Does that mean "I refuse to answer" or "I've been refused by everyone I've ever tried to date"?

I prefer to think that they meant the latter. Remember your diction, my friends.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Three Men in a

As I said in my last post, we spent the last week in Hilton Head, South Carolina with some of our college friends. I must say, we feel very, very blessed to have been on two vacations this summer. We never dreamed that we would get to travel so much after our first year of school--and certainly we wouldn't have been able to travel so if it weren't for the generosity of others. My parents footed the bill for our trip to Florida, and the Eyers (our friend Jesse's parents) provided the lodging and funding for endless fun in South Carolina. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The group that went with us to South Carolina consisted of two others couples we went to ACU with. Pictured below: Chase and Taryn, Jesse and Jenny, and the two of us. (Not shown, Jenny and Jesse's huge puppy, Judge!)

Two of the days we were there we went out to the beach to ride in the boat, wakeboard, and innertube. The boys decided that the 2 person innertube was big enough for three grown men, so they all piled on together. This situation provided us with endless laughs every time they tried to get on the tube or tried to stay on the tube as Shane (Jesse's dad) drove the boat. The proof is in the pictures: