Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Orange you glad?

Modern life is dangerous—that’s why so many things come with warning labels. Sometimes they go overboard, though, examples...

On a blanket from Taiwan: Not to be used as protection from a tornado.
Warning on fireplace log: Caution -- Risk of Fire.
A warning on a pair of shin guards manufactured for bicyclists: Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover.
On a bottle of shampoo for dogs: Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish.

On a hair dryer: Do not use in shower.
On Marks & Spencer bread pudding: Product will be hot after heating. .
On Sainsbury's peanuts: Warning: Contains nuts.
On an American Airlines packet of nuts: Instructions - open packet, eat nuts.
On Nytol Nighttime Sleep-Aid: Warning: May cause drowsiness.
Can of self-defense pepper spray warns: May irritate eyes.
Warning on a Conair Pro Style 1600 hair dryer: Never use while sleeping.
Silly Putty package warning: Not for use as earplugs.
On a bag of Fritos: You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
(Seriously, I don’t understand why every food sweepstakes is allowed to say “No purchase necessary.” Like the McDonald’s Monopoly thing always says no purchase is necessary, so why did I spend my entire loan amount for last fall on french fries? Were they giving away Pennsylvania Railroad pieces to people who didn’t but anything? So confused.)
Baby stroller warning: Remove child before folding.

Household iron warns: Never iron clothes while they are being worn.
A handheld massager warns consumers: Don't use while sleeping or unconscious.
Warning on underarm deodorant: Do not spray in eyes.
Cardboard car sun shield that keeps sun off the dashboards warns: Do not drive with sun shield in place.
On a box or rat poison: Warning: Has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice.

In the manual of a chainsaw: Do not attempt to stop the blade with your hand.
A TV remote controller warns: Not dishwasher safe.

Finally, my favorite category of warning labels that could be generally described as “Things you shouldn’t put in your mouth.”
Warning on an electric router made for carpenters: This product not intended for use as a dental drill. (I wrote this one down in case it’s a question on our board exam.)
Warning on a cartridge for a laser printer: Do not eat toner.
Bottle water label warns: Twist top off with hands. Throw top away. Do not put top in mouth.

Toilet bowl cleaning brush warns: Do not use orally.
Caution on a package of dice: Not for human consumption.
Instructions for an electric thermometer: Do not use orally after using rectally.
On the wrapper of a Fruit Roll-Up snack: Remove plastic before eating.

So some things have been “overly warned-about,” but other products are out there masquerading as safe when really they are incredibly potent and dangerous. Of course, I’m referring to self tanning products.

In preparation for a wedding I’m going to be in next weekend, I decided to venture out on a quest to get a sunless tan. (Can’t catch me, skin cancer.)

I’ve done airbrush tans before where a salon technician actually sprays you, but it’s a little pricey, and since I hadn’t used a salon here before, I would want to go once for a practice run and then again before the wedding. Price tag would be about $60 at its cheapest, and I would have to go to an area of San Antonio that would likely also cost me my life. Too expensive.

Automatic spray tan places have a terrible reputation for turning people orange. (Example: Snookie from the infamous MTV show “The Jersey Shore.”)

So I was left with self tanning lotions.

At first I just used a sample of Clinique’s self tanning lotion, but I wanted to see if it really worked so I only applied it on one leg at first. I figured that I’d put it on the other leg once I saw how well it worked. About 3 hours after I put it on the right leg, I compared it to my left leg. Absolutely no difference between the two. Then I thought it would be a good idea to apply a second coat to my right leg to see if that made a difference. It did make a difference. The next day I had one very orange leg and one very pale leg. Oh, and orange palms because after the first application I’d washed my hands, but I didn’t after the second application since I thought it didn’t work.

After I got my orange leg and white leg home from church, I tried to do a little damage control by applying some lotion to my left leg. I thought I let it dry all the way before doing anything, but the next day I could see the exact imprint my right leg makes on my left leg when I cross them in the form of an amazingly orange tinted streak.

Anyway, I finally wised up and did a little research to find an idiot-proof self tanning lotion (in case you’re interested, it’s L’oreal’s Sublime Bronze) and now I have a healthy looking, non-orange, non-streaky, wedding-worthy glow.

Orange you glad?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Writer's Block and Revenge Comes for the Test Nazi

Doesn't the title of this post sound like a Harry Potter book? Jeffrey and I were talking about "The Great Subtitle Takeover of 2010" the other day as we watched an episode of The Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert often invites novelists onto his show to promote their books. According to Jeffrey's and my extensive research (including and limited to the titles promoted on Colbert's show), every book that has been published in the year 2010 has a subtitle.


Adventures among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions
by: Mark W. Moffett
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned
by: Michael J. Fox
Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto
by: Stewart Brand
A Game of Character: A Family Journey from Chicago's Southside to the Ivy League and Beyond
by: Craig Robinson

Perhaps it's just a sudden infatuation with the anatomically named punctuation mark: the colon. (Is it redundant for me to insert a colon before writing "the colon?" I don't want you to be confused.)

Colons (the punctuation mark and the body part) can sometimes add trouble to one's life. One B-list movie star (Denise Richards) found herself in trouble when she tried to use a colon in her reality TV show's title. She called it, "Denise Richards: It's Complicated."

Celebrity bloggers and comedians immediately began referring to the series as "Denise Richard's Colon, It's Complicated."

Anyway, the whole reason I started this post with such nonsense was to try and get over my writer's block. Since I finished my last final last Wednesday I spent 2 days in a sleep-coma, and then wasted no time scurrying to my local library to catch up on my reading.

Confession: I hadn't read a book for leisure since Christmas break. I was beginning to forget how to read words that didn't end in some wholly scientific suffix, like -ology or -itis.

Since then I've been happily immersed in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. (An aside to grammatically conscious readers--I know that one is supposed to underline the titles of books, but Blogger doesn't have an underline function; therefore, my books have been turned into short stories by my inappropriate quotations. Apologies to the authors.) An unforeseen backlash of such happy circumstances: (Colon used, but not followed by a subtitle--I will not be a follower. I am not a lemming.) I've become disenchanted with my own blogging. Anderson and Atwood and other great writers spend so much time searching for the proper word in every instance, putting together each carefully groomed syllable with its mate until whole strings of prose like poetry march across the page in concert. Then I think of myself sitting on my uninspiring couch, thinking only superficial thoughts, and only revising my words by automatic spell check (if you're lucky).

Anyway, after living in the shadow of my insecurity for a few days, I've ventured back out into the blogosphere after realizing that anyone in their right mind who compares my blogging to Sherwood Anderson's writing is--well, not in their right mind.

Finally, revenge has come to the Test Nazi. You may remember the Test Nazi from a few posts ago when I told of her anti-cheating antics. When talking with one of my dental school buddies about the situation with this woman, he told me his story...

Clayton rides his bike to school most days and upon arriving at school is often sweating from exertion and the toasty San Antonio weather. He usually stops by the bathroom to grab a few paper towels to wipe his face with on his way into class. He followed this routine exactly on the day of our exam which the woman would be proctoring. After he had mopped his brow with the paper towels quite a few times, the woman came by to hand out the tests and greedily grabbed up the paper towels, certain in every bone in her body that they were filled with hints or answers to the exam in question. As she snatched them up she cried, "You can't have those!" Clayton responded, "They're just my sweat rags. I'll take them to the trash if you want." The woman dropped the soggy towels in disgust and wiped the perspiration on her capri pants.

Revenge comes for the Test Nazi.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Count on me

It's official--I've finished my first two years of dental school!

Reaching this milestone must feel a lot like reaching an end zone--because I sure feel like doing some of these Terrell Owens dances!

Here's a run-down of the last two years of school by the numbers...

161 quizzes

96 written exams

39 practical exams

129 projects

5 final grades of 89.5 that rounded to an A

2 final grades of 89.5 that didn't get rounded to an A

1 teacher's pants fell off

99 classmates

110 registered hours

0 classes missed due to sickness (isn't that amazing?)

umm...several classes missed due to "sickness of school-itis"

32 permanent teeth

20 baby teeth

2 cadavers

300,000,000,000,000 pages of reading

1 supportive husband

1 supportive family (and 1 supportive family in law)

2 many friends to count

I'm very proud of the work I've done over the last two years, and proud to stand next to the other 98 students in my class who have done the same. It feels so wonderful to look back at all the things we've learned over the last two years and then to look forward to the next two years of school in which we will apply that knowledge to patient cases. As I left school today the line from Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities popped into my mind.

"'Tis is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known."

Granted, Sidney Carton, the speaker of that line, said those words as he waited for his turn on the guillotine, but if you change the words a bit, it fits perfectly with how my class is feeling right now. (With the word "rest" referring to actual rest in our case--not death, as with poor Sidney.)

As always, no one says it better than Jon Bon Jovi...

"Oh, we're halfway there
Oh, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it, I swear
Oh, living on a prayer"

Monday, May 10, 2010

Potty police

First of all, I'm not here. There's no way that I would be sitting here blogging on the night before a huge final exam. I would never be that irresponsible. Then again, some stories have to be told.


This morning at 8 I had a final exam in a big auditorium. Usually we take exams in our lecture hall where we all sit with one empty seat in between us to discourage cheating. This, however, was not to be a usual exam.

The secretary (or "administrative assistant," for all you politically correct people) of this department has been not-so affectionately known as "The Test Nazi" since our midterm exam. She is so (overly) concerned about the possibility of cheating on the exams that she frantically rounds each row of students covering their scantrons with extra sheets of paper and moving the questions directly into alignment with our bodies so that no glancing peripheral vision from a nearby classmate could possibly give away an answer. She has been known to physically yank baseball caps off of student's heads (because we sometimes hide answers in our hair?) and spend inordinate amounts of time handing out our exams one at a time to us in case someone might try to grab an extra copy from a stack.

Today, no doubt, we were in the auditorium at her request, because the tests were arranged in a pattern such that each student was separated from the next by one entire empty row in one direction, and four empty seats in the other direction. There is a word for that: overkill. Even with all this buffer zoning between each student, the woman was still inexplicably concerned that we were all cheating. She did her usual pacing and evil-eyeing to any student who dared to look up, even at the clock.

Then someone got crazy. A boy in my class raised his hand and asked if he could---(GASP!)--go to the bathroom. (Clearly an attempt at cheating...why else would you ask to go to the bathroom?)

A nearby resident gave the boy the "ok" and the student handed the resident his test on the way out, but no sooner had he taken a step toward the door when the cheater alarm in the secretary's head went off. Her eyes began to glow red as she marched over to him, with a reproving index finger waving in the air, and frantically whispered, "NO!"

She informed the student that using the restroom during the test was strictly forbidden. When the student argued, she said, in a patronizing voice, "Is it an emergency?"

I almost fell out of my chair laughing. What kind of person asks a 25 year old boy if his need to urinate is an "emergency?" Just because he's not 4 years old and doing the potty dance doesn't mean he doesn't have to go. I think he's old enough to decide.

The boy tried to wait, but 20 minutes later he raised his hand and asked to go. Test Nazi made a show of sighing, huffing, puffing, and generally blowing the house down, but reluctantly agreed to let him go--if the student emptied his pockets before going (lest he try to phone a friend from the bathroom stall for answers) and was escorted by a resident.

Off he went--a legal adult being escorted to the bathroom by a 30-something resident. Just add bars on the windows and a few more people with tattoos and you've got a prison, folks. Welcome to the Big House.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nursery Duty

Today Jeffrey and I were scheduled to work in the church nursery again. These were all things we heard or found ourselves saying during our time there...

Jeffrey, to a little boy: No, we don't take our peepees out of our pants at church.

Little girl, to me: I need to go to the bathroom.

Little boy, to me, after a deep discussion on favorite foods: I also eat little boys!!!!!!!!

Little boy, to no one in particular: Hippopockamus. Hippopraunamous. Hippotonomous.

Jeffrey, to a little boy: Put your peepee back in your pants, please.

Little girl, to me: I need to go to the bathroom.

All the kids in unison, when I asked, "What does the hippo eat?": ANIMALS!!!!!!!

I responded, "No, I think they eat vegetables." Then all the kids said, "Vegerbles."

Jeffrey, to a little boy: Please, please, please keep your pants on.

Jeffrey and Lauren, in unison: Is church over yet?