Another Weekend, Another Hike

Josh, Katie, and I tackled Old Rag Mountain today, another one of my favorite hikes in the Shenandoah Valley. I hadn't done it in over two years, though, and it was a lot harder to reach the 3,291-foot summit than I remembered. Now I understand why pets aren't allowed on the mountain; there was no way that Titan could have made it over the rock scramble portion of the hike.

I also realized during the hike that unless you are in good shape, you probably would not be able to complete Old Rag. Not only is the trail itself difficult, but there are several narrow passages that no obese person would be able to squeeze through. Even I had trouble with some of them, which is saying a lot.

Oh, and I finally bought an annual pass to the Shenandoah National Park, which means that I can get in free with three guests every time I want to go hiking. Any takers for the weekend after exams?

EDIT: My realization is correct. Check out the sad but true review of Old Rag by firsttimehiker posted on Monday, May 25.


As part of our POM ophthalmology labs this afternoon, everyone had to have their non-dominant eyes dilated. Right now, my world is very muddled because my right eye can see perfectly fine, whereas my left eye has gone totally bonkers on me. Hyunhunhyh!!

Also, I have finally begun to tire of this Assassins game. I almost feel bad for my assassin, Chris, because he has made two attempts on my life but has failed to kill me each time. At least there are only seven of us left. I can only hope that the game will end this weekend... and that I will be the one left standing...

Another Quickie

I'm trying to do finish the Pediatrics Cases for next week's POM session, and a lot of the information isn't in the handout or the recommended textbook, Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. I've had to Google several of the questions, and I just learned when babies have their first stool not from a medical resource but from an online pregnancy and mothering forum, The medical profession is a joke.

Sam > Jim

Hear ye, hear ye! I finally found something that I'm better at than Jim. And that something is two player Tetris.

In-Class Blog

I'm sitting in Practice of Medicine 2 right now, learning about diabetes for approximately the 482nd time. I like POM lectures because we rarely have notes to take; instead, we just sit in the lecture hall, look at gross pictures, and occasionally absorb information. For example, did you know that LASER is actually an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation"? Okay, so I didn't learn that from the lecture, I read it on the Wikipedia page when I looked up "laser" to see when the first one was made (1960, in case you were wondering).

Dog Tired

Lately I've been accused of using (and abusing) the phrase "This is literally the worst," but that would actually be a very accurate description of what happened to me today. Jon and Chrissy tricked me into joining them on a hike of the entire Rivanna Trail, which surrounds the entire city of Charlottesville, in one day. I had no idea before I started the hike at 8:30 this morning that the trail was over 20 miles long and would take us 10 hours to complete. The hike also featured appearances by Greg and Vicki, who accompanied us for the first half, and Lee, who joined up with us to complete the second half.

Highs and Lows (I'll let you figure out which ones are which):
- Finding the "Broken Bridge."
- Running over a mile through the "wetlands" and coming out on the other side with only eight mosquito bites.
- Walking over an extremely long and tall railroad bridge that could barely support our weight.
- Discovering that Titan had cut open one of the pads on his front left paw.
- Getting lunch at Subway.
- Losing the trail and ending up on the wrong side of the Rivanna, forcing us to ford the river in our hiking clothes.
- Removing 11 ticks from Titan and one tick from my... er... "special place."
- Eating chicken fajitas at Lee's place to celebrate the successful completion of our expedition.

You Better Watch Out

Lee and Matt have started a game of Assassins for SMD12. I joined the game, against my better judgment, because I don't really know how to say no to anything. Our immunity today was a choice between knee-high socks with shorts, a cut-off t-shirt, and a straw or piece of grass in the mouth. Man, this is starting to feel like first year all over again... and third year... and fourth year...

On an unrelated note, someone chalked "Birth Defects for Sale" onto the traffic light control box next to Student Health the other day. On the other side, it says "Breast Cancer 4 Free!" I don't really know what this is all about, but it's funny, and I like it. Anonymous sidewalk chalk vandal, I salute you.

Bad Grammar Makes Me [Sic]

I'm not a very forgiving person when it comes to spelling and grammar. I've learned to control myself when it comes to some common errors, like definately, rediculous, and wierd, but something new has come to my attention. Recently, I have come across several Gchat statuses that say "I have worn the honors of Honor. I have graduated from Virginia." That's right, I'm talking to you, UVA Class of 2009. I'm sorry, but James Hay, Jr. wore the Honor of honors. The term honors of Honor doesn't even make sense, and its continued use merits the revocation of your degree.

Oh, and by the way, the correct spelling is d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y.

EDIT: Nosheen has pointed out to me that the version of the poem on the Honor Committee website says honors of Honor. With conflicting versions of the poem floating around on the internet, I no longer know who to believe. Either way, somebody's grammar is wrong, and he/she will pay for it. Mark my words.

Without a Trace

And just like that, we lost another one. Stefan moved out of the house today and back to... California? Is that where he was from? It's sad that I lived with him for an entire month and yet know so little about him. The same could be said for most of my roommates, but then again, I guess that's what happens when you're a medical student and you live with an engineer, a bartender, and a writer. We're like the Fantastic Four, only without the lame movie franchise.

Speaking of crappy movies, we found a copy of The Day the Earth Stopped, a straight-to-DVD knockoff of The Day the Earth Stood Still, in the Harris Teeter Red Box last weekend. It turns out that some company named Asylum is churning out movies that sound like but aren't quite the same as the summer blockbuster you were hoping to see. Check out the complete list here.

Oh, and since that article came out, they've also released such greats as Street Racer, I Am Omega, and Allan Quartermain and the Temple of Skulls. Go figure.

What Do You See?

According to Rubin's Pathology, you're looking at a section of the adrenal gland from a patient with Addison disease. Obviously, there are indications of chronic inflammation and fibrosis in the cortex, an island of residual atrophic cortical cells, and an intact medulla.

Well, Dr. Raphael Rubin, I hate to disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure what we're looking at is actually a Magic Eye image. I keep crossing my eyes and waiting for a winter wonderland or some dolphins or a freaking unicorn to jump out at me, but all I see is this crazy pattern of blues and pinks. Curse you, autostereograms! You weren't even popular enough to be mentioned in VH1's I Love the '90s!

Happy Anniversary, Class of 2008

Exactly one year ago today, the UVA Class of 2008 processed down the lawn and graduated from Thomas Jefferson's University. It's hard to believe that I'm more than 365 days out of college, especially since I remember it all like it was yesterday. But I suppose that's just because I have a photographic memory. Or was that a photographic camera? I get the two confused sometimes...

Where was I again? Oh yeah, the Class of 2009 followed in our footsteps this past Sunday and had to bid farewell to the University. Although I empathize with their unwillingness to move on from UVA, I can't help but be excited at the thought of less traffic, shorter lines, and more parking spaces in Charlottesville for the summer. Have fun in the real world, suckers!

I Want to Believe

I wanted to believe that The X-Files: I Want to Believe would be a good movie. I wanted to believe that it would return to the TV series' mytharc involving government concealment of alien plans to colonize Earth. I wanted to believe that I would be left wanting more. But, as Josh, Paul, and I learned last night, these beliefs were all horribly misplaced.

Instead of the interesting plot I was hoping for, we were given a terribly explained story about a Russian man stealing body parts for his gay lover. Add in rapper Xzibit, a pedophilic-priest-turned-psychic, and a pointless side story about a boy with Sandhoff disease. Throw in a few horrible lines, like, "We need you, Scully. Your medical expertise will save us time, and time is the enemy." Finally, mix in a confusing love story between the two main characters that begins and ends... and then begins again, for apparently no reason. Presto! The worst thing to come from Chris Carter since The Lone Gunmen spinoff series.

My suggestion is to save yourself the time and money, and just read the abridged script, because it makes a heck of a lot more sense than the movie ever did.

It's a Zoo Out There!

I went on an epic hike with Josh, Liz, Matt, and Paul today. We had planned to do Old Rag, but when we got there, the park ranger informed us that dogs aren't allowed on the hike for safety reasons. We ended up doing the White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run Hike instead, which had some spectacular views but was a pretty grueling trail overall. The weather was spectacular until about 4pm, when we were subjected to a scattered thunderstorm. We managed to survive, although not undamaged. Each of us took at least one fall during the hike, including Titan.

Luckily we had Matt, aka Mark Trail, along for the ride. He pointed out some pretty crazy wildlife during the hike. We encountered a salamander, a frog, some crazy insects, and even a water moccassin. The craziest part of the day was when Matt discovered a rattlesnake on the side of the trail. We took some pictures of it on Liz's camera, and I guess it didn't like the flash, because all of a sudden it started hissing at us and rattling its tail. It was my first time seeing a rattlesnake in the wild, and definitely my first time seeing one about to attack. I'm glad none of us got bitten, because hike was tough enough as it was, and it would not have been fun to carry someone back down the mountain.

This Was Meant to Be

Today I had my first Tutorial Group session in Practice of Medicine 2. I'm not going to lie, I had my reservations going into this class. I had an awesome POM 1 group, and our mentors were two of the nicest people I've ever met. There was simply no way that I would get lucky twice. Surely this new group would turn on itself until only one of us was left standing, and I hoped to God that it would be me.

Enter Dr. Robbins, Associate Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine and my new POM 2 mentor. As soon as I saw his SpongeBob SquarePants necktie, I knew that everything would be alright. We somehow managed to make it through the case and even come to the correct diagnosis, which, I'm not gonna lie, felt pretty good. I guess POM 2 isn't so bad after all.


We came. We saw. We were befuddled.

Tonight marked the finale of the seventh season of Lost, which may be the best show to ever grace our nation's television sets. As I expected, the show cleared up many of this season's questions... only to replace them with more questions that will not be answered until January 2010.

At least this season went out with a bang (literally). The VMed Lostafarians celebrated in style, with a cookout at Morgan's complete with gourmet burgers, brownies, tortillas and hummus, chips and salsa, and Dharma Beer. That's right, we had Dharma Beer. Sure, I had to travel back in time to the 1970s in order to get it, but I don't take my obsessions lightly. Nothing, not even the space-time continuum, will get in the way of my ultimate devotion to Lost.

Because I Care

In a desperate attempt to procrastinate yesterday, I began reading the message board for the incoming UVA School of Medicine Class of 2013. I came across this post left by my friend Mikey under one of the roommate search threads, and I thought he'd appreciate it if I shared it with all of you.

Hello all-
I think I am a little bit late to this message board but I figured I should give it a shot. My name is Mike Parsons and I graduated from uva undergrad in 2008. I have been working in dc for the last year for a health care research/consulting firm, and the experience has given me a whole new level of appreciation for the movie Office Space. A little bit about me as a roommate:

-I like to play loud rap music pretty much the whole time I am home (including when I sleep)
-I have fourteen cats (three are currently sick and tend to throw up whenever they eat)
-I sometimes have a small habit of stealing from roommates so preferably the people I live with have nice stuff
-I don't bathe (ever)
-I tend to start fires when I sleepwalk
-I am looking for roommates with good taste in food so that when I dig through your stuff in the fridge I don't get bored with the same old mac'n cheese

Hopefully, if you are still reading you realize I am joking. In truth, I am a pretty normal guy looking for social roommates. I am definitely down for hosting the occasional med school party/shindig but I usually keep it pretty laid back on weeknights. In my free time, I love playing pickup basketball at the gym, watching movies, hanging out. I am always respectful of common space and cleaning up after myself. If you're still looking for a roommate you can email me [removed] or give me a call [removed]. Hopefully I am not living out of my car first year.

An Apple a Day

...keeps the doctor away. But two apples a day sends you to the gastroenterologist.

The hospital had some sort of staff appreciation picnic today, and we all got a free lunch consisting of cheeseburgers, chips, brownies, and apples. Josh didn't want his apple, and even though I had already eaten mine, I generously offered to take his as well. I know, I'm such a giver.

A few bites in, the apple starting tasting less sweet and notably more bitter. I looked down and discovered that the entire core was rotten. UVA Health System, is this how you treat your employees? By getting them sick in order to maintain your patient flow!? SHAME!!

Did You Know?

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the wife of Star Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry, is the only actor to have appeared in every iteration of the franchise on TV and in the movies, including this one, as the voice of the ship's computer. She recorded her lines for the movie only weeks before her death in December of last year. (from Yahoo! Movies)

I ran into Corrie while I was waiting for everyone else at the movie theater. She made fun of me for going to see Star Trek by myself, and we had a good laugh about it... until I realized that the other two people in my row were actually sitting alone. Whoops.

Anyway, the movie was SO FREAKING GOOD, and everyone should see it. It's very likely that, like all of his characters, J.J. Abrams is a man sent from the future, armed with only one weapon: his creative genius.

Come One, Come All!

Nosheen and I gave birth to our fourth? seventh? baby this morning in the form of the VMed Spring Book Sale. I've actually lost count of how many children we already have, but this one will definitely have a special place in my heart because it was (a) unplanned and (b) a preemie. Foxfields happened so recently that this new baby definitely did not have a long enough gestation period.

The sale went pretty smoothly, although we ended up with way more books than we had planned on receiving. We also found a bunch of old books that were left in Mulholland Lounge, one of which had a haircomb inside the front cover. Oh, and people tried to sell their white coats and pagers. I guess those can be considered books too... maybe...

How to Get a Stomach Ache

Eat an entire bag of Haribo Gummy Bears.

Come Again?

Lindsay, Nick, and I went over to Steph's place for game night earlier this week. We played two games of Scrabble and six games of Boggle, and of course, Steph won every single one of them. I swear, the girl sees words better and faster than anyone I've ever met. There's no doubt she would give Robert Langdon a run for his money.

While we were playing Scrabble, I also learned of another game, called Slutmester. Apparently it's the same as Maymester, only... sluttier. According to Steph, anyone who hears about the game is automatically inducted. And yes, that means you, too. In order to win, you have to not only be slutty, but also share each of your escapades with everyone else. I'm looking forward to some juicy stories over the next month...

Also, does anybody have any idea how long Qdoba chips are good for? I found a bag of them in my mini-fridge that must be at least two weeks old, but I really want to eat them anyway.

UPDATE: They taste kind of fermented. Sweet.

Woe Is Me

Our last Healer's Art class ended today at 9:03pm, which was probably the WORST time for it to end. Ideally, we would have finished at 8:50, leaving me with plenty of time to get to the Mad House to watch Lost with everyone else. Second to that, we would have finished at the designated time of 9:30, leaving me basically no time to watch the show and letting me go on with my life. But 9:03! I had to live through 57 minutes of torture while I knew that Lost was on TV, but I could not watch it. Oh, the pain!

Also, it's thunderstorming right now, and Titan is freaking out. What happened to April showers bringing May flowers? I wish you hadn't fed me all of those lies, W.W. Gordon Elementary School...

UPDATE: I just moved my bed into the middle of the room because the corner of my ceiling was dripping rainwater onto it. FML.

Thoughts on Academia

As second years, we have started on the Core Systems curriculum. Yesterday we had our first Pharmacology and Practice of Medicine II lectures, and today we spent four hours on Pathology. Apparently all of our classes are required to start with the letter P this year.

Dr. Innes told us today that we would have four times as much material in our second year and that we would have to work four times as hard as we did last year in order to succeed. Consider me demoralized.

We moved to the second year classroom, which is a replica of the first year classroom, only located on the other side of the entrance to Jordan Hall. I'm tempted to take a picture of both of them, put them side by side, and play Photo Hunt with them.*

My absentmindedness has reached a new high. I picked up our new POM2 packet after class yesterday and managed to lose it during our lunch hour. I literally have no idea where it is, and now I have to write an e-mail to the course director to ask for a second copy. It appears as though I am not off to a good start.

*Joke courtesy of Lee.

This One's for the Nerds

Yesterday saw the release of The Hunt for Gollum, a fan film created without consent from either New Line Cinema or the Tolkien estate. The story takes place in between the events of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, and it revolves around Aragorn, who has been sent by Gandalf to search for Gollum before he can reveal any information about the One Ring to the Dark Lord Sauron. The whole movie is available for free viewing here. I've also included the trailer below.

So, who wants to watch this with me tomorrow?

I Hate New York

I know, yesterday I said that I loved it, but I have my reasons. Here are a few.

1. Two Hicks and a Mexican Chasing a Turkey Down a Goldmine. Ask me about it.
2. Staying out till 4:30am.
3. Waking up at 7:30am to catch the Chinatown bus back to Washington, DC.
4. Realizing that your Metro card funds are insufficient and single ride passes are no longer being sold.
5. Hailing a taxi, but finding out that the taxi cannot get to Penn Station because 4th Avenue has been sealed off for a cycling race.
6. Speed walking the rest of the way to Penn Station, only to discover that the bus is running half an hour late because it also got stuck at 4th Avenue.
7. Stumbling onto the bus at 9am, still drunk, and passing out for the entire ride back.

Also, I'd like to make a shout-out to Richie, who drove me to the Chinatown bus stop in DC on Thursday and picked me up today. You're the Hoke Colburn to my Daisy Werthan. That's right, I just made an allusion to a movie from 1989. Sue me.

I Love New York

I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Catherine and Nick yesterday afternoon. In addition to seeing some famous Monets, van Goghs, and Seurats, we also saw a group of Asian tourists wearing surgical masks. They stood out like a hipster at Foxfields, and I had to stop myself from taking a picture of them.

Now to watch TV with Jim until Cal and Kevin wake up. I have already spent countless hours on this couch since I got here. Basically, my life in New York City is just like my life in Charlottesville, only about five times as expensive.