Monday, April 30, 2007

Pluggin’ Away: UIC College of Dentistry Website

Why not give a plug to my soon-to-be new home? UIC’s website is your typical dental school homepage. So if you are a pre-dent interested in UIC, there you go. Even if you are not applying to UIC, simply getting an idea of what to expect from such a webpage could be useful…maybe. One could also argue that you should check out the websites of schools you are interested in…but who am I to judge?

If you are a friend/family member without dental insurance and haven’t been to a dentist in several years (aka my brother), then I strongly suggest looking into becoming a patient at the school. Prices are VERY reduced in comparison to private practice although I don’t have any figures. Information for patient screening is found on the page as well. Plus you would most likely get to spend some time with me which is the ultimate of experiences.

Now if you are just bored and want to see the most amazing webpage ever: go to the UIC homepage; click the “students” link. Next, click the “class websites” link. Finally, click the ‘class of 2008’ link and you will be treated to one hell of a student website.

I don’t think anyone will ever top that. Ever.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

21 Days Left

It is with great spirit that I announce a mere 21 days remain before I can leave the life of undergrad FOREVER. I genuinely hope these were not “The Best Four Years of My Life” as most forty-year olds seem to claim. If this was the case, I am going to be a very unhappy person. Don’t get me wrong, college was fun, educating, relaxed, and responsibility-free – but I’m sick of it. I guess my idea of fun is just different from what is “normal.”

I know dental school is going to be stressful, time-consuming, and soul-draining; however, I believe I will be happier, simply because my life is advancing to a new stage. My free time will be limited, but I have a feeling I will make better use of it in a new environment with an older group of people to be around.

So as an ode to the 21 days left of undergrad, I have compiled a list of 21 things I will NOT miss.

In no particular order:

1. Broken beer bottles on the steps leading out of my residence

2. Douchebags playing frisbee, football, baseball, and/or soccer in the middle of a busy walkway because they are too lazy to walk 5 minutes to an open field.

3. Above mentioned douchebags using my apartment wall as a surface to bounce said sports objects off of.

4. Drunks smashing their cars into other parked cars in a gated parking lot with cameras and then speeding off only to deny all events the next day despite being on camera.

5. Sitting in any “intro to blank” class that involves zero stimulation or brain activity and is an utter waste of time (although I may find a few of these in d-school..hope not!)

6. Really drunk women (moderately drunk is fine..but smashed girls are the most ridiculous and annoying thing I have ever seen.)

7. Drunks thinking it is funny to tip over air conditioner units, literally destroying them and condemning whoever lives in the residence to sweltering heat.

8. Townies (I welcome the hobos of Chicago over townies any day)

9. LOUD trains outside my window

10. A pathetic internet connection

11. Pre-professional students (more-so the newer generation than my peers)

12. Boring-ass biology classes focused on a handful of phyla that have no real correlation to the human body or human health yet are required to graduate.

13. Having flex dollars only work at quiznos, subway, jimmy john’s, and dominos. Try living off that crap for four years. I AM going to learn how to cook next year.

14. Inconsiderate neighbors that steal my porch furniture

15. Inconsiderate neighbors that bring all sorts of vagabonds and shady characters over and consequently “hang-out” on my side of the porch, creepily attempting to peer into my apartment.

16. Inconsiderate neighbors that litter about 100,000 cigarettes (honest estimate actually) all over the place and insist that the garbage dumpster is actually our shared porch.

17. Annoying-ass freshmen that claim their major is “pre-med” and proceed to flunk intro to music 101.

18. Finding a girl attractive, only to quickly realize she is barely 18 and I will almost have my DDS before she can even legally drink.

19. Kids complaining about having to get up before 10am

20. Roomates (even though the guy I lived with this year has been great)

21. Having too much free time. (yea you might think I am insane to say this, but I really feel like a waste of space if I don’t do SOMETHING productive every so often).

This list could go on for awhile, I could also make a list of things I WILL miss – but I am going to save that for once I start dental school and really realize what I probably took for granted.

I am done!

Oh yea, GO BULLS!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hypochondria and Insomnia

It was bound to happen; I am becoming a hypo before my very own eyes. The human mind is still a giant question mark in the scientific annals but it is generally agreed upon that it is more powerful than most can speculate. Ever met a savant? Too bad we can’t quite grasp our own potentials without being crippled in other capacities.

The only power my brain has been up to of late is screwing myself over. I knew it was going to happen; all these bio courses have warped my innocent mind. To any non-science oriented folk reading, don’t learn…ignorance is bliss. Hell, I have only begun to scrap the surface over four years in undergrad – but I am realizing just how insane the human body is. The complexities, the intricacies, and the enormous amount of organization are staggering.

Along with the infinitesimal structures and mechanisms running 24/7, we chug along in our daily lives taking for granted how impressive LIFE is. We also take for granted how easily we can break down and lose that life. The major contributor to death in America is heart disease – which seems to have a strong correlation with our sedentary lifestyle. We are a bunch of chunkers - fast food stuffing our way to an early grave.

I may be a very thin person, but I am by no means in shape. I get winded walking up a few flights of stairs, and I am 22 years young. I have never really exercised on a regular basis…and somehow I think dental school will not be the ideal time to start, but I need to re-evaluate my own lifestyle because it sure as hell is not healthy.

The human body evolved to be active, not sloth like – which is exactly where the future is taking us. We are going to de-evolve at this rate.

So what is up with the title? Well I have recently been feeling sick, and it gets worse when I am sitting in my apartment thinking about it – dreaming up the worst possible diagnosis. As soon as I go to class, I don’t feel anything – leading me to believe that the primary cause of my discomfort is psychological, which is actually far more frightening than an obvious physical ailment. I really think my basic knowledge of biology is compounding the problem.

I think of my T-cells hanging out around the cooler talking about the cell Olympics instead of high-fivin’ some antigen-MHC complexes and going to town on invaders. I imagine my B-cells producing IgM like no tomorrow, but missing the memo that said to switch to IgG. When I pull a muscle, I think that all the myosin heads have gone on strike and won’t be “power-stroking” anywhere in the near future. The list goes on. The more I think of this crap, the more discomfort I feel at any given time.

It is probably just a phase, and it isn’t like I’m not learning about how incredible our body is at healing itself. But as I’ve mentioned previously..I am eternally pessimistic about most everything. The Bulls are up 2-0 on the Heat, and I still think they are going to lose.
So this post may seem a bit on the crazy side, and I agree. I blame this on my recent development of minor insomnia. I have been getting about 4-5 hours of sleep a night for the last week. I try to sleep, but I won’t. I am not busy, so it isn’t like I don’t have time to body just isn’t cooperating. Could be the warmer weather, could be the rain, could be my asshole cat knocking stuff off my desk at some ungodly hour, could be the attention seeking conductor of that train that clearly is blaring its horn waaaay after it clears the tracks, could be a lot of things. But it is annoying. So I figure writing a long post displaying the inner workings of a madman would be beneficial to bored people everywhere.

Praise be to Krishna!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Vocabulary 100 – ed. 1

Notice how our society is sounding dumber every day? Like, we totally like need to like, uh, like, make it to the movie in like 5 mins or we are gonna be late nnnkay!

I blame the internet, as well as an overall poor education system in not teaching kids at least some basics in articulation. Granted, I am not well-versed in sentence structure either, which is another reason I am continuing this blog – to improve my own writing potential. I also am killing time before the Sox game.

Adding to your vocabulary is not used to “sound” smart; it literally will make you smarter. You are exercising your brain by using a wider variety of terminology and learning not to repeat certain utterances over and over…and over….and over. You are also learning to think before you speak - something MANY people should try out. It also will increase your overall writing quality for professional school, job resumes, vision statements, public speaking, ectera.

Now I know learning words is not fun and nobody will want to read VOCABULARY I will make sure to add a reward at the end of all of these posts. I will also try to add engaging examples of each word that aren't dull as all hell. Also note that cheating and skipping right to the reward will earn you a one-way ticket to hell, with all the fire and brimstones. So be warned.
I am jacking these words from the Merriam-Websters Vocabulary Builder, which our pre-professional program shoveled down my throat for four years.

Most of these examples are straight out of the book, but I have added my own spin to a few, see if you can figure out which!

bellicose – Warlike, aggressive, quarrelsome
-Our president has a bellicose mindset.

amicable – Friendly, peaceful
-The interview was of an amicable nature.

paramour – A lover, often secret, not allowed by law or custom
-my wife divorced me, took half my money, and is off with her paramour in Hawaii. Next time I’m getting a prenup.

recrimination – An accusation in retaliation for an accusation made against oneself; the making of such an accusation
-Their failure to find help led to endless and pointless recriminations over the responsibility of the accident.

reprobate – A person of thoroughly bad character
- My neighbors are total rebrobates.

gravid – Pregnant or enlarged with something
- My girlfriend is so very gravid! (It sounds so much better than the dull “pregnant” Also note that I don't have a pregnant girlfriend...but if I did, I would say she is gravid!)

gravitas – great or very dignified seriousness
- The head of the committee never failed to carry herself with the gravitas she felt was appropriate to her office. She was an importer/exporter.

levity – Frivolity, lack of appropriate seriousness
-Levity on college campuses is always to the extreme, leading to 8 year seniors.

stentorian – Extremely loud, often with especially deep richness of sound.
-That tenor has got crazy stentorian vibes going.

spartan – marked by simplicity and often strict self-discipline or self-denial
-Getting an A in a biology course requires a spartan style of studying.

Now now, that wasn’t so bad was it!? Take one word a week, and use it when you can – even if you are alone. You will be surprised how quickly it sticks. Don’t force feed vocabulary in every-day conversation either, you will sound like an idiot.

And of course, here is the reward!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


So I am 22 now, and will turn 23 the very day orientation starts. This is apparently on the younger end of the spectrum nowadays as the amount of traditional applicants seems to be dwindling. This got me thinking, I already feel out of the age-bracket here in undergrad. I can’t relate with the drunken antics of 19 year olds anymore, I feel so removed from that sort of lifestyle.

Now I’m going to be the “little kid” again, a freshman all-over. Instead of feeling like I’m too old, I already am afraid of feeling too young. I really can’t relate with a 30 year old that has 2 kids; our worlds will just be too different. Not that we wouldn't get along, but I just can't see us relating as I would to a single 23-25ish student. I am sure there will be plenty of younger D1s starting as well, but the pessimist inside me keeps screaming that I will be viewed as an unknowledgeable whelp lost in a sea of “learned” people. I guess I’m going to have to wait and see.

I feel stuck, too old for undergrad, too young for dental school – there is no happy ground for the eternally pessimistic.

But what got me on this age talk? Well, I just watched live on CNBC as my very own Chicago won the bid to represent America towards accommodating the 2016 summer Olympics. EAT IT L.A.!!!

As I celebrate, I begin to realize how OLD I will be by the time 2016 even rolls around. I will almost be 32!! I can only imagine how much will have changed, hopefully for the better. Yea 32 isn’t really that old, but it feels like Grandpa Status to me at this point.

Nothing else new going on, just killing time until graduation. I did officially apply for the summer research program at UIC. I verified that they received my app, so now I get to wait some more and hope I get an interview.

That is one great thing I have learned over this last year – how to wait.

Now I’m going to try to study immunology…emphasis on the word try. Then I got some bourbon that needs sippin’


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Journey of Chaz

Chaz was a fighter, the greatest warrior in all of Bagwell. Draped in his ceremonial orange garb with a very adhesive coating to fend off giants, Chaz prepared for his greatest challenge. The goal you ask? To infiltrate the mighty fortress of Dreadloch.

Well Chaz was ready; he prepared his squad of faithful companions – Lucky, McSpade, Turner, and Cojax.

The time was now, the mighty seal keeping Bagwell defended was opened – a thunderous pop was quickly followed by a burst of air. Chaz and his boys were off!

The landscape was eerily calm. The squad looked around, expecting to see something, anything. No, the fortress of Dreadloch seemed surprisingly quiet, it’s horrible stare pointed southerly. Lucky took point and slowly started to move towards Dreadloch’s outer perimeter. Suddenly, without warning, a mighty protrusion sprung forth from the lateral end of the fortress, this sentry like object quickly enveloped Lucky. Screaming in horror, Lucky was raised all the way to the peak of Dreadloch, a mighty opening appeared near the summit, and Lucky was tossed in like a mere rag-doll. The giant opening clamped down and seemed to almost begin a grinding motion. Muffled screams could still be heard.

Still in shock, Chaz ordered an immediate fall back, he did not know what tipped off the guard, but the element of surprise was ruined – the scheme needed to be aborted. Almost as quickly as he called for retreat, the great lateral extension returned and grabbed the rest of the team.

While the grip was tight, the four squad members were not in pain, they solemnly awaited their fate in the depths of Dreadloch. The opening began to raise, an indescribable stench emanated from the cavernous pit. The squad looked to Chaz for any last minute orders; the look on his face was enough – Be Prepared.

Darkness. Warm. Wet. These were the only words capable of describing the initial feelings of the pit. There was no sign of Lucky, save for some tattered remnants of his outer garb. Chaz sat silently for what felt like hours before the next horrible event began to unfold before his very eyes.

Giant blunt spears began to converge on the team; Turner lost his legs instantly to the violent grinding. The floor also had a pattern of similar sharp objects, clearly meant for shredding any men hapless enough to challenge the forces of Dreadloch. McSpade was not so lucky; his head was bludgeoned mercilessly by one of the deeper grinders, dead upon impact. Chaz and Cojax were holding their ground in the middle of the cavern. However, the floor actually turned out to be a massive tentacle, gnashing and flipping the brave warriors ever closer to the grinders. Cojax got to Turner and pulled him near the walls, away from the grinders and the massive tentacle. Unfortunately, the denizens of Dreadloch were far from finished.

The remaining warriors soon realized that the slime protruding into the pit was actually penetrating their armor. Vital components began to melt away, and the slime continued to degrade and weaken their bodies. Chaz knew they had no time left, acting quickly, he pointed out an exit path to his two remaining men. Although they had no idea where this tunnel would lead, anything was better than the meat grinder they were stuck in. Helping to carry Turner’s mangled body, the three warriors embarked into the tunnel, which quickly became a vertical plunge.

Having no foothold whatsoever, the three were completely helpless and at the mercy of whatever devilish trickery lay ahead.

They luckily landed in a swamp-like mire, deep in the heart of Dreadloch. The liquid and soft turf helped lessen the brutal fall. Turner had unfortunately bled to death; his last request was to give the family ring to his little daughter, Annabelle – Chaz vowed to carry out these wishes. The two laid Turner down into the mire and no sooner had they finished, when the entire swamp began to bubble and churn.

The bubbling quickly turned into burning and the twisting ground made it impossible to move. Deep pits that were previously hidden began spewing forth corrosive acid. Cojax was hit immediately in the face, screaming in agony as his vision blurred. Chaz ducked down, trying in vain to run. Remarkably, Chaz was able to get out of the initial sludge, but his right arm had been completely mangled by acid and his legs were broken from the violent twisting spurred by the ground. He looked back to see Cojax essentially disintegrate into a gelatinous blob, engulfed in the torrent of acid and fluids. Chaz found an exit, but it was a tight fit, and he knew he would have little control over his destination. Looking back once more at the remains of his colleagues, Chaz crawled into the opening.

Silence, blissful silence. Chaz was at peace, he was slowly gliding through very tight tubing. Abruptly, he bumped up against something tough. Looking on in horror, Chaz caught vision of the shredded remains of Lucky. Chaz was now stuck together with a corpse, and still gliding through the tube.

The silence did not last much longer. Slowly, noises began to creep up behind Chaz. He soon saw hundreds of imp like creatures rushing him from the back. They were merciless, bit by bit; they stripped Chaz of his protection and began to physically break his body down. Chaz lurched and fought as much as possible, but he was truly at the mercy of these hellish creatures. As quickly as they arrived, the imps vanished. Mangled beyond repair, Chaz continued to drift through the tubing. The tubing was getting bumpy. Chaz realized that the bumps were actually little hands, grabbing at his decrepit body. However, they were not pulling away his exterior; they were taking his very soul – his essence. Chaz had never felt such agony as his vital life force was literally driven out of his body. The torment eventually ended, Chaz merely wanted to die now; he continued to move through the tube, hours began to pass.

Finally, Chaz moved out into a large tubing network. His mangled body had been conjoined with the remains of Lucky, as well as others that Chaz had never met. Chaz began to feel dizzy, his head felt compressed. Some force had begun draining the remaining fluids from Chaz’s already depleted body. More pain, why couldn’t he just die?

As quickly as it had started, Chaz felt himself being pushed through one last opening, this time though, he no was longer in Mount Dreadloch. In fact, he was in some giant lake, the remains of many others spattered around him. Chaz could feel the creeping claw of death upon his back, and prepared to meet his maker. A loud clanking noise erupted from above, and the lake began to whirl around violently, eventually pulling Chaz and everyone else down into its depths. Finally, the nightmare had ended, Chaz closed his eyes and everything went black.

His fate had been sealed.


I dedicate this writing to Comparative Anatomy and that guy eating cheetos across the hall. Without you, I would know nothing about digestion and all its glory.

Seriously though, if you guys had to sit through a week learning about digestion, you’d begin to look at those cheetos a little bit differently too. Poor little guys.

I have way to much time on my hands.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


I received an email today with the official class of 2011 schedule for next fall. I already had an idea of what I would be taking, but it is nice for clarification. I apparently have to register for these courses on my own online, so I’ll get on that in the next few days.

Here is what I am looking at:

8:00 – 8:50 – Human Physiology I
9:00 – 9:50 – Microbiology
10:00 – 10:50 – Histology I
11:00 – 12:30 – Human Anatomy
1:30 – 4:30 – Human Anatomy

Comprehensive Care IA from 8 – 4:30pm with 50 minute lunch break

Identical to Monday

8:00 – 9:50 – Comprehensive Care IA
10:00 – 10:50 – Histology I
11:00 – 12:30 – Microbiology
1:30 – 4:30 – Comprehensive Care IA

Friday (my favorite day)
8:00 – 8:50 – Physiology I
9:00 – 9:50 – Microbiology
10:00 – 12:30 – Histology I

My only concerns are regarding those giant 2+ hour blocks of lecture-based classes (micro/histo). I really have trouble focusing while sitting on my butt for more than an hour, but I clearly don’t much choice now. I also wish I could find info on what exactly we will be doing in comp. care. I know it is going to introduce us to the pre-clinic and have us use those gnarly teeth I have been collecting, but I am still in the dark for the most part.

Oh well, was still exciting to get some more info. Classes run from 8/27-12/21 (including finals). My only problem with school is when I burn out..which almost always happens around finals. My solution has been to not refer to dental school as school; rather, it is JOB TRAINING – albeit extensive. This way I will trick my mind and hopefully work harder, but we will see.