Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Whole New World

Don't you dare close your eyes - because you might get run over by a truck.

Remember Super Mario Brothers Three? When you were young, and you finally..FINALLY get past the first world. You thought you beat the game, right? Then all of sudden, you are in some fucking desert with MORE goombas to jump on and turtle shells to kick.

Sure it isn’t that creative..but this is what it feels like to me right now. I graduated a week ago, feeling like a wise old man amongst a sea of undergrads. Now I find myself in Chicago, a plethora of new faces, places, and all of the above. I still haven’t gotten used to the traffic or random people asking me for money, but I guess that comes with the territory. I feel little again, lost, terrified - yet content with the change.

Learn by doing - it's my new motto. Can't fit your car in the spot? Keep trying, that is what bumpers are for. Can't find an address? Go around again. Can't find your research mentor's office while being stared at by a hordes of dental students on lunch break? Suck it up- you will be making an ass out of yourself eventually anyways, may as well begin early and get used to it.

You know what makes you stand out in a room full of people wearing scrubs? Oh I know, not wearing scrubs...gah!

Nestled away within a maze of concrete and drywall, I did eventually find my research Mentor – a periodontist whose work revolves around wound healing. He seems friendly, although I felt completely out of place once we visited the lab. I am the only pre-doc working in the lab and will be surrounded by PhDs and DDS/PhDs – so much for being ‘at the top.’ Everyone seems nice, but the place just seems a bit unfriendly for newcomers – simply because I have no experience and will probably end having to be babysat by a post-doc to make sure I don’t destroy some expensive piece of equipment. They have had students before though, so hopefully I will get assimilated without too much trouble.

It sounds as if I will be doing some rather rudimentary tasks, but hopefully I will find the work interesting. My mentor also made it sound as if I could work on a number of different projects, so who knows what will happen.

I felt like a total idiot when he talked with all his other lab workers, they were just throwing around terminology left and right that was clearly above my current level of understanding.

Luckily (or maybe not), I was provided with about 10 articles relating to the lab research that will “bring me up to speed.” I fortunately did learn how to read in college, so mayhaps I won’t be as clueless on Monday.

Orientation is Thursday and lab work begins on Monday. The best part about this orientation is that it will get me out of some of the D1 orientation business in August (or so I was told).

I have also declared that moving will be a summer long process. I already have the essential stuff set up…but there is still much to do. Having the TV just sitting on the floor is soooo very un-cool.

As mentioned in a previous post, I have been pretty busy moving and tying up loose ends, but fear not, I have stories to tell when I have time to tell them. So do not forsake me.

Now I need to transfer the last of my money so that I can survive until loans arrive.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

This is The End

Beautiful friend, the end.

In 24 hour hours, I will officially be a college graduate.

-end college sentimentality-

Yesterday I was in Chicago, at an introductory research mentors meeting. I met 9 of my future classmates and they all seemed quite amiable – I hope this sample is representative of the rest. I also met several research-oriented doctors at the school – some with dual DDS, PhD; and some with the solo PhD.

Everyone was extremely friendly – and the faculty as a whole seems to have a great temperament with a sprinkling of humor. While I must admit, the presentations began to drag on around hour number four, but I still am glad I attended. I am hoping to either do research in biomaterials or wound healing. Keep reading for future updates.

BUT – I almost did not make it to the meeting at all. As I was begrudgingly navigating through morning traffic on I-290, I was almost destroyed by two things that truly disgust me. Separately, I can barely stand the site of either, but together…wow.

Pulling up to my left side was a Hummer – perhaps the greatest symbol of American vanity and waste. This wasn’t altogether surprising; lots of folk seem to think driving something outrageously huge through the packed streets of Chicago is a GOOD idea. Well, wouldn’t ya know it, but Carlos Zambrano was behind the wheel. I am admittedly a Sox fan, although I really don’t mind the Cubs, but I CANNOT stand Zambrano. He is over-emotional, provides idiotic quotes for the media-whores, and of course, drives a Hummer.

Oh well, at least he didn’t plow me off the road or anything – even though I should have forced some sort of accident that could be blamed on him. Then I wouldn’t have any debt after dental school. Damn me and my morals.

-return to college sentimentality –

We had a final party with all the graduating pre-professional students. Our pre-health advisor has been invaluable, and of course provided some quality booze. She has a great back yard where everyone sat around a fire pit, drank, laughed, and drank into the wee hours of the morning. It is hard to believe that only ten of us are actually going forward in life with what we set out to do many years ago. We used to have damn close to 100 students (a lot for a small school) freshmen year, but those weed out classes get the name for a reason.

Today we had to “practice” graduating. It reminded of me of being in elementary school again. We all had to pretty much take orders like a bunch of dogs as some scary old lady yelled at us. If she told me to pee on the kid standing next to me, I probably would have. She was just THAT intimidating. Then of course, the students were not much better. After we sat down, nobody paid any attention and everyone was just being immature (yours truly included). Really though, what do they expect – the entire exercise was just idiotic. There has got to be an easier way.

What is the deal with graduation anyway? We wear some goofy outfit and stand around in a very hot room listening to a bunch of boring speeches telling us about this and that and blah. I suppose it would be more meaningful if I knew there wasn’t ANOTHER graduation to go to in four years. Let’s face it; the second movie in a trilogy usually sucks the most.

Ah, but such is life – one giant hoop after another.

Well, I wanted to get off this last post before leaving, because I may be away for a bit. The process of moving is never smooth-going, and I only have about 10 days to get everything squared away in Chicago. To make matters worse, my brother and dad will be out of town for most of that time, taking with them the valuable truck needed to help in the move. I am NOT getting a U-Haul.

But I digress, I am off to clean up the oven, empty the fridge, and drink some beers with the gang.

Until next time.

Ride the snake, ride the snake.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Junk Mail

God bless my undergrad email account and its carefree attitude towards mail. Yea, I don’t need all the junk that eventually finds its way to my cyber address; but you might think, just maybe, that information sent from the Dental School might not be ‘junk.’

Some of you may recall that I applied for a summer research program about 1.5 months ago. I hadn’t heard anything and was assuming that I wasn’t selected. BUT WAIT, I actually have been invited to join the program, and if I hadn’t been checking the “junk mail” box, I would have missed THE MANDATORY MEETING THIS FRIDAY.

Thankfully, I caught this invitation just in time and have sent off a very late confirmation. If they replaced my sorry ass, I will be less than thrilled.

Regardless, I don’t think they will dump me unless I don’t show up for the meeting. This program is definitely going to kill my last summer ever, but I really think it will be beneficial in the long run. I don’t honestly think research is my calling, but I have never done any REAL research, so I want to try. Worst case scenario is that I dislike it. At least I can check research off of my things to do list early in my dental career as opposed to later. Doesn’t hurt to have a little research experience on the CV either.

Essentially, I’ll be working 8:30-5 M-F from June 4th, July 27th. So I still get about three weeks of pure vacation, which isn’t too shabby at all. The only REAL drawback is that I have to really scramble to get settled in my new apartment. I was also sent a list of all the different projects available to the students. I forgot that almost all research involves torturing mice, which I don’t particularly enjoy. I really am interested in oral cancer development though, so I may just have to suck it up. I also saw some pretty interesting projects regarding biomaterials which would most likely help my overall understanding of human dentition.

Supposed to be a pre-professional party on Friday too, hopefully I will be able to get back before everyone is plastered.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Battle of Epic Proportions, Part II

(Read Part I first unless you want to miss out)

The mighty sun was setting off to the west and the sweltering heat was diminishing. Pontiac was fast, and I made my way to the land of giants – Krogar. In this intimidating land, status is not earned through strength, or intelligence. Honor is earned through how fat you are; only the fattest of the fat are in charge.

I dismounted Pontiac and cautiously entered the Krogarian market. I began to search for the Golden Plunger. The market seemed to have a limitless array of items available for purchase. I found the region devoted to sanctuary business – floor polishers, portal scrubbers, portal cleanser, alas – no golden plunger. I spent a few minutes re-searching in vain, hoping I had missed something but this was all for naught. The golden plunger was not in Krogar.

I dropped my head, and prepared to leave. No sooner had I turned, when I saw a massive Krogarian coming my way, pushing a giant cradle full of items. I would not be able to circumvent this giant because of his sheer girth. I turned to head out the alley from the other end, succumbing to horror as another Krogarian barreled towards me.

Quickly, I backed up as tightly as I could onto the market wall – praying these Krogarians would squeeze by peacefully. Just as the two were about to crush me into oblivion, the larger Krogarian stopped, scratched his rump, and turned around. He was clearly in the wrong alley. I was saved!

I was able to exit the Krogarian market without further interruption, Pontiac was waiting patiently. We proceeded to venture forth, in continued search for the golden plunger.

After long journeying, we arrived at the Wall of Greens, another place thought to possess the golden plunger. Gently patting Pontiac, I dismounted and entered this strange new land. The Wall of Greens was smaller than Krogar, and their market is well known for their obscure orbs known as “farma-suitacles.” I was not here for orbs, so I passed the main crowd to the sanctuary shop.

“Curses,” I muttered. The golden plunger was not here either. A small merchant tentatively approached me.

“Can I help you sir?”

“Yes, I am looking for the Golden Plunger.”

The merchant looked dumbfounded, “the golden plunger is a myth, so there is no way we could have such an object.”

Without another word, the merchant abruptly left, confirming what I already knew – the denizens of the Wall of Greens were not friendly.

My spirits were beginning to diminish, perhaps the merchant was right. Maybe the golden plunger truly was a myth. If this was the case, then Cloggar had already won, there would be no stopping his hold over my precious, precious sanctuary.

I fed Pontiac and proceeded to continue the journey, surely something positive would happen shortly. We traveled for a long time, passing through territory after territory hoping to find a trace of what we sought.

Pontiac steadily brought me to our third and hopefully final destination; Tar-get, the land of red smocks. The market was enormous, and getting my bearings straight took some time. I eventually located the cleansing alley, praying to find the relic.

I searched, scouring the different wares. I began to despair, but wait! Hidden on the lower levels, behind some boxes – could it be? Is it possible? IT IS!!

Shrouded in a protective case, I beheld the greatest glory of glories – The Golden Plunger. There were several olde plungers as well, but I knew just how worthless those were against the likes of the suffocator. I lifted the mighty weapon, keeling under its impressive weight, and carried it to the nearest merchant.

The merchant was a small, wily-eyed troll. She clearly was not in a good mood.

“What do you want human?”

“I would like to purchase this fine weapon.”

“Hmmm, let me see, yes….that will be…25 gold pieces.”

TWENTY-FIVE!? I was but a poor student, how could I manage to afford such an outrageous price.

“Madame, I have spent my limited savings on wenches and ale, surely you understand my need for this weapon – it is to battle a common enemy. I beg of you, please make an exception, for the greater good of the world and all of its beauty!”

“Twenty-five gold pieces.”

DAMNATION! I opened my money satchel with hope that I had not truly wasted all of my savings. I pulled out a small hard card. OF COURSE!! The I.O.U., card – capable of managing most costs without immediate payment. Handing the card over to the troll, I was elated, Cloggar would soon be no more!

I exited Tar-get and headed towards Pontiac, ready for the trip home. The ride was swift, and with purpose – the suffocator would soon be banished. I returned to my domicile, thanked Pontiac for the flawless ride, and prepared to confront Cloggar.

Upon entering my abode, I realized that the golden plunger was still enveloped in its protective armor. How would I remove such a strong material? Hmm, directions…they stated to “cut here” along a dotted line. I proceeded to cut through the coating, but with great difficulty. I had cut through the lines, but the seal was not coming off.

“WHAT TRICKERY IS THIS!?” I followed the directions, yet the armor would not come off. Who creates such an impenetrable coating anyways? I understood the need to protect the golden plunger from evil, but the impossibilities of opening the packaging seemed to deter heroes such as myself.

I was running out of time, I would need to use a public sanctuary for ponderance if I didn’t purify mine soon. I loathe public sanctuaries.

I desperately assaulted the magic armor, hacking everything, hoping to loosen its terrible grip on the object of my deliverance. Finally, the armor began to crumble, I had succeeded! Slowly, I removed the golden plunger and equipped it properly. It had a protective sheath covering the suction helmet.

I entered the antechamber, Cloggar was ready.

“Wahahahha, pitiful creature, I thought you had retreated forever. But I see that you have returned for another lesson in pain!”

“SILENCE petulant beast, I have returned with THIS,” unsheathing the mighty golden plunger, I raised it in the air triumphantly. “Your comeuppance is at hand suffocator!”

Cloggar cowered, “IMPOSSIBLE, how did you…find..that..weapon!”

“Never you mind demon, your end it nigh. Now, GO BACK TO WHENCE YOU CAME!!!”

I plunged the golden plunger deep into the sacred waters. The suction was sealed, and I began to viciously drive the weapon forthwith and back. That final battle was immense, portal waters spattered throughout the sanctuary, blinding my right eye, and weakening my foothold. There was no turning back, I continued to plunge!

Cloggar gasped and choked in agony as the immeasurable powers of the golden plunger eviscerated his vile being.

“Gyargallll, vile human…..you may have defeated me on this night….but I…shall…return…”

The portal waters emptied, and soon thereafter, I fresh crystalline batch of pure sacred waters emerged – the battle was won, and not a moment too soon.

I picked up a libram, entered the sanctuary and shut the door – a good ponderance was afoot.

The End

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Battle of Epic Proportions, Part I

The sky was clear, the air was clean. I entered my chambers unabated by the rather high temperatures. I entered the sanctuary to read up on the local happenings as well collect my thoughts. The sanctuary had always been a place for unbridled and unhindered thought.

After a good earnest ponderance, I prepared to make my exit – I proceeded to flush the sacred waters of the portal, carrying away any vile materials that were not pure enough to stay in my mortal body.

It was at this point that ‘he’ emerged. Cloggar, the suffocator – one of the world’s most reprehensible and vile beings. He spoke:

“Foolish mortal, it is by your own folly that I have been reincarnated once more. Bwahahahahah, your own papers have spawned me!!!”

I gasped in terror as the sanctuary rumbled in awe of the mighty Cloggar. The portal began to agonize, and bubble violently as Cloggar worked his evil magics. I had not completed my training on fending off such a foe, but I had to try.

Thinking quickly, I entered the antechamber to acquire the only weapon I knew of that would be able to match Cloggar’s power – my trusty wooden plunger. I found ye olde plunger entangled in some cobwebs beneath the basin springs, clearly I had not needed it for many moons. Cloggar’s presence was definitely most unexpected.

I reentered the sanctuary, prepared to meet my maker. Cloggar was not impressed with my armament. “Bah, fool, dost thou know the power of the suffocator? Your mortal weapons are useless.”

“INVADER!” I screamed, “go back to whence you came!!” I drove the plunger into the depths of the portal – pushing with all of my might.

I pulled the plunger out, drained of energy. The plunger had inverted its magical suction helmet. I was unable to sustain the back pressure necessary to combat Cloggar. I had merely feebly pushed some of the portal waters at him. I prayed that this was enough to loosen the suffocator’s stranglehold on the portal system.

I activated the flushing mechanism. To my horror, the water did not empty; rather, it began to rise, taunting me all the way to the brim of the portal and slightly dribbling over onto the sanctuary floor.

Cloggar chortled, “Muwahahahah, you have only tired yourself mortal, I am omnipotent, I am malevolent, I am ETERNAL!!”

“What treachery is this plunger?” I gasped, “have you not the strength to do what is asked of you!? You are defective and useless!” I attempted to use the plunger once more, thrashing about with portal waters in a vain attempt to destroy Cloggar. Once again, the magical suction inverted and refused to clasp the interior drain.

“Your weapons are obsolete human,” Cloggar proclaimed, “surrender now and I may offer you a quick death.”

The water level had dropped, I was achieving marginal success. I flushed again. But as before, the portal waters swelled, driving me out of the sanctuary in terror.

Ye olde plunger had failed; I needed to consult the archives for a new way. I entered the archives drained and in low spirits, for Cloggar the suffocator had gained dominion over my precious sanctuary. This blasphemy could not be tolerated.

The archives offered a few alternate methods. I quickly acquired the necessary components and returned to the antechamber. The water level in the portal was low, now was the perfect time.

I rushed into the sanctuary and dumped a vat of scalding water into the portal well. I quickly added a cup of magical dish cleaning elixir which apparently possess the power to lessen Cloggar’s power.


Cloggar let out a primal roar, “you are only enraging me boy, now you will face the consequences!!” The water again rose, but this time it was scalding hot and brimming with stinging, slippery bubble minions. They overflew the portal and latched onto my naked feet, toppling my body onto the sanctuary floor. The burning water fell upon my body.

Letting out a visceral scream, I crawled out of the sanctuary, lucky to be alive.

I realized that I had no choice, I needed to acquire the only weapon capable of defeating Cloggar, and that weapon was the Golden Plunger. Many think this plunger is a myth, made up by optimists praying for a way to defeat the suffocator. But I believed, I knew, in my heart of hearts that the Golden Plunger was real.

I exited the sanctuary and got onto my trusty stead, Pontiac the Sunfire. Time was working against me; the search had begun.

To Be Continued….

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

So I was casually chilling on my couch, eating some delicious krispy crème donuts and watching Ferris Bueller’s day off when there was a knock knock knockin’ on my door. Seeing as anyone I hang out with never really knock, this felt unusual.

I open the door to find some short, rather large guy who looked a lot like Carlos Mencia, who I happen to loathe, I knew this was not going to end well.

Carlos: Are you the man of the house?
Me: uhh, what?
Carlos: Are you the man of the house?
Me: I live here.
Carlos: I am in some blah blah blah, where we have to go door to door and work on our communication skills blah blah, ya know, make good eye contact and speak clearly. How am I doing?
Me: uhh, good?
Carlos: So I get points for going door to door….ask me what points are.
Me: what?
Carlos: Ask me what points are
Me: What are points?
Carlos: Thank you for asking, we are trying to sell subscriptions for points, and if I get 10 more points, I get a free trip to cancun. Have you ever been?
Me: No.
Carlos: Would you like to go? Do you drink?
Me: uncomfortable silence
Carlos: Just kidding, I can’t actually take you. But seriously, I want to go, so if you could help me out with some points. Ask me what kinds of subscriptions are available.
Me: What?
Carlos: Ask me what kinds of subscriptions are available.
Me: What kinds of subscriptions are available?
Carlos: Thank you for asking, well we as you can see (hands over gross looking pamphlet), we offer a wide variety that you can get for yourself, your woman, or your family. They are cheap too, some are 5 cents an issue so they won’t hurt you wallet. What are you doing for a career?
Me: Dentistry
Carlos: Oh really? So you gonna be blinging with a Benz, Mercedes, and hummer.
Me: Yes, and a limo.
Carlos: laugh laugh laugh. Ask me about how many points I need.
Me: what?
Carlos: Ask me about how many points I need.
Me: How many points do you need?
Carlos: ten.
Me: More awkward silence
Carlos: So, see anything you like?
Me: No
Carlos: Well you could get something for your girl or your family and just have it sent to them (pulls out order form)
Me: How much is the cheapest thing?
Carlos: 30 bucks
Me: you said 5 cents before
Carlos: That was for an issue, you have to get yearly subscriptions
Me: I see, well I don’t have 30 dollars to give you. As a STUDENT, I will never have money to just chuck around for random subscriptions. I will not be making money for years.
Carlos: I see… well how many neighbors live next door.
Me: Four

Carlos: They look slutty
Me: They are
Carlos: (lecherous grin) Allright, take it easy man
Me: Ok, good luck.




I swear I felt violated just talking to this strange person. I want to know how this schmuck even got into our GATED apartment complex. And the conversation felt SOOO awkward; he was literally TELLING me what to ask. It took me forever to even realize that he was trying to sell crap. I thought he was just some dude on probation or in AA completing one of the “steps” towards remediation. He definitely looked like someone that had been in prison before.

I clearly need to be more assertive, I can’t spare 5 minutes every time someone asks me for a handout. And to send him on some blasted Cancun trip? Why would I even want to do that?

Well, this truly was an interesting experience and definitely worthy of an entry in this fine blog of mine because I am not creative enough to BS a conversation like that.

When I get my own house I'm getting a sign: SOLICITORS BEWARE - violators will be subject to anterior incisor extraction without an anesthetic. Get off my lawn.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Vocabulary 100 - ed. 2

Due to severe lack of creativity, zero interesting events, and general malaise, I just haven’t had much to post. So to tide everyone (including myself) over, I am going to pump out another vocabulary installment!! Yea, I know how amazing and excited you all are. I don’t know about you guys, but I was using the term reprobate all the time after my last vocabulary post – usually in reference to my neighbors.

Without further adieu:

prodigal – Recklessly or wastefully extravagant
-I’m not religious, but even I know the story of the prodigal son.

advent – A coming or arrival; a coming into use
-The advent of summer is marked with warm weather and less school.

provenance – Origin or source
-Dimension X is the provenance of Krang, the maniacal brain.

incipient – Starting to come into being or to become evident.
-He felt the stirrings of incipient panic as he realized that the keys were gone.

infinitesimal – Extremely or immeasurably small
-Every object is manifest through many infinitesimal particles. I love this word, period.

obsequious – Excessively submissive, obedient, or flattering.
-Fred’s obsequious nature made him the perfect lackey for the gang.

jovial – Jolly, expansively good-natured
-Santa Clause is widely known as a jovial fat man that uses elves as a cheap source of slave labor to create toys.

mercurial – Having rapid and unpredictable changes in mood
-The weather in the Midwest is always of a mercurial nature.

conducive – Tending to promote, encourage, or assist; helpful
-Studying a few days in advance, rather than cramming, is often conducive to receiving exceptional grades.

Bacchanalian – Frenzied, orgiastic
-The bacchanalian partying on graduation night resulted in three wrecked cars, two lawsuits by unamused parents, and more new experiences than most of the participants could remember the next day. (I did not make this one up!)

And of course, your reward!