Sunday, July 27, 2008


I have been subbing for the organist in our ward for the past few weeks, something I always enjoy doing. Our ward chorister has a habit of choosing some of the more obscure hymns, which also tend to be the ones that are more difficult to play. Today, I put up the hymn numbers on the little board and looked over the hymns before beginning to play prelude. Listed as the opening hymn was #11 'Twas Witnessed in the Morning Sky, a hymn I have never heard before. As I started playing it, I realized that not many people were singing. I attributed this to people not knowing the hymn, like me, and I preceded to pump up the volume to compensate for the lack of singing.

After the hymn was over, the conducting member of the bishopric stood up and apologized to the congregation for the hymn, which he said was actually hymn #12. It was only after I looked back up to my music that I realized that I had played the wrong hymn! I had no idea, and I wouldn't have known if he hadn't said anything. Hymn #11 is "What Was Witnessed in the Heavens?". Oops!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some people should never name children

The French have a system wherein you may choose your child's name from a long list of officially sanctioned, sufficiently French names. You are not, for instance, allowed to name your child "Talula does the hula from Hawaii" (the New Zealand government also just said 'no' to this, sparing a 9 year old a lifetime of humiliation). I was hasty in this week's name poll when I said that those were the 5 worst names ever. I gleaned those from a list here
I have, however, rediscovered a website that contains the worst names ever affixed to offspring. Sadly, this wellspring of crapulence gushes from our own LDS brothers and sisters in Utah. You can find it here. I include just a taste to whet your apetite for execritude.

  1. Auto (Otto?)
  2. Bryce-Zock
  3. Fermyn ( as in Fermyn the faith?)
  4. Jedi Nephi
  5. LaZello
  6. Stockton Malone (a Jazz fan?)
  1. Aarikkaa (Please. Spell it : Erica)
  2. Bimberly
  3. Chinchilla Zest (Hmmm. Spicy furball)
  4. Christmas Contada (no, not Cantata, but Contada)
  5. Confederate America (The south WILL rise again!)
  6. DeFonda Virtue (We're fonda virtue too, how 'bout you?)

End of the Summer

I seem to be a glutton for punishment. I used to row in college, mainly because it was difficult and only rarely exhilarating. I voluntarily enrolled in medical school, which means I study 40-60 hours a week. For my summer 'vacation' for the last 10 weeks, I have been working in a research lab rather than riding my bike at home in Oregon with my friends all summer. This week has been especially brutal. I have a presentation tomorrow at a little cardiovascular conference that Dr F. has thrown together. I really hope that nobody knowledgeable will be there, that way they can't ask questions. I have a few preliminary results from my work this summer, which is great, but I'm not sure what they mean, hence my apprehension about explaining them to smart people. There is still a lot of work to do left on this project. I have hardly touched the liver samples, and there is no time left for me to analyze them. I don't really know what will happen when I stop on the 30th, whether I'm expected to come in during the school year and finish up, or if one of the lab folks will just tie up my loose ends when I'm done, who knows. Right now I just need a break so I can get ready for the hell of neuro that begins in August.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Yesterday I went to the student run clinic, called the HRC (health resource center). It's in the north part of the city, which is a pretty bad neighborhood. I was signed up to be the official phlebotomist, which meant that I was also supposed to give shots and PPD's (TB tests). Working there is always interesting, because I meet people with whom I would never otherwise have had contact. It reminds me of the pompous British officer in Beyond the Fringe's skit, The Aftermyth of War. "You know Perkins, before this horrible war started, I had never come across men of your social class before. Let me say just this, it's been a privilege". Hopefully it's not like that in real life. I worked with a young man who had just gotten out of jail for a drug charge and who needed to get a physical so he could get a job as a construction laborer through some rehabilitation program. He sounded like he really wanted to turn his life around, had stopped smoking and drinking, and wanted to work. I enjoy working at the HRC because it gives me a chance to work on history taking skills. Since there is a third or fourth year student and the attending who see the patient after I do, it's ok for now if I miss something in the history. Since I'm obviously very inexperienced at this, having so much built in redundancy is a good thing. Ironically, despite being the designated phlebotomist, I never actually drew blood yesterday. I should really go to the HRC more often. It's good for the soul to help out those who are truly in need, even if it is in my own fumbling inept way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Educational Confession

George and I are watching the Ken Burns Civil War Series. For those who don't know, George has a college degree in History. In comparison, I was apparently mentally absent for each and every history lesson I ever had from kindergarten through college. I have vague memories of studying certain topics, but the details are completely lost to me. This has become apparent as we watch these films, and I realize that I recognize names of people and events, but I have no context for them. I can't keep all the people, places, dates and events straight in my mental time line. (George was surprised to discover that I don't even have a mental time line like he does.) I make George pause the movie to ask him questions, and he is surprised every time that I don't know or understand what he does.

I am really enjoying this series of documentaries, and I recommend them to anyone, either as a good review of the Civil War, or as a completely enlightening education experience (like my own). This experience has also made me wonder how I can encourage my children to learn about history. How can I make them understand that history is not just dates in an "overly huge and boring" text book that an unenthusiastic history teacher is making them read? How can I encourage them to actually learn the details, instead of studying them for the test and immediately forgetting them, like I did? How can I get them to not only learn about it, but to find it interesting and important to know? Is it possible for my childred to love it, like their dad does?

George's answer is to give them lots of books. I believe him because that was his experience, and he loves history. I just don't want my little boy to have my experience, and then to have to admit, as a 28-yr-old adult, that you can't place the people and events of the Civil War.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


So, I've been pretty spotty with the posting recently. We went camping this weekend at a state park about an hour away. It was pretty hot and sticky friday night and saturday. We went for a short 3 mile hike, which was just long enough. Right after we got back the heavens opened for a little while. They opened again in the evening too. I discovered a place where my rain fly leaks a little, which let just a small amount of water into the tent.

Work has been pretty tough. It's a lot of work, and the hours have been pretty tiring. I have 2 weeks left to get stuff done, and it doesnt' feel like i'm going to get everything done. I have to give a talk on the 25 and the 30th about my research, and I don't have enough data crunched to present anything. I have a significant portion of the project left to do as well, which really sucks, because I need to get the stinking numbers crunched to have something to present!! ugh. Not really a great summer as far as R and R.