Cake or pie?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays everybody out there. Whether or not you observe a holiday, I'm sure the time off from work/school/whatever is appreciated if you're lucky enough to have it. I got my chemistry grade in - an A-. I'm pretty satisfied with it, considering it could have been worse, I probably did pretty well on the ACS-provided final exam.

Unfortunately, I am sick. My sister, brother-in-law and nephew were all sick, and I had gone over to watch my nephew. I think they're all on antibiotics and my sister & brother-in-law were diagnosed with bronchitis. I don't feel like I have any lung involvement. I ran nearly 4 miles yesterday and didn't have any problem with my lungs, so that's why I believe that. There's no wheezing/cackling/crackling involved, and not really any coughing either with whatever I've got, just a runny nose and sinus congestion. If it's anything, it's either just a common rhinovirus or a sinus infection. :(

Anyway, I just wanted to say Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa/etc. Gotta go!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cruising Along..

I keep checking the university website like a hawk on the lookout for my chemistry grade. I keep crossing my fingers and hoping that, above the 45 I'm pretty sure I got right out of 70, I was a pretty decent guesser on the rest.

I was so excited earlier today, a delivery truck came by and dropped some stuff off. One of my sisters asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said I wanted a white board (dry-erase board). I figured it would be useful for a few things: keeping me organized, and being able to work out problems on it for chem, and "teach" myself concepts in my post-bac classes, you know, or diagram a certain system or even a metabolic pathway. So I got my white board, now I have to mount it on the wall. She kicked it the markers, eraser, and cleaner set as well. Awesome!

I ran tonight over at my sister's house (Chris's mom!), since she has a treadmill, only 3 miles. I got over there and my sister says she was going to get Chinese food, her treat. The last time I ate Chinese BEFORE a run, it wasn't pretty. Needless to say, I had to cut that run short, so I resolved to eat after the run. I was looking forward to cracking open the fortune cookie and seeing what my fortune was, but I had a run to do, and my sister had Chinese food to pick up. I asked for beef chow mein, and I said thank you later after I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lately I've been watching the seasons of Supernatural on DVD while I run on the treadmill. Love that show: the humor, the GOOOOOORE at times, and they always have plenty of hot women on the show. I usually do 3-5 miles a day, more so when I'm training for a marathon. I've run two marathons: the 32nd Marine Corps Marathon in 2007, and the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon in 2008. I plan on running it again in 2009, but I'm also thinking about running a marathon in the spring. I know that the Music City Marathon is in Nashville, in April, I believe. The good thing about that, is most of my mom's family lives in and around Nashville, so it would be awesome to visit them since I don't get to see them that often. I am not sure if registration is closed, I need to get on that and check it out, and if it is, maybe there is something else I can run in the spring, full marathon or a half.

Coincidentally, I told someone the first "race" I ever ran was a marathon. They seemed kind of surprised and said, "Don't you usually do like a 5K, or 10K, or a half before biting off marathon?" What can I say? I'll leave it to the fortune cookie I cracked and ate before the beef chow mein, which said, "You like a challenge."

I guess that's me. I baked brownies tonight too, for the first time. I guess it's a result of wanting to use stuff up around the house and not having anything to do since classes are out, and at least brownies aren't that challenging. Well, maybe they are, to your gut!

First Semester Back = Done!

My first post-bac semester is done. I took cell bio, anatomy & physiology, and general chemistry. At first, it seemed like taking three labs at once could be a result of wishful thinking and/or possibly wearing Bad Idea Jeans­™. Honestly, when you take a lab, it really is like taking two classes instead of one, but most of the lab sciences I have heard of, the lab is only worth 20-33% of a course's grade. The problem is that even though it's only worth that relatively small percentage, it frequently takes up just as much time to prepare for the lab and study, as it does for the lecture portion.

I have two grades in, which I did well in - cell bio, and anatomy & physiology. I took the cell bio and a&p exams last Wednesday, December 10th. The grade for a&p was posted by last Friday, and the cell bio grade was posted by this morning. Tonight, I had my last exam, a nationally standardized general chemistry exam provided by the American Chemical Society. It was 70 questions, and from what I understand, statistics are applied in determining the exam grade. My professor had mentioned that in the twelve years he's been teaching, he's rarely seen people score in the 60s (out of 70), including people like me who had come back to school, even some people who had taught chemistry in community college or high school. I divided up my studying since it was a comprehensive exam for first term genchem, and felt like I was well-prepared. Out of the 70 questions, I'm pretty confident I was right on 45ish questions, like dead certain I was right. Some of the other questions, I was able to eliminate an answer or two and improve my odds in making my educated and not-so-educated guesses. The jury's out on the chemistry exam. I'm sure the grades will be posted within a day or two, but it will probably be my lowest grade of this fall, and I'm signed up for general chemistry II for the spring semester.

My take-home lesson: I really need to go above and beyond in studying for chemistry and getting help if I need it. It doesn't come as easy to me as the biology stuff does. On a brighter note, remember the A&P muscle practical I was mentioning a few entries back? I got the sheet/score back at the A&P final last Wednesday. Just like I thought - 38/40 right, and she just gave me 48/50 possible points for it. Hooray. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Welcome to the World, Chris, You Have 1 New Message!

Today my second nephew was born. He registered for life today, so here is his welcome message. His name is Christopher Matthew, to go along with his 3 year old big bro John Thomas. The picture above is the him getting a bath from his nurses, his first real bath aside from being cleaned up post-c/s. They are rolling him over to wash the back of his body. He arrived at 11:07 a.m. EST, weighing 8 lbs 3 oz, and was 20 inches long.


Thank you for registering with Life­™. You have a completely blank slate coming into the world. You are capable of doing great things, and capable of doing terrible things. My only hope for you as one of your uncles, and your mother's only brother, is that you grow up to be a good man, that you are kind, charitable, help your fellow man out when possible, and that you maintain your integrity. Do not let other people compromise the values and teachings your father, mother, brother, and extended family instill in you. You were born with a great set of lungs, a healthy body, and I know that everything is overwhelming now.

You're used to being sheltered in the warm cocoon of mommy's belly, but you're out in the world now, where it is bright, and cold at times. You're getting used to the light, and to the noises, which are clearer now, but there is oh-so-much to take in and process. Just keep your eyes and ears open, except for when you need a well-deserved nap, because growing to be big & strong is hard work. Take it all in, it will start to make sense.

I love you.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A&P Muscle Practical Final

On Tuesday, I have my practical final for my Anatomy & Physiology class, and it's on the muscles. We have to know the muscle name, origin, insertion, and action of each muscle we were assigned. The origin of a muscle is pretty straight-forward, it is where the muscle originates, and the insertion is where the muscle terminates, or ends. When a muscle is flexed, like the biceps brachii for example, the insertion moves towards the origin. There are 42 in total we are responsible for, and it has been pretty ambiguous as far as how the practical will be set up. We had a bone practical for our midterm grade, which was pretty straight forward: different bones were set up around the perimeter of the lab's benches, with features tagged A/B/C/D, half the class had an A/C practical and half had B/D, where they were responsible for identifying A&C or B&D. The reason I'm not sure about the muscle practical final is that there are a lot of models in the A&P lab but we haven't had time or access to become familiar with them, which could potentially be a problem, especially for people who aren't so spatially-oriented that they can look at a picture in a lab text and relate it to a 3D model, pointing out origins, insertions and actions. Here are the muscles I'm responsible for (I realize this could be a lot worse!):

  1. frontalis (epicranius - frontal belly) O: galea aponeurosis / I: skin of the eyebrows / A: raises eyebrows
  2. orbicularis oris O: muscles around mouth / I: encircles mouth, inserts into corers of mouth / A: closes mouth, purses lips
  3. orbicularis oculi - O: frontal & maxillary bones / I: encircles orbit; inserts into tissue of eyelid / A: closes eyes for blinking, squinting
  4. masseter - O: maxilla and zygomatic arch / I: ramus and angle of mandible / A: closes jaw, elevates mandible
  5. temporalis - O: temporal bones / I: coronoid process of mandible / A: closes jaw; elevates/retracts mandible
  6. sternocleidomastoid - O: manubrium of sternum & medial clavicle / I: mastoid process of temporal bone / A: flexion of neck w/ both, head rotation to opposite side with one
  7. pectoralis major - O: clavicle, sternum / I: intertubercular sulcus of humerus / A: arm flexion
  8. deltoid - O: clavicle, acromion process and scapula / I: deltoid tuberosity of humerus / A: arm abduction
  9. pectoralis minor - O: anterior ribs 3-5 / I: coracoid process of scapula / A: draws scapula forward and inferiorly
  10. external intercostals - O: inferior border of rib above / I: superior border of rib below / A: elevates rib cage
  11. internal intercostals - O: superior border of rib below / I: inferior border of rib above / A: depresses rib cage
  12. diaphragm - O: inferior border or rib & sternum, costal cartilages and lumbar / I: central tendon / A: increases thorax for inspiration
  13. rectus abdominis - O: pubic crest and symphysis / I: xiphoid process & costal cartilages / A: flex & rotate vertebral column
  14. external oblique - O: anterior of lower 8 ribs / I: linea alba, pubic crest & iliac crest / A: flex & rotate vertebral column
  15. internal oblique - O: lumbar fascia, iliac crest & inguinal ligament / I: linea alba, pubic crest & costal cartilage of last 3 ribs / A: flex & rotate vertebral column
  16. transverse abdominis - O: inguinal ligament, iliac crest, cartilage of last 5 ribs / I: linea alba & pubic crest / A: compresses abdomen
  17. trapezius - O: occipital bone, C7 spine & thoracic vertebrae / I: clavicle, acromion & spinous process of scapula / A: head extension, raises, rotate, adducts scapula
  18. latissimus dorsi - O: spinous processes of T & L vertebrae / I: intertubercular sulcus of humerus / A: extends, adducts, medially rotates arm
  19. infraspinatus - O: infraspinous fossa of scapula / I: greater tubercle of humerus / A: lateral rotation of humerus, stabilizes shoulder
  20. teres minor - O: lateral scapula / I: greater tubercle of humerus / A: lateral rotation of humerus, stabilizes shoulder
  21. teres major - O: inferior scapula / I: intertubercular sulcus of humerus / A: extension, medially rotates, adducts humerus
  22. supraspinatus - O: supraspinous fossa of scapula / I: greater tubercle of humerus / A: stabilizes shoulder, adducts humerus
  23. subscapularis - O: subscapular fossa of scapula / I: lesser tubercle of humerus / A: medial rotation of humerus
  24. rhomboid major - O: spinous processes of C7 & T1-T5 / I: medial border of scapula / A: retracts and stabilizes scapula
  25. rhomboid minor - O: spinous processes of C7 & T1-T5 / I: medial border of scapula / A: retracts and stabilizes scapula
  26. triceps brachii - O: infraglenoid tubercle of scapula; posterior humerus; distal radial groove / I: olecranon process of ulna / A: forearm extension
  27. biceps brachii - O: coracoid process; intertubercular sulcus of humerus / I: radial tuberosity / A: elbow flexion, forearm supination
  28. brachioradialis - O: distal end of humerus / I: styloid process of radius / A: forearm flexion
  29. brachialis - O: distal anterior humerus / I: coronoid process of ulna / A: forearm flexion
  30. sartorius - O: anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) / I: medial proximal tibia / A: flexion, abduction and lateral rotation of thigh, flexes knee
  31. gracilis - O: inferior ramus & body of pubis / I: medial tibia inferior to medial condyle / A: adducts thigh, flexes & medially rotates leg
  32. rectus femoris - O: anterior inferior iliac spine / I: tibial tuberosity & patella / A: knee extension, thigh flexion @ hip
  33. vastus lateralis - O: greater trochanter & linea aspera / I: tibial tuberosity & patella / A: extends, stabilizes knee
  34. vastus medialis - O: linea aspera of femur / I: tibial tuberosity & patella / A: extends, stabilizes knee
  35. vastus intermedius - O: anterior & lateral femur / I: tibial tuberosity & patella / A: extends knee
  36. gluteus maximus - O: dorsal ilium, sacrum, coccyx / I: gluteal tuberosity of femur / A: thigh extension, laterally rotates & adducts thigh
  37. gluteus medium - O: upper ilium / I: greater trochanter of femur / A: abducts & medially rotates thigh
  38. biceps femoris - O: ischial tuberosity; linea aspera & distal femur / I: head of fibula & lateral condyle of tibia / A: thigh extension; laterally rotates leg; flexes knee
  39. semitendinosus - O: ischial tuberosity / I: tibial shaft / A: thigh extension; flexes knee; medially rotates leg
  40. semimembranosus - O: ischial tuberosity / I: medial condyle of tibia; lateral condyle of femur / A: thigh extension; flexes knee; medially rotates leg
  41. tibialis anterior - O: lateral condyle of tibia / I: 1st metatarsal bone / A: dorsiflexion, inverts foot
  42. gastrocnemius - O: medial & lateral condyles of femur / I: calcaneus / A: plantarflexion

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To All the Veterans

I just wanted to say thank you to all the veterans of the U.S. armed services for the sacrifices they've made in the service of our country. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice and left behind wives, husbands, parents, children, siblings... you are not forgotten. It is because of you that I am free to sit here and blog about whatever thought pops into mind. Thank you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

1 Down, 2 to Go

I just finished my anatomy & physiology exam this morning. There were under 50 questions, but also a "short essay" section where we were required to fill in the blanks concerning the events that lead up to contraction starting with the neuromuscular junction, i.e. impulse sent, ACh released via exocytosis into the synaptic cleft, binds to receptors on the motor end plate, Na+ floods in, depolarization, etc. through to acetylcholinesterase breaks down the ACh into acetic acid and choline. I found out that the way a lot of nerve gases, for example sarin, work is by the use of an ACh inhibitor, which causes ACh to flood the synaptic cleft, which leads to paralysis and death.

I feel like I did pretty well on it, but when I got up, I had dropped my scantron but had my stapled exam papers. The professor looked at me like, "Aren't you missing something?" Someone was nice enough to bring me the scantron even though she was still taking her exam, but my scantron probably fell in her lap. Whoops.

On another note, after I parked this morning, I saw something interesting in the parking lot: an empty box for a home pregnancy test, very classy. I'm not going to read much into it, people have sex in college and accidents happen. Maybe it wasn't an accident, who knows. Maybe it was a practical joke, but why waste money on someting like that? Anyway, I have to get back to studying, I have my cell bio exam this afternoon and I need to get back to it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sympathetic Nervous System

One of the things we recently began studying in A&P was the nervous system - the CNS, PNS, sympathetic, parasympathetic.. and we'll be tested on some of the very introductory material we covered in the last class that met this past week when we covered it. Tonight, I got a pretty good example of the sympathetic nervous system response. I was studying my chemistry in my dining room, working on reviewing stoichiometry and just doing examples, and I heard some rustling in my family room. I was startled, my heart started racing a little bit, you know, the whole fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous response to the unknown stimulus.

Maybe I should call it a rec room instead of a family room, since I live by myself? I'm going off on a tangent! I'll get back to the matter at hand. So I heard a rustling in the family room. I went in to check it out and I'm waiting to see motion, something. I had two freeloader mice a few months back, which wasn't a big deal considering they were trying to eat the plastic wrap around disposable plates in the pantry. I got rid of the mice before by catching them and releasing them outside, but then they got back in, so I got one of the traps that anesthetizes them and kills them. At least I tried to go by the philosophy of "live and let live," right?

I live in the suburbs, so field mice can get into the house. This isn't a subdivision, but it isn't completely rural. It's nice and woodsy, I'll leave it at that. Immediately, I assume I have another mouse that got in. Sure enough, this huge mofo of a mouse is hiding behind one of my bookcases by my fireplace. He pokes his head out and tries to grab something off the fireplace, and he's periodically scurrying up the side of the fireplace, like he's exploring but always running back behind the bookcase. There is no fire in the fireplace, if you're thinking I'm about to burn him to death.

I grab a flashlight, and shine it on him and he gets the whole deer-in-the-headlights look. He's not moving. I'm guessing he got in via the fireplace. I thought about smashing him in the face with the poker from the fireplace "tool kit," but I really couldn't bring myself to do it. I guess I'll never have a career as a serial killer since I can't even finish off a mouse. I opened the fireplace gates and told him to get out. He ran back on top of the fireplace, into it, and up the chimney, I suppose. It's nice when people and things do what you tell them to, isn't it?

[Edit: It was a squirrel, not a mouse. The fact that it was "scurrying" up the sides of the fireplace should have been a dead giveaway. Regardless, it got out. :) ]


I started this blog today, I have some of the social networking sites, i.e. Facebook, MySpace, and have written notes on FB and blogs on MySpace but haven't really kept up with either one. I'm 28, male, and a student again. I graduated with a BA in Government and worked a few years. I'm now doing an informal post-baccalaureate completing the prerequisite classes for medical school before taking the MCAT & applying to medical school. My lab science my first trip through undergrad was geology, aka "rocks for jocks," no offense intended for geologists out there - I know it is a serious field that makes interesting contributions to society, but it gets written off as "easier" than biology or chemistry.

I'm currently taking anatomy & physiology, which was not required but I was interested in taking it, cell biology, and general chemistry I. I've signed up for my next semester's classes of animal biology, gen chem II, and biology of microorganisms. I will most likely take summer classes too, but it's looking like this will take 2-3 years to get done, but I'm in no rush, and it's important I do well to be a competitive applicant. The classes are going well, and I have THREE exams on Monday, so an exam in each of my classes (the cell bio and a & p exams are multiple choice, scantron, the chemistry is not). I should probably be studying, so I'll cut this short.

Some other information about me: I am a brother to two sisters, uncle to one (soon to be two) nephew, marathoner--I ran the Marine Corps Marathon last year and this year--Eagle Scout, and I like long walks on the beach, Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi (whichever is cheaper), HBO, and learnin' stuff!