Wednesday, September 01, 2004

?????

Where have I been? I don't even have the answer to that question. But I might have it later. Oh, man. So. I've found that I don't understand anything at all again. I think I've figured it out. I think the truth is: You will never know what the truth is. Once you start to think you know a little about the truth, the truth gets kinda concerned. Then the truth decides to be evasive. And then you realize: "Wow, I keep getting kinda close to the truth, and then if fucking evades me." And its frustrating/exciting. Where the fuck have I been? I don't even know, dude.
I'm resting. And thinking. I guess?
See you soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

So I'm sitting in the "Business Room"...

of the Holiday Inn Express in Spokane, WA. Thats right. Blogging is officially business. I am SO fucking tired. Recap of my day:
7:15--Wake up (reluctantly) to my alarm, attempt to "jumpstart my brain" (a Kaplan MCAT Prep Course favorite phrase) by reading a little of the paper...Eat a coupla poptarts.
7:45--Walk the 7 or so blocks to PSU...drink a Red Bull (wonderdrink) on the way.
8:00-5:00pm (Thats right, 5 FUCKING POST MERIDIAN.) Take the MCAT.
5:10--arrive back at apartment, throw the rest of my shit into my car
5:45--surprisingly emotional goodbye with my roommate Isaac...who said, with his Nigerian accent, "Dude, I wish you weren't leaving."
6:00-11:00 Drive to Spokane...

Now I'm sitting here. The MCAT kinda pissed me off. I hope I don't have to take it again. I realized that I keep ending up sitting in my drivers seat, enduring a long-ass drive by myself while thinking, "Wait what just happened?" This time it was, "Wait, was I just in Portland? For the summer? Did I just take the MCAT?" and then I thought, "Did I miss something?" I heard some quote...I'm probably gonna butcher it. I think its Craig Gonsul again, and it goes something like, "People always expect a grand finale...and then its just over."

G-Funk tomorrow. NYC in 2 days. Whitman in 10 days. Three months till the next "Wait, what just happened?"

And then its just over.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Carpe Diem (or something like that)

Studying sucks. So I'm blogging again. I went to this bar with my roommate last night. It was the first time we've really hung out all summer. Its interesting how people get randomly thrown together into the same space at the same time. Isaac (my roomie) was born in Nigeria, went to his first three years of high school there, then finished high school in a boarding school in London, and then came to the states with his folks because his dad was a law professor. From there, somehow he ended up in the Pacific Northwest, first Seattle, then Portland. Now he's getting a graduate degree in computer engineering and is focusing on artificial intelligence, specifically voice recognition. He chose to live in this particular building, and was placed in #10somethingA. I, well, my story is not nearly as interesting, so I'll spare the details. At the beginning of this summer of firsts for me, I was placed in #10somethingB. So it goes.

Anyway, I was sitting at this small table near the pool table (right after my 2 game winning streak, a result of another of my periodic stints of out-of-my-mind pool playing ability, came to a sudden halt as I returned to my mind and promptly lost all said ability), and I got to thinking. I was watching Isaac play against the guy who beat me in the previous game, and I basically surveying the whole scene. Ok, so bear with me on this one:

Imagine that there was a way to see the future, but you only got to see like 7 seconds of random footage at a time, the viewpoint being your own (you don't see yourself, you see everything through your own eyes). I imagined myself 4 months watching this exact 7 seconds of footage from the bar last night, as I was sitting at that table, watching the pool game. I would be so confused. First of all, where the hell am I? I mean, I'd assume I was in a bar in Portland, as I knew at that point where I would be this summer, but who are all these people? Do I know any of them? Who is that somewhat hyper-active African man playing pool who keeps shooting different facial expressions at me after each one of his shots? Do I know him? How do I know him? Where is this bar? It wouldn't be scary, I just wouldn't know what to make of it. I wouldn't know how to prevent the occurance of this particular 7 second period (not that I would have necessarily wanted to in this case) because I had no idea how it even materialized, or when it was. Then I realized how tight it was. For me, nothing compares to the feeling I get when I try go back in time to try to figure out how I ended up having so much fun in a specific place, at a specific time, and all I can do is laugh at the utter randomness of it all. The only reaction my mind and body can conjure up is an involuntary smile. And maybe a little laugh.

In theory, I should have been studying last night. But Isaac asked me to go to a bar. I thought about it. This could be my last and only chance to hang out with him. To get to know him better. To gain more insight into his perspective. So I siezed the opportunity. Carpe Diem. Sieze the day. Like in Dead Poets Soceity And I had fun. And we had some really interesting conversation, mainly on the subject of women, and in particular his recent troubles in that area. We grew closer, and thats what life is all about. Its putting yourself in the position to experience something new, to communicate with someone new, or to even communicate with someone you know already, but at a new level, no matter how random it may seem. Its the only way to properly cultivate your own anti-spotless mind

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Ramblings

So I have 17 minutes till my bus comes and I can leave "work." A window to blog. And ramble.

Being pre-med is like being in the minor leagues. I mean, a good majority of pre-meds are pre-meds even when they enter middle school--rookie league. Thats where you go immediately after you get drafted. Rookie teams play in podunk towns like my own-Great Falls, MT, home of the Great Falls White Sox, formerly the Great Falls Dodgers. I know, not exactly the most creative nicknames...but it saves money on equipment--hand-me-downs for the big boys. Hey, and Pedro Martinez stared his pro career in none other than G-Funk. Wow, I'm rambling within a ramble. Ok. High school: Single-A ball...take the advanced sciences, prepare yourself for Double A ball in college, where you MAJOR in a science (most of the time) and take the so-called "pre-med" classes. Somewhere along the line in college those that don't drop out and choose to take the MCAT have made it to Triple-A. MJ didn't even make it past the double-A Birmingham Barons. The actual test is that game when the big-league scouts are watching. The scary thing is that, just like in baseball, a large portion of those even make it as far as taking the test will NEVER grace the halls of any medical school. They won't get in, or they will choose an alternate route, like grad school (which is exponentially easier to get into). Its interesting. I will sit in the crowded class room a week from saturday knowing that probably only about half (if that) of the people in there will ever have an M.D. after their name. And there's a chance I won't be in that half. I really don't want to get to triple A only to never taste The Show. Crash Davis made it. Here's his classic account:

"Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once -- the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains." Now, thats what I'm talking about. Bull Durham is a great flick, by the way.

There is nothing like having your back against the wall (figuratively) as a source of motivation. I mean, my back is against the wall of being a career minor leaguer. I want to make it to The Show! But I have heart, too. Its not just that my back is against the wall. And its not just that I am afraid of the consequences of failing. I want to succeed. I want to go to medical school, just like Rudy wanted to play for Notre Dame (Don't you love the sports movie analogies?), so I'm studying my ass off. I'm even kinda impressing myself.

USA hoops beat Germany today, on an Allen Iverson buzzer beater, and celebrated like they had just conquered the world. Only problem is Germany didn't even QUALIFY for the Olympics. I guess a win is a win, though. And a win is definately better than a 17 point loss to ITALY, FOR GOD SAKE. Whatever. I agree with the Sports Guy in that the team wasn't very inteligently picked (there's a link to his website on the sidebar...My Mac doesn't have a handy little link button for some reason, and I'm too lazy to manually do it). On the other hand, I kind of like how we've suddenly become the underdog. Watching the 1992 dream team, as well as subsequent USA teams walk all over the competition was kind of boring. Either way, I PREDICT A GOLD MEDAL. I have a feeling.

One of the most ironic things that I see everyday is hospital employees standing outside during their breaks, smoking. I wonder if they're thinking, "Damn, this place kinda gets old as an employee...(puff) Maybe I should see what its like to be a patient! (puff)."

I encourage you all to listen to more country music. I'm not gonna argue with you about it. If you choose not to listen to this invaluable piece of advice, your loss.

This is my 20th post. Yee-haw! Slooperdong! Electric boogaloo! Wowee Wow! Oh yeah! Uh huh! Yipee! Super-duper! Boo-yeah, Grandma! Butta! And my favorite, Yahtzee!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

A few words on the Medical College Admissions Test

I'd like to take this opportunity to say I'm sorry to all 4 or 5 of you for the reccent lack of posts. You see, I've been busy. Blogging, my friends, as you may or may not know, takes up a lot of time. And right now, time is precious. Time is money. Time is my future.

I am taking the MCAT (Medical College Admissons Test) two weeks from yesterday, on Saturday, August 14th. Incidentally, immediately afterwards I'm flying this coop, which I am very excited about, but more on that in another post (maybe). The MCAT is in the same family as the Iowa Basics, the SAT, and the ACT in that it is a standardized test. But believe me when I say that the MCAT is merely a distant, mutant, hairy, ripped, tatooed, and heavily pierced cousin of the SAT or ACT. I mean, to begin with, its a fucking 8 HOUR TEST. I didn't study at all for the SAT. I didn't take practice tests. I'm taking an MCAT prep class through Kaplan (6 hours a week in the classroom). I've spent the last 3 saturdays taking FULL-LENGTH practice exams, 8am to 4pm. I didn't take a class for the SAT. Most people, in fact, don't. And most people do fine. I did fine. I got into a good school. But this test, that I'm taking in two weeks, scares the living shit out of me. This test does not just determine the next 4 years of my life, it may determine the REST of my life. You see, if you do mediocre on the SAT, you'll still go to college. But if you do mediocre on the MCAT, chances are you won't be a doctor. Sure, you can take ONCE more if you need to improve. But you make it much easier on yourself if you step up to the plate and hit a homerun on the first pitch.

So I've been studying. A lot. I mean, I was studying before, but not like now. And I'm making progress. I scored a 23 on my original diagnostic test, a 26 on my first full-lenght practice test, a 29 on my second, and a 31 yesterday on my 3rd. I've got one more practice test for sure, and maybe another. I can still do better. The physical sciences section just keeps kicking my ass. But I'm gonna do better. But if so, I can't spend my time blogging. I guess this type of test is good in that it weeds out the people who don't really want to be doctors. Those people don't study enough, and no matter how smart they are they get railed. I'm serious. I've heard of people running out the test room, in the middle of the $90 test, crying. I want to be a doctor, so I'm working hard. Like I said, this isn't just another physics or biology test. And I'm going to do well.

By the way, the average score of people who got in last year was a 30. My GPA isn't gonna get me in, thats for sure, so this test is even more significant in my case.

I can't wait until this shit is over. My job has been old for a month. Not having anyone to hang out consistently on random weeknights, much less weekends, has gotten rottenly old. This apartment complex has gotten old. This studying couldn't be older. And I'm sick of completely sacrificing my friday nights and saturdays to a god that takes the form of a test booklet and scantron answer grid. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. All I need to do now is finish strong. I better get back to studying.



Monday, July 26, 2004

Soyouwanna be an Instant Reinassance Man/Woman?

So at this moment I'm listening to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It is amazing. Anyway, it is notable that I am listening to classical music because I am not "music person." I went to this private elementary and middle school that didn't have the budget for a band or orchestra, and I didn't fully appreciate the fact that my mom made me take piano lessons. I think that If I would have gone to a different school I would have played the saxophone or something...or the violin....I don't know. Point is, I don't really know a lot about music, and thus I don't have the same appreciation for it as someone who has been playing music since they were a little kid, or someone who plays music all the time. I play a little piano, and I'd like to think that I made a kind of breakthrough in my understanding of music recently, but I am no expert. And I don't think there are a lot of people like me (non-experts) that regularly listen to classical music. I think the same could probably be said about jazz. Its like how I can appreciate an amazing dribble move that an NBA point gaurd might make during a game more than someone who hasn't played point gaurd since they in 3rd grade. Music people have a greater appreciation for not only the difficulty, but also the genius of certain works of classical music and/or jazz. They can separate it into components and study it, similar to what I do in a science lab. I just like how it sounds.

But anyway, I'm am (was, actually, that paragraph took a long ass time to write, believe it or not) listening to Beethoven's Moonlight Sadness. Why? How? I recently struck world wide web gold when I stumbled across perhaps the greatest website of all time (at least, for people with a lot of time on their hands). Soyouwanna.com is composed of tons of mini-crashcourses on the things "they never taught you in school." Its basically full of the free, condensed versions of those big orange books that claim to be the Official Idiot's Guides to various subjects, from baseball to dating to investing. If the Idiot's guides are like life's Cliff Notes, this shit is like a Cliff Notes for the Cliff Notes. And the variety of subjects is quite impressive. There's everything from Soyouwanna cut a demo (for those of you who like to "rock."), or learn how to use feng shui, to Soyouwanna get a sex change. Yes, I'm serious. And thats just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. I encourage you to go exploring. Its like walking through the the row of games at a carnival, trying to decide which one to play first, except its free! Its actually kind of humorous. Its so American in that we are obsessed with instant gratification...like fast food...wait, I learned about this is Sociology class. Mcdonaldization.

So, yes, this website is a prime example of the dreaded sociological "phenomenon" known as the "Mcdonaldization of American culture," but I dont' care. I think its great. Its a catalyst. Take me as case study. I've always been interested in classical music. But everytime I've tried to listen I'd get bored. I just didn't know how to appreciate it. Maybe it was my lyrics obsession...remember the two kinds of people? But my recent interest in the music (not just the lyrics), which I can owe about 50% of the credit to that fateful IM conversation with SLS, and 50% of the credit to 311's "Amber," lead me to once again begin thinking about getting into classical music. But how was I going to know which songs to download? Which are the composers/pieces I should hear first as a classical music novice? These were the crucial questions at hand. If I was at home I could ask my dad, because not only has it seemed at times that he knows everything, but he also listens to classical music like its his job. Thats all he plays whiles he working in his office....and he's all about listening to "Morning Classics" on our local NPR affiliate. But I'm a big boy now. I live in my own apartment. By myself. In a big city. What am I going to do? Suddenly I remember that I had recently been looking for some simple chess strategy (the fucking computer kicks my ass EVERY TIME. Even on the lowest difficulty level. I never even put up a fight.) I had accidentally found this site that had asked me: Soyouwanna learn how to play chess? Hmmm...I wonder if there's a "Soyouwanna learn about classical music?"...YES! There it is. Exactly what I wanted! How many times in a websearch do you actually find EXACTLY what you're looking for? I don't know if I EVER have, unless I have the exact title fo the journal or article that I'm looking for. So I gave it a try. I read a little about the different classical musical eras and styles. I learned some essential terminology. I downloaded some of the pieces that the site recommended (one of them, of course, being Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata), from the best composers from each of the said eras, including Mozart, Handel, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and Gershwin, to name a few. And I love it all. Now, I'm not claiming to have anywhere near the apprecition of a "music person," but I have a much greater appreciation than I did yesterday. So much so that I think I'm going to read up more on classical music, and download more. But not before my next crashcouse: Soyouwanna learn about jazz?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

moment immortal

Note: (yes, another note.)  I wrote this right when I got back...BEFORE the "brace yourselves" post...but for some reason I didn't want to publish it then.  It isn't as all-encompassing of my emotion as "brace yourselves."  I'm publishing it now, so here you go.

Well, marriage has finally infiltrated my group of high school friends. My buddy Nate got married this weekend. His wedding (in which I was one of the crucial "ushers") took place in Bozeman, MT, on Saturday, July 17. Its Monday, July 19, and I'm in Portland...and I still don't really have any idea what exactly happened this weekend.

No, it is not because of intoxication...Although, intoxication and this weekend did have a rather intimate relationship.

So, as time goes along, and I continue to process the fact that Nate is a married man, perhaps I'll add a post now and then regarding my conclusions, or lack thereof. Right now, I'm going to write about something that I've been thinking about for a while but seemed to come to a rather pointy head as I observed and took part in the events of Nate's wedding.

I don't know how many times I've been told to appreciate each and every moment. I thought I understood the rationale well enough. Appreciate this moment, because before you know it you will be in the midst of another, altogether different moment, and all you'll have of the previous moment are your memories. And if you consciously appreciate the moment, your memories will be more vivid. Yeah, that makes sense...but there HAS to be something else to it.

Story time: The wedding took place outdoors, at around 6 in the evening, and the scorching sun was still very present. I bet was 85 degrees during the ceremony. The ceremony took place on a grassy lawn, near a creek, with the Bridger Mnts, very picturesqe. Perfect, one might say. I finished my duties as all important usher, I took a seat. Before I knew it, I was looking back at Katie (Nate's new wife), all 5'1'' of her, as she was walking down the aisle. Katie and I have always had an interesting relationship. I mean, we get along...but sometimes I'm just too fucking skeptical. Sometimes I think I have people figured out more than I really do. I really didn't know what to think about this wedding, from my perspective they (Nate, 22, and Katie, 20) looked way to young. But Nate has been on cloud nine for the whole ride--the dating, the serious dating, and the one and a half year engagement--so I never spoke up. I could see that somehow he knew what he was doing, even though Katie's obvious immaturity at times would annoy the living shit out of me, and cause me to fear for the future of the couple. Anyway, so I was looking back at Katie, walking toward her parents (both of whom were completely overwhelmed with tears), and she looked so perfect. She looked so real. She was holding back the tears...trying to smile, and I was in love with the moment. It was a perfect moment. I leaned back in my seat as she finally made it to the altar, and all the tension in my body...all the anticipation and concern for Nate, and concern for Katie, and the conviction that they shouldn't be doing this...it all disappeared. I saw the look on Katie's face...and then on Nate's face...and I was overwhelmed with the love they felt for each other. The ceremony lasted only 15 or 20 minutes...which was quite enough for me because it had been over for me before it had actually began.

I realize now what I had been so afraid of. I was afraid that Katie didn't know what she was doing. Like I said, I was confident in Nate's state of mind following his decison to so quickly enter the world of adulthood. But I hadn't seen it in Katie. I was afraid she wasn't going to make the realization that she was in a perfect moment. I was afraid she wasn't going to realize that she was in an immortal moment. History is unfolding at weddings. This was perhaps the biggest moment that both Nate and Katie will EVER experience. But time didn't stop so as to allow them to let it sink in. Time just kept going like it was any other normal day. Most people only stand at an altar and hear "you may now kiss the bride," once in their lives. ONCE. It happens and then it is over. Never again. And thats how it is for all of the greatest moments in life...perfect, but fleeting, and then gone. There are memories, yes, but that moment will never be again. But if you can recognize the perfection of the moment...while still IN the moment...you can keep it. I was afraid Katie wasn't going to recognize perfection. She proved me wrong. I saw it in her face, I heard it in her voice when she made a toast, and in how she couldn't stop smiling the whole night.

After the ceremony, and the food, and the wine, I proceeded to have what will be one of the greatest nights of my life. So much love. So much appreciation. So much perfection. The only time I got quasi-emotional (although its happened a few times since yesterday morning) at the wedding was immediately after I danced with Mrs. Nate. While I was dancing, I wanted to test her....I guess...gauge her state of mind. "This night has been so crazy," I said. "But fun!" she replied with the brightest Katie smile I have ever seen.

I went back to the corner fo the room and put my head in my hands for a few minutes...cried a few tears. I don't really know exactly why. I know I was really happy, though. I don't think there are English words that can describe the species of happiness, however. I'm just going to leave it at that.

One moment I was driving to Bozeman, and Nate was a bachelor....the next I was driving to Portland, and Katie's last name had changed....likely FOREVER.....and now I'm sitting here, sharing with you. So it goes.