Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sure Shot

We're at my wife's family's place in the north Georgia mountains for the holiday weekend. It's a fantastic, peaceful place. Generally, me and The Duke (our affectionate nickname for my father-in-law) are the early risers of the bunch. Often, we'll meet on the deck with coffee to watch the end of the sunrise and survey the valley as it greets the day.

This morning, I went with him for a ride to the back 40 to check out a tree that had fallen on a fence. Of course, Dylan went with us. It would be a great way for Dylan to get some exercise, chase some squirrels through the forest, and, perhaps, to secretly feast on a buffet of fresh cow shit.

After a long ride on "The Toad," we headed back to the house. Dylan, of course, led the charge on the trails, running full-speed ahead of us. On one particular stretch, he disappeared from view. As we rounded the corner, however, what we saw twenty yards ahead caused us to screech to a halt. For the next few moments, everything happened in slow motion. "Nooooooooooo!," I yelled. (For added effect, imagine this in the deep, slow-mo voice for added effect.) "Dyyyylllllaaaaannnnnnnn, commmmmme heeeeerrrrrrreeeee. Nowwwwwww."

The poop shoot.

As a pet owner, it's never a great thing to see your dog running full-speed, heading nose first into the ass end of a pissed-off skunk. We watch the dog stop, turn around and look at us. Meanwhile, the skunk quickly made its way into the woods; its hindquarters pointed squarely at the dog, its tail constantly jerking up into the air, spraying, spraying, spraying. Dylan trotted back to us with a confused look on the face. Then, he sneezed once or twice and immediately began rolling around in the leaves, rubbing his face in the dirt.

"Super. Time for a tomato juice bath, buddy," I said.

Luckily, he didn't get hit that bad. I think he was barely out of range. We waited a moment or two before hopping back in The Toad and continuing home. Bad idea. Evidently, when a skunk completely empties its scent gland, the fumes tend to hang in the air, concentrating into a noxious foul cloud that permeates anything that has the misfortune to pass through it. Although we drove through pretty quickly, it was tough to breathe thanks to the fetid air that hovered over the trail. Had we stopped, I probably would've easily donated my previously consumed coffee back to mother earth, circle-of-life style.

As you can tell from these molecular diagrams, the scent obviously stinks.

Minutes later, after we'd made it back to house, The Duke discovered that perhaps driving through the foul cloud was a poor choice.

"It's in my shirt," he said, pulling the cloth to his nose. "It got us; we should've driven the long way around."

Needless to say, we all got baths - normal ones, not in tomato juice - out of the deal. Personally, I think Dylan's pride was hurt the most. He's still a little shaken. Enjoy the post-bath photos.

"Seriously, what the hell happened?"

"Man, what was the deal with that cat?"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stay Positive

Although I always suspected that the "alternate" route would not work out for getting into Mercer, I always held out a little hope. I think of it as my own Lloyd Christmas moment:

Anyway, turns out that my chances were really like "one in a million." I got the official email today that confirmed what I'd already known since the spring. Here's the message:

August 20, 2008

Good afternoon:

Classes have begun for Mercer University School of Medicine’s Class of 2012. I regret to inform you that we were unable to offer you a place in that class.

We have begun our admissions cycle for the Class of 2013, and because you were one of our alternate students for the Class of 2012, if you have not already done so, we would strongly encourage you to submit an application for the current cycle as soon as possible.

When completing your new application, please let us know what you have done over the past year to enhance your application. It is especially important to tell the Committee about additional activities that demonstrate your commitment to Mercer’s mission.

Remember that your application will be seen as a new application. Pay particular attention to your personal statement, and include additional information supporting your activities during this past year and your commitment to serve Georgia residents, especially those who live in underserved areas of the State.

We are pleased you have expressed an interest in Mercer University School of Medicine and look forward to reviewing your application during the current cycle.


Maurice S. Clifton, M.D., M.S., E.d.
Associate Dean of Admissions & Student Affairs

When one door closes, another opens, doesn't it?

Osteopathic Medical Schools
Shortly after returning from New Heaven, I completed applications for osteopathic medical schools. Deep down, I think that this approach to medicine might be a better fit for me. The online application service is processing my application and will send it out to my selected schools in the near future. Keep your fingers crossed that I'll hear better news from these guys.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Close One

Yesterday, Col. Blake and I went to see the Braves get demolished by the Cubs in the first game of the split double-header. As we were there on sweet free tix, we felt no guilt leaving before the game was over.

I dropped him off at his house and started the short drive back home. I made a right turn onto a street and started up the hill, several blocks away from my house. Because it was a nice day out, I had the windows down and drove slowly to look at a nice granite wall in a yard that I like. Noticing something in my peripheral vision, I looked up and saw a car a few blocks away hauling ass down the middle of the street.

"Wow. That guy's driving really fast," I thought, making sure to get well into my lane. On seeing the two police cars in pursuit, I thought "Huh. Those cops are driving pretty fast, too."

Then, it dawned on me that I was about to be on the wrong end of a high-speed chase through a residential neighborhood. Seriously, the fleeing car had to been going at least 60 and was headed directly at me. I slammed on the brakes and pulled over.

The fleeing car tried to make a left on a street two houses in front of me. In the middle of the turn, the car started sliding. (Had the driver never seen a movie with a high speed chase?) I threw my car into reverse and started backing up trying to avoid being hit by an out-of-control, thoroughly ghetto Caprice Classic. From 20 yards away, I watched the car jump a curb and slide into the middle of someone's front yard.

Before the car skidded to a stop, it was like someone blew the doors off of a clown car. Automatically, all the doors sprang open and four guys bailed out and started running. The cop cars successfully turned left and pursued a couple of the guys who ran. Another two, well, they ran toward me.

In the split second when I realized that they might be armed and that I really didn't want to get carjacked, I stomped on the gas and backed the hell away. Honestly, it was some precision stuntman driving shit I'm talking about. When I got far enough away to feel safe, I stopped and watched the guys. They had stopped also, seemingly unsure about what to do. Apparently, standing around and waiting for the cops was all they could come up with. Frankly, I was okay with that.

A few seconds later, another police car skids to a stop behind me. As the policeman ran past me with his weapon drawn and pointed at the guys up the street, I thought it might be a good time for me to pick another route home and get the hell out of there. Before I became more involved in the episode of "Cops" that was playing out in front of me, I slowly started home an a more scenic route.

Thanks to the surge of adrenaline, I arrived home and immediately performed several acts of strength and skill. I felled a large oak with a couple of right hooks, ripped a few phone books in half, picked up my car, and killed a squirrel with a well-thrown rock from 200 yards away prior to devouring it.

Monday, August 11, 2008


If you're lucky, you have a few places on the planet that are spiritually nurturing. For me, one of those places is Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia. Each time that I visit, the stresses of the world seem to effortlessly slough off. I am able to live in the moment without the worry or distractions of the world. It is as perfect a place as I've known.

Over the weekend, we went to a counselor alumni event there and were able to catch up with a bunch of old friends that we've not seen in a while. Man, is it good to catch up with good people. It's great to see folks raising their families, making positive changes in their lives, and getting back to their roots.

There is nothing quite like sharing cold beers around a campfire under the pines with people that really understand you.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

What Did You Do Yesterday?

My pal Davey (a.k.a. Col. Blake) and I knocked over three banks, robbed a train, started a fight in a saloon, got into a shootout with the local sheriff, and fled a lynch mob. What did you do?

Looting and pillaging brought to you
by Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.

Seriously, Col. Blake and I staged Operation: Day Off, a covert operation in which we made it our mission to hit a local theme park and ride all available roller coasters. We'd intentionally planned our operation to coincide with the start of school to maximize ride time.

The new roller coasters at the Atlanta Six Flags are pretty stinking cool. Goliath is ridiculous. The classic Mindbender is still one of my favorites. The wooden coasters have been removed from my list, however. The Great American Scream Machine should be immediately renamed "Rickety Death Trap" or "Get To Know Your Medical Copay." I'm sure that I was a few inches shorter when I got off of it. It has been moved onto my "Do Not Ride" list along with the Georgia Cyclone and the Ninja.

By 4pm, we'd been on all of the major coasters. Operation: Day Off was an unabashed success. We'd quickly demonstrated our tactical prowess via unsuppressed "shock and awesome." Mission Accomplished!

I'm The Scholar and I approved this message.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Last night, I dreamed that Dr. James Three Thousand and I were in some swanky hotel restaurant, having an urgent conversation because we were being followed. In the middle of the conversation, I noticed that a long-haired and bearded Johnny Damon was seated a few tables away from us. On seeing him, we knew that the time machine had worked! Then, the spies who'd been tracking us burst into the room, prompting us to fight and flee.

Proof of successful time travel.