Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

Just watched "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" for the second time in the last few days. It's really an amazing documentary.

The film's trailer.

Like many, I'd been peripherally aware of Daniel Johnston's music via others' performances of it. During the mid-80s, I was just cutting my teeth on music that was off the beaten path. As a result, he was off my radar until many years later; his story was one about which I new a few details but nothing comprehensive. I'm awed by the peaks and valleys of his musical career and, even more importantly, of his life.

I must admit that, while viewing the special features on the DVD, the filmed reunion between Laurie and Daniel made me cry. I'm not so sure that it should've happened (the reunion, not my tears) or, at the very least, that it should've been filmed. It broke my heart.

I can't get his songs out of my head. "Speeding Motorcycle" has been stuck there for days.

Anyway, give this one a shot.

I'm Thankful For...

UGA's utter refusal to play defense in the second half. Nice job, guys.

Old Friends

Many moons ago, I worked as a camp counselor at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. During my three summers as a counselor, I met many kids from across Georgia, worked until I was exhausted, and made the friends that I still cherish today. Without hesitation, I'd do it all again for free.

During my second summer as a counselor, 1993, I met a little girl who was there for a week of camp. At the time, she was homesick, crying, and ready to throw in the towel and go home. I spent a few minutes with her to cheer her up and calm her down. I'm pretty sure that we pinky-swore to be friends and for her to stick it out a few more days. After her week at camp ended, she wrote me as did many of the campers that we got to know. The next summer, she returned to camp for what was a better time than the previous year.

Since 1993, we've traded letters with one another. Through our correspondence, I've witnessed her grow from a homesick little girl, to a high-school student facing adversity, to a college student choosing a path in life, and into a wonderful, confident woman.

"A Skunk Went Around My Leg."

Last week, I went to the wedding of my penpal, my friend through fifteen years of letters. I felt quite happy, if old.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If You Look at Only One More Web Site Today...

Make it this one. Bookmark it. You must learn all that you can about your enemy.*

*Thanks to Dr.J3K for passing along the site and the encouragement to study it.

Facebook Faux Pas

A few months back, at the behest of a good friend, I joined Facebook. At times, I think it's pretty cool. At many others, I find it to be pretty creepy or annoying. For the record, I'm one of those people who never updates a status and never ever sends or accepts flair or pokes or drinks or anything. At most, I'll log in and check it about twice a week for about ten minutes. It is, in my opinion, just one more thing to manage. Personally, I already have enough things that deserve my attention.

In spite of all of the annoyances, there are some redeeming qualities about it. There are some folks from high school with whom I'd lost touch that I've traded a few emails. Unfortunately, after not hearing from or, in many cases, thinking about someone for fifteen years, I now have the ability to know what they are doing at any given moment courtesy of the Facebook's wretched Status updates. Is it critical, for example, to know that someone has paused "The View" to run to the restroom? Methinks not.

Anyway, it can be a better way to email someone than email, you know? There's no bother of remembering an email address. If you're connected to someone, you can send them a message. I've probably done this about ten times.

Several days ago, I emailed a buddy that I've know for many years. I told him how I missed seeing him at the bachelor party/tailgate for K's bachelor party weekend, that he picked the right game to miss because Alabama kicked our ass, that I hoped to catch up with him and his family soon, and that we should go snowboarding again this winter. It felt nice to email him. After I, I did miss seeing him there. Yesterday, I popped into my Facebook account and got his reply:
Dude, I was there! We had our picture made together. Guess I was just that forgettable.LOL. Still trying to figure out if I can go on the ski trip. I really want to. Keep me posted on the updates.
I'll have no recollection of this moment in 3 ... 2... 1...

So, not only did we have our photo made but, I recall that we talked at length about snowboarding again this winter. On top of that, I walked to the stadium with him and his buddy from back home.

My only explanation is that, yes, the tailgate was that good. Yes, I am just that idiotic. Yes, I had a blast.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

School Update

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted the next batch of supplemental applications and recommendation letters for osteopathic schools. Now, I'm waiting to hear back from everyone. At this point, I have, hopefully, what will be the first of several interview offers. Currently, I'm trying to get it on the books for next week but it might get pushed until after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Chasing My Shadow

I thought I'd share more from last week's shadowing experience, including a bit that I frantically wrote prior to the start of my first day. That morning, I arrived at the doctor's office, talked with him a bit, then went to the hospital to meet the resident that I'd follow for the day. While waiting, I decided to jot down some things in my journal. Here's what I wrote:
I'm sitting here in the doctor's cafeteria. Man, do I feel like a fish out of water. I have this white coat crumpled in my lap and am sitting here alone at the table: the new kid on the school playground. The problem is that I don't even go to this school. My fear: putting on the white coat, walking across the parking lot, being caught in the middle of some big accident or something, and having someone yell "Doctor! Doctor!" while I just freak out. Yep. This is my terrible fear. At the very least, I should get my community CPR and First Aid renewed pretty quickly. This might help me feel a little more comfortable in my own skin.

As it is now, I'm sitting here waiting, waiting for my contact to show up. The room is full of docs scarfing down breakfast and just being normal. SportsCenter is on in the technology noon, pleasantly low volume, recounting the Phillies win last night. So, I'm here. Consciously trying to blend into the background but feeling like I might as well be standing on the table screaming. Just a perception really; things are probably fine. I'm likely unnoticed by most. What will the day hold for me? Will I see crazy things or just a normal day?

The awesome thing is that I nearly crapped myself this morning. Nerves? Probably. I was on a military strike mission to find and destroy a nearby toilet. Using the facility inside the office wasn't an option. No easier way to thoroughly alienate people than to violently defecate in a small office toilet. Seriously, it would've been something from Dumb and Dumber: me with a branch clinched in my teeth levitating over the seat. Anywho, after the initial "shock and ewww," I met with Dr. B who told me about today's assignment.
Pulitzer worthy stream-of-consciousness stuff, isn't it?

Anyway, as I mentioned previously, I saw a fantastic amount of stuff on the first day. The next day, however, seemed to be much more subdued. I worked with a doctor in a clinic seeing patients for most of the day. Here are few notes from my journal regarding day two:
Spent the night at mom and dad's place. This morning, I slept in a little and made my way to the doctor's office. Surprisingly, I've had no violent ass-plosions this morning. I think yesterday made me feel a good deal better about everything. So, at the moment, I 'm waiting for the doctor with whom I'll be paired to show up and take me to the clinic.

[Six hours later...]

Today has been pretty cool. I've been with a doc who's pretty close to my age. He'd been giving me some very helpful insight into D.O. schools. Seems like a lot of the patients we've seen today have diabetic conditions that require medications. We've given the 1200-calorie ADA (American Diabetic Assn.) diet to about half of the folks we've seen.
So, that's about it. It was pretty cool and has gotten me really jazzed about school again. All of my secondary apps have been submitted and I'm awaiting recommendation letters to be sent. Then, the ball is rolling once more. Keep your fingers crossed that I won't have to retake that damned MCAT.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Holy shit. I'm so proud of our country.

All the Way!

This morning, we got up around 5:45, threw on some clothes, and walked a few blocks to our polling place. Instead of early voting, we decided to go on election day to get the full experience. We walked up to the polling location at about 6:00 and took our place in line. The place was buzzing with excitement and hope. The gaggle of elderly African American women in front of us were a riot. They were as giddy as schoolgirls, full of smiles, and teasing one another. One lady offered her friend a baggie stuffed with Cheerios, demanded that she take some, and said "Don't ask me for them later. You won't get none." They all laughed.

On the walk home, we passed a gentleman that I see often in the village during my walks with the dog. Typically, he looks a little unkempt. Mostly, he keeps to himself as he rummages through the trash cans on the sidewalk. This morning, he looked up from digging through the trash. We said our "good mornings" to each other, introduced ourselves, and shook hands. I'm not sure if he has some learning disability or some other disability but his speech is affected and difficult to understand.

"Good morning," he said.

"Good morning."

"You guys smoke? You have a cigarette?"

"Sorry. We don't smoke," I replied, convinced that this was going to be a run-of-the-mill bait-and-switch for money.

"I'm going to the store to buy some cigarettes," he confided.

"Well, you're almost there. It's not too much farther."

"I pick up cans for money," he told us. Then, he asked "You guys vote?"

"Sure did. Just got finished. We've been in line since six o'clock this morning."

"Who'd you vote for?"

We told him and his face lit up.

"He's going all the way! All the waaaaayyyyy! All the waaaaayyyyyy!," he cheered. "He's going to change everything, make things better!," he added with a smile absolutely beaming across his face.

"I certainly hope so. That'd be nice, wouldn't it?," I added. "How about you? Did you vote?"

"I voted early for Obama."

"You vote over in Decatur? You have to stand in line for a long time?"

"Yeah. Had to wait about three hours."

The three of us meandered down the sidewalk toward the store and toward our street. When we turned off, he told us goodbye and kept going. I had to fight back my emotions to stave off welling up on the last block of the walk.

What a statement it is that a guy with some type of disability and likely living with some assistance, who's visibly impoverished and on the societal fringe, not only takes the time to vote but is genuinely concerned about the election and moved to hopefulness and cheer by a candidate.

Although I'm sure that my recollection of it doesn't really capture the power of this simple conversation, I know that it is why I voted. Simply put, it is the promise of America where everyone has a voice. It is the embodiment of hope and of potential. It is the power of a unifying, uplifting message based on hope instead of fear and divisiveness. We're on the edge of something wonderful.

Please, please, please don't let the Dems lose this one.