Friday, November 26, 2010

Another Novel Except

I had joked, before the mission, about prophylactically taking out everyone’s appendix.  I want emphasize that I said it was a JOKE, because it would be completely ridiculous to submit otherwise healthy men to the risk of surgery that they didn’t need, solely for the benefit of potentially avoiding the rare and unlikely scenario of having to do emergency surgery in space.  The NASA doctors didn’t grasp the humor or irony though, saying that if prophylactic surgery was my recommendation then they would make it happen.  I mused at their overly cautious approach, and decided to see how far I could push them.  I suggested that we should probably take out the men’s gallbladders too, lest one of those start to act up in space.  They agreed wholeheartedly.   Finally, I proposed cutting off everyone’s testicles too, to avoid emergency surgery in the (extremely!) rare circumstance of testicular torsion.   They nodded along, and said that it sounded reasonable.   At that point, I began to stop enjoying my little game and fearing what kind of men I was really talking to.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

An Improptu T(of)urkey Trot

About 2 miles into my 8 mile run this morning, I ran (literally RAN) into a group of about 100 people who were about to start a Turkey Trot 5K. As I approached where they were inconvientently standing on my running path, the gun fired and they all took off. What the heck, I thought, I'm always up for an impromptu 5k with 100 of my new stranger-friends. Unfortunately, I still had 3 miles to run when everyone else finished.

I hope that everyone's Thanksgiving is full of pleasant surprises like mine was!! Enjoy your turkey, and take the opportunity to try some tofurkey if you have a vegetarian friend who is willing to share (it's so good- I wouldn't blame them if they don't want to share!!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Novel Excerpt

I'm hard at work on my novel, and realized that I haven't shared any excerpts yet with my faithful blog audience.  So here's one. Enjoy!

What struck me first was how quiet his room was.  There were doctors, surgeons and nurses in the room, but there was no urgency, no rushing around, no screaming out orders, nothing was STAT!, nothing at all was happening.  Jonah was too quiet also.  He looked peaceful, laying on the white sheets with his eyes closed.  The monitors ticked away at the calm rhythm of his heart, beep beep beep beep beep. My eyes moved from his serene face... down his body.... until I saw a dramatic change in his white sheets at the level of his thighs.  The sheets turned to a dark red, filled with his blood.  Blood dripped from the edges of the oversaturated sheets onto the tile floor, where a nurse calmly mopped it up as it fell.  There was something else wrong with the sheets too.  I looked more closely.  Just below the change from white to red, the sheets suddenly fell flat against the table.  It looked so peculiar that it took me a minute to put together what it all meant.

Jonah’s legs were gone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm Marrying Keith

I normally hate going to my hairdresser (here's why) but today was different.  I called for an appointment and got some guy named Michael that I'd never seen before.  But I'm not picky, so I was ok with it.

So I sit down and he starts snipping away and being very chatty.

"You know, I actually have some psychic powers," he stated
"Oh really?" I replied, as I flipped though my magazine, not really listening
"Yes.  And I'm getting a strong vibe from you.  I see myself doing your hair for a your wedding soon.  Are you getting married anytime soon?"
"Nope," I said, secretly thinking, "You're just trying to get me to make an appointment for an up-do with you. I see right through your sales tactics, mister!"
"Well, I think that you're going to be getting married sooner than you think."
"That would be very interesting." = "Are we really still talking about this?"
"The name Keith keeps coming to my mind.  You are going to marry someone named Keith."

So that's it,  My psychic hairdresser has spoken.  I'm marrying Keith. Nevermind that I don't even know anyone named Keith.  Here's my favorite picture of me and Keith at our wedding. Keith likes brunettes.

Bahamas Wedding

Monday, November 15, 2010

15 Miles is REALLY Long

I ran 15 miles.  I was sad to discover that 15 miles is only 57% of a marathon, though.  It felt much longer than that.  Some of my 'firsts' for the run included this being the first run where I outran my iPhone's battery,  where I could see my breath, and where I listened to music (not Podcasts) from 2+ hours.

This is what I found when I searched Google Images for "tired runner".  I think they reflect my experience pretty well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Meet The Astronauts

I'm writing a novel (in case you've been living under a rock).  And it's the fun-nest (most fun?) thing ever.  Can't you tell from that last sentence that I just wrote that I am obviously a literary genius?

My favorite part is making up my characters.  I decided to have a lot of characters.  I'm not clever enough to write 50,000 words about a boy and a girl who fall in love or something, so I chose to have 10 characters.  That way I really only have to write 5,000 words per character. And making up characters is the fun-nest (most fun? I really need to figure that one out)  part of the novel anyway.  So why not have a LOT of them?

But I hate books with too many characters, because I lose track of them.  So I've named all my characters something that helps you to remember them.  For example, Dale is a Dork, and Mitch is in the Military.  Charlie Bravo is a pilot (because they say things like Charlie Bravo), and Jim and Judy are married since their names start with the same letter.  I also love that I get to make up back-stories and crazy personalities for all of them. I like putting little parts of myself and people who I know into the characters too.  So here's a brief introduction to my astronauts.  You can meet their wives later.

Jim Adler: Astronaut/Doctor.  Pretty much the kind of doctor that every little med student wants to be when we grow up.  He's going to do emergency surgery in outer space using only a plastic kitchen knife and freeze-dried space food. And he also is trained in cannibalism, and can perform an alien autopsy without puking.

Charlie Bravo:  Astronaut/Pilot. Very rico suave.  He might've been inspired by the volleyball scene in Top Gun.  Unfortunately, the best looking astronaut always has to be the first one to die.  Sorry Charlie, those are the rules of space travel.

Mitch Becker:  Astronaut/Co-Pilot.  Alcoholic.  NASA tells him, "Either you'll be sober on Mars, or you'll build your own rocket to come back to Earth to get booze.  We are fine with either one."  Still haven't decided which option would be more fun to write though...

Edward Soloman:  Astronaut/Engineer. Basically every boy I ever met at IIT.  Super dork.  Except you, Danny, you're the greatest. Not dorky at all.

Dale Richards: Astronaut/Biologist.  More similar to his bacteria than to his crewmates.  Rushed onto the mission and so he didn't have time to undergo a full psychiatric review prior to take-off.  Hint hint- he's gonna go CRAZY.

Those are my astronauts.  I'm glad that you've all been introduced.  And, needless to say, all of my astronauts love to have upside down, outer space, zero-gravity dance parties. Here's a picture from our most recent dance party while we were doing the YMCA dance.  I think Mitch and Edward got the hang of it (Excellent "Y", boys), but Charlie looks like a sideways L, while Dale and Jim are just doing somersaults in the background.  Come on guys.  Get your act together.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New York, New York

I have an awesome camera, but somehow I always forget to take pictures.  Oops!

After my recent trip to Chicago, I caught a quick flight to New York City to see Billy Elliot on Broadway.  I have to admit- I felt like a very important person showing up to O'Hare in my fancy interviewing suit, flying to New York and taking a cab straight to a Broadway show.  That's the kind of thing that fancy rich people do on a Saturday!!

Danny and I went to New York as a surprise for his sister's birthday. She had never been to New York before, so her husband planned a surprise trip for her birthday, and we were the extra surprise!  The show was SUPER (I'm downloading the soundtrack right now so that I can re-live it).

In other news, my interviewing is going really well.  The numbers are: 23 programs applied to, 21 interview offers received, 17 interviews scheduled (but I'm trying to cut it down to 14-15), 2 interviews done.   The interviews that I've done so far were both really low stress, and I ended up loving both programs more than I thought I would.  That could be an issue if that trend continues.   Since I'm applying in mostly Chicago and New England, I'm going to be flying back and forth a lot.   We looked at our calendar last night and realized that either Danny or I will be in Chicago for the next 6 weekends.  WOWZA.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sweet Home Chicago!!

 Come on.  You know you love it.   Look at it again. You love it.

I spent this week in Chicago with some of my favorite people.  One of the more obnoxious parts of medical school is called "Step 2 CS" which stands for Clinical Skills.  Or Cash Sapper.  You have to take and pass the exam to be a doctor- but the exam is only offered in 5 cities in the US (and neither New York or Boston has it!!)  and it costs about $1100.  Yikes.  So my roommates and I decided to make some lemonade out of our $1100 lemons, and turned the exam into an excuse to go on vacation together in Chicago.

The test was fine.  It's 8 hours of seeing standardized patients and proving that we (1) speak English (2) have better interpersonal skills that Dr. House and (3) know how to order lots of imaging and labs tests to ensure that healthcare costs continue to rise at an astronomical rate for another generation.

After the test, we had Chicago-bonanza.  I took my roommates to my undergrad old stomping grounds, and even paid an improptu visit to my sorority (yup... nobody knew me.)   Then we went to the Shedd Aquarium for free (thank you Chicago Public Library card!) and then the Art Institute also for free (thank you free Thursdays).

Apologies for the poor quality of this one!  The aquarium people took our picture, printed a copy for us and then wanted us to buy for $30.  Instead, I took out my iPhone and took a picture of the print they had made and handed it back to them.  Score: Aquarium: 0  Laura's wallet:1

As if by fate, my roommate Ala also got 3 Chicago interview offers, one of which she was offered WHILE we were in the aquarium.  My new magical life plan is to convince all of my favorite people in the world to move with me to Chicago.  The odds are looking good for me to- I've 7 interviews in Chicago currently.  Wahoo!
I also ran into one of my other good friends from IIT on the train, and went out to dinner with him and 5 or 6 of our common friends.  I forgot to take pictures of that, but it was awesome.  I always feel like I'm a rockstar when I run into people I know on public transportation. My travel companions probably thought I knew everyone in Chicago since I was just like, "O look, there's my friend!! Let's go say hi!"

In summary, Chicago rocks.  And you can rock too if you move to Chicago.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How's That Novel Going?

My novel is going AWESOME.  I'm sure I'll run out of steam sometime soon, but right now I've got a little over 9,000 words (about 18 pages in Word) written.  I love my characters, and it'll be a little sad to kill them off one by one once they land on Mars.  It takes a lot of dedication to be a novelist with a dark side- you've got to kill them even if you love them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Running "Music"

I can listen to music on my 3 mile, 4 mile and even 5 mile runs.  But I've found that after about 45 minutes of listening to music, I get exceptionally bored.  That's usually about the time that Pandora kicks me off because I've hit "Next Song" too many times.  They pleasantly suggest that if I dislike the songs that they are choosing so much, then maybe I should make a new channel.  But the bottom line is that after 45 minutes, I'm antsy and bored.  EVERY song seems too slow, too fast, too sappy, too serious or too musical.

But fear not!  I have found a solution!!  PODCASTS.  They are AMAZING.  Here are my favorites:

Radio Lab:
These are hour-long PodCasts that address some scientific-ish topic by telling a bunch of stories, discussing research and generally hypothesizing about it.  The topics are often big and vague- but that allows them to draw out interesting themes from a wide range of related stories.  My favorite one was called "Limits",  I also liked "Falling" and "Words".  The next one is "Symmetry".

Stuff You Missed In History Class
Today I learned about Winston Churchill's pet platypus.  And about the contrasting military strategies of the Persians and Athenians at the Battle of Marathon, and the role of the runner who carried the news 26.2 miles back to Athens and subsequently dropped dead (a very fitting marathon-training topic!).  These PodCasts are shorter than RadioLab (15-20 minutes) which is good for my short attention span. I'm planning on getting at least a few episodes from each of the PodCasts on the "How Stuff Works" website.  They've got one called "Stuff You Should Know".  I just can't argue with that!!  There's probably lots of stuff that I should know (but currently don't).

Here's the real reason that I love PodCasts: they are the only thing that I've found that makes me go- "O wow!  I've already run 9 miles?!  I was just so enthralled with Queen Elizabeth's childhood stories that I forgot I was running...."