Weekend Report

The weekend started off well – I won a raffle drawing at work!  Not to look a raffle win horse in the mouth, but it was a drawing put on by the new cafeteria company and the prizes were kind of hilarious.

Biodork is the proud owner of an 18-pack box of single-serving low-calorie Pringles – yeah!!!!!  Best win ever…the lottery can take a hike – I want the Pringles.  I wouldn’t joke about sour cream n’ onion.  And back off on the sweater-on-sweater action, yo.  I work at Our Lady of Perpetual Chilliness.)

On Saturday my friend Courtney took Aaron and I to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America.  She had received four free unlimited ride passes, so we were off!  A day of amusement park rides and maybe some arcade games, and if we get in a really big double-dog-dare-you mood, we can go on the log water ride and walk around for a few hours with wet underwear and socks!

Anyone see a problem with this?  The Mall of America…on a Saturday…in the  middle of winter when all of the state of Minnesota is looking for indoor fun to appease the stir-crazy munchkins?  *shudders* It just highlights the fact that I’m a sucker for a deal.  Nickelodeon Universe unlimited passes are usually $30/person so Courtney was offering us $60 worth of free tickets. *I shake my head sadly* I sold my sanity for $60.

No, no, no…it wasn’t that bad!  I mean sure, the crowds were surly and the air was filled with the sound of crying babies and way-too-cool-for-you teenage valley girl screaming, but forget all that…I’m surrounded by rollercoasters and thrill rides!  This is the best picture of the entire day: Hubby with the Rock Bottom Plunge roller coaster in the background:

And I REALLY wanted to go on the Flying Dutchman’s Ghostly Gangplank adventure course, but it was over an hour in line, so we decided to come back on another day.  That’s the sweet thing about being so close to the Mall of America – I can visit on a Tuesday evening and practically have the entire place to myself.  Love it!

After Nickelodeon Universe, the three of us went to the best Mexican food restaurant in town: Little Tiajuana’s.  See, it says so right here (picture from citypages):

Later that night, Aaron and I went to a comedy club in Bloomington called the Juke Joint.  Between the owner, the emcee, the two featured comedians and then the main comedian – John Bush – we had a total of five comics, and they were all funny.  We didn’t have much for hecklers, but there was a fairly inebriated bachelorette party throwing out the occasional annoying comment.  As one comedian said “I know you think you’re making the show better, but no…that’s ME…in spite of you!”  Here’s some Jon Bush – who doesn’t love potty humor? :)

Whistleblower Justice – Win!

I blogged earlier about the prosecution of Nurse Anne Mitchell in the Winkler Whistleblower case.  To review, Nurse Mitchell was fired from her job and brought up on charges of “improper use of information” when it was discovered that she reported a doctor, Dr. Rolando Arafiles, for engaging in questionable medical practices and hawking his own company’s alternative medicines at Winkler County Memorial Hospital.  It was a breathtaking display of retaliation.

Hubby just forwarded me a link to an article from the NYTimes (from February 11th – bad biodork, not following up on my own stories) – Nurse Mitchell was acquitted after only four days of testimony and 1 HOUR of deliberation by the jury.  She was found innocent of harassment.  As the NYTimes article stated “The jury foreman said the panel of six men and six women voted unanimously on the first ballot, and questioned why Mrs. Mitchell had ever been arrested.”

Now Nurse Mitchell and Nurse Galle (who was originally brought up on charges along with Nurse Mitchell, which were later dropped at the prosecution’s discretion) can turn around and get to work on their civil lawsuit* gainst the county, hospital, sheriff, doctor and prosecutor, which accuses all of those parties of vindictive prosecution and denial of  First Amendment rights.

Good luck, ladies.

*The link to the civil lawsuit was found at abcnews.go.com

Entropy and Evolution Art Exhibit

In the Star Tribune West Today section, there is a teensy little paragraph in the header that says “In Your Area:  Biology and science, as big art.”

Oooo…sounds intriguing.  The brief write up goes on to list the where (Hopkins Center for the Arts – 1111 Mainstreet), the what (“Entropy and Evolution, Works on Paper”), the who (Minneapolis artist Martha Iserman) and the when (Feb 25th-April 3).  And that’s it.  Sad!  Off to the interwebs!

A stop at the Hopkins Center for the Arts website gives a brief write-up of the new exhibit, but doesn’t list much more than the Stribe.

I have a little more luck at Rift Magazine, a local music and art news website and print publication.  They’re kind enough to give a lengthier event description and have this to say:

Martha is an artist interested in preserving and promoting an innate sense of awe with nature. She uses ink and watercolor to render naturalistic creatures that she has imagined based on her own science studies. Her work is focused on the natural world due to a fascination with the biological sciences and her lifelong fear of sharks and water. Entropy and Evolution is a study between time and biology, relating to natural processes such as growth, predation, symbiosis, migration, decay and adaptation.

And then jackpot with Martha Iserman‘s personal website!  She has very interesting pictures of cephelopods, cnidarians, giant jellies, and my favorite – “nightmares” – ocean creatures that are part nature, part imagination.  She mixes pale whites and grays with dark greens, blues, red, browns and grays and the overall effect is one of somber appreciation.  I’m ain’t one of them there art critics, but I think I’ll really enjoy her exhibit.

Looks like a trip to the art center for me!

WTF Barb Davis White?

Oooo!  Oh! Gah! WTF!? 

Barb Davis White – hadn’t heard of her before.  Then I found this clip at the inimitable You’re Not Rosa Parks blog.

http://www.4shared.com/file/228256298/f707573e/2-23-2010_12-42-25_PM.htm

I don’t like her “unscientific idea-lology”.  Is she talking about MY Loring Park?  The Loring Park in Minneapolis that currently holds the largest free Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender celebration in the entire country? 

Admittedly, a couple of decades or so back, Loring Park was not a pretty place, but then again, the country-wide push for GLBT rights was new – a lot of people were still closeted, shame over being gay wasn’t unusual, and we were struggling to understand the “gay cancer” (i.e., AIDS).  I don’t wonder that the impression Barbara Davis White gathered during her time there was one of bleakness, disease and dispair.  But we CAN’T use decades-old, subjective, observational data to support current GLBT legislation! 

I would challenge Ms. White to come visit Loring Park this June when Loring Park is in all of its vibrant, proud and thriving glory.  She needs to update her experiences, to meet those living with “human papillo-mo-virus…HPV”…and did she just say “gay bowel syndrome????”  Here’s how wikipedia defines gay bowel syndrome:

Gay bowel syndrome is an outdated term first used by Kazal and colleagues in 1976 to describe the various sexually transmitted perianal and rectal diseases and sexual traumas seen in Kazal’s proctology practice, which had many gay patients. The term is obsolete and derogatory.

Obsolete and derogatory.  Just like the rest of Barb’s evidence and postulates.  She quotes “scientific studies” that I doubt exist, or that are again, most likely decades old.  She’s using “children need a mother and a father” arguments that have been shot down time and time again (most recently in Perry v. Schwarzenegger in California).  She says that she’s deeply saddened that people would accuse her of discrimination for believing that a mother and a father should raise children.  She says that the banning of same sex marriage is nothing at all like the banning of interracial marriage (like the one she’s from):

“There’s no difference between a black person and a white person other than their skin color, but there’s a tremendous difference between a man and a woman.”

This woman is an embarassment. 

Okay, so then I went to the google to find out where she was presenting this debacle, and I find out that gay marriage is currently being debated in the Minnesota House…that’s good-hooray!  But guess what else I learned…taking a breath…Barb Davis White is running for a MN Congressional seat…in FIFTH precinct…and that’s MY VOTING PRECINCT!  Yes! Yes! Yes!  I can soooo not vote for her!  I love it!

By the way, the reason Barb Davis White made it onto the You’re Not Rosa Parks blog is because she quotes this charming line*: “Rosa Parks didn’t move to the front of the bus to support sodomy.”

O.      M.      G.        aka         Wow.  Just…Wow.

*she attributes this quote to “the late Rev. John Thomas”, who I can’t find using a brief search.

Med school seems really far away today.

I’m following a Plan that is designed to get me into medical school (getting through medical school is an entirely different Plan).   I actually started this blog to document my journey from undergraduate and career gal to medical school candidate, and the closer I get, the more of an influence this journey will have on my blog entries.  But unfortunately, I’m in the earliest stage of The Plan, which is Getting Out of Commercial Debt and setting myself up financially to get into medical school (MCATs, supplementary classes, med school entry counsultants, researching med schools, med school application fees, traveling to visit schools – the list can go on and on depending on how one chooses to get there). 

So I am currently in the part of The Plan that involves a lot of money-making, making sure said money goes to the credit card companies or savings (not on new iPads), and staying very calm while I get more and more impatient to be studying medicine.

Hence, two jobs – one of which, thank goodness, is vaguely related to medicine.  Aside from adding to my science background (immuno- and biochemistry, cell culture, in vitro diagnostics, statistics), my work here is  strengthening my experience and knowledge of decision-making, setting priorities, multi-tasking, discovering and working with limitations, schedule planning, leading teams and assigning work, cross-functional diplomacy, business hierarchies and decisions, working with regulatory agencies and other big-picture issues that may prove useful when working in medicine.

This job experience also mean that I have acquired the ability to occasionally relate to Dilbert cartoons and Office Space.   For example, here are some excellent, and admittedly out-of-context, quotes that have recently come from various meetings:

That’s an unfair test because it sets us up for success, and we don’t want to set ourselves up for success.

Lean-Six Sigma is like communism: It works great in theory. - This one works great for any number of procedures and ideas that one doesn’t like.

It’s not a real vacation unless it inconveniences your co-workers.

We’re on target to get nothing done!

Boss: She’s mastered the science of getting SOPs approved. 
Worker: I’ve mastered the science of nagging.
Co-Worker: Yeah, she’s the Charles Dickens of the nasty-gram.

Yep, just like being a factory worker during undergrad helped me want to stay in college, this career – extraordinary work experience aside – is a wonderful motivation to stay on-track for medical school.

Evolution is Funny

Bill Hicks was one of my favorite comedians.  One of his pieces goes like this:

Have you ever noticed that people who don’t believe in evolution look really unevolved?  They say “I buh-lieve Gawd made me in seven days.”, and I always think “Yeeeeah.  It looks like he rushed it.”

In that spirit, I was beside myself with excitement to read this in last Sunday’s comics:

Tiger, why are you apologizing?

Why do celebrities and politicians apologize after having extra-marital affairs?  Marriage is a private affair and often has nothing to do with what the offender is known for in the first place.  I was always in the “so what if Clinton cheated – let Hillary deal with that crap” camp.  Bill Clinton was a great president…up until the point when his leadership was sidetracked by having to defend his “integrity” to a gloating Republican caucus.  That was a shame.

Rachel Maddow – who is fast becoming one of my favorite female heroes since I started listening to the podcast of her daily show – even did a story on the Tiger Woods confession, and as she mentions in the clip, this isn’t the kind of story on which she usually reports.  She does point out though, that when a story becomes so big that it affects the stock market, it becomes necessary to give it a mention.

Actually, there are celebrities apologizing all over the place.  They’re sorry for cheating, for drinking and driving, for yelling at paparazzi, for offending their fans, ya, dah-dah, dah-dah.  Newsweek online has a pretty great slide show of their favorite celebrity screw-ups and the subsequent media-blitz apologies.  And I admit it…I scrolled through every one.  Is this all about gossip – we love the juicy trash talk?  That’s why Cops, Springer, etc are world-wide successes, right?  

I did a little googling and found newspaper articles, books, journal articles, blog posts and all sorts of information about gossip.  Gossip and rumor research is an entire subsection of the science of social psychology.  Trust me.  Haha – look, I’m starting a rumor about rumor research! 

Darn it though, I wanted to write a nice little rant about how much gossip sucks, and now I find out that all of my questions actually have answers (or at least theories) – now I have to go and research before I can justifiably rant.  Bummer, dude.

I found a great quick-reference on gossip at howstuffworks.com.  They discuss the characteristics, science, benefits and ethics of gossip.  And then they give me The Answer to my questions!  Here is the reason why I believe we really gossip:

A lot of the time, people could learn the same information about social rules and standards through observation. However, observing people’s behavior takes longer and requires more effort than gossip does.

Yup, we gossip because we’re lazy.  Passing on accurate information takes a lot longer and more concentration that just throwing out “he said, she-said” (as I’m re-discovering with this blog post).  And really, there’s so many things to do and learn in the meager 75-80 years we have here on Earth; is it any wonder that we like to take shortcuts?

But, I’ve really gotten off track here.  We’ve learned about gossip, yeah!  But why the APOLOGIES???  Do you care if Tiger is repentant?  He cheated – that doesn’t affect my life.  I don’t care if he’s sorry, or if he goes out and tries to beat Warren Beatty’s record.  I’ve guess that damage control is the major issue in Tiger’s case – he’s going to lose sponsors, but he may manage to hang on to a few if confesses, scourges his back with a flail…oh, oh wait!  It’s the Christian guilt thing, isn’t it!?  But wait, he’s Buddhist.  But his sponsors might be Christians…

Ack…my head hurts…blog post derailing…interest waning…

Funny gossip quotes:

“Honestly, I like to hear negative gossip about people I don’t know or don’t like. I like to hear positive gossip about people I know and like.” RA from a TiernyLab blog post on gossip.

From quotegarden.com

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to me.” Alice Roosevelt Longworth

“Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules.”  Douglas Adams

“It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.” Errol Flynn

I love my customers.

I just met a gentleman who wanted to sign up for the bookstore’s educator discount. While he was filling out the registration form, I asked what subject he taught, and he told me he taught high school biology, with an emphasis on ecology and evolution – Yeah! We traded favorite authors and podcasts (also, dude had to be in his 60s, so he’s hip, he’s with it), and he shared his guilty secret: He loves to antagonize his evangelical fundamentalist young earth creationist students (even though he’s a Christian) Hehehe…mean ol’ guy!

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2/20/10 – 11:32pm CST

So Cafe Witteveen was kind enough to repost this story on his blog, and I was surprised by some of the comments that it received.  It seems I made the professor sound like a bit of a jerk when I said that he loves to antagonize his students.  So for any readers over here who might agree with that assessment, allow me to add a bit more context so you can see where I was coming from.  The professor was talking about the argument between ID and evolution in his classroom:

“I have to admit that one of the joys of my job is antagonizing my students – I mean, when one of my kids tries to tell me that that intelligent design has to be true, I challenge them to tell me why. I just sit back and listen and and occasionally ask: Why do you believe this?, and How does that support ID?, and after they have successfully defeated their own arguments, we get down to the business of learning about evolution.”

Sounds perfectly reasonable – a successful teaching strategy, and not jerkish in the least!