Wednesday, October 13, 2010

brooke

what do you do when you realize your wife is so smokin hot, but you look like the unibomber and your bellybutton gets deeper every year? i wouldn't know because i look like sean connery with rock hard abs, but hypothetically, what would one do? if this was the 90s i'd call brooke a fine babe and let her wear my jean jacket. she'd stroke my sideburns and i'd run my fingers through her ratted bangs until they got stuck, and then i'd write M.L. plus B.K. on her trapper keeper and totally french her while we're listening to whitesnake. brooke, stay sweet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

i'm poor

also, i have no pride anymore. med school is expensive, and i've got flights and applications coming up, so i've added a donate button on here. i'm not asking for big donations, but the way brooke and i look at it, if a bunch of people told everyone they know and they told everyone they know and everybody donated a dollar or two, i could actually be able to go to med school once i'm done with this premed craziness. so any of you with blogs or big mouths...help a brotha out. love you guys.

schto eto za research?

so i've never really fully described what i'm doing for research, so here goes... i work under mike redd who is the faculty professor in the Trede lab at hunstman. im his only undergrad, which is nice, because he's pretty busy. but he let's me do all my own experiments and keeps me on a pretty loose leash. he basically "trained" me by showing me everything once, and i just tried to take good notes and ask around if i had any questions. but i've got it all down pretty well now. this may be a little boring but i want to lay out the whole procedure in detail, just for my own memory.

Thursdays: i set up fish, by separating out mating pairs into separate breeding tanks, and letting them love each other overnight.

Fridays: I take the fish down, by pouring the fish back into their main tank and then pouring any embryos into small petrie dishes for cleaning and sorting. the embryos are kept separate from the fish in the tanks because they fall through a perforated inner tank and rest on the bottom where the fish can't get at them, because they will eat them. after the eggs are all harvested (there are usually hundreds), about 100-120 are separated out and rinsed, getting rid of any unfertilized or rotting embryos, and any that might be showing signs of abnormal development.

Mondays: after the embryos have been sitting in an incubator over the weekend, they are now little swimmers with eyes, a pumping heart, immune system, and circulatory system. it's crazy how quickly they develop. if you've got 15 minutes, you can actually watch cell division. it will change your life. at this point, i soak the fish in a certain drug that we are using and let them swim around a little in it for like an hour, and then i make a small wound in the back part of the feathery part of their fin, which begins an inflammatory response. i let them sit in the drug with these wounds for a couple of hours and then fix them in a formaldehyde solution that crosslinks all of the cellular components to freeze them all at that moment in time.

Tuesdays: i wash the embryos 3 times for 5 minutes and soak them in a block solution to prepare them for their first antibody. this antibody binds to certain cellular components and will give a place for a second antibody to bind the next day.

Wednesdays: the embryos are washed 4 times for 20 minutes each time, and then soaked in a second antibody that has a pink fluorescent tag on it that will allow all of the leukocytes to show up under fluorescent microscopy.

Thursdays: fish are setup for the next week, and the fish from the current week are washed 4x20 and then run through a glycerol series of 30% glycerol, 50%, and 80% and left in the 80% overnight.

Fridays: fish are taken down, and the current fish get their heads separated from their tails, and the tails are arranged on a microscope slide, and then examined under a fluorescent microscope. under one filter, you can see all of the leukocytes (white blood cells) and i count them. under a different filter i see only neutrophils, which are a specific white blood cell that has been genetically altered to carry a gene for a fluorescent green protein called GFP. these glow green under the different filter, so i can differentiate how many of the total leukocytes are neutrophils. i can then compare counts with the control slide, to the counts from the slides from fish at different drug concentrations, and see if the drugs have any sort of effects in the inflammatory response.

as i've been doing this process i started getting frustrated with the lack of accuracy and repeatability with the experiments and decided i would start messing around with it and testing different things. so i started making things really sterile with some of the fish, bleaching them and putting them in filtered water. some of the other fish, i soaked in bacteria rich water, made from rotting fish embryos. the surprising results are that the bacteria water, drastically increased neutrophil counts, while reducing macrophage counts. this was something no one expected, and i'm doing other tests to fine tune things. but to make a long story short (or not as long), the lab is potentially going to redo how they perform their experiments to reflect these findings. everyone is all excited about it, so it's pretty exciting, but now it puts a lot of extra pressure on me to get this figured out. crazy, but i'm loving research.

Bring on the fall

i'm writing this during my actual fall break, which is a week long miracle of relaxtion, of which i am half way through partaking of. this semester is so bloody nuts. i have about 40 hours a week of extra curricular that i need to do on top of my classes, which are gen chem 2, cell bio, and physics. so it's a heavy classload to start off with. cell bio was introduced as the hardest class we have ever taken. i heard lots of warnings about this professor, including from biology TAs who had talked about getting like 50s on his exams. so that was a great little pep talk. but i actually am really interested in cell bio so i'm not too worried about it. i managed to pull off a 98.5 on the first test, with another one in a little over a week, so i needs to get to studying. its really complicated material, and there's a lot of it, so it will be a lot harder than the first test. i really like my physics class too. since i basically slept through physics in high school and got an F in it, and that was back in 1992, i pretty much had no idea what physics was all about. but i get into the problem solving and enjoy the challenge, so it's been a cool class. i got a 100 on my first test, and just took my second one, and should find out this week how i did on it. as for gen chem, it's a different story. i've really enjoyed my chem classes up to this point, but i'm having a hard time staying motivated. after doing o chem over the summer and then having to go back to gen chem, it's hard to get into just doing equations and math again. i'm just like "where's the chemistry". i really liked o chem, and gen chem is just a little dry and useless, since all of the stuff you have to memorize, i've been told you don't really have to have memorized in the real world of chemistry. so it kind of seems like busy work. add that to the fact that on the first test, the only points i missed were four points on a problem that i got right but they said i didn't show enough work. it said to show your work, because there were only two choices to make, so you had a 50/50 chance of getting it right. there are two criteria that a mechanism has to pass in order to be valid, i tried out the first criteria on the first mechanism to see if it was valid, and it didn't pass the first criteria, so i skipped the second one, since it obviously wasn't valid, and then showed all the steps for the second mechanism which met both criteria. they docked me four points for not showing all steps for both of them. so i got a 96. i was so irritated, i had words with the teacher. that isn't how it works in the real world. if something has two requirements, and one isn't met, you don't have to test the other one. it's a ridiculous waste of time, during a time sensitive test. so lame. but all in all, things are going pretty well. in addition to these classes, i do 15 hours a week of research (details in the next post), up at huntsman cancer institute, which i love, but also takes about 5 hours of total travel time, for the week, with all of the walking and waiting for the bus that i have to do. i also volunteer 4 hours at the hospital, and 3 hours a week at a cancer wellness house, where i have been doing yardwork for them over the summer. i also TA biology, which takes about 10 hours a week, including the four classes that i have to attend during the week, a two to three hour library review that i teach every week, plus time that we take for TA meeting and my own study and review. i also am VP of AED, the premed honor society, that takes a few hours every week. so it all adds up, and my day runs from 5:10 in the morning when i wake up to catch the bus at 6AM to 10:45 at night when i get home, monday through thursday. friday isn't so bad, i get home at 8:45, but i also end up studying for around 7 hours on saturday too, so i can stay caught up, since i don't have a lot of time to study during the week. but if i can keep this up for the next year, i'll take my mcat in june and then apply this summer, and then i can relax a tiny bit for the next year, and just keep some extra curricular, and finish up my classes. since i start studying the mcat in january, i need to set aside 20 hours a week to study, so i'll be getting rid of my ER shift, and TAing, which gives me 14 hours back, and then somehow i've got to come up with the other 6. we'll see. i guess i can do anything for a year. med school is probably going to be easy after all this. yeah right.

end of sums

so it's been a couple o' months since i updated this thing, a testament to how CRAZY my life has been recently. but i'll get to that in due time. just for my own memory i want to tie up the loose ends of what happened this summer, and move on to the current fall semester. i locked in my As with a 102 on my o chem final and a 96 on my physiology final. i ended up accepting a tutoring TA position for Dave Temme teaching Biology in the fall. this has been pretty interesting since i didn't necessarily see eye to eye with him on everything, but have since kind of changed my opinion. i don't think much is going to happen with the matt linton drawing thing. i get the feeling he wants the whole thing to be his own work, which i completely understand, even if it does look like his 5 year old son illustrated it. he broke my heart, but i'll move on. i enjoyed my two week break. did a little camping, did a little sleeping, played a little rockband, loved a little neighbor. and now we move on to fall...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

trax gallery

just a small sample of some of the friends i have made in my travels.



here we have the motley crue fan club manager with his friday the 13th tattoo. he was on his way to adopt a puppy.


this average looking guy has more fun going on with the back of his hair than i have all week. plus grey sideburns.




in case you can't see it, her tattoo says "rick" which i'm always a big fan of.



video


this guy has some major inner thigh fitness going on.

Friday, July 30, 2010

end of summer semester

I can't believe one week and I'm done. Thursday and friday are finals and then off to wyoming for camping. This semester has been nice. I like having less people on campus and transport, but it's also more accelerated so you have to learn more in a shorter period of time. So that can be stressful especially when you have to take a final on something you only started learning the day before. The only grade I know so far is my o chem lab grade and I got the highest in the class with a 99.5 which is good because there is a down curve where 95 and lower get an A-. I talked to giles and he said he is going to hook me up with an awesome letter of recommendation for chemistry, so I'm excited about that. The only downer is that the TA position I thought I had is not a formal position. I need it to be legit for my application, not just helping the teacher out. So now I'm scrambling to try and TA something else, but it might be too late. However, I talked to matt linton and he's interested in having me design the diagrams and charts for the new edition of his textbook. So that could be a unique little addition to my application. Other than that, I'm just tired. You know you are tired when you stand with your hand under the paper towel dispenser and get frustrated because no soap is coming out. Brooke was extra juicy this morning when I left. It was hard to say goodbye. Our hands were together and then they slowly slid apart...then just fingertips...a chicago song was playing in the background...a single tear in her eye. Actually she was mostly asleep and a little sweaty, but she rocks my world.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

7/2

sometimes I look at my life and I'm just like, what is going on. If you had told me a year ago that in a year I would be at huntsman cancer institute doing drug dilutions and experiments on zebrafish embryos, I would have slapped you right in the mouth. How did I get here? A year ago I was covered in sawdust, working in my shop, spending much of the day in my underwear, watching movies at lunch with brooke, feeling tired if I had to wake up before 8. Life is so crazy. But it feels good to be exhausted and busy ALL THE TIME. It's very fulfilling. I had a physiology test yesterday and feel pretty good about it. I felt a little rushed so that makes me a little nervous, but it should be fine. I studied so hard for it yesterday my brain just hurt at the end of the day. So only one test left in both classes. Two and a half weeks and the semester will be over and I'll be camping in wyoming. I can't wait. On a side note, I should do some research into why asparagus makes your pee smell so nappy. I mean, what's up with that?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

7/7

for the last year I have woken up every weekday at 5:10. For some reason, for the last two days I have slept through my alarm. What the crap is going on. I'm not that guy, I don't ever even hit snooze. I slept in yeaterday until 5:50, and today until 6:45. I got a little over 7 hours of sleep, which was amazing, but I've got to get this figured out. I guess I am losing my mind.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of july weekend

this weekend was so much fun. first of all, i got monday off, which all by itself is so exciting. but we went to fairview canyon to camp with our best friends the stewarts. we got up there on friday night and stayed until monday afternoon. so three nights. i freaking love camping. its sad because we had built up all of our camping gear when we lived in st. george and we were planning all these trips, and then we moved. so it was fun to break it all out again. it was pretty hot in the day and pretty cold at night, but the kids all did really well. luckily my parents got them great sleeping bags, so they stayed warm. brooke forgot our air mattress, so the first night was a little rocky, but then we borrowed one from my aunt connie and uncle lane who live in fairview, and snuggled for the other two nights. going to bed and waking up when all the kids want to get into bed with you is my favorite part about camping. we played lots of cards and just talked and got all caught up. we had a big soccer game in a field and of course fat matt got a little sore just playing with the kids. the crazy thing is that it started raining on sunday, the 4th, and then snowed for two hours. big dumpy flakes! on the 4th of july, i couldn't believe it. then it got all sunny and we had kind of covered up the wood, so we were able to get a fire started again. but it was so fun. i seriously love the stewarts. lesa is like 7 months pregnant, so that was kind of funny to see her waddling around, trying to pick stuff up. she even played soccer for like 5 minutes. what an amazon. no serious injuries with the kids, besides the occasional burn on their hand after telling them 10 times that the camp stove is hot. i had to make like 3000 cups of hot chocolate for them, and we forgot to put a diaper on jonas for the way home, and he peed his pants and filled up his car seat with a pee puddle. i showered twice to get the smell of beef jerky off of me, and brooke and i made out a little bit. what a great weekend.