Stuff from May, 2009

This is the archive of tumbledry happenings that occurred on May, 2009.

Not Enough Energy for Transitions

I asked a fellow dental student of mine what he was doing this weekend. “Going to get a cavity filled.”

Mykala and I are busy, busy. She’s gone all weekend for a dance competition and I have a straight set of finals starting Monday. It’s times like these, when you think you haven’t the time, when you absolutely must take a moment to make your significant other feel special in any way you can. It’ll save your relationship, so you can weather the times you both forget to nurture.


God Talk

God Talk - Stanley Fish Blog - NYTimes.com:

By theological questions, Eagleton means questions like, “Why is there anything in the first place?”, “Why what we do have is actually intelligible to us?” and “Where do our notions of explanation, regularity and intelligibility come from?”

The fact that science, liberal rationalism and economic calculation can not ask — never mind answer — such questions should not be held against them, for that is not what they do.

And, conversely, the fact that religion and theology cannot provide a technology for explaining how the material world works should not be held against them, either, for that is not what they do. When Christopher Hitchens declares that given the emergence of “the telescope and the microscope” religion “no longer offers an explanation of anything important,” Eagleton replies, “But Christianity was never meant to be an explanation of anything in the first place. It’s rather like saying that thanks to the electric toaster we can forget about Chekhov.”

Eagleton likes this turn of speech, and he has recourse to it often when making the same point: “[B]elieving that religion is a botched attempt to explain the world … is like seeing ballet as a botched attempt to run for a bus.” Running for a bus is a focused empirical act and the steps you take are instrumental to its end. The positions one assumes in ballet have no such end; they are after something else, and that something doesn’t yield to the usual forms of measurement. Religion, Eagleton is saying, is like ballet (and Chekhov); it’s after something else.

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Neuroscience and Beauty

Between my finals in neuroscience, physiology, and prosthodontics, my brain has been working on an interesting, rather troubling exercise: understanding beauty. Lord knows why my mind gets preoccupied with the ideas it does. Nonetheless, here I am: I can’t wrap my head around the concept. I am, in many ways, a prototypical nerd; as such, an unknowable system or domain irks me. Cf. the aforelinked article:


Finals Week

This finals week isn’t as brain-meltingly insane as the one we had before spring break, but I do find my brain a bit mushy these days. Does that mean a ready-to-rock brain is crispy? Sharp, maybe. Hmm.

This low quality post does seem to prove that my gray matter has become gelatinous.

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Spring Storms

Some real thunderstorms, maybe‽ We wait with bated breath.

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Semester End

I am now officially a D2. Physiology final grade == A! Now off to taste wedding entrées with my lovely fiancée. Tonight, Legally Blonde the Musical. Tomorrow, more things!

Originally, I said “Tomorrow, the world”, but I’m trying to avoid clichéd language in my writing. Good luck with that. See what I did there?

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PSAPP - Leaving in Coffins

Mykala choreographed a great dance to Psapp - Leaving in Coffins. I love how unique the sound of that band is. Really really fun sound. And if Mykala hasn’t won a competition award for that choreography yet, she’ll probably win one soon.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day - Wikipedia:

Nine years after the first official Mother’s Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration.


Dr. Katz

From my course eval of Dr. Katz’s Physiology course:

Perhaps I will have instructors who rival Dr. Katz’s wit, knowledge, and personality, but I sincerely doubt I will have the privilege of learning from another professor who is capable of teaching as well as he is. Initially, I couldn’t figure out why physiology came so easily in this course, and then I realized it was because Dr. Katz was teaching the material not presenting it. Normally, I spend my days watching endless parades of powerpoint slides — I am talked at over the slides and then expected to regurgitate the information through rote memory. Some of my peers have expressed a preference for this type of classroom experience, but it drives me crazy. Actually learning and understanding material (as I did due to Dr. Katz’s lectures) made the topics more interesting, relevant, and memorable. Everything Dr. Katz did, from his jokes to his illustrations, was done with one purpose — so his students could learn.

Thanks, Dr. Katz.

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Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are currently kicking my butt. We’ve gone through so many iterations of the design: damask, flower motif, outline, pen and ink, maps, initials, script, serif… and finally ended up with something not bad. Then there was printing… pantone colors, letterpress, offset, laser, inkjet. The options were too expensive, or wrong paper, or couldn’t go borderless.


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That Time of Year

It’s the time of the year when the air begins to smell beautiful. Perhaps you’ve noticed? This is the smell that gives me spring fever like nothing else. It’s not just the freshly cut grass in the evenings; it’s millions of blossoms and leaves and moss… Incidentally, I remember learning in my undergrad microbiology class that actinobacteria are an important component of that fresh nature smell — they’re what you smell after it rains.


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A Spiritual Hunger

Sometimes, in the middle of the supermarket, I stop and look around at column after column of frozen food — any food I can imagine, right there for purchase. Think about that, anything I want to eat, I can. Instantly. Just hop in the heated/cooled automatic transportation machine. Sometimes, I can feel the pressure from the thousands of generations that preceded me — tens of thousands of years of suffering and hardship of our ancestors, attempting to find and grow enough food to live. And it makes me think, I’ve gotta do everything I can with this life. I have to act in such a way that honors the fact that I’ve never known hunger, that my life is unbelievably luxurious compared to 99.9% of those who came before me. I must push my potential, seize this moment, make the most of myself. And yet sometimes, I feel an unhappiness, a profound ennui. And it makes me sad, to feel that unworthy and unappreciative of this gift of ease. So, whenever I run across research about happiness, my interest is invariable piqued. In the parts of the world where the hunger problem has been solved, it has been replaced by a happiness problem — but, of course, the answer to unhappiness is much more complex than the answer to hunger.


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This afternoon, we mailed out 99 cotton envelopes with wedding invitations in them. This is happening! I’ll post the design of the invitations in about a week, so I won’t ruin the surprise for everyone.

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“I think that the female equivalent of bastard is… not a nice thing to call a girl.”

- Mykala Lind

Rupert Dentistry

To give us a sense of treating actual patients in our preclinical prosthodontics course, we are asked to give our cases names and stories. I borrow from real life. So, my first patient’s name last semester was Chris Rupert. He needed crowns on #30, #8, and #12 due to a baseball brawl. I’m waiting back on the lab for a full gold crown on #30, a porcelain fused to metal on #12, and a full porcelain for #8. I’ve got a bunch of casts labelled “CR.”


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Lies and Sex

Roger Ebert reviews the movie “The Girlfriend Experience”:

What draws a powerful man to pay for a women outside of marriage? It’s not the sex. In fact, sex is the beard, if you know what I mean. By paying money for the excuse of sex, they don’t have to say: I am lonely. I am fearful. I am growing older. I am not loved. My wife is bored with me. I can’t talk to my children. I’m worried about my job, which means nothing to me. Above all, they are saying: Pretend you like me.

The film was written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Believe it or not, the same two wrote the screenplay for Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Thirteen.” I imagine the three of them sitting around on the “Ocean’s” set and asking, “What could we be doing instead of this?”

Chelsea is played by Sasha Grey. She is 21. Since 2006, according to IMDb, she’s made 161 porn films, of which only the first title can be quoted here: “Sasha Grey Superslut.” No, here’s another, which makes me smile: “My First Porn #7.” I haven’t seen any of them, but now I would like to see one, watching very carefully, to see if she suggests more than one level.

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May 20, 2006: tumbledry.org: Word of the day: aquitard. Dan McKeown writes:

If someone called me a leotard I would be insulted. I think Nils’ point still stands.

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The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien

This is the set of Conan O’Brien’s new show, The Tonight Show.

Conan's new set in Los Angeles.

New York Times magazine recently published a quite lengthy article about Conan’s career, the prime time talk show landscape, and the forthcoming debut of the next Tonight Show on June 1, 2009. I’ll be watching. Your prognostications for the show are welcome.

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Today’s word of the day is “malingerer.” This is someone who “exaggerates or feigns illness in order to escape duty or work.” Today’s sunny weather of 76°F makes it an almost ideal time to be a malingerer. Good luck to you!

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