charlestonsky

Samoan driving


Since Paul has returned from American Samoa, I've had the privilege of spending a good bit of time with him in the car.

Over the past few days, he's taught me a few things about driving in American Samoa.

I picked him up at the Atlanta airport and tried to scare him by driving fast through traffic. Since Samoa roads never allow speeds higher than about 35 mph, I figured I'd play with him a little bit.
But Paul has nerves of steel. He didn't even flinch when I cut off those two 18 wheelers.

Today, it was his turn to drive, and he paid me back with driving antics of his own.

I had to keep reminding him to speed up. He appeared to have forgotten how to get the car into 5th gear. Once or twice, I think we were passed by an AARP convoy. One of the old ladies had a Calvin and Hobbes bumper sticker with Calvin peeing on a Clempsin Tiger.

A car ahead of us turned on its left turn signal. Paul ran off the right side of the road to go around him. Apparently this is normal in Samoa. What probably wasn't normal in either Samoa or the US is that the car decided not to turn after all, and he sped back up... and we drove side by side for a little while. Paul responded with some manly off-road accelerator action and got us safely in front of the fake-turn signal car. I'll chock that up as my first ever off-road pass on the right.

Okay, so I made up the part about the bumper sticker. But the rest is pretty much true....

 

Together Again

I just finished reading Together Again: Restoring Unity in Christ after a Century of Separation by Rick Atchley and Bob Russell.

I loved it. It's been a long time since I read something and got more and more excited through each page.

 

Since humming is so much fun

Humming is so much fun when you're alone. It's never fun when somebody has to listen to you hum--unless, of course, you're playing Name that Tune.

Lifehacker.com led me to the Nayio humming search. You hum a couple of lines of a song, and it searches for the title and artist. I'm not really sure how this works, but I spent half an hour on it the other day playing my own little version of "name that tune" with Nayio. I wanted to know how good it was.

It correctly identified the national anthem, a few Eagles songs, and some Green day. I also got a few obscure results, but that might have been because the program isn't quite perfect. I know the problem couldn't have been sub-par humming.

 

Rolling Pennies

I've sorted, counted, stacked and rolled my last penny.

Growing up, Mom would collect pennies in a big metal and cardboard tube (I think it was a pink bunny), and she, Paul, and I would sort and count them.

Neither Paul, nor I particularly liked sorting and counting things, but Mom bribed us. If we found a coin with our birthyear on it, we were allowed to keep it as our own. So we sorted pennies from dimes and nickels, and stacked them in groups of 10. Mom would stuff our stacks of 10 down into the brown paper in groups of 50. The way I remember it, we must have rolled tens of thousands of pennies. In all reality, it was probably about $40 worth of pennies, nickels, and dimes.

What we didn't know is that Mom was making us roll coins so we could start our first savings accounts at the credit union. We each started with the minimum of about $25, and she encouraged us to take whatever money we could save and deposit it into our accounts.

A few years later, Papa made me spend some spare time rolling coins with him. He said it was so we could afford to pay the grocery bill because I ate too much.

Coin counting remained a staple well until my hears at Harding. During my freshman year, I learned to stack quarters and dimes neatly on the desk so the pizza guy could count all $7.56 plus a $2 tip quickly. After feeling too guilty about paying the pizza delivery guy with coins, I started collecting my coins in a plastic cup.

I collected them until my senior year, when I sorted, stacked, and packed them neatly into their paper rolls. I took them down to the bank, and they said, "oh honey, we don't do that any more. Break them out of the rolls and pour those coins into this bucket. We have a machine over there that does all that for you."

So I broke all of my hard work apart, poured the coins into the bucket, and let the machine do what took me about 4 hours in 30 to 40 seconds--it was $78 and change.

I use a smaller cup now, and I filled it up over the past year. So I took it to the credit union, asked a customer service rep to show me how to use the machine, and poured my coins into the hole on top. It ate my coins and rewarded me with a receipt.

Somehow I miss sitting at the kitchen table, sorting pennies and nickels, checking the dates, and marveling at how anything from the 60's could still be useful today.

 

NASA TV

Nobody ever said it's cool, but I've discovered NASA TV at www.nasa.gov.

I found it when I was trying not to think about oral diseases, and got hooked on it during the last spacewalk. It's pretty cool because they have helmet cameras so you can see exactly what the astronauts are doing.

 

Final final

Finally, I'm finished with finals. If only they were the final finals.

I could try to write something interesting, but I think I'll catch up on other things instead.

 

Stress brings out the best and/or the worst in us all.

On the night before big tests, I get a slew of off-beat emails from classmates thanks to listserv--some program built into the MUSC email system that sends emails to groups-i.e. my dental class. Mostly I get spam from the listserv, but around test time, I get things from classmates.

Usually, you can expect to hear from a few "innovators" begging for consolidated notes from other students. A few overachievers usually help out the lazy innovators and send out their notes.

Finals, especially, bring out the most interesting emails. During spring finals, everyone emailed links to a variety of flash games like "smack the penguin," where you try to hit a penguin as far as you can.

This exam time has been no different. A brief look through my email has includes some B rate inspirational stuff and some things that are just stupid. And then there is the occasional discussion on the advantages of Toffelmier bands.

Stuff I received this week: videos such as this terrible music video--get your study on, clips from Leno's Fruitcake Lady, mean Carebears gone bad, Amazing Christmas Lights, and a couple of others that I deleted right after I got them.

 

Finals week

It's my not so favorite time of the year: Finals week.

Blog poists are geranteyed to be brief and never proofreaded.

 

Strange glows coming from the south

My partner in crime and I went to Folly to see the space shuttle launch. Things I noticed:

  1. AARP must have got the message out to their members because I think we might have been the only people under 50 who bothered to watch.
  2. About launch time, I called Dad to ask him to look up the NASA website to see if there was a delay
  3. By the time he got his dial up internet to load the website, we noticed a strange orange glow coming out of the ocean. Normally, the ocean should not make orange glows.
  4. After a few seconds, the orange glow turned into an orange streak. Then the orange streak quit streaking and turned into a very dim orange light.
  5. We oohed and ahhed over the very pricey fireworks, then prompty ran to the car to get warm. I never knew Amber could run so fast.
  6. Not bad for $.89 in gas.

 

posted by Josh M on 11:15 PM

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Motorcycle pictures are fun

I meant to get a picture at 3333.3, but I drove right through it the other night. So I settled for the next best thing.
I had to drive around my neighborhood once or twice to get my odometer to stop here.

 

Rewards for couch hospitality

Most of the houses I've ever lived in have had an open door policy. Most anybody is welcome to come and spend the night.

When I moved into the 1106 house in Searcy, I discovered that I joined a tradition of college students living in that little 2 bedroom house. During homecoming, one guy showed up at the door and said, "Hey, I used to live here about 4 years ago, and I'll be in town for the next two days. Do you mind if I spend the night?" We told him he was welcome to stay on the pull-out sofa. Nobody knew who he was, but it didn't matter because that's the way it was.

A few months before the random guy showed up, two guys slept on the couches for a couple of months. I think one of them eventually chipped in a few bucks for the rent. The other guy washed dishes, and since we had a serious dishwashing problem (nobody would wash them), everybody thought it was a good deal.

While my state and my university have changed, I've found that the tradition of couch hospitality is ubiquitous throughout higher education. And this is why I write today:

Every morning for quite some time, I've noticed one of the those new razors that vibrates taking up a shelf in the shower. For a while, I didn't think much of it although it was growing some of the pink mold stuff. Not my razor, not my problem. But lately, it's developed a new funk... that black stuff starting growing around the handle, and the blade has become so rusty that I started worrying about whether or not my tetanus shot is current.

Me: you don't actually try to use your rusty razor, do you?
Roomate: I don't have a rusty razor
Me: Then whose is that thing? (he knew exactly what I was talking about)
Roomate: I don't know. I thought it was yours.
Me: Why would I keep a rusty, molding razor in the shower?
Roomate: I don't know whose it is
Me: me neither, but I'm gonna get a picture of it for my blog... um... you hold it while I take the picture. ...

I guess one of our couch guests left his razor in our shower.

 

posted by Josh M on 1:26 AM under

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Rich vs. Poor, fighting for the same funny shaped peninsula

Since moving to Charleston, I've been bewildered by the vast difference between the haves and the have-nots.

One thing that is quite different about Charleston as opposed to every other city I've lived in is this: Charleston has the very poor and the very rich living very close to one another. Everywhere else that I've lived (Augusta, Searcy, Grand Rapids) has a greater geographical separation between the rich and the poor. I hear this is largely because Charleston is an old city. Or maybe I'm noticing it more here in Charleston because I've joined the ranks of the have-nots.

In Charleston, especially downtown Charleston, you can find a $1 million plus house just a block or two away from public housing projects. This close-quarters mixing presents a dynamic that is new to me. There is no white-flight trend. In fact, there seem to be more allegations of white encroachment than flight.

There are a few things that bother me about this arrangement.

  1. I can't find an apartment downtown (so as to be close to MUSC) that I can afford. While I'm ok with being priced out of a popular market, it bothers me that it's too expensive for me to live there, but it's not too expensive for a bunch of people who stand along the street all day. There must be a whole lot of independently wealthy men just north of the crosstown, because there are tons of people standing or sitting on the sidewalks all day and those houses are very expensive.

  2. I'm tired of getting hit up for money. I joke with friends that you can't walk past Hardee's downtown without getting hit up at least twice. That's a exaggerated. I usually only get hit up for money once for each time I walk by Hardee's.

    Seeing beggars on the street bothers me because I never know whether to give them whatever cash I'm holding, offer my couch, or ignore them and walk right by. Do you give people money just because they ask for it? Could that be feeding a substance problem? They do make more than I do. Given how much school costs in South Carolina, if we're going by salaries, perhaps I should ask them for money. On the other hand, it must take a lot for somebody to be humbled into begging.

 

Barbecue

Good places for barbecue are usually small family businesses that depend on a consistent, local customer base. Because these small businesses ususally lack fancy yellow page advertisements or a good website, it can be pretty difficult to find the best places for barbecue when newcomers arrive in town.

At least, this was my experience when I moved to Charleston. I wanted good food, but it was hard to figure out where to go to get it.

I tried the flashy chain restaurants like Sticky Fingers at first, but I was hardly satisfied. Next, I made a trip to Bessinger's because I passed it every day along Savannah Hwy. Yet, I was still unsatisfied by my experience.

"Surely," I thought, "there has to be better BBQ than that in Charleston." And I was right. After talking to several friends and searching relentlessly, I've discovered more than 20 barbecue places in and around Charleston. Now I plan to try them all in order to locate, try, rate, and share information about every Charleston Barbecue joint I can find.

Instead of muddying the waters here, I'll be sharing my thoughts on a separate BBQ blog: South Carolina Barbecue.

 

Fort Lamar

I rode down to Fort Lamar today to finish what I started on Tuesday afternoon. There wasn't a whole lot to see, but it was nice nonetheless.

Fort Lamar was the site of the battle of Secessionville during the Civil War.

I went on the self-guided tour of the Fort, and I was a little disappointed to find that the wooden tower of the "Tower Fortress" is long gone. In fact, nearly everything seems to be long gone except for a couple of small man-made hills that are the remnants of artillery positions.

I did see plenty of trees and a bird's nest.



 

Little blue painted lines

Lately, I've noticed thin lines of blue spraypaint on the roads--especially on James Island and Sullivan's Island. What gives? (click the picture for a bigger image)


 

How to ruin a perfectly good day

These are scary times for Gamecock football. Every big school with a coaching vacancy appears to be making a beeline for Steve Spurrier.

I hope he's telling the truth when he says that he plans on staying in Columbia for many years to come, but I can't help but worry that he'll jump ship.

One one hand, I don't believe that he came to USC for the money. As I recall, he requested a smaller salary than they offered. Plus, he's doing a good job of building an excellent program. I submit as evidence the fact that we hung in there with teams that used to pound us in the past.

On the other hand, if he's dreaming of national championships, it's possible that he'll be more successful in some other place with more um... renown.

Alabama rumor mills continue to spill their venom, such as this blog from MiketheEyeguy. And Eyeguy does make a good point. Why on Earth is USC's Super King Air flying back and forth between Teterboro? I can't find any recruits up there, but there is a nearby coach named Schiano up there. Is USC looking for a replacement?
However, Joseph Person, and Ron Morris of The State continue to write articles that say Steve's staying.
I just hope Joe and Ron know better than Mike.

11/30/06 Update: Good news, Super Steve is getting a raise. Maybe that'll hold the Spurrier-snatchers at bay.

 

Random thoughts while running to Fort Lamar

I got some new running shoes this past weekend. So, I decided to do some running this afternoon.

I wanted to run to Fort Lamar Historic Site on James Island. Google maps said that it would be about a 3.5 mile run each way. I should have checked the mileage before I left, but I didn't think to check it until I got back home after dark.

I ran along Secessionville Rd, then turned on Fort Lamar Road until I reached the park. I'm still not sure what's there, because it was getting dark as I arrived, so I immediately turned around and ran back to my starting spot. I miss Daylight savings time.

I have a love/hate relationship with running. I never look forward to it, but I always feel better afterwards.

While putting one foot in front of the other, I started thinking about the civil war.

I don't know very much about the Civil War, but it still intrigues me. I often wonder why nobody had made significant advances in technology between the Revolutionary war and the civil war--everybody was still packing gunpowder and lead into poles with triggers on one end.

I also wonder what gives the right of one people to demand that another people remain joined as one nation? I don't think it deserved a war, but I'd hope that with cooler heads, a simple vote could have settled the matter.

Although I'm very pleased that slavery was abolished quite some time ago, I remain sympathetic to the cause of the Southern states. When I read articles, hear stories, or watch movies, I'm always rooting for the guys in gray.

Fort Lamar
was the site one of the few Confederate victories in South Carolina.

There aren't really any Civil War movies that I like to watch more than half way through because I know how they're going to end, and there aren't very many that make champions on the southern states.

I've always wondered, "Why do I like the gray side better than the blue?" Maybe it's because I like to root for the underdogs, even I if know they're going to loose. Maybe it's because I like they way they talked.

Or more likely, maybe it's because I hope General Lee's troops will win because my home was their home. My ocean was theirs. These rivers, hills, swamps, and forests were theirs too at one time.

One that same note, major general William T Sherman was a tyrant of the worst sort. After scorching much of Georgia, he methodically cut through South Carolina, and burned, attacked, and raped everything he saw as best he could. I don't even think I'd approve of his great-grandchildren if I knew them. Frankly, I'd be tempted to spit at them.

While some may argue that his scorched-earth tactics may have saved lives and shortened the war, particularly those of Union soldiers, I remain convinced that he was a sick dude. And the land he raped more than a hundred years ago is my home.

I'm sure that Native Americans love the story of Colonel Custer's defeat almost as much as they hate the story of the Trail of Tears. Surely they don't waste time celebrating Columbus Day. I certainly don't.

And I'll be celebrating Sherman's life about the same time that the grandchildren of Hiroshima throw a party for the crew of the Enola Gay.

 

posted by Josh M on 6:48 PM under

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Extraordinary

There are two ways to make the national news. Either do something extraordinary, or do something extraordinarily stupid.

Today, I'd like to recognize two extraordinarily stupid events.

  1. Alabama football snobs have fired a solid head coach. No props for the big red algae on this one. Shula brought some respectability back to Alabama, and they're embarrassing themselves by firing him. I hear that they're supposed to be good next year, but I'll be rooting against them.

  2. South Carolina's finest have hit the headlines because some redneck shot his friend over a $20 bet. Congratulations, you're retarded.
And I'd like to recognize two extraordinary events that probably won't make national headlines:
  1. Torrence Tank Daniels, the only player from Harding University to play in the NFL, made a great tackle on special teams for the Eagles last night. I'm sorry I missed the game. But at a time when the Eagles fans are throwing in the towel, I've decided I have a new favorite team. I'm happy to see such a good guy from a great school play so well. Congrats to Tank and Courtney.

  2. Happy Birthday to Amber! My favorite girlfriend, partner in crime, and ice cream eating champion turns twenty-something today.

 

Cold

Looks like we'll be driving home in the cold rain later today.

What happened to sunny and 70 degrees? This is starting to feel like an Arkansas Thanksgiving.

 

posted by Josh M on 12:41 AM

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The 2 dumbest things I've heard in a while

  1. Before today, I thought only middle management could make remarkably stupid decisions. Now, it appears that school administrators have gained the upper-hand. School waits to call police about a bomb.

  2. Charles Rangel (D, New York), incoming chair to the House Ways and Means Committee, plans to introduce legislation to re-introduce the draft. I think I'm more interested in hand-to-hand combat with this guy than with Iraqis.

    Good job, democrats. Why bother doing useful things with your new power?

 

Ultimate Frisbee


Today had to be a good day.

City of Charleston Ultimate Frisbee tournament. My team won out for the title of "competitive league champions." Woo-hoo! It feels good to be a winner, and it's nice to get a free T-shirt just for winning.

Free T-shirt: In fact, there were extra t-shirts, so I grabbed one of them to give to Paul. Unfortunately, all that was left was an extra large. So, anybody who can wear an extra large t-shirt take note: I have a free t-shirt if you want it.

Sometime during that span, the Gamecocks won as well. It's always good to know the cocks can get a solid win against the SunBelt conference leader.

Finally, I've decided to try the best of the Charleston, SC barbecue joints. I'll write more on this later, but here's the grades thus far:
Bessinger's, West Ashley: C-
The Hickory Hog, John's Island: B-
JB's Smokeshack, Johns's Island: A
Momma Brown's, Mt Pleasant: TBD
Sweatman's BBQ, Holly Hill: TBD

 

Friday's Ramblings


1. I made a last-ditch effort at getting a Playstation 3 today. Costco sold all of theirs via their website at 11AM EST. I can only imagine how many people were competing for those little machines, but it had an effect like a Denial of Service attack. Their website took so many hits that the whole thing crashed at about 11:05, and it's still down as I type. Whichever Costco Exec came up with that idea needs to be fired. It was a hassle, and their website is wiped out. I bet that's the last time they try something like that.

2. I found a fun sarcastic church video on Youtube: MeChurch

 

Playstation 3

The laws of Supply and Demand combined with the law of "You can have it cheap, or you can have it now, but you can't have both" have produced a crazy phenomenon called "people will pay way too much for this stuff."

Namely, people are paying way too much for Playstation 3's on eBay. The going price seems to be about $2000 to 3,000 to have the first Playstation on your block.

People wanting Playstation 3's right now can pay up, or wait outside BestBuy for a couple of days. I was hoping to join the Playstation craze in order to make some spending money, but it looks like that's going to be difficult.

I had a chance, but I would have needed to stand in line from Noon Thursday until 7AM Friday morning. Judging by the eBay auctions ending now, I probably should have done it.

I talked to the first 2 people in line at BestBuy in West Ashley. They were college students planning on buying two: one to sell and another to keep. Their camping adventure started at 10AM Wednesday in order to be first in line for the 7AM Friday opening.

On Wednesday night, they witnessed a police officer attempting to shoot a car after a traffic stop gone wrong; and endured torrential rain and wind huddled in a corner between BestBuy and a book store. Oh, and some guy said he was going to come back and shoot them all because they wouldn't save his place in line.

On second thought, I think I'm going to enjoy going to sleep in my bed tonight under warm blankets, clean sheets, and no bullets.

 

Optical Illusions... they're only fun if you see it

One of those optical illusions, and it's satisfying to the last drop.


Directions: Remove your mouse from the image above. Focus on the black dot in middle of the image for twenty seconds. Keep focus on the dot while you move your mouse back over the image.
Props to whoever came up with this: http://myopticalillusion.com/

 

Sunday bites

I had a lecture about "Sunday Bites" today.

Somebody with a Sunday Bite has a mandible that is actually too small compared with the rest of their head. When your mandible is too small for the rest of your head, your teeth don't quite line up correctly. Small mandibles are actually fairly common, but people with Sunday Bites unconsciously make up for their lack of mandible by moving their mandible forward when they bite down so that the teeth line up as if the mandible were actually normal size.

Apparently, they're a little hard to recognize at first because the person appears perfectly normal at first glance.

In order to elicit the disorder, a dentist has to "deprogram" the muscles so that the mandible can be positioned in it's correct closing position. Deprogramming makes the muscles "forget" what they've been trained to do so that the jaw will move to it's designed position.

What strikes me is that attaching the prefix "Sunday-" to something is synonymous with "fake."

It seems that our superficial Sunday faces (I'm smiling cause I'm miserable), Sunday clothes (Play dress-up if you love Jesus), and Sunday cheer (I'm really happy that you're fake-happy too) aren't the only evidences of the failures of the church.

Maybe it's time for a few Sunday Deprogramming services. It seems heretical at first, but the more I think about it, the more I like it.

Or, maybe we can just keep tolerating Sunday faces., Sunday clothes, and Sunday cheer.

Speaking of Sunday faces, can you tell a fake smile from a real one? Try the Spot the Fake Smile survey from BBC science. I was mediocre, at best: 12/20. How about you?


 

posted by Josh M on 2:38 PM under ,

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I don't want to sound like an Alabama fan, but...

I think it's interesting to listen to SEC football fans. Mostly because they have 1 of 3 dispositions.

1. "We have a really good program, but we just don't seem to have the players or the coaches to be the national champions like we deserve"This is probably the most annoying type of fan. This opinion is almost exclusively reserved for Alabama fans.

2. Tennesee, Georgia, FL: "We're the best team in the country, but we just can't seem to get it together this year and be the best at anything."

3. Miss State, Vandy, Ky, and sometimes USC: "Maybe this will be our breakout year." Maybe so. Maybe this might be a bad to say that I think next year might be a great one for the Gamecocks.

Gamecock fans probably fall into all three of these categories. We don't quite have the players to be champions, we have been screwed on a few too many calls, and we've lost way too many close games.

Close game list:
Arkansas, yeah, we owned them after a dreadful first half. A couple of BS calls from SEC refs didn't really help either.
Tennesee: I'm still lost as to how we lost that one. Oh, and the SEC doesn't call pass interference for Sydney rice.
Auburn: SEC doesn't believe in calling Pass Interference for Sydney rice
Florida: Owned them in every aspect of the game. How do you lose in field goals and PAT's when you have one of the best college football kickers in the country?

Way to go Steve Spurrier. Ron Morris at the The State doesn't seem to be a big fan of yours , but you were right. I'd take ACC or Big anything ref's over these SEC guys. I'm guessing the SEC would have harsh things to say in private to their refs over some of the calls, but you beat them to it.

 

Dirge of the left hand

Formerly titled: "Ode to the left hand"

I've been left-handed ever since I had two hands and preferred one over the other.

I wish I wasn't. It's been an annoyance ever since I can remember. Mom tried to make it less annoying growing up. One of my favorite memories was the "Left Handed Store" in Underground Atlanta. I don't remember going to the store or anything about it, but I do remember how cool it was to realize that everybody else didn't expect the metal spiral rings to grind into their hands.

In second grade, my teacher had some less than flattering comments about my left handedness. Maybe you could call them left handed compliments. Hearing things like, "that's ok and for a left handed person, it's a really good cursive "f." My handwriting has never been good, and I don't know whether to accept fault for being lazy, blame it on right-handed writing traditions, or to blame sorry teachers.

In first grade, my class had no left handed scissors. After wrestling with those crazy paper benders, I finally gave up on the advice of my teacher and made do with my right hand. Honestly, it was retarded at first, but I eventually learned to adapt and use right handed scissors.

Right handed desks have been the scourge of my educational existence from the very beginning. Some retarded, left-brained engineer mass produced the cheapest piece of right handed crap and placed it in what seemed like every single classroom in South Carolina. The small ones were the worst.

Being left handed isn't all that bad. Because I'm in a minority, I've been forced to learn the backwards way of doing lots of things. Your right-handed can openers aren't great, but I've learned to use them. There isn't a left-handed power tool in existence today, but I've sorta learned to use them too. Your keyboards, your mice, tv remotes, dinner place settings, traffic patterns, and manual transmissions have all been bearable. I took some time to learn to use them right handed and moved on.

Dental school has brought up entirely new challenges. Frequently, people try to show me things backwards. I don't mind so much when they take a moment to let me try to make sense out of what they're doing.

But now I'm angry. Absolutely livid.
Last friday I took a test that asked several right handed operator questions. I missed them all. My right handed professor never saw a single thing wrong with lecturing right handed, providing right handed information, and only asking right handed questions.

Ever since then, I've oscillated between livid anger and not-so-livid anger. I'm tired of being angry about this, tired of wasting time thinking about it, and tired of wondering if right will win. But I'm convinced I'm standing on solid ground on this one.

Over the weekend, I decided to walk into the dean's office and file a petition to have my disability formally recognized. Then later over the weekend, I decided to calm down and wait and see how things worked out.

Should I really have to claim a disability?

 

Webcam of the week #8

One of my all-time favorite cities: Greenville, SC. It's the un-New York and this place wins this week's web cam award because G-ville has put some serious time, talent and $, into creating the best downtown I ever saw. Yup, it's clean, green and tons of fun.

The shops, restaurants, and parks are all rockin' and I'm done talkin'.

Downtown G-ville from the Hilton


A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
- George Bernard Shaw

 

Top 3 Blogs that I wish existed

Blogging has become my favorite way to catch up with friends and family, learn some some new ideas, and evict some thoughts from my head.

I read this as part of my introduction to blogging, and I have to disagree with my brother a little.
The best bloggers are not educators, preachers, and stay-at-home moms. Rather, they are the most common bloggers.

Although I already spend too much time reading blogs, I always wish there was a little bit more out there. So here are the top 3 blogs that I wish existed:

  1. James H Murphy: Preacher (aka grandad), author of works like "The bad boys of west texas," "The Settlement of Childers," and "Happiness is just another self-help book away." I'd like to pick this preacher's brain a little more often.

  2. John Fortner: Educator, your classes made me mad, but I think I'm ready for more. You're a little crazy sometimes, but I think I like it. Won't you share some thoughts with me in a format that doesn't cost $300/hour?

  3. Random Federal prisoner: I'm a little curious about somebody's perspective when they're pretty sure what they'll be doing a few years from now.
Maybe Philip was right. Preachers and educators probably do make for the best blogs, but a prison blog might be most exciting of all.

 

Believer's guide to finding a church home

I'm up late cramming for Pathology. I think I'm going to cancel my Thursday night events--except for the free dinner of course. I'll do anything for free food.

One of the primary goals of pediatric dental care is for every child to have a "dental home" early in life in order to head-off as current and potential diseases as possible.

One of my Charleston goals was to find a church home early in my stay in order to grow a few roots.

I've seen plenty of books about church growth. Let me rephrase: I've seen plenty of book covers about church growth. But I've yet to see a guide about how to find a church home. But I'd like to find both by age 25.

I never really found one in Searcy. I tried, but I was never successful. Although the big Searcy churches had the best worship experiences, I detested going to Downtown because I knew I'd never be able to contribute. After 4 years, I got nearly nowhere.

I always dreamed of going to a church that wasn't Harding-asized, but they were always far away, and I was too drowsy, busy, or unmotivated to be consistent enough to feel a part of those churches. I'd usually wake up late and go to Downtwon because it was the most convenient choice that started later than the rest.

I thought finding a church home would be easy once I moved to Charleston, but it hasn't been easy at all. In fact, it's been very frustrating. I expected to find more progressive churches. Or at least some progressive churches or christ. I thought briefly about giving up on the ol' CofC, and while I don't have any real problem with that, I preferred to think that there was a CofC somewhere out there where I could fit.

Truth be told, I'm still not sure if I fit in my Holiday Inn church of christ. But it's right in the middle between me and Amber. And as time goes by, I'm beginning to like the people there more and more. Maybe with time (and a picture directory) I'll feel more at home. Or at least, missed when I'm out of town.

 

How would you spend $340,000,000,000?

I should be studying for my Thursday pathology final, but I decided to be un-patriotic on this election day.

I'm well-known to be cheap. Really cheap. Some have even called it "Murphy-cheap." I'm careful how I spend money, I track what I spend every month with Quicken, and my friends make fun of me for it.

Right now I'm in a mood for a game, so let's play good news, bad news, good news.

1. Good News: I got a great deal at BiLo today.
Although BiLo tries to make me use a privacy invasion card (They call it the Bi-Lo Bonus Card), I like to shop there. This past week, they had a great special: 2 frozen pizzas, breadsticks, a six-pack of coke, and ice cream for about $10. I call it the student's "clog your arteries special." I just can't imagine a cheaper, faster way to get Atherosclerosis.

2. Bad News: Kia's are cheaper than bombs, and maybe we should have bought off Iraq instead of Bombing it:
Today, I started wondering how much money we've wasted/spent on the military action in Iraq.

Naturally, I googled "how much cost of war iraq," and it was easy to see that a few other people have asked the same question. Perhaps the US government could have a use for quicken.

According to costofwar.com, the US has spent about $340,572,742,503 (as of 11:26pm EST today). And to think I thought that the only number around here that was about to turn into an infinity sign was my student loan balance.

If the population of the US is about 300,000,000 people, then that means we've spent um... my Excel calculations say that's about $1135.24 per American citizen or about $4500 per family of four in order to remove Sadam and have him sentenced to death by hanging.

Slighty more disconcerting is how much we're spending in Iraq for each Iraqi. According to the CIA World Factbook, Iraq's population is about 26.7 million people. Given that $340 billion price tag, the United States has spent roughly $12,734 per Iraqi citizen. More info on cost of the war here, here, and here.

At that rate, why didn't we just buy them all Kia's to be our friends?

Maybe that gazillion dollar balance could have gone towards lowering my out-of-this-world tuition at MUSC. $340 billion could make for something like 24 million 4 year scholarships, ya know.


I don't believe in leaving on a bad note, so here's the good news.

3. Good News: I've never had a real job and haven't paid any substantial taxes, so maybe it's somebody else's money that we've been wasting all this time... sort of.

So how would you spend $340,000,000,000?

 

posted by Josh M on 11:22 PM

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Football Championship


1. Amber, Aaron, and I went to watch the Gamecocks play on Saturday night. Halftime looked like a disaster. Amber made me promise we could escape the cold if the cocks went down by 40 or more. And with the way they were playing, I was worried we might have to leave early. The 3rd quarter was about as exiting as any I ever saw. The 4th was nearly the most exciting I ever saw--with the exception of an interception and a couple of Arkansas 3rd down conversions.

Many thanks to Aaron for sweet talking one of his girls into hooking us up with a parking pass.

2. Since the team I love to watch can't wina championship (or just a single game it seems), I figure I'd best make the best of winning games with the teams that I play with.
The MUSC intramural flag football championship game was Sunday afteroon, and my 2nd year CDM class put a hurtin' on some more trash talking med students.

I know it's not a big deal when nerds are good enough to beat the nerdier nerds at flag football, but it still feels good to win.

Is winning flag football at MUSC like winning the [inappropriate]? (I'm going to need to censor myself here) Moving on...

3. Winning always comes at a price. During a kickoff return, I think I did something bad to my right shoulder. In light of this recent injury, I'd like to take a moment to be thankful that it was my right shoulder.

Conveniently, I am left handed. Not so conveniently, everything on this planet is still made for right handed people.

 

Webcam of the week #7

Cancel my trip to Africa. I saw all the elephants I ever dreamed of at the mala mala game preserve.

 

BCG's

One and a half thumbs down for the last post. Even I got bored after trying to think about it. As an apology and sign of good faith for those who may have wasted time reading it, I'm trying again...

I don't like making dentures very much. I thought I'd love it, but it's just not all that exciting like I expected. So far, I don't really like the Fixed Pros faculty all that much either.

But today was special. John L has starting wearing his military issue BCG's while doing labwork. That would be the official term for his safety glasses he picked up at officer training this summer. (for more on BCG's see here and here)

Shortly thereafter, 60ish year old, fomer military, Dr. K disappeared for a few minutes, returned, and said to John. "You're not the only one with Birth Control Glasses. The old ones were even worse." I found that hard to imagine.

Maybe I do like the Fixed Pros faculty. It's probably just Dentures that I don't like.

On another note, if you sign away your life to the military, BCG's come free. But they're only guaranteed to work as long as you're wearing them.

 

Which has higher meaning?

This has bothered me since this summer's sailing adventure.

Which has a higher meaning? A short generalization or a detailed explanation?

  • 1. A generalization about a topic:
    It seems to me that both the very knowledgable and the very foolish frequently use generalizations.
    • Generalizations represent a shallow perspective because a "rule of thumb" might be the only thing somebody knows about a subject. This person probably learns the rule of thumb from somebody who actually knows what they're talking about.

    • However, somebody with a thorough understanding of a subject can sum up a vast quantity of seemingly unrelated information into one simple answer. Although these seem like simple answers at first, they are often the result of a great deal of thought.

  • 2. A complex, detailed explanation
    • Shouldn't anyone who thoroughly understands a topic be able to provide a detailed explanation? And shouldn't the detail add to the argument?
So which means more? Which is worth more? Rules of thumb or details?

 

posted by Josh M on 12:31 AM

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Top 3 College professors I hated

Over what feels like too many years of school, I've had lots of teachers. Many have been good. A few were outstanding teachers. And some.. well, some were not so good.

I had a few notable Harding professors who I hated when I took their classes.

1. There was Dr. Mark Elrod, the well-known jerk of a liberal, democrat loudspeaker who spoke his mind too much for my taste. I took his class for International relations for a grand total of 3 days and dropped it because I couldn't stand him.

Looking back, I regret dropping his class. While we may not share many common views, I wish I would have stuck around to hear a new way to think. Instead, I waited a semester and took IR with some guy whose name I don't remember (he headed up Harding's Rent-a-cop squad). It was a less than memorable class. I got my A, but I didn't really learn all that much. I only wonder what I could have discovered from the crazy democrat.

2. Dr. J Fortner was another crazy teacher who I hated. I hated his tests, and I envied his knowledge. His ideas challenged what I believed, his teaching style required students to study--and I hate studying. I slept in his class--too much. I ignored him when he got on my nerves. I wish I took better notes. I wish I had learned to learn sooner.

Maybe I would have learned more than I did. For some reason, I took 3 of his classes. Most of all, when he would talk about something different from what I was accustomed to, I would hate him.
What I wish I knew before his class: "Every new concept that challenges your beliefs should be viewed as a challenge to your faith."

3. Worst and most of all, I hated Dr. England--the old buzzard who knew his organic, and had a crafty way of creating tests that focused on minute details. His introduction on the first day of class included a quote comparing learning Organic chemistry with trudging through dense jungle. I must have forgotten my chemistry machete, because I didn't get very far very quickly.
In fact, I earned the first "C" of my academic career in Chem 301--Organic. I hated organic chem, and I hated the man who tried to teach it to me--that is until a year or two later when I realized how much and how well he taught me. Regardless of how poorly I performed on his tests, I learned more than I ever expected, and I began to learn what it meant to really study.

So to each of you who will probably never read this, Thanks. I hated your classes. Sometimes I even thought I hated you. You never made me happier, but you did try to teach me to think.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:00 PM

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As usual, no deep thoughts here








1.
Firefox is to computer like grease is to fried chicken

I've been a fan of Firefox for a while now. It's smaller and faster than internet explorer. Plus, Firefox has used "tabs" for years.

Best of all, Firefox is made by a bunch of computer nerds who believe in giving people the no-frills basics. Then they offer "extensions" to let you customize how you want firefox to work.

These are the extensions that will keep me from ever going back to Internet Explorer:

  • Adblock Plus with Filterset.g updater:
    • After downloading this pair of extensions, obnoxious web page advertisements are history. I no longer waste time downloading or looking at them.
  • Ook!:
    • It lets me download embedded video files from YouTube and Philip and Jaime's website

  • Mouse Gestures
    • It lets you navigate (forward, backwards etc) without having to push the back button. Just a little mouse movement does the trick.
2. I'm on a cooking sabbatical

I had a cooking disaster just the other night. I didn't know you could burn ___, but my ___ was on the verge of ignition the other day. It took days for the smoke and smell to clear the apartment. 2 points to whoever can guess what this is. er... what this was.

 

My crazy roomate

Roomates are fun. I've never lived alone, and I never plan on it. I think I'd get bored without somebody to goof around with.

Over the years, my roomates have been some pretty interesting characters.

I got to know one of my Harding roomates in the Allen dorm parking lot. We yelled "I hate Harding University" as loud as we could. And, that was the beginning to a beautiful friendship. Over the years, we did all kinds of interesting things--including taking out the same girl at the same time--to a redneck dirt race track no less. Looking back, we were two dorks who didn't understand how to relate to women. Over time, we hung out outside the freshman girl's dorm (Sears) in the back of Tom's truck--on a couch. We also took dates to Berryhill Park with a couch and a tv to watch movies. Actually, I think we did that three times. We spent countless of phylisophical hours in our dorm trying to figure out some of the mysteries of women. Needless to say, I don't think we actually accomplished anything in our deep discussions. But they were fun. Whatever you're up to, Tom, I hope things are well. Give me a call some time.

I met another of my roomates through TNT while at Harding. Living with Peter was one of my first multicultural experiences with a real-life african. We also spent countless nights discussing the intracacies of God, women, and foot fungus.

My multicultural roomates also included the Beast from the East--a pseudo japanese, ultimate frisbee playing, pianist with squinty eyes who never really did anything too shocking other than that time he stole a girl from me. Well, sort-of.

My streak of interesting roomates continues as I wade through Dental School. I currently live with two other dental students. John is in my class. Mike is a year behind John and me.

John is a semi-pro cyclist: complete with a rockin' roadbike, cool helmet, and matching spandex uniform from his days racing for his college. In true friendship form, I make fun of him every chance I get.

Yesterday was especially interesting. I walked into the door to this:
Yup, it was cold outside and he was "training" while playing video games in our living room. I wonder if Lance Armstrong ever did the same thing? Regardless, I think we've invented a new sport for the Xgames (sponsored by Xbox360): Xbox Biking. You have to ride 15 miles while completing a mission on Oblivion.

I'll add this one to the roomate highlight reel.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:17 PM

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Webcam of the week #6

Sorry the posts have been far and few between. I've been on a blogging dry spell, but I think I've got some ok material now.

This week's much awaited, long sought after webcam...

Underwater in Bonaire. Looks like fun to me.

 

Rejection

I don't have very many good rejection stories.

I do have plenty of stories about how I chickened out, and I have way too many stories about embarrassing myself around girls I was intersted in.

But my friends have plenty of good rejection stories.

Michael was dumped three times in the same week. ...by 2 different girls

John got rejected by a country music singer he didn't recognize.

Paul got rejected for a Sunday afternoon date because "It's the Lord's day."

Best of all, Sam P got rejected by Miss Arkansas. I don't really care why she rejected him--I've just want to give him props his cajones. Way to go Sam.
PS. Amber: Please don't get mad about a picture of some other Amber in a bathing suit on my blog.

 

Webcam of the week

Loch Ness
http://www.lochness.co.uk/livecam/

 

Crazy Charleston Story #1

This is a story from a few weeks ago. I don't know why I didn't think to blog about it, but it occurred to me while I was writing my last Charleston post that I do have a few good reasons for being slow to fully appreciate my surroundings.

I bought my motorcycle partly as a way to decrease my morning commute time. Because of satellite lot parking at MUSC, it takes me twice as long to get to school when I take my car. Thus, I bought a motorcyle and park across the street from my building. I also acquired my motorcycle because motorcycles looked like fun. And they are.

I was riding home a few weeks ago on Dills Bluff Rd. I like Dills Bluff Rd. because it has more curves on in than any other road in Charleston. It's also a stoplight-free, neighborhood type alternative to Folly Rd.

But this particular afternoon was special. I was traveling south, and as I rounded out of a sharp curve in the road, a car pulled out right in front of me. He wasn't turning, rather, he was getting back onto the road from the grass shoulder. His driving was erratic. He didn't merge back onto the little road. He swerved back onto it. I don't think he saw me. In fact, I'm convinced that he was preoccupied.

I hit the brakes to avoid becoming a trunk ornament.

I could see and almost hear that he was yelling something at a pedestrian walking along the road. Then I saw a strange object poking out of the open driver's side window. In that brief second, I couldn't quite tell what it was. But then, I recognized it. It wasn't the bird, or a wallet, or any of that nice stuff. That crazy guy was waving a pistol out his window. "Bang, bang, bang" finally clued me in.

I hit the brakes--only now much harder. As I squeezed the right handle for the front brake and pressed down on the rear brake, the front of the bike dove down compressing the shocks. The back wheel locked up and screamed. I didn't let up.

45 to 0 felt like an eternity, but I stopped and the crazy driver with a gun in the crazy car drove off.

In my haste to stop, I forgot to pull the clutch lever and the engine had stalled. I was stopped, but now I was desperate to get going with the shady pedestrian close behind me, and the crazy car driving off ahead. I checked my mirror. Turned the key to "off" then back to "on." Shifted from 5th down to neutral and started my little engine.

Now I was angry. That crazy car cut me off--way too close. And then he started shooting at the air. That was better than shooting at me, but I didn't like it nonetheless. Then I saw him hit the brakes.

Now I was scared. Is he coming back? I wasn't really interesting in jousting with the crazy car with a gun. So I got ready to take a serious U-turn and find a new place to be--anywhere but here. But he was just slowing down for another curve ahead.

Now I was angry again. If he's not coming back, then I'm going to go follow him. I knew my cell phone was in my pocket, but I wasn't interested in stopping to call the cops. Moving felt safer. I also knew I couldn't talk on it through my helmet. Although I dream of Bluetooth in my helmet, such is not the case.

So I got just close enough to make out his tags so I could get the cops onto his sorry cutting me off, gun-shooting, crazy-driving [hiney].

At the intersection with Camp Road, he went left. I took a right turn and went home. After I got off the bike, I started to call the cops. But then I put my phone back into my right pocket, pulled my keys out of my left pocket, went inside my house and tried to forget about it over a glass of cold chocolate milk.

To the driver of the Burgundy Red Volvo with South Carolina tag: 711 UKK
I don't like the way you drive. In fact I don't like the way you shoot while you drive either. Please consider using a blinker before pulling out in front of me, and take that drive-by shooting into the air crap back to the ghetto.

 

Cool website

I found this interesting site about names.


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
765
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

 

How I Became a Man


I've just discovered that I am now a full-fledged adult. I've always wondered when that would kick in--usually in hopes of delaying the inevitable. But I think it's safe to say that the inevitable has finally occurred.

I have my first plant, and only adults have plants. Therefore, I am now an adult.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:00 PM

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If you build it, they will come

Warning: Bad post for sympathy

As reported in the Post and Courier
(Story 1 and Story2):

Some nutcase decided to commit suicide by jumping off the newly built Arthur Ravenel bridge connecting Downtown Charleston with Mt. Pleasant, SC.

He climbed outside the 7 foot wall separating the pedestrian lane from thin air. After hanging on for several hours, he slipped and... you guessed it: fell. (Photos from here)

I'm not quite sure why, but this guy on the outside of the bridge stopped traffic for several hours on Sunday afternoon. I don't plan on winning any sympathy prizes here, but couldn't this guy have been a little more considerate with how he tries to kill himself? Any why did he climb outside the fence intent on killing himself only to change his mind a few hours later?

Unfortunately, nobody has posted video to Youtube. I searched like crazy, but to no avail.

Crazy thing is, this guy survived the 190 foot fall. In fact, most people who jump from the bridge survive the fall and the impact--it's drowning in the water that kills them. So, the cops (who in all their wisdom shut down all traffic on the bridge) had some boats ready and waiting at the bottom.

So to all the would-be suicidal jumpers out there. Bring a bungee cord next time so you can have a little more fun than just hitting water at the bottom. And think twice before you cross that line--you might change your mind and slip.

 

Great quote...

If sometimes you feel yourself little, useless, offended and depressed, always remember that you were once the fastest and most victorious sperm out of hundreds of millions.

 

Things to do before I leave...


Charleston, SC is one of the prettiest places I've ever been. It has tons of history and plenty to see so long as you're not looking for anything resembling a hill. (image from here)

When I first came down here a year and a half ago, I wasn't too fond of the place. In fact, I didn't like it. I spent my first Charleston summer either in the library, or stuck in what seemed like unending lines of cars piled up behind traffic lights.

Looking back, Searcy probably spoiled me. If you don't want to deal with stop lights, then you just take any street other than Race.

North Augusta was similar. There are very few stoplights or cars.

Between spending too much time indoors, and spending too much time waiting behind cars, I've missed a lot of what this place has to offer. I'm not saying it's perfect, and I certainly don't plan on staying here past say.... May of 2009. But as of today, I'm resolving to learn to enjoy this city and this coast until I'm gone.

So in my efforts to learn to squeeze every bit of juice out of this juicy orange, here's my Charleston: (Before It's too Late and I Have to do Real Work) To Do List:

  1. Go see the over-priced possibly over-hyped hunley.
  2. Visit the aquarium. Preferably on a day when they're offering student discounts
  3. Go see something fun at the IMAX
  4. Sail somewhere fun before the boat's gone.
  5. Leave some mark
    1. Volunteer at a kid's clinic
    2. Habitat for Humanity?
    3. ?Coach a youth team
  6. Spend a whole day at Magnolia Plantation
  7. Go see a Riverdogs baseball game
  8. Catch a couple of fish
  9. Go kayaking in the marshes
  10. Spend a day at Boone Hall
  11. Watch the Charleston Battery play some soccer
  12. Visit Charlestontown Landing
  13. Go shrimping
  14. Try oysters
  15. Visit Edward Rutledge's Grave
  16. Take a look at Fort Sumpter
  17. Ditto with Fort Moultrie
  18. Explore that other fort sitting in the middle of the harbor (Castle Pinckney)
  19. Learn to surf
  20. Graduate and "get outa here"

 

posted by Josh M on 10:04 PM

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Webcam of the week #4

I can't believe that another week has passed so quickly. I try to post a webcam of the week every weekend, and this weekend brings a whole new adventure.

This week, I present webcam of the week #4: A periodically updating camera off the bow of the RRS Ernest Shackleton somewhere near Antarctica.

 

posted by Josh M on 11:23 PM

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My dream car: Mercedes SCL600


A year or two ago, I was telling my cousin, Sarah, about my dream car. Mostly, I rambled about how it would have a joystick instead of a stearing wheel and pedals. And it would use hydrogen instead of any of that other stuff, like gas.

It seems that she sold my idea to some little startup car company called Mercedes. I hope she's proud of herself.

I guess it doesn't have my hyrdogen power, and the rims stink, but it's got all the other things I asked for.

 

strange conversations

Due to the overall boring nature of my previous post, I'm going to strike through the entire thing. Maybe this post will redeem me somewhat.

So, as I was writing the previous, and very BORING post in the MUSC library. The girl sitting next to me initiates this random conversation:

Random Girl in Libary: Excuse me, can I take your picture?

Me: Um... OK

RGiL: From this angle, you look exactly like one of my friends. I'd love to get a picture and send it to him

Me: Um.. OK. Nobody's ever asked me for that before

RGiL procedes to take a picture of me with her camera phone--like I'm the MUSC library freak show.

Me: Which way to you want to me look?

RGiL: Straight ahead. Great.... Thanks. then she shyly walks away.

This story has a plot about as interesting as a bad french novel, but it really got me thinking.

Why don't I think of more fun things to say when the pressure's on? So here's the top ten replies I should have given when she asked "Can I take your picture because you look exactly like one of my friends?"

10 Sure, but You gotta give to recieve
9 no thanks, other people have already taken pictures of me
8 ?
7 Freakshow pictures... they cost money you know...
6 Sure, but I want a picture of my look-alike too.
5 So, you're friends don't look too good, eh?
4 So, you've got really good looking friends, huh?
3 ?
2 no

1 ?

I don't know. I think I expected this all to come to me as I wrote. As it turns out, my top ten list sucks. Maybe I'll need a post to redeem me for the this bad post too.

 

Hard drives

I haven't posted in a few days...

Reason number 1: midterms continue. As much as I'd like to forget these things, I've got 5 down, 3 to go. I feel about as motivated as a... well, I'm not so motivated. But somehow, I still always wake up tired.

Reason number 2: Ever see this message?: "Hard disk failure is imminent. Recommend backing up important files as soon as possible" Well, now I saw it too. I spent too long last night making "recovery disks" for when my hard drive goes for its grand finale.

Also, I made disks archiving my music. In all, 16 CD's were used to record my most treasured millions of 0's and 1's. I hope they work when the time comes. I think I'll order a new hard drive from tigerdirect as well. Might as well get it fixed sooner rather than later...

Making recovery CD's seems a lot like buying a cemetary plot. You know the inevitable is coming, so you go ahead and get stuff ready.

Reason number 3: Once you've identified the problem, working on machines doesn't really have all the much to do with expertise or experience. Experience is great for diagnosis, but the actual work is more a question of having the right tools. Last night, I tried changing the oil on my motorcycle. It should have been a 15 minute job, but the oil plug is a 17mm bolt, and my closest sized socket was 15mm. So, I used the ghetto tool kit that comes with the bike...only to strip the bolt and bloody my knuckles. After about an hour of punching the bottom of the motorcycle, I broke down and went to Lowe's to buy a 17mm socket. $3 and 45 minutes later, I came home and finished the job in about 10 minutes. Why do I have to be so cheap?

 

Crazy consumerism: Baby toupees


Is your baby ugly? Does the glare from your baby's head cause trouble when you are driving?

If so, then you need baby toupee, the innovative solution for stylish bald babies. Throw out those old goofy baby baseball hats. Hide your baby's soft spot and disproportionately large head with these "realistic" baby toupees.

My favorite: "The Donald" which sells for just $24.99

Next week's crazy consumerism baby product: "Zoom! baby-tooth whitening system": Removes years of coffee and coke stains from your precious baby's teeth.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:14 PM

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Webcam of the week

This week's exciting webcam comes from none other the the University of South Carolina's biological sciences department. That've provided us with a rare look at Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches!

Honest, I can't make this stuff up.

As a bonus, the Riverbanks Zoo zooview cam now shows the grizzly bears.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:25 AM

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Johnny's Grill, continued





A week or two ago, I wrote about how I had started work on little Johnny's new gold tooth. I forgot to get a picture of little Johnny himself, but I do have an update on the gold tooth saga.

1. Appearantly, nobody wants to walk around with a prepared tooth for a couple of weeks while the crown is being made. So some guy told me to make a temporary crown to hold little Johnny over. And I did.

2. Then I did some more stuff.... (blah blah blah)
I poured plaster around the wax crown I made the other day. Next I sent it to the lab so they could burn off the wax and pour in the gold for me.

3. What I got back was an ugly black hunk of metal stuck inside of burned white plaster. I was a little dissapointed in my gold. I thought gold should have been shinier. Is that a word? shinier? shiny-er. whatever.

4. Then the polishing began... and I polished, and polished, and polished some more as my ugly black thing slowly turned to a shiny gold thing.

Polishing gold is an incremental process of making smaller and smaller scratches in the metal.

5. Finally, little Johnny has some sweet grill action. Well maybe... Is it still a grill if it's in the back? Anyhow, somebody needs to track down Johnny's mom and see if I can get my $1000 for all my hard work. Wait, nevermind. Johnny doesn't have a mom. And even if he did, she'd probably think my tuition should cover the cost... If anybody wants to go to mexico and let me put a gold crown on them, I'm accepting patients. Word is I'm pretty good. Little Johnny never even said that it hurt or anything. In fact, he didn't say a thing.

6. If I were a preacher, I'd come up with some sermon about polishing gold. Maybe I'd even do it in front of my church--polish the gold, that is.

But it seems a lot like "Kinmunnion" to try that. "So, I was polishing Johnny's crown the other day, and it made me think about Jesus on the cross.

7. Coming soon to a blog near you: I'll provide you with a look into the exciting world of making dentures. This is a project that has been ongoing through the semester. I'll pretend somebody out there is dying to see how dentures are made. I'll try to take some pictures sometime this weekend or next week.

 

Conversations re: My very own nobel prize


Nobel Prize
According to the AP report I just read, the third and final Nobel Prize for science was awarded this morning.

It's fascinating that American scientists managed a hat trick. They took all three in the sciences (medicine, physics, and chemistry).

  1. After reading the story, I decided that I want a Nobel prize. I want to be recognized for discovering something that is "most important to the benefit of mankind." Well, at least, I thought I wanted a Nobel prize until I realized that this guy worked 10 straight years with just yeast cells before he published anything of note. That's longer than 50% of marriages.
    I can only imagine the conversation around year 9:

    Random girl at the mall (RGATM): So, I see you have scientist hair...

    Kornberg: Yeah, I'm a scientist

    RGATM: So what do you do?

    Kornberg: I grow yeast and watch how their genes activate protein transcription

    RGATM: Oh, I see. How long have you and your yeast been together?

    Kornberg: About 9 years

    RGATM: Sounds....interesting. Well, it's about time for me to go home and do my hair.

  2. I see that Dr. Kornberg's father also earned the Nobel prize a few decades ago. Talk about some big shoes to fill.

    I don't remember Dad ever pressuring me or any of my brothers to be something we didn't want to be. He kinda steared us away from being art majors, but he never tried force us into becoming engineers like him. Nobody wants to do the same job their dad does, because nobody wants to feel like they've got to fill in the old man's shoes.

    It's got to be doubly difficult to be a scientist son of a Nobel Laureate scientist dad.

    Kornberg Senior: I'm thinking about getting my Peace [Nobel] Prize framed again

    Kornberg Jr.: oh yeah?

    Sr: yup. I'll get it framed with a new titanium alloy I just developed

    Jr: ok

    Sr: So, do you think you'll want to get one of these bad boys of your own some day?

    Jr: Well, you see... I've got these great yeast cells. You'd love them...
  3. The Nobel Prize is the one and only thing that makes being a scientist just like being an Olympic athelete.

    Although the two (scientists and atheletes) share very little in common, they do have one key similarity:

    A whole bunch of extremely gifted people spend every moment of their lives competing for the prize, but most of them still go home losers at the end of the competition.

    I think I'll outsmart them all and set my goals low so they're easier to reach.

 

Questions about prayer

This blog has become my sounding board for many of my questions about life. For instance, sometimes I write yet do not publish because I'm satisfied by the time I've finished writing.

Lately, I've been wondering about how and why we pray in public. Maybe all the answers to all my questions are simple, but public prayers have been getting on my nerves lately. I want your opinions.

1. What is the goal of praying in public? Is one person really speaking for all of the people in the room? What if they say something I don't want to go along with?

2. Why are we supposed to bow our heads and close our eyes. Isn't Jesus in heaven now? Is the prayer less powerful if somebody still has their eyes open?

3. I've been told that one of the great powers of prayer lies in the fact that my prayers might have more effect of changing my mind than changing God's mind. If that's true, then whose mind is public prayer supposed to be working on?

4. Do people pray the same in public as they do in private?
Truth be told, I've gotten into a bad habit of tuning out public prayers. They're usually too predictable. Are most people's private prayers just as predictable? I won't enter myself into a "prayer warrior" contest any time soon, but I'd like to think that we can find more to pray for than the same churchy things in our churchy language.

5. Why are public prayers almost always about things that we already feel like we know an answer to? In other words, Why don't we pray about things that we don't know?

 

Farewell to Fantasy Baseball


The postseason has finally begun! Better still, the regular season is over, thus fantasy baseball is finally over as well! I can finally relax and ignore the postseason because the Braves weren't even close to being good this year.

Best of all, I can stop worrying about swapping relief pitchers and whether Aramis Ramirez will keep sucking it up for the rest of the year. Rich Harden never materialized, picking up Derek Lee was a terrible idea.

Unfortunately, as the manager co-manager of the "Fighting Crackers" I'll have plenty of time to think about all of my missed opportunities, poor decisions, and limited baseball knowledge. And maybe next year, I won't have to share my team with Amber. She can have her own so that I can beat her.

Regardless, congrats to Mark G for his stunning efforts, quality win, and annoying "victory speech." He really squeaked it out in the end. Too bad for Mark-- we were all too cheap to put any money on this league.

 

Webcam of the week

So I never found a good webcam for this week. Instead, I give you a presentation that's even more thrilling.

White and nerdy

 

Why being a gamecock fan is just like being a Christian

  1. Sometimes we give up on our team. Just like a certain brother of mine who says he’s given up on the gamecocks unless they win their next game. Sometimes we give up on God unless he makes sure we win with our next ambition.

  2. Sometimes we support our side in all the wrong ways. Since Philip and I used to end up in the end zones every game we went to, I used to dream of catching an extra point kick after it went through the uprights and into the stands. I didn’t want to catch the ball just to catch it. I dreamed of throwing it back onto the field and hitting one of the refs who stand underneath the goalposts.

    During the Georgia-Carolina game, the student section threw bottles and trash onto the field after the referees made an awful call. They were showing support for their team, but it was in all the wrong ways. I suppose Christians figuratively throw trash onto the field all too . In our fervor for “doing what’s right,” we frequently alienate others and fail as ambassadors for Christ.

  3. Sometimes we forget what winning means. Ask a Tennessee fan what they think of their team, and they’ll say “they stink.” The same goes for any Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia etc etc etc. They all think their teams are bad because they sometimes lose. If there are 119 Division I football teams in the US, why does every football fan in the US think his team should be the one that never loses? Why doesn’t somebody say “Hey… we’re 3-2 and I think that’s pretty good for this team.” I think Christians have the same tendancies. We don't deal with loss very well, and we always expect all the battles to go our way.

  4. We always hope for tomorrow. Christians should look forward to the future. Gamecock fans should do the same. Good Gamecock fans are willing to accept the trials today in hopes of a brighter future. Today may not be the best day of my life, but I can look toward the future. Last night’s loss may not have been the result I was hoping for, but I was pleased to see the Gamecocks play so well, and I believe that a good future lies ahead.

 

posted by Josh M on 11:11 AM

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Murphy's in Samoa: Do these Chickens Have Large Talons?


In response to my pessimistic "realist" brother(Do these Chickens Have Large Talons?), I make a new, different prediction about the Auburn/USC game. I believe that USC is win by 2. That's right, 2. Auburn, with Kenny "I'm bailing out" Irons in the backfield, Auburn will amass at least 200 yards rushing against the cocks. But he'll also fumble twice--both of which will be recovered by USC D-linemen. Unfortunately Doughty will recover one of those fumbles, and he'll be too tired to run more than 5 feet.

Final score 29-31. USC wins.

Despite my youthful optimism and great support for the team, USC will probably not be so fortunate. But this is the attitude all must have before a midterm.

So in my spirit of optimism, I proclaim that tomorrow will be a triumphant day for Josh Murphy, in which he will defeat the evil pathology monster, and his grade will be higher than the number of points that Auburn puts up against USC's sorry D-line.

 

Tests

No real post for today. It's study time. I've got to prove to somebody who's been talking at me, but never really to me, that I know the difference between liquefactive necrosis and gangrenous necrosis.

Before I go, I do want to share my story of the day.

About 7:30 tonight, I rode my bike about a mile from my apartment to the Taco Bell on Folly Rd. Several people I know have sworn off this Taco Bell because of shoddy service. If it weren't the cheapest grub within a 10 minute drive, I would probably avoid that Taco Bell as well. But I was craving a cheesey bean and rice burrito.

So I go and order off the 99 cent menu, as is the Murphy custom, and have one of the strangest Josh vs. Fast food cashier dialogues I ever expect to have.

Josh - "Um... Um.. I think I'll have a Spicy chicken soft taco, and a Cheesey bean and rice burrito."

Taqwanda the cashier - "Is that all?"

Josh - "Yup" As I begin to pull out my wallet, I remembered that I had some change rattling around in my pocket. I pull it out of my front left pocket and count 2 dimes and 2 pennies.

Taquanda the cashier - "That's $2.15."

Josh - "Alright..." and I hand her 2 $1 bills and 2 dimes. For those of you that went to South Carolina schools, that adds up to $2.20.

Taquanda the cashier - "Oops. Is it alright [inaudible] 5 cents? I [inaudible] the cash register.

Josh - "what?"

Taquanda the cashier - "Is it ok if I [inaudible] 5 cents back? I put in the wrong number in the cash register."

Josh - "Yeah sure.. whatever"

So at this point, I've put together that she doesn't intend to give me my change back. Especially since I came home without my nickel--just the two pennies I walked in with. But I'm still a little annoyed. What's so hard about reaching into your open cash register and giving me on of the shiny little nickels you've got sitting in there?

I think I want my nickel.

 

Injections


I gave my first injection today. As usual, it was another good day for me... and it was not as good of day for another poor soul.

When they tell you how to give an oral injection, it goes something like this: Stick the needle up in there until you feel it hit the bone. Then back off a little bit and squeeze.

I am currently accepting applications for my next volunteer (victim?).

In other news, my bible study will start meeting on Mondays, my flag football team beat the first year dental students on Sunday, and I've got two midterms coming up this week, so I'll have plenty to keep me busy.

 

Webcam of the week: Lion View

You don't have to go to the zoo any more to see the lions.
The Columbia zoo has a "Lion View" webcam of the lions, and I think it's just like going to see the real thing. Note how the lions just lay there. It's amazing.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:30 AM

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My first patient


Nobody likes to go to the dentist. I've always hated going to the dentist. Almost anybody who's been to the dentist has a horror story about it. Quite frankly dental visits aren't any fun. Banks are boring too, but at least they give out suckers. Dentists only give away lousy toothbrushes. For most people, going to the dentist is like

Well, in order to read what other people have to say, I did a google search for "going to the dentist is like..."

Windows update It's tedious and sometimes painful, but those that avoid going today because they feel fine end up going through a more painful and expensive process down the road.
Dying and going to the really boring Christain version of heaven. Frankly, it's terrifying. (Josh's note: I don't really know what that means...)

Joining a cult. At first, your will is broken with stern lectures on "neglect" and vague threats of "surgery." And only after you're made pliant with repentance can you be built back up, reborn as a better, more obedient, rigorously flossing convert. I think the chair is part of it. You're restrained, drugged and threatened with injury, which makes anyone more susceptible to programming.

Going to a very bad show: It does not relax you, you get to see nothing, the sound is terrible, you rarely get good news, and to make the whole thing complete, you get to pay too much
Paying for car insurance, is like being processed on a conveyor belt, is like getting a haircut in your mouth etc etc etc.
And all of those describe what it's like going to a dentist who knows what he's doing. I can't imagine what my poor patient had rushing through his head. For the first time in my life, the table was turned. I got to be the object of fear--an inexperienced object of fear at that.

In all honesty, my patient had every reason in the world to be horrified. I didn't have the heart to admit this little fact. He asked. I embellished. The truth is, I've poked around on some of my classmates--3 of them actually, but I never touched a real life patient who had some use for my "services." Quite frankly, if he couldn't see through my averted eyes, shaky hands, and poorly improvised confidence, then I deserved to get away with my little white lie.

So here's to my first patient. A bad day for some random guy. A great day for me. It only goes up from here. But hey, somebody had to start somewhere.

 

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