Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kreb's Cycle

Guess we all know which section my brain is absorbing today:



And, I  must add, you are very lucky I do not have a YouTube of me singing any song... seriously.  Although I've been tempted at times to come up with own videos to help me (and you!), I've decided singing is better left to others.

Best Day Ever!

Friday, March 30, 2012

MCAT Postponed

Never registered, my finger only slightly hovering over the "REGISTRATION OPEN" link on AAMC, I needed time to sift through the options, the pros and cons of registering now.

When my sifting and digesting was done (no chymotrypsin required, although I am sure there was a great amount of proton uptake into the inter-membrane space via ubiquinone), it did not make sense to take the MCAT this year, and apply in mid to late August.  While that is disappointing in many regards, it also felt oddly relieving.

Yes, I will be a year older at application - sort of.  I'd have been 48 at application this year, and on June 1 of next year, I will still be 48.  That said, age at matriculation, I will be - le gasp - 50.  Cool part is I am beginning to really believe the word "matriculate" - it doesn't sound like a swear word, it doesn't feel like a fabrication.  I can "see" (hope?) the invitation to join a class; and it propels me onward.

In making most of my major life decisions, I ask for a sanity check.  What am I missing?  What other aspects should I consider?  How could this affect me long-term?  Yesterday, I spent a good portion of time talking through how I got to where I'm at in my 8 month delay in taking the MCAT, why I think it is the right way to proceed, and my own thoughts on impact.  The health science advisory group specifically tasked with helping traditional - and non traditional - premeds said I was spot on.

The 8 month delay is nothing to the medical school.  My age is truly just a number as my GPA holds up against those far younger than me, and a top MCAT score solidifies my standing a person able to, wanting to, and eager to withstand the rigors of medical school education.  Coupled with my strong LORs, volunteering, shadowing, and leadership, it does not feel like there is a gaping hole in my application; especially, if I retain the methodical way I've approached most of this path.

As I walked out of the office so many students begrudge what I heard was, "You're going to be a great doc!  We feel you are going to be a great applicant and a stellar student."  I turned, smiled (beamed, actually) and said, "Really?"

Ha!  I... think so too.  Just need to continue proving myself  :)

Make it a great day ~ remember, BEST DAY EVER!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Biochem Madness

In no particular order, we were informed the following:

For Exam 3 we need to be able to draw:

Glycolysis through pyruvate with each molecule, each path, each intermediate, each electron, each proton, and subsequent energy level change; understand why some steps increase in energy pay out vs. energy intake; understand what happens if the energy requirement is not met - the disease states that can occur, the ramifications given many of the disease states are caused by genetic mutations (hence why knowing the amino acids was critical to the rest of the course).

Pyruvate into Krebs following the above notes

Krebs into the electron transport chain following the above notes; including complex molecules, which pass which protons and electrons to which other complexes, which complex passes nothing, and how the conformational change happens while forming ATP...

AND gluconeogenesis (not a foul word, I promise!) along with each molecule, which pathways are reversible, how the ATP generation gets used, then regenerated in reverse and under which conditions those generations and regens would occur.

Heh.  I'm thinking I'd rather draw chymotrypsin again or discuss the aspects of the enzyme mutations causing bile acid synthesis defect, or CBAS1 instead.

Good thing I bought a full book of drawing paper.  It gets used often!

Think of the video below (not exactly a Honda fan but commercial is pretty great!), as the mechanism for glycolysis to pyruvate into Krebs and finally electron transport chain.  Think of each widget as a molecule and each spin as a required conformational change.  It'll help you understand the depth of what I need to understand (and also the similarity of the functioning parts and the repetition between them):



Best part about getting exam prep now?  I thought the exam was next week and I'm still in filming for a movie.  Cramming exam prep, movie making, and house chores (the dane, remember?!?) was making head a little woozy... :) Found out today, the exam is in two weeks!  Whoo hoo!

Best Day Ever!

Last Project

For the life of me, I cannot get motivated to finish up the last project for my current contract.  And I am not sure why.  It's not like I want to stay there and extend.  I don't.  The manager being promoted to the director role is awesome, as I've said before.

I stare at the mounds of paperwork that has to be 3-hole punched and organized and the smile at my slave son and think he'd be perfect the job :)  As I move my little consulting group forward, I'm going to start employing him, on W-2, so that he can learn the business side of the world from the business side, not retail.  I wish he could do Visio diagrams, and Word docs the way I need.

Then, I could study.  Or watch tv.  Or.  Anything but what I have to get done.  By tomorrow.

Erg.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Greatest Morning EVER! (edited)

Woke up to dreams that involved the furkids. Bentley was asleep curled up beside me (garoooosssss) with my arm around his side, starting to pet him, it felt wet.

Had he just licked himself?

No, he was just as woozy as I was.

He rolled over on his backside, a great dane genetically enhanced trait (haha!!). I felt his big chest.

He was wet.

As I moved my hand slowly down his stomach...

It got wetter.

At that point, I was fully awake, telling him to get off the bed, whereupon I noticed...

A big, perfect circle of...

dog dripping pee

Yes, greatest morning ever! lolol

IT GOT BETTER!

With a wee bit of rain on the pavement, cars crawled.  I drive a large SUVish type vehicle for which it was given a BIG engine... and I flew to school.  Flying down the ramp (think Cruella De'Ville or in my case, Cruella De'Calade), I parked in my favorite area, grabbed my heaping large backpack, and ran for the elevator to carry my sorry-late-arse five floors to the parkway.

Only.

The elevators crashed.  Stopped.  Mid-floor.  When they started again, they stopped on "a" floor and I had the choice of running four flights of stairs or running outside.

I chose outside.

I made it to class ON TIME but... heaving.  Seriously, I need to work out!

BEST DAY EVER!  :D

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Austin

Dear Austin,

I wish you could read this, somehow, some way. I wish I could tell you how your little brother has grown up into a fine, young man. I wish you could eat Easter dinner with us...

There is never a day that goes by where you are not with me. There is never a day that passes without a question of who you'd be today. There is never a day that weaves through my life that I don't wish things were so different.

Forever, and ever - Happy Birthday, AJ!

~ Mom

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Is It Bad

I loved ochem but honestly, I don't miss it. Not at all.  Opened up my EK MCAT prep books last night (I am a wild and funny lady when not playing that video game!) and found I could still answer most of the ochem questions and passages.  Farking "B" anyway!  It was easy to leave ochem behind... and escape.

Was playing on my little healer last night, a diversion I truly needed.  Fear is quelling somewhere inside me and I am again, at that point where I wonder, "Where and how?" resumes have flown out the door, contracting companies contacted, so I dove into the video game to escape.  Replete with it's cartoonish landscape and encased in scavenger hunt type tasks, I can escape for a small time and forget.

It is also where I get to laugh.  A lot.  People are grouped up into larger groups who get to know each other, if only through pixelated screens and whatever is typed.  Therein lies the fun:

often one gets to know the other person by how they behave: are they gracious?  Give of their wares to others without asking for payment, just to be a kind soul?  or are they greedy, nasty, speaking out without considering the ramifications of their words and in-game deeds.

Several years ago, Evil lived with us.  He was the guild leader of the largest light guild in a game called Evercrackquest.  He 5-boxed meaning he had a character on each computer and would play them simultaneously, while asking screaming at me to keep him alive.  Then he would rock back and forth in his big leather bound office chair, panting like a dog after a rabbit.  He'd smash keyboards when his guildmates did not adequately do their "job" correctly, and scream at me if I laughed at his idiotness.  People in the game thought he was funny too, they didn't realize how I paid the price for their inaction in game, outside of it.

He was like that in real life too.  A screamer.  Methodical, tactical, strategic, nasty, screaming, abusive dolt.  What I saw in game with him, was far worse in real life.

I see that in Warcraft too.  In the guilds I have been oft promoted to an officer in, people came to me with their problems and I've heard many:

1)  families torn apart by drugs
2)  families torn apart by abuse
3)  families torn apart by *pick your favorite*
4)  teenage boys needing help talking to their mom about being gay
5)  teenage boys needing help talking to their mom about coming home
6)  teenage girls needing help telling her parents that she is pregnant, and 16
7)  couples who were fighting and did not know how to solve, possibly breaking up
8)  and of course, there have been the game-mances (in game romances - I do not get it but can honestly say, I've been "hit" on in game - and I play an elf)

In each of those instances, I was healer, "mom", friend, and consoler.  Many who come to the game are just escaping but as relationships get built, people figure out who they can trust to keep their damn fool mouth shut and who will blabber it in /2... kind of like real life.

People came to me for guidance, strategy, suggestions, and tactical steps toward resolving problems whether those were in-game, or in real life.

What I found last night when I needed to escape the real world for just a little bit was this:

My in-game friends always make me laugh, just differently than my real life friends.  In-game we laugh about launching a missive on the horde inside their own city (bwahaha), real life friends send me funnies about ochem, or Gaga (hahahahaha - hi Olivia).  In-game friends tell stories about work, school, and newborn babies.  Real life friends... tell me much the same.  Both sets seem to know when things are a little more difficult for me and pick up their end to help me see the light, instead of the dark.  I always hope to repay in kind... like the guild bank where you take what you need, and leave what you can for others to use.

By the way, this is my "main" sans her in-game name from the website:  notice how fierce and strong and FIT she is (as well as barefoot and gray)


Then there is the in-game view with her... yes, those are her ears!


And no, it is not bad I do not miss ochem. And it is not bad I play WoW... and in some cases, I played WoW while doing ochem - it's just called a-chem! (alchemy)

Oh, and I can see me doing something with my toons akin to this:



Make it a great day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Take Home Midterms FTL

Seems so easy, right? Just take it home, use whatever materials you want, can find, dig up; just cannot speak to another human (presumably about the take home).

Except, what I have found, is that take home exams are more complicated, more entrenched in the minutae, and more difficult to complete.

Toss in: finding a building on campus (oh, I dunno, maybe 4 sq miles or so?) that has three science names on it... erg.

BUT what has started off to be a very busy, very distracting day is turning pretty awesome:

I interview with a new company tomorrow for a more significant contract closer to home and very much aligned with what specialty I would like to get into.

Drooling is not quite the word for what is running through my mind!

Okay, back to take home exam:

Evolutionary biology is fascinating!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Contracts & Searches

Frankly, I'm tired.  It is not the constant chaos of not knowing when my next contract is going to come through, or at what level, it is having to relive the past - 6 years ago, to be exact.  Every time something that comes up seems like it is a great thing, a certain firm with a certain person rises up and says something.

Really?

Six years ago and that individual spent no time in prison but perhaps should have?

That is tiring.  Keep a stiff upper lip, karma will pay them a visit, I'm told.  When?

It apparently happened again this week.  Asked for references (AWESOME!) and then told, "meh, we're not gonna check" also known as the international sign for "we've heard bad stuff" ...

The young people I go to school with ask why I'm not more vocal about things that go wrong in classrooms (ala cheating) or why I don't speak out when a certain thug in class dominates the entire class.  The young people want to know why the "right" isn't doing anything, at some points.

Honestly, I can't explain it either than, sadly, the real world doesn't work that way in some cases.  Doing the right thing can actually destroy a life.  As people certainly tried to destroy mine... and still do.

Which has me curious - why so afraid of me?

The SEC no longer cares about a company that has been sold.  The SEC no longer chases after the fraudulent people who perpetrated the errors.  They just don't.

What's even more ironic is how those who were not extricated from their jobs for the malfeasance now make it as though it were me instead. Others who have trod this path know well which I speak of.  I'm lucky in that my name never ended up on the front page of the USA Today as the whistleblower.  However, had it, maybe I'd have had my chance to speak the truth and clear the air about the complete and utter guano that is spoken of me.

And that is why whistleblowing is bad.  That is why I never speak up anymore.  Telling someone to do the right thing, in the right way, without drama, only created immense and protracted drama for me.

And I'm tired.

And now, I'm scared again... almost as if it is 2009 all over again.  Those who believe in me, who have hired me, who have paid me, who have continued to encourage me, who know the whole truth... still stand beside me and shake their heads... willing to step in and tell anyone, I do a great job and the lies, are just that.  They tell me openly and eagerly, "Have them call me - I'd love to tell them about you!"  Four years' worth of references: stellar references; people who, if asked about the other, would openly tell the requester, what is said is a lie.

So, I tell young people: keep your head down, your mouth shut.  If you see something that really bothers you, ask outside the company for guidance.  If you see something that completely goes against your beliefs, just find a different job.  In the long run, a person is far more ahead.

Sad, isn't it?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Flights Booked!!!! (AND Learning Grammar!)

So, exactly two months from today, I will be departing for Ecuador on the biology research trip.  My research project is already planned, products required purchased, and thesis written.  The data gathering will require a GPS, photography, video, and other chemically related materials (I'm keeping it a secret!!)

The pictures should be astounding and to remind you of what I hope to see myself:

Before the rest of my "peers" show up, I'm going whale watching off the coast - seriously, can it be more cool than this?!?!?


Of course it can!  I could end up taking pictures like this (sans my thumb) once in the island chain itself:


By the way, these birds lay two eggs with the first egg hatching a week early.  If the first egg, and subsequent birth, is somehow deformed or genetically wrong, the second bird will hatch, and kill the first.  If the first is normal, when hatching the 2nd hatchling will be killed by the first.  Siblicide.  I hope I don't see that first hand!

Last: these birds need a better makeup artist!  Reminds me of something from the Drew Carey Show!


Overall, I can't wait to go.  Already started buying the materials I need (Keen shoes, etc).

ALL PICTURES ARE COURTESY OF THIS WEBSITE (and owned by them - I'll hopefully have my own in about 3 months!!)  Picture Owner = Galapagos

Friday, March 16, 2012

This Might Be Spam

Not oft spoken about but on a bad, bad day I ... play video games, one in particular.  My son plays it too.

Many years ago when I traveled all over the world, I called him every night.  Sometimes he'd be at home and I get to say "HI!"  He was generally quiet during those calls.  I suspect he might have felt abandoned at the time despite that my parents always were with him when I was gone.  They are great but not "Mom"...

So, we started to play video games together.  I'd log in from Manila or Paris or Stockholm, he'd log in and we'd "conquer" the video world together.  Our conversations were fluid and about life.  Sometimes we'd "yell" at each other across the pixelated landscape but we'd work things out.  I was never "far" away.  In many ways, I was right there with him...  On many nights we'd level alts or become dragon slayers in dungeons.  We still laugh at one night in Hillsbrad... four years later, we still laugh at how fun that night was.  I'd been "killed" by the opposite faction.  And then killed again.  And then killed again.

I'm what gamers call "squishy" - gear is not good, I hate person vs. person playing (also known as PVP), and so my son showed up.

Decked out in full pvp gear meaning someone trying to kill him is stupid.  That particular character at that time was a rogue... Stealth, quiet, killer.

What I am very good at is healing (go figure!!!).  I can keep groups alive, raids up and running, or in this case, my son.

When they killed me the last time, he jumped on his rogue and there ensued about 2 hours of howling laughter.  At first there were two people trying to kill us.  Then four came and thought they could do us in.  At the end, it took 12 people to kill us.  And then "camp" us which means we couldn't log into our characters anymore, or rather, we could not resurrect ourselves and play again.

I think we went to DQ.  :)

As time moved on we became better and better raiders.  His characters on the largest server in the game are in the top end guild - the guild itself is top 50 - think of guilds as sorority houses only co-ed.  You sign up, you get a trial application run, or if you are well known - like he is - you just say "Hey!"

Our accounts are worth roughly $2500 a piece on the black market, if not more.  Between the gold that gets sold (for real USD), and our gear, and our ability to do anything anytime to anyone people want our accounts... and if they can get them for free, even better.

One of the most oft used means of getting accounts, even for a brief time, is to hack the accounts by sending out emails that appear to be from Blizzard.  Also as well known, are the Chinese and Korean hackers sending the emails.

Greatly talented for farming gold and playing video games, they should really learn English.

Thank you for contacting Blizzard Entertainment Support.

When we carry out a routine check when the account, we have evidence to show that your account has been involved in the disputed transactions.

So we have to inform you visit our website( https://us.battle.net/login/en/ )fill out some information to facilitate our investigation.

If you can not tie in with our soon we will have to temporarily lock your account.

I fell for that once and logged in to the phony account, got my account stolen from me, and had to wait for Blizzard to reinstate my account to the last save date.  Blizzard is awesome at taking care of the subscribers, thankfully, and I've never had an issue losing my account permanently.

Which is good!  For the last three days, my son and I have leveled yet another "alt", killed more horde, enjoyed the in-game banter, and continued the tradition of son-mom bonding.

Hackers/spammer be damned anyway!

Back to school and exams... one in which I need to complete for biology.  And somewhere on campus there is a building with some ancient philosopher names etched into it.  Finding it means 2 extra credit points.  I best get them.  The take home mid-term is brutal!!

Make it a great day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Statistically - No A 4 Me

Grades for the last biochem exam are posted.  I was barely above the average.  Overall, I'm sitting squarely at a B+.  There is no statistical means for me to get a flat "A" now.

So, from the week where my job overtook my life - no answers from the boss and the boss telling me I'm done in 3 weeks, 2 days before the major midterm - I've received my first "F" in three years, and my first C+ on an exam in 3 years as well.

I don't think it is a coincidence.  My brain was not on exam prep and honestly, I'm livid.  I have words that are best not uttered even under my breath for the ... I'm glad I will be gone soon.  I wish I could just get paid and be done and never look back.  It was so not worth it.

Humiliating.  The professor I think so much of, I just fubarred his exam.

ugh.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Galapagos U Style

Can't wait!!  Perhaps, it will all work out and soon, I will be here enjoying:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Head +

Ah yes.  Spring break and not a second too soon.

All that drawing of chymotrypsin's mechanism for days upon days, along with the nucleotides/sides and sugars; did not go entirely for naught, it helped me figure out where the covalent bonding occurred in the transitional intermediate and at which phase.  (Phase 1, I believe, right where the serine oxygen attacks the carbonyl amide to create a complex which then makes the nitrogen attack the hydrogen on the histidine, releasing the amino product from phase one, setting up the water displacement of the amino product, and round two of the enzyme mechanism to give the final product: a carboxylate).

Great :)

Now... about those "other" questions.  My head, at 2.25 hours was swimming.  "THINK, Ad2b," my head screamed inside.  "THINK!"  At the end, it felt like my head was in the vise pictured above.  "Where's my diet coke?  Chocolate?  Tea leaves?  Tarot cards?  Anything?!?!?!"  :D

Oh and I did.  Think, that is.

I drew lovely diagrams, perfect G-C with it's three H-bonds in a perfectly appropriate separation of the sugars creating the major and minor grooves... perfect little places for proteins to sneak in and bind.  My phosphatidyl serine was pretty, didn't have color pencils with me or I'd have given "Serina" the pink; but I think it's supposed to have a ketone off the end carbon, prior to the phosphate group.  I drew, erased, redrew, erased, and... left.

Does ATP get through a lipid bi-layer without an aquaporin?  I don't think so.  I think it needs to be chopped up into ADP and the electron transport in order to recycle and give us another boost.  I said, "F" for false.  Wouldn't that fatty head get caught in the phosphate heads of the bi-layer and then get stuck?

So, another test down.  The take home for biology is due the week after spring break. Start up for next biochem exam starts... later.  Much, much later.  I love the class, the professor is awesome, and somehow, I will figure out how to get an A.  Somehow.

Make it a great day - I'm off to enjoy a night with no homework, no mechanisms, no chemicals, no snake venom (ACE inhibitors - who knew something so frightening could be so helpful!)

Note: is it strange for everyone else by this point in pre-med that almost every single word you type has to be right-clicked, "Add To Dictionary" ???  lol

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

AWESOME Organization

Not sure how prolific they are in the US; hopefully, the group is becoming more well known and acquiring better, more vocalized advocates. As the population of America (and the world) continues to age, our elderly are living longer with, or without, additional help.

This organization:  Store To Door

helps the elderly stay more independent for a longer period of time by bringing groceries.  Beyond the immediate implications of cooking one's own food (yeay!), there is plausibly the indirect implication of: owning their home for longer, staying out of nursing homes or assisted living for a longer period of time, and keeping their finances in line (nothing wrong with the care facilities but truly, if one has a choice where to spend money - wouldn't we ALL choose our own home over living elsewhere?) .  Assisted living and nursing homes have their place, there is no doubt, but they are also expensive!

Store to Door is a non-profit organization.  First hearing about them a few years ago, I was not sure who or what they represented.  Tonight, I noticed one of my closest friends' family is listed (believe it or not, I do have them!!!).  The family is pretty picky about who they support, who they donate to, and who they endorse.  Knowing them for over 20 years, the integrity and compassion for others - in words and actions - I can't help but believe this organization is top notch.

My parents are healthy and for that, I'm very thankful.  The past year with my dad has been tumultuous, full of trepidation, and at the end, filled with hope.  During the entire time he was in the hospital (almost 310 days), my mother was able to fend for herself and cook; or eat hospital food (and fend for herself there too!).  I wondered then what would she do (or he do) if they were unable to grocery shop - even if it was the fact that carrying groceries up the stairs or down the hallway of their condo building would be too strenuous.  Thankfully, I know if that day comes there might be help nearby.

I'd encourage us all to think about ways we can help our aging population.  Many of you who read this already do - in practicing medicine.  And maybe, just one or two of you, might find this organization and help there too!

Make it a great day ~

Back to chymotrypsin mechanism drawing (easy actually) and beta-lactamase inhibitors for me!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blessings In Disguise

The contract was a poor fit for many reasons primarily, the manager was not yet ready to assume directorship until I was already there.  Now, she'd like the spot.

Frankly, she deserves it!

She is likeable, knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, supportive, honest... fabulous.  I wish her nothing but absolute success as she takes on the role.

It just means I have to scramble to find something for me.  A better fit, a more amenable solution for all.  While it would have been nice to have this known before I started, at least it gave me 6 weeks of a contract and time to get settled a bit more on the path.  While I will be scrambling (again) for a contract, and hoping something comes up that works well, I will be cheering for her in her new role.

And honestly, a bad fit never bodes well for school... ever.  This will work out to be a win-win situation!!

It has to.  Blessings come in many forms, this is but yet, another one.

Monday, March 5, 2012

YouTube Fun :D

Editing this to be

"They put a proton on S195
Where the charge was once unoccupied
Before that there was a lonely, little O
On the site...

Chy-mo-trypsin
All the protons want to be with you
Chy-mo-trypsin
Our digestion requires ewww"

Yep, Imma geek; thinking of fun ways to remember Chymotrypsin's mechanism...lyrics to come soon!

Spring break is ahead - this could be a funny, geeky, thing to do with "all" my time.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

About That "F"

It was noticed by the professor.  Apparently, he too knows the grade is a complete aberration for me.  Yesterday while studying for the upcoming exam (and trying to destress from a job that is a really bad fit):

"Ad2b, I think you should make time to see me before the next exam.  I have these times available. Please let me know which one you'd like."

Hm.  I AM the naughty child!!!  Nothing has changed :)  My desk is not outside the doorway but that same feeling of "oh god, I'm a " ...

So, I'm seeing him after class, before review session #1 (and attending that as well as the review session #2).

Study focus for today:

1)  Enzyme mechanics for serine proteases specifically, chymotrypsin
2)  Enzyme mechanics for other proteases studied, specifically: aspartic and ....
3)  Drawing of molecules and knowing their properties: sugars, nucleic acids
4)  Write different types of enzyme inhibition: competitive, non-competitive
5)  Draw the amino acids again along with their properties
6)  Understand how to estimate Michaelis-Menten curves and its inverse LB; not the math behind it but how to estimate the answer given data

If I can get through that today (easy??) then I can focus the remainder of the time on solidifying my knowledge before the exam next TH.

That "F" has forced me to hunker down, much like I did in ochem.

I just didn't want to "taste" that again and surely, HATE disappointing the professor.