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What is Love... in the Kitchen

What is love?

When you walk into a dark kitchen at 6:00am to brew coffee, and turn on the light to find a long-legged house centipede in the sink, love is never telling your wife (that is, until the neighbor tells you about the centipedes invading his house every year about this time and asks if you've seen any centipedes in your house while aforementioned wife is present, but what can you do?).

Love is washing the centipede down the disposal, clearing off the countertops, thoroughly cleaning them to remove crumbs and other foodstuffs that attract insects that attract centipedes, and spraying insecticide in the crawlspace, and around entryways and floors.

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/27/2004 @ 18:12 :: [link] ::

Rumsfeld - Snake in the Grass

Rumsfeld held a press conference today. At one point he compared the violence in Iraq to murder rates in American cities, implying that Iraqi cities are no more dangerous than those in the United States:

"We had something like 200 or 300 or 400 people killed in many of the major cities of America last year. Is it perfectly peaceful? No. What's the difference? We just didn't see each homicide in every major city in the United States on television every night. It happens here in this city, in every major city in the world. Across Europe, across the Middle East, people are being killed. People do bad things to each other."

Such deception and truth-bending sums up why I cannot stand that man. He's so deceitful and devious. On the surface, one can almost swallow that analogy smoothly, but turn on your brain, and it's obviously pure b*lls*it.

First of all, how can anyone possibly think Fallujah and Baghdad are equivalent to high crime U.S. cities like Detroit or Los Angeles? Are people regularly kidnapped and beheaded in Detroit or L.A.? Are there car bombings and assassination attempts? Is the U.S. military or national guard running aird raids or patrolling the streets in an attempt to regain control because rebel insurgents have taken control?

Second, the population of Iraq is 25.3 million. The U.S. population is 293 million. The population of California alone is 1.4 times that. The population of Fallujah is 285,000; the population of Los Angeles is 9.3 million; Detroit's is 911,000. Get what I'm saying? Rumsfeld's was not apples-to-apples comparison, and he knows better. He's a deceitful snake in the grass. In the past year and a half, 13,000-15,000 Iraqi civilians and over 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq.

Let me put it another way. In 2001, the murder rate in the United States, including the September 11 terrorist attacks, was 7.1 per 100,000. That's 20,800 murders. Using the 13,000 Iraqi civilian deaths figure, that's about 8,700 per year in a country of 25 million, or 34.8 per 100,000. In the United States, that would translate to 102,000 murders a year. And that's just what the United States and rebels directly instigate; it doesn't include murders committed by Iraqi civilians.

On Thursday, he told a Senate committee that if the election could be held in three-fourths or four-fifths of the country, but violence was too great for a vote in the rest of the country, "So be it. Nothing's perfect in life."

What?!?!?! That is unacceptable. Sloppy. Florida, anyone? The fundamental principles of a representative, democratic government are defeated if 20-25% of a country's people are not heard. And that's all I have to say about that.

Iraq Body Count

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/24/2004 @ 19:17 :: [link] ::

Commonly Used Prescription Abbreviations, Part 1

In what is sure to run off my single remaining reader, but will surely help me study, a list of common prescription abbreviations is defined below. I only wish pharmacy school was this easy. I post little quips about lab and abbreviations, but that's just part of the pharmacy practice class. There's also physiology, biochemistry, antibiotics, drug design, and OTC. I haven't figured out a practical way to study for those while weblogging because there's too much to type and I'd never cover all the material. For example, I have 390 PowerPoint slides for the first Physiology test... if I typed all that, I'd call it a textbook and sell it.

But I digress... on with the abbreviations...

aa - of each
abd - abdomen
ac - before meals
ad - up to
a.d. - right ear
ad lib - freely
AM - morning
amp - ampule (of medication)
aq - water
a.s. - left ear
ASA - aspirin
ATC - around the clock
au - each ear
BCP - birth control pill
bid - twice a day
BM - bowel movement
BP - blood pressure
BPH - benign prostatic hypertrophy
BS - blood sugar
BSA - body surface area
c - with
Ca - Calcium
CAD - coronary artery disease
caps - capsule
cc - cubic centimeter
CHF - congestive heart failure
COPD - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CP - chest pain
dil - dilute
dtd - let such doses be given
DC - discontinue medication
DES - diethylstilbestrol
disp - dispense
div - divide
DJD - degenerative joint disease
DM - diabetes mellitus
DO - Doctor of Osteopathy
DW - distilled water
Dx - diagnosis
elix - elixir
EtOH - ethanol
Ft - make
g - gram
GERD - gastroesophageal reflux disease
GI - gastrointestinal
GU - genitourinary
gr - grain
gtt - a drop
HA - headache
HBP - high blood pressure
HCTZ - hydrochlorothiazide
HR - heart rate
HRT - hormone replacement therapy
hs - at bedtime
HTN - hypertension
inj - injection
IV - intravenous injection
IM - intramuscular injection
ID - intradermal injection
IU - International Units
JRA - juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
KCL - potassium chloride
kg - kilogram
L - liter
mcg - microgram
mEq - milliequivalent
mg - milligram
mg/kg - milligrams per kilogram
mg/m2 - milligrams per square meter
mL - milliliter
mOsmol - milliosmole
m, min - minimum
MOM - milk of magnesia
MS - morphine sulfate
MTX - methotrexate
MVI - multivitamin

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/24/2004 @ 13:26 :: [link] ::

Dear Diary #2 - Solution

Dear Pharmacy School Diary,

In our second pharmacy school lab, we compounded a potassium chloride solution. The prescription called for 90 mEq KCl dissolved in about 20ml water with sufficient syrup to make 90ml (1 mEq/ml KCl solution). I used a cherry syrup with 20 drops of orange flavoring, anticipating a pleasant cherry-orange flavor.

We sampled our solutions in the interest of gaining patient perspective, and learned a potassium chloride solution tastes foul no matter how it's flavored. Despite our efforts to add orange, cherry-orange, lemon, or maple extracts, the KCl reigned supreme as the most powerful flavoring agent of all.

Also in the interest of gaining patient perspective, we were acquainted with two very important guidelines for printing prescription labels:

  • Some patients can't read, so don't spell out numbers. ALWAYS use numeric digits to represent numbers (e.g., "Take 2 teaspoons by mouth 3 times a day."), NEVER spell them out (e.g., "Take two teaspoons by mouth three times a day."). Failure to do so will result in points deducted from your grade!!!

  • Some patients (and professors) are Punctuation Nazis. ALWAYS place a period at the end of patient instructions (e.g., "Take 1 capsule by mouth 2 times a day with food."). Failure to do so will result in points deducted from your grade!!! High school English teachers already have enough to complain about because pharmacists intentionally break a cardinal rule of writing by not spelling out numbers less than 10 on prescription labels!!!

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/21/2004 @ 16:46 :: [link] ::

I'll Have a Salad with Lateral Dressing, Please

Anatomical terms kill me. They're not frequently used in pharmacy practice except institutional, but nevertheless get kicked around a bit, so pharmacy students need to know them for their first physiology test, forget about them for a few years, relearn them for boards, and then as practicing pharmacists, only hear about them occasionally when watching reruns of ER. Check it out:

Anatomical planes:

  • Coronal - frontal plane from ear to ear going head to toe
  • Transverse - horizontal plane, such as the waistline or bustline; also, how one usually slices sausages and store-bought cookie dough
  • Sagittal - down the middle plane, from tip of the nose to the back of the head going head to toe, or like an axe would split a log from top to bottom

Using these planes, we also derive several anatomical positions. These are more numerous and confusing than the planes. For example:

There are three ways to distinguish "front" and "back":

  • Anterior and Posterior - front and back (respectively) of the coronal plane.
  • Rostral and Caudal - toward the tip of the nose (front) and tail (back), respectively.
  • Ventral and Dorsal - the side of the body opposite the spine (front) and side with the spine (back), respectively.

For "above" or "below," use Superior or Inferior. If something goes up or down, use Ascending or Descending.

For "near" or "far," use Proximal or Distal. If something comes near or goes away, use Afferent or Efferent.

If something is in the "middle," use Medial; likewise, if something is "on the side", use Lateral.

If you want to compare two things on the same side of the body, simply saying "on the same side" won't do; you must say ipsilateral. And in the same vein, saying "on opposite sides" won't do, either; you must say contralateral.

Next time you order a salad, remember to tell the waiter whether the dressing should be medial or lateral to salad. Welcome to my world.

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/18/2004 @ 12:53 :: [link] ::

Iraq Miscalculations

I have strong environmental views that alone would lead me to cast my vote for Kerry, but that's not the only reason in this election. As far as terrorism is concerned, no reasonable minded person actually believes a president would ever approach terrorism as a crime, not an act of war. Taking that a step further, I believe Kerry would lead the United States along a more effective course of action.

Consider what the Bush administration has done. What started with a terrorist organization in Afghanistan was crafted into attacking Iraq for allegedly harboring weapons of mass destruction that it does not have and promising a quick war and that the Iraqi people would welcome us with open arms. Even if Bush at one time truly believed the Iraqi war would be so simple, everyone now ackowledges Iraqi is a complicated and difficult theater. How Bush can continue with the same advisors who made such gross errors before, went into Iraq without a strategy, and who continue to frame the Iraqi war in pipe dream best case scenarios, is unconscionable.

Claiming an easy war and executing without an endgame strategy smacks of Vietnam. Those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it. Bush never went to Vietnam and doesn't read the news... maybe that's his weakness, but it comes at the price of lives and money the government doesn't have.

Heads should roll. If Bush can't make it happen within his own administration, then the American people should make it happen in November.

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/15/2004 @ 23:22 :: [link] ::

Why Couldn't I Win the Lottery, Instead?

I bought a parking pass from UK before school and hung it in the windshield. I didn't think anymore about it until I saw a parking ticket on the Prius after I had unknowingly parking in an employee lot. I now religiously scout out the parking zone signs before parking in a lot... lesson learned.

That's when I noticed the security office assigned parking pass numbers based on social security numbers, because mine matched the last 7 digits of my social. With those last 7 digits it's not rocket science to guess the other two, because the social of most people applying for a number in Kentucky begins with a "40". Or at least that's how I thought the parking passes were assigned. When I went to the parking office to pay the $15 fine and take issue with having my social on public display in the windshield of my car, the guy behind the desk first looked at me as if I were a nut, pulled up my student record, then looked at my in disbelief and asked if I had bought a lottery ticket today.

Yeah, that's right - pure coincidence. A 1 in 10 million luck of the draw, the one time in my life I'll probably ever go head to head with Fate on such unfavorable terms and win... and my luck was wasted on a parking pass. Not the lottery, but a parking pass.

It's like having your 15 minutes of fame when your name is John Bobbit. On second thought, I guess it could have been worse.

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/14/2004 @ 18:12 :: [link] ::

Dear Diary #1 - Comminution by Trituration

Dear Pharmacy School Diary,

In our first pharmacy school lab, we compounded 180mg calamine powder and 600 mg lactose powder.

What are the medicinal uses of this mixture? If used as a topical ointment, it might soothe itching from poison ivy and mosquito bites, but the lactose sugar would be sticky and attract biting ants... I'd rather take my chances with the itching. If taken internally, the calamine would make the patient sick to their stomach or worse, and the firecrackers really get lit (pun intended) if the patient is lactose intolerant.

I don't know what the medicinal use of our compound was, but I'm only a first year pharmacy student, so I'm sure it will become apparent later on.

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/12/2004 @ 09:03 :: [link] ::

Here come the tests...

Three weeks of pharmacy school down, 137 more to go. The first round of tests starts next Friday. The pharmacy school has block exams. Instead of each professor scheduling their tests independently, the school sets aside 3 days for exams in all the classes. This prevents students skipping, sleeping, or studying in one class to prepare for a big test in another, but nevertheless feels like a finals week. Imagine that... the stress of finals four times a semester.

I graduated with my biochemistry degree over 7 years ago, but I can still pick up the material. Call my a masochistic geek, but getting into the physiology and biochemistry again after 7 years in Information Technology is satisfying in some strange way. It's like moving back into your comfort zone or finding your favorite toy from childhood in a box and reliving memories.

Corporate America habituated me to sitting in an office all day, which makes staying focused in class and wearing a shirt and tie once or twice a week a cynch, but the studying... blech... it doesn't come any easier. In fact, at 29 years old and 6 years of post-secondary education, I sometimes feel too old to go back to school for 4 more years of this studying crap. These tired old neurons just don't remap dendritic endings (learn) like they used to. But I'll survive. I always do.

I'll start posting notes here from various classes as I study. You could probably care less, but I have my reasons, such as my love of writing, but with limited time to write, I need to seize any possible opportunity; repetition increases retention, so it will help those tired old dendrites learn; and writing in my weblog does the same thing for my studying as buffered coating does for aspirin... that is, it prevents a lot of belly aching.

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/12/2004 @ 08:48 :: [link] ::


We've been in Lexington nearly two months. The rest of the state has a reputation for calling this city snobby. If true, it would have been a drawback to moving here, but that's not been our experience. Quite the contrary, in fact. To wit: without exception, everytime I've browsed the aisles for more than 10 minutes at any grocery store here, even Wal-Mart, someone has asked if they can help me find anything. This never happened in Louisville; you'd run for your life or whip out the pepper spray if a perfect stranger was that "friendly."

Lexington has the positive traits of "Southern" culture without the negative drawbacks... in my opinion, at least. There are churches going up everywhere around town, but the John Kerry bumper stickers are two or three times more common than George Bush stickers. In my experience, religion and progressive thinking are not two things that co-mingle inside a single person's mind, yet it seems to be commonplace in Lexington.

There are exceptions, of course. I did find myself behind a beatup pickup truck on the way home yesterday belching suffocating exhaust fumes and sporting three right-wing stickers ("Don't Take Away My Rights Because You Won't Control Your Child", "Liberalism: The Root of All Evil", and "Guns Kill People The Same Way Spoons Made Rosie O'Donnell Fat"), but that sort of thing is the exception here. I'm much more likely to see "The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own" or "Support Our Troops: No Blood For Oil."

There are a lot of Priuses in Lexington, too. I usually see one or two every day driving back and forth from school. Given Lexington traffic, maybe it's no wonder, because it saves a lot of gas when the Prius' engine shuts off in traffic congestion. The roads in Lexington are built on a hub and spoke pattern converging on the University of Kentucky and downtown. As thousands of commuters squeeze onto the spokes that begin merging as they near campus, congestion runs rampant. It's possibly worse than Louisville... not that Louisville or Lexington hold a candle to traffic jams in cities like San Francisco or Atlanta, but please, Louisville and Lexington are small fry cities.

Link to Urban Mobility Study of increasing traffic congestion.

The NPR is lacking, too. Louisville has three public radio stations each dedicated exclusively to NPR/PRI talk programming, alternative, or classical music. Lexington has one public radio station with all three interspersed. I miss Tavis Smiley on the morning drive.

All in all, Lexington's good people. Thinking ahead a few years to graduation and moving on, I can't shake the feeling that I'll hate leaving this place.

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/02/2004 @ 18:51 :: [link] ::