Tag Archives: Video Games

Habits

I have a Sunday afternoon ritual, one that has lasted for at least six years. After spending the morning at church and with the family, we get to the (potentially) best time of the week: Sunday afternoon. This wonderful time of the week can be spent doing whatever you want. Some of my favorites include napping, reading, cycling, watching football, and writing. This is why I can go an entire week without a post, but have a remarkable consistency on Sunday blogs. Unfortunately, none of these other activities are a habit for me on Sundays.

On most Sunday afternoons I come to terms with the assignments or exams due on Monday. I crack down and get started, only to be sidetracked by a blog or a funny YouTube video. During anatomy, we have a quiz or exam every Monday morning on the material from last week. That’s what I’m supposed to be studying for right now. During college I usually had lab reports due on Monday morning, and during Organic Chemistry the reports would regularly exceed 15 pages a week. One semester I completed a half-Ironman triathlon on Sunday morning, drove home during the afternoon, and then spent 3 hours that night finishing my lab report for the next day.

So I make a habit out of putting things off until Sunday afternoon, then trying to get them done quickly. It’s worked for me in the past, since I am usually pretty efficient and can pull a good grade out of last minute studying. I may have done myself in this last week, however. My birthday was last week, as well as the release of Call of Duty Ghosts, as well as some other extracurricular activities and generally gloomy weather that all combined to make me not very productive on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Now I have to dig myself out of this mess, which means time in the lab all weekend long and extra studying next week to catch up and stay caught up with new material. Yikes.

Thankfully, I have an awesome teacher to help me get caught up. In fact, she is probably the best teacher I have ever had, and I don’t even know her name. I’m talking about the cadaver I have been dissecting for the last month or so. Learning anatomy from textbooks and pictures is terrible. Learning anatomy in the lab doing dissection is awesome. We can learn with our hands, learn from our mistakes, and learn the critical relationships that could never be grasped by looking at a book. Whoever this lady was, she gave a great gift to our group of students.

A few days ago we held a memorial service for all of the 200 or cadavers donated to the medical school. All of the families came and packed into a Catholic church (which is super old, but beautiful). The medical students then honored those that gave their bodies through music, reflections, and a prayer from each of the religions represented in the class. It was really moving, and a great way to thank the families whose relatives donated their bodies. I volunteered as well, but didn’t do anything too special. I drove a golf cart from the parking garage to the memorial service for those who couldn’t walk. True story.

If you are driving one of these and wearing a suit with a nametag, you can go anywhere you want.

I have no idea who this lady was. How many kids did she have? What was she like? Was she a night owl or a morning person? Who were her friends? She is a complete mystery to me. The only things I know about her are that she made a generous decision to help students she would never meet, and she was selfless in her gift. That’s pretty special. What we received from her was the capsule of what was a person. We get the chance to look inside and see the structures that made her human. Ultimately, that’s the reason I am going into the lab on Sunday afternoon to study. I know that this chance I have is special, and I want to honor the people whose gifts gave me this chance.

Thanks for reading.

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Brains, Blogging, and My Favorite Month of the Year

It’s Friday, the sun is shining, the leaves are brilliant shades of red and yellow, and November is just getting started! So many great things happen in November each year that it always makes for a great month. Allow me to walk you through some of these things by first backing up to yesterday.

It was fitting that our dissection of the skull and into the brain would be scheduled for October 31st. I spent the majority of the morning and afternoon carefully sawing, chiseling, and hammering my way through our cadaver’s skull. Eventually we were separated the brain itself from its protective covering (called dura mater) and removed it from the head as well. I think an appropriate amount of Frankenstein/Halloween jokes were made throughout the day. Personally, I thought this dissection was great. Not only did we get to use power tools, we also got to hold and examine the brain, the most intricate and beautiful organ in the body. One partner in my group was a little disturbed by the whole process, and I’m not actually sure where she was most of the time. The skull is quite thick, and the sawing process created lots of dust and a terrible smell (I thought it smelled like burnt hair and cheddar Sun Chips) that grossed many people out. The sawing part was tricky, since we didn’t want to cut too deep and turn our nice brain into a brain smoothie, but we also had to cut far enough to lift off the skull. I didn’t love the smell, but I thought the work was pretty cool. Side note: Chipotle was selling burritos for $3 if you wore a Halloween costume yesterday. I had a pair of scrubs in the car, which I realized doubled as a costume, and since I dissected straight through lunch my burrito for dinner was extra delicious. Yes, I just transitioned from brain smoothie to burritos in two sentences.

Another reason I love November is that my birthday is each year in November. I get less excited about presents every year (yet I also look forward to that….let’s be honest) and more excited about spending time with my family. Since I live farther from home now that I’m in medical school, I’m really looking forward to having my family come stay with me for part of the weekend to celebrate my birthday.

November is a bit of a sad month, because baseball is over, but also a happy month, because a whole new season kicks off. Yup. Gaming season. This pre-Christmas period is launch time for big budget video games that I enjoy playing, like Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield, and Call of Duty. Ever wonder why work/school is a little less crowded on the first Tuesday of November? Call of Duty came out, that’s why. Add in some time off for Thanksgiving, a few premature Christmas carols, and you’ve got a great month ahead of you.

There’s some other things going on this month that I would like to mention as well. You may or may not have heard of NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. Each November, several hundred thousand authors attempt to write a full length novel (50,000 words) in one month. They register online and could potentially win prizes when they submit their finished story by midnight on November 30th. All genres are fair game. I don’t think I can honestly commit to writing 1,667 words a day while in medical school (I’m not sure I say that many words a day), but someday I’d like to try. The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that the rush and pace help spark creativity. You essentially forget about editing and revisions and just dive in and write. That sounds like fun to me.

A more realistic goal is NaBloPoMo, AKA National Blog Posting Month. The challenge is to post once a day on your blog. The posts don’t have to be long or complicated. I’m pretty sure anything goes. I’m a firm believer in setting low expectations and then surprising yourself (just kidding) and this challenge is much more manageable than writing a novel this month. It takes just a quick glance to realize that despite blogging for nearly six months, I have only accumulated 29ish posts. Attempting to double that in a month will be challenging, to say the least.

I’ll wrap this up for today. I’m worried about my dog, who has chased her tail consistently for the last five minutes and looks a little bit dizzy. Thanks for reading. As always, feel free to leave a comment below or send it straight to my face at sortadrwordpress@gmail.com

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My Only Opus

I really enjoy writing. As a clever reader, you have likely already figured that out. After all, I have this blog, and another blog that I loved for several years, so it would seem obvious that I enjoy writing. In fact, I am a far better reader than I am a writer. 

And I’m a terrible artist.

Let me put it to you this way. While I read prolifically and consistently across multiple genres, the only real output I have ever actually generated while writing is in the form of blogs or mini-papers on current topics. I am such a flighty author, never able to stay perched on any subject long enough to generate a substantial product. 

I have a friend who is already a published author. He is my same young age, but he has already written and published his first book. His second and third books in that series are on their way as I write this! So when I consider the fact that we both run blogs with a readership that consists of more than our mothers (barely….hey Mom!), I find myself wondering why I also have not published a book. Is it because I am slightly ADHD and flighty when I get writing? Yes, definitely. ALSO, it’s because I’m an amateur. My friend doesn’t have the work experience or academic experience that I have. In essence, while I was working and studying, he was writing. He has decided to become a professional author. That seemed to suck some of the fun our of it for me. He HAS to write, every day, all the time. Without these next few books coming out, his life will have negative consequences in his near future. I really don’t want that.

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The utilities have to stay on. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So I will keep writing for the fun of it. Now I may have sold myself short near the beginning of this. I want to publish books. Multiple books. I have the rough outline of a novel that I am slowly filling in. I would someday love to publish a work of non-fiction as well, and I have collections of writings on modern day issues that I would publish, if given the chance. I don’t see myself finishing this novel any time soon, but I have no doubt that I will one day sit down and work through the whole story, polish it up, and let other people read it. It might even be good. I have even given some thought to a movie. Despite films many weaknesses in storytelling (and my absolute lack of experience in screenwriting), I have kicked around some ideas for a movie with a good plot. I’ll have to write some other time about why I don’t like movies, because I feel myself getting off topic.

Right! While I may eventually write a book, perhaps a movie, that is sort of good, I think I may have already created my best idea ever, and it’s a video game. Hopefully I didn’t lose anyone there, because this game I have designed will drown everyone who builds and programs it in heaps of money. I’m a med student with no experience whatsoever in video game design, but I pretty much minored in video games for the last four years of college, so I know this is good. If you make video games, or know someone who does, please comment or message me (even if you are reading this far in to the future). I volunteer myself to do writing and design work.

You may be wondering what this game is like. It’s online multiplayer, but with singleplayer portions and mechanics as well. It combines RPG mechanics like levels, equipment, and stats with survival mechanics and open world action. The technology may not yet exist for this game to happen. It might have to wait for the console after Xbox One, or for the PCs of the next decade. I spend a significant amount of time thinking about it this last week, and just the thought of how sweet this game would be has made the games I’m playing now seem less fun in comparison. I think video games are a form of art. Well, if movies are considered art, then video games certainly should be art as well. Bethesda and Ubisoft come to mind as current companies that may have some knowledge of the world I want to create, due to their work with open world environments in games like Assassin’s Creed. 

I will admit that this game is not entirely original. I have created countries, creatures, and geographic features that are distinctly mine, but I borrow freely from games that do things well. I love the survival mechanic from Minecraft, but even that mechanic is better characterized from an older game called Lost in Blue. 

The way I know this idea is good is because I add to that document often. Pretty much daily. It’s like when I am reading a good book and have to know the ending, except I get to continually improve and refine the stories and concepts as I go. Here in a few minutes I will hit publish on this post and leave it on this blog for all of the internet to see forever, but I am going to keep writing. I’ll keep blogging. My novel will fill out a little more (right now it’s like the awkward teenager that seems to be all knees and elbows). I’ll keep daydreaming about this video game, and the game that is made will likely be quite difference from this current version in my head. I’m content with that. I’ll keep writing.

Thanks for reading!