Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More voting!

That’s right folks, vote early, and vote often…

I wanted to share a few more links for those of  you looking for more information about local elections than I’d provided here. I did a lot of my own research during the primaries, and so didn’t have to do as much this time around, but here are a few organizations/news items that helped me out.

If you’re voting in person, print out a sample ballot to make notes to take with you! You’re allowed to take whatever notes you like into the polls with you, as long as they don’t look suspiciously like campaign materials – leave the buttons and yard signs in your car.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan endorsements

AFT Michigan includes a link to local AFL-CIO endorsements

Ann Arbor News article about the school board candidates

Ann Arbor News article about the library bond proposal

Ann Arbor Journal article about the library board candidates

Have fun with your absentee ballot, or making notes to take with you in person on Tuesday, and remember to vote all the way to the end of your ballot!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

And the interview season marches on…

Cross-posted on Dose of Reality

I’d had a bit of a break since my first residency interview, but this weekend I was on the road again for interview number two. This really marks the beginning of the craziness that will be my interview season. Looking at my calendar for November, there are a total of about 10 days (including the week of Thanksgiving) when I’m not traveling somewhere. Here is how Walter feels about the prospect of my being away so much:

I'll note that these photos were taken on two different occasions. The dog has taken to smooshing his face into small spaces that look ridiculous. And adorable.

Despite having similar feelings about so many flights, rental cars, trains, and hotels, I’m pretty excited. [For the record, I’m not sharing here the full list of places I’ll be interviewing, out of courtesy for the match process and my friends and colleagues, so if you know them, please don't share!]

The following are some highlights from my trip this weekend:
  • I ended up in the airport Friday waiting for a rebooked flight for about four hours after my original flight was delayed enough to miss my connection and thus cause me to miss my interview dinner. [Insert diatribe about what air travel has become.] But I was calm.
  • I ate the following (delicious?) airport food while waiting: a hummus and pretzel cup, a California roll, a Snickers bar. Only the last item really helped my mood, although it’s possible that it was really a cumulative effect.
  • I made it to the last 20 minutes of the dinner/mixer on Friday night, and everyone was delightfully welcoming and wonderful.
  • My interview was great, and I ended up being more impressed with the program than I anticipated.
Here’s a photo of me in my interview suit, seeing a bit of the campus.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A reflection on Blogger stats

This blog, in case you hadn’t noticed, is hosted on Blogger, which uses a simple version of Google Analytics to tell you about how many people look at your blog, where they come from, and what platforms they are using. I like to check this out, as it has revealed an interesting conglomeration of both surprising and unsurprising things. I will leave you to decide for yourself which are surprising, and which are not:

  • that my blog has been posted on a list of medical student blogs;
  • that everyone loves Walter more than any other kind of content I could post;
  • that some people don’t access my blog through Facebook, an RSS feed, or Google Reader, but instead search for things like “dr dre medical school”;
  • that some people arrive at my blog after searching for keywords like “tree smells like poop” and “purple vegetables list”

Those of you who have been long-time, or even just diligent readers will recognize that those keywords most likely refer to one wildly popular post about the Bradford Pear trees on campus and to one very obscure post from back in 2009 about all of the purple vegetables I bought at the farmer’s market. I wish I had some way to predict which random posts would be most popular.

Residency interviews get off and running at the end of the week… I’m a little nervous, but will keep you all posted!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cycling update

My last mention of a cycling-related topic was in a post about how little I had biked during my month in the ICU. Sadly, the two months that followed did not look much better.

 I had a few notable rides, and a few trips to and from the hospital for my rotations, but mostly I felt tired and sore from standing all day, and lazy because I wasn’t on my bike. You’ll notice, however, that is has leveled out since I started my month of vacation and interviews. Here are some highlights from my fall riding thus far:
1. Taco Tour Cinco! I didn’t take any photos, as I hadn’t yet gotten my new (fancy!) phone and I didn’t want to lug my camera around, but this was a great event. As per usual, the tacos were fantastic. My favorite is always Dos Hermanos, for their amazing black bean tacos, but this year Taqueria La Fiesta had a really fantastic nopalito taco that was a close runner-up for me.
2. New Jersey! I ordered a University of Michigan cycling jersey back in April, and was planning to wear it for the century ride. It got caught up in some administrative disaster, and I didn’t get it until just a few weeks ago. Since I ended up having to wait so long, however, I got a great deal on some other Michigan cycling gear. Now that I have it, it’s heavily into the rotation and I decide to try out all of it together on a ride this week. I probably won’t wear the full kit again (as I think it makes me look a we bit more intense than I am), but will definitely be sporting bits and pieces of maize and blue spandex on my rides!

3. Fall colors! This is the best time of year for beautiful rides, and my new phone takes way better pictures than the old one…

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Dear Anonymous

Dear Anonymous commenter,

I’m not sure how many people read the comments on my blog, but those who do have surely noticed a large volume of comments from you, “Anonymous.” I have reason to suspect that you are only a single person, Anonymous, because the tone of your comments is always the same. You do choose interesting moments at which to comment, however, and you are always entertaining. Here are some of the things I have learned about you by reading your comments:
  1. You, like everyone else who reads the blog, love Walter. You love him so much that his the primary focus of your comments.
  2. You enjoy capitalization of words for EMPHASIS, and wild punctuation!!!! I suspect that you talk like this too.
  3. You may be a crazy, dog-loving comparison shopper, given that when I posted about a dog bed, you posted a similar but less expensive one in the comments very, very quickly.
  4. You care a lot about my emotional well-being, but somehow not enough to use your name in your posts and reassure me that I don’t have some creepy anonymous follower who may or may not try to steal the dog in my sleep.
I hope that you continue to enjoy the blog, because I continue to enjoy imagining a nameless follower I’ve never met who occasionally frets over my anxiety level, but also needs a regular fix of the puppy photos and has lots of OPINIONS!!!! You leave the oddest anonymous comments I have every seen. Please keep posting.


Your daughter

PS. That's right, mom, silly letters aside, I know it's you.

PPS. Please don’t bother to start using your actual Google profile to post comments, as the anonymous ones are hilarious.

PPPS. Just for you...

When Walter gets sleepy, he can't keep his tongue in his mouth or ensure that his eyes point in the same direction. So cute!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

To the polls!

I am often annoyed by the e-mails that the Michigan Democratic Party sends to me, as I have no money to give. None. At all. The last one contained a few useful links, however, and reminded me that around this time of year I usually post some election-related material (like this, and this).

October 9th is the deadline to register to vote in order to be eligible for the presidential election, so if you haven’t done so already, register now at the site the MDP sent, which seemed reputable and non-partisan when I clicked through some of it.

You can also confirm your Michigan registration or look at a sample ballot here, or get other voting related questions answered at the Michigan Voter Information Center Website.

As I’ve shared in the past, Michigan requires identification in order to vote, but if you don’t have ID you can simply sign an affidavit and vote anyway. Details from the Secretary of State about the law and how to get a state ID card if you’d like one can be found here.

ACLU Voting Rights Guide: This has information on what to do if you're told you can't vote at the polls, including the Election Protection Hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE and the Michigan Bureau of Elections 1-517-373-2540. You can also visit their Let Me Vote site to learn about state-by-state voting rights.

I’ve actually already got my absentee ballot since I’ll be in Seattle for a residency interview the day before election day, and likely flying home or getting ready to at the time when I’d need to be at the polls. If you’ve got yours too, check out the following websites to get information about the candidates. When I get to my ballot later in the month, I’ll try to post some updated links to information about the more obscure elections, which often don’t make it into national analyses.

League of Women Voters: They collect information about the candidates and line it up so you can compare their views on different questions.

Citizens Research Council of Michigan: Look here for nonpartisan analysis of the ballot initiatives that we'll be voting on here in Michigan.

Still have questions or didn’t find what you were looking for? If you don’t live in Michigan, visit to print out a ballot, find your polling place, and find contact information for local officials, or check your local Secretary of State website for details on how to vote near you.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Rolling, rolling, rolling…

Cross-posted on Dose of Reality

The residency application is definitely moving along. The official opening date for application submission was September 15, and everyone has been doing their best to get their materials in as early as possible. My application has been in for a bit, and the stress of watching my e-mail has increased so much! Here is a snap-shot of my thought process over an average afternoon during the past few weeks:
Hmmm, I should look at my phone and see if I have any new e-mail. I wouldn’t want to miss an interview invitation. Everyone keeps talking about how quickly the dates fill up after they are offered. Oh my goodness, look, an interview request that was sent 45 minutes ago already! Ahhhh! Let me open up my Google calendar where I have all of the potential interview dates entered and figure out what other programs are in the same region and need to have interviews that are near the same date. And also there are national holidays in November that I’d rather not miss. And also I would rather not fly to the West coast 12 different times. And also I need to make a decision on this half an hour ago. Ahhhh! Okay, it looks like this date should work. Take a breath, Andrea, so that your e-mail doesn’t read like some crazed and desperate applicant. Try for “Thank you so much for offering me an interview” rather than “I am so glad that someone will take me as a resident some day.” Okay, breathe. The tone is okay and the address is correct, so hit send.
There is a small amount of adrenaline that goes with each of these exchanges. Maybe a large amount. I’ll be glad when they are all scheduled and I can just deal with the anxiety of interviewing!