Saturday, July 31, 2010

Study Habits

Everyone once in a while someone will email me asking about my study habits and how I changed them in order to get better grades in school. To be honest, it wasn't the study habits themselves that changed, but how I go about the whole process.

I'm an atypical student in many ways. For one, I hate academic planners. Never used them, never will. Everything goes into my BlackBerry. Important dates, tasks to do, reminders, it's all there. It's always with me, much to the dismay of the wife, so it works out well for me.

And I like having a textbook. Usually about a week or two before a test I'll start studying for it. Using my notes and the book, I start at wherever we began and work my way forward. The first pass I make notes on what I'm stuggling on, and I keep repeating this process.

I have a tendency to become overconfident in my studying though. I often have to remind myself to cover material that I don't think is terribly hard because those are the questions that'll kill me.

In Orgo, for example, I could nail a 11-step synthesis problem, but lose 20 points on naming. Weird and frustrating.

I'm also a huge fan of notecards. I have killed so many trees in the past six years, its amazing. You can tell when I'm studying because I will always have a pack of notecards with me so I can randomly study throughout a day.

Namely I do repeition so that I end up visually memorizing pages as weird as it sounds. I also take a lot of breaks because my mind will start to get worn out after a certain amount of time, and then what's the point of studying?

That's my method, although I'm sure that won't work for everyone. Hopefully it'll answers some of the questions I've been getting.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Introducing Lipitor HD

It seems almost as if you can get anything in 'HD' today. Oh no, HD is not just for televisions anymore. There are HD Sunglasses, HD paint and I even saw a sticker on a mirror claiming it was HD quality.

Naturally, it would make sense for the Big Pharma to jump in on this. And why not? They pray on the lack of knowledge the public has on drugs, they might as well kick it up a notch.

I'm sure it would go something like this:

NEW YORK CITY, NY - Today Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler announced their newest product to be offered to consumers, Lipitor HD.

"Everyone knows that Liptior will soon be going off patten. As a company that has been unable to produce an innovative drug in many years, it is imperative that we find some way to continue making money while doing as little work as possible," Kindler began.

"One of the most popular terms signifying quality and wealth is the phrase 'High-Definition' or simply 'HD'. We decided that we needed to be the first company to produce a HD drug, and thus Lipitor HD was born."

Pfizer explains that it will explain to consumers that Lipitor HD is Lipitor but at a much higher resolution. This makes it more effective because a higher resolution automatically means it works better.

"Then we decided to market it in a 10,000 µg, 20,000 µg, 40,000 µg and 80,000 µg because bigger numbers mean that Lipitor HD is more powerful than non-HD Lipitor."

It is expected that Pfizer will price Lipitor HD at a 50% markup from the current price of Lipitor.

"The increase in price is representitive of the fact that we will continue to make sure the public believes our product is vastly superior to any generic counterpart. Our motto at Pfizer is 'Money First, Brain Washing Second and Skirting Government Regulations Third."

Lipitor HD is expected to hit pharmacies nationwide in Q3 2011.

Note: Lipitor HD is a fictional product, but don't put it past Pfizer to actually attempt something like this.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

No hablo español

The city I'm living in now is... different that where I had been. It is much more diverse than what I accustomed to. Perhaps the most odd thing is that it does not swing in one direction, it's pretty even desperation of cultures.

After being here for three weeks though, I have come to a decision. It is something I knew I would have to do at some point given my profession, but it was something I thought I could put off for a while.

It's time to learn Spanish.

I'll be the first to admit that languages are not my strong suit. I struggled a ton with it in high school, although I will say my study habits have vastly improved.

It just seems like one of those things that not only will be immensely helpful during the work day, but will be helpful for patients. I do not expect to be able to speak it fluently, but would like to able converse on the most basic of levels.

Naturally I do not have enough on my plate as it is, but I figure I can take my time at it. I just need to find the motivation to actually start it and keep up with it.

I guess I know what I'm doing until school starts now...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Whatever Happened to Good Writing

Naturally this is a ponderous question coming from a blog... yet it's something I find myself wondering these past few days.

As I've alluded to several times, I do a bit of writing elsewhere on a semi-regular basis. This has truly become something I enjoy doing, especially when the topic greatly interests me. It's even more interesting considering I've only had two true writing classes in the last ten years of my schooling.

One of the things that I have noticed of late is that I don't write like the typical person today. Granted, this place does not see much of my formal writing as a lot of the time the posts here are quick thoughts on a particular topic.

What further drove this point home is that in the past week I have been reading several older articles (I'm talking 40+ years ago) partially for curiosity and partially for something I may write. During these readings I was taken aback by the differences between what the author wrote then and what an author would write today.

Once upon a time, the written word was elegant, almost beautiful at times. For some articles, namely sporting events which is where my focus has been on, the writing gives that specific event a sense of grandeur not found today.

There is a pacing to the writing, a rise and swell if you will, that allows the reader to become emotionally involved in the piece.

Now go look at a recent article online or in your paper. Be it a headline story, a sports story, and entertainment story or what have you. Notice any of the points I just mentioned?

Writing today is very stale and, for lack of a better word, boring. It doesn't fire you up, it just presents cold, hard facts. Even 'opinion' pieces are often devoid of any real written beauty.

It's sad.

When I write I generally attempt to make each piece it's own artwork. Never do I simply spit out a collection of words and colloquialisms in the articles I write. One of the reasons I admire Drug Monkey is that, when he chooses, he can be one helluva Wordsworth, something you do not often seen in a blogging format.

Granted I'm sure a lot of this can be attributed to the rise of the internet and the 'satisfaction now generation', but that doesn't explain why it's lacking in the majority of published works. Perhaps some do not like to read articles like that anymore, maybe they no longer wish to be emotionally vested in something they are reading.

And maybe that's the most sad part of this whole situation. The fact that the allurement that was once the written word has been stripped to nothing more than the text on the back of a shampoo bottle.

Then again, I could simply be off the mark and it could be I that is the one who is unusual.

Wouldn't be the first time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Top Chef

One of the must-watch shows the wife and I have on a regular basis is the show Top Chef on Bravo. I personally love cooking shows in general and for some reason this one completely enthralls me.

Part of it is because it seems realistic. I am not a fan of reality television because, and don't ask how, I can tell when it's not real. There's something about a situation or the way that person acts or talks that resonance with me as fake. Maybe it's a talent, maybe it's weird, but it's why I typically do not enjoy those shows.

Top Chef has been different... until this season. Now nothing pisses me off more than when a show begins to lose their way. The wife was watching the show Ghost Whisperer a few years ago and I became interested in it. Eventually it lost it's way, jumped the shark if you will, and became a characterful of itself.

And it pissed me off.

The same thing is happening with my beloved Top Chef this season. If it doesn't seem contrived, the challenges themselves are ridiculous.

I can almost picture the big wigs in the head Bravo office going: "More Drama! More Suspense! More Challenging! More! MORE! MORE!!!"

It makes me sad and angry in a way. Why must they always fuck with the shows I like? Yet shows like 90210 or anything that's on MTV are continued to be aired.

Oh well, they better not mess with Castle this next season... heads may roll.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Help Save The Puppy

Not in a literal sense of course, but we are looking for some help with her.

Her training has been going much better since we moved. Our last apartment was not very conducive to something like potty training, and generally it's been going much better. With one exception.

We can't get her to shit outside. She flat out won't do it.

It happened once since we've been here (going on two weeks now) and it's getting more than a little annoying. Peeing is not an issue for the most part, but number two just does not seem to cooperate.

After watching her quite closely, we have not developed the rhyme or reason as to when she is going to go. With as often as we do take her out, you'd think it would happen at least once, but to no avail.

So I ask you dog lovers out there, what on Earth can we do to fix this? With school coming, and a baby on the way, it's something I want to solve sooner rather than later.

Before we lose our sanity that is.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What's A Pharmacy Blog Without the Pharmacy?

It's a question I've been pondering as of late. Tomorrow will make it exactly two months since I have worked in a a pharmacy. While that may not seem like a good deal of time to some of you, it is still rather strange.

Hell even my friends have commented on my lack of entertaining stories and/or texts during a day.

Now that the wife and I are fully situated after the move I found myself with little to talk about. I no longer have the day to day interactions that I enjoy so thoroughly.

Yesterday I happened to overhear an older couple talking about how they had been turned away by the pharmacy in the store because they could not answer the question. It was about Medicare and four wheeled walkers which I quickly educated them on and told them the steps they needed to follow in order for Medicare to pay their portion.

It was a rush in a way because it was something I have not been able to do for quite some time.

What's making it even more difficult is... well the money aspect. I'm sorry but the pay as a cashier at Walmart does not compare to that of a senior tech in a pharmacy. Money will soon be getting tight if I don't find a place to call home.

Later this week I'll be making my rounds hitting up every pharmacy in sight in the hopes that something will materialize before school starts. Seeing as summer is nearing is conclusion, I figure I'll have a much better shot now than I did in May.

So, again, I ask what is a pharmacy blog without the pharmacy?

I'll tell ya what it is... not as damn interesting that's what.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Double Rainbow All The Way

Nathan Fillion is hands down one of my favorite actors. I have yet to see anything of his and not be immensely enjoyed by it.

A few days ago on Twitter he began propagating the phrase 'Double Rainbow'. Upon a bit of digging I found out precisely what it was pertaining too.

I now introduce it to you in the hopes that the phrase 'Double Rainbow' will enter your daily lexicon.

I know it has for me.

Proper Definition - CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Forest Gump Driving Academy

Let me preface this by noting that I have only lived in this area for about two weeks now. I am, quite literally, well out of my element in terms of location. Prior to interviewing here I had been to the area maybe once and I am several hours away from anything I am familiar with.

I have also lived in, and am familiar with, two very large metropolitan areas.

That being said, this city must have the highest concentration of mentally handicapped drivers I have ever seen. And I don't mean in an unsafe manner, I mean I am on the road with a bunch of Rain Men.

The following examples are merely from my short 15 minute drive to work today.

First, everyone here seems to do at least 10 mph below the speed limit. All the time. The main road I take has a posted speed limit of 45 mph. I was going 35 and FLYING past people. It's insane.

Second, I witnessed a semi attempt to make a turn as if he were a regular vehicle. No preparation in how wide he was going to have to turn, he just cranked it and went. Naturally he went completely up on the sidewalk always before he stopped and realized what he did.

Then he suddenly threw it in reverse and started backing up towards the rest of us. In the middle of a busy intersection. As the lights were changing.

Oh, but there's more.

So for a brief while I travel down this three lane road or what have you. I'm crusin' along when suddenly traffic slows to a crawl. The reason? There's a 'Wet Paint' truck ahead.

Now, I know what you're thinking right now. "Oh Phatty, why get bent out of shape for people abiding by the utility workers. That's a good thing!"

And it is.... except he wasn't on duty. He was just driving on the road, probably to his next job. No lines were being painted, no cones collected, no lights flashing, just driving.

And because the back of the truck said "WARNING: Wet Paint, DO NOT PASS" every naturally decided that in no manner is it acceptable to pass the truck.

This is going down a three lane busy road at 20 mph. Each lane had at least eight or nine cars backed up in it because no one would pass the freakin' truck simply because they could not comprehend that the sign on the back of the truck was not relevant.

After two miles I turned off the road and let the idiot brigade carry on.

Now I have seen a lot of stupid shit on the road in my short life, but this really has to take the cake. You cannot comprehend how dumbfounded I was by the end of my journey.

And I have four more years left in this city.... I think I need to start investing in more Johnnie Walker.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Unexpected Experience

So often in retail pharmacy you become jaded to what people are actually like. When I'm training someone new, I like to reinforce that you have to be prepared to explain things in very simple terms to patients. And to also be prepared to hear assine things because no matter how stupid you may think a patient is, they can take it up a notch without warning.

Yes, I know that sounds terrible, but you can only hear so many times about someone shoving a suppository WITH the wrapper still on up their ass. It's a fact of life in pharmacy though, nothing ceases to amaze me.

But I digress, for the last ten years this is the type of thing I have seen. People generally pissed off that they aren't getting their way (whether they have a good reason or not) with the occasional kind, understanding person.

Today I was reminded that not everyone is wired that way.

By the halfway point of my first shift on the floor of Big Evil today, I was on my own. And I was shocked, shocked, at how kind and understanding the vast majority of the customers were.

Quite nearly everyone was understanding and helpful, people were laughing and smiling. It was such an utterly stark change from what I'm used to that I could hardly believe it. I didn't have anyone glare or yell at me all day long.

It was amazing.

Perhaps I am a bit on the jaded side from the past few years. Maybe I do need to start giving people a little more credit than I have been.

Who knew I would actually learn something from this little gig?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Quiet Room

What an interesting day. Now I have studied this company in detail for several of my business classes. I've come to respect how efficient they are in the way they do business. And I'll be the first to admit that they have done a good job in removing many of the... cold ways in which they do business with their employees.

That being said... it was weird. The first video I watched was an eight minute spiel that pretty much said Unions were the reason Jesus was killed. I'm serious, that is all the first video was about.

Now I won't get into my personal views on the matter, but I'm not sure I have ever seen such a biased and, if I may use the phrase, brainwashing video in my life. If I had no outside experience of unions, and I were ignorant, I would easily take everything said there as fact.

And there is something inherently wrong about that.

The best part came later. During my 'tour' I was shown the break room for employees. Off to the side, there was another room with a small window. I was told that it is called 'The Quiet Room'.

Apparently if you are having a bad day and just want some place that's quiet, you can go in there.

I now think that every pharmacy should have a 'Quiet Room' in the back. Seriously, how awesome would that be?

Bitchy customer that does not want to pay their $2 copay? I'm going to the Quiet Room.

Argus down again grinding the pharmacy to a halt? I'm going to the Quiet Room.

Customer wants their Oxycontin filled 14 days early, then becomes angry and borderline violent when you tell them now? I'm going to the Quiet Room.

Shit, while we're there, let's put a kegerator in there. Maybe a Barcolounger. And one of those nifty massaging mats.

How awesome would that be?

It's been just one day and I've already been amazed and disturbed. I'm going to like this place I think.... for a the entertainment aspect that is.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Dreaded Beep of an Alarm Clock

After 48 long, and ultimately unfruitful, days I shall return to the working world. No, it's nothing as glamorous as counting by five all day and repeatedly telling people 'No, you're hydrocodone subscription has not been called in yet' but it's something.

It'll be the first new job I've had in six years and my first job outside of a pharmacy. To say it is will be weird is a vast understatement.

Aside from that the wife and I survived the move. I do believe River is the happiest out of all of us as she has much more space to run around inside now. I will be EXTREMELY happy when I finally unpack the last box and our decorations will no longer consist of cardboard strewn about.

In any case, I am being a good boy and going to bed early tonight. At 8am tomorrow morning, I become yet another smiling face at Big Evil.

I just hope you guys are ready for the stories.

Friday, July 2, 2010


In the process of moving right now, so I figured I would bore you all with some more music.

This is an acapella group someone I dated a few years back introduced me too. They generally put out some rather cool stuff and I couldn't find much on YouTube so I had to upload it myself. I'm fancy like that.