Grad school Pt. 2

12:32AM Ok, I’ll try this again. I’ll give myself 10 minutes. Ready, go…

I just submitted my first paper. It was due at 11:55PM. Fortunately, I realized about six hours ago that I actually had until 12:55AM Eastern, since the university is in Central. This was the first of only two papers I have to write on my own. There is a term paper that is part of a team project. Really, I’d prefer it were a paper I had to write on my own. Writing this paper has been exhausting and all-consuming, but in a way that I would not want to alter by having a collaborator.

Anyway, this only had to be a 3-4 page paper. I felt like I was going to have 15 pages. I would have if I hadn’t run out of time and was able to dig deeper. I wanted to. I was curious. I was learning. In the end, it was only 6 1/2 pages.

Thursday night. Friday night. Most of the day Saturday. Most of the day today. Just for 6 1/2 pages. 6 1/2 MEDIOCRE pages. I didn’t even follow the instructions of the assignment. I was all over the place. I had created this ridiculous mind map. I wish a classmate had never posted about mind maps. I spent way too much time worried about the mind map.

I’m being so vague…

I’ve had one assignment graded so far. It was something I put way too much time into last week, and I was unsure of how I had done. 80%, maybe? I hoped I had done better than that. Well, I got 100%. And while initially that was quite rewarding to see in Blackboard, I quickly found reasons to be upset with that grade. (Of course, I did.) I didn’t do a perfect job on that assignment. Give me a 96. Tell me I did a good job, but count SOMETHING against me, please. Did I get a 100 because I did such a great job, or did everyone get an A, and I could have spent half the time on it to get a 100?

This program is HARD. It truly is. It is kicking my ass. And my time is up as of 2 minutes ago.

3 provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That was the paper, by the way. And I really need to add something. I have enormous amount of contempt, like so much more than I did before this assignment, for anyone who publicly declares or privately believes that Obamacare should be repealed. Because someone who says that has know clue what they’re really saying. It would be like…shit it’s 12:51…I can’t go down that rabbit hole.

But I will just a little bit.


No, I won’t. I’m a graduate student studying health care in America. I’ve got to sound like it, and I won’t if I present hostile, extemporaneous arguments in an exhausted state.


Grad School

1:01AM Ok, let’s do this in 5 minutes. I don’t have time. Grad school is kicking my ass. Yes, grad school. Technically, I’ve been enrolled for over a year. I was accepted a year-and-a-half ago. But I procrastinated. I questioned the value of the program. I questioned everything. But I started taking this class three weeks ago. It’s an online class on the American health care system. It’s part of an online masters program in… well, I’m sensitive to be googlable. So let’s say it’s just a fancy term for IT in health care. It’s through a continuous studies school at… (and I spent a year-and-a-half…well, shoot, two years, more than two years…pondering if such a program has any value…is it a “real” grad program…because I am cursed to have known so many “real” grad students, and live amongst them now so close to the Gothic Wunderland)…anyway, it’s through the purple school that one of Coach K’s assistants left Duke for. Yeah, that school.

Anyway, it’s kicking my ass. No free time. I don’t know how to be a student.

And my 5 minutes is up. I’ll write some more about this soon, perhaps.

Herman health update

I suppose I can’t just blog about Herman having pneumonia without a follow-up. No time to blog. He’s been recovering. Been on meds. Coughing less and less. Has lost weight because he wasn’t eating much, and I wasn’t feeding him much. He’ll probably be weaker overall from now on, mostly because he’s 13, and he’s got all these other things wrong. And less physical activity (very short walks). But no vomiting or seizures. Just tired, probably partially due in part to the increased painkillers he’s been on since right before the pneumonia. He looks like he’s on his deathbed most of the time, but “deathbed” has also been his default facial expression since I got him 7 years ago. He is definitely weary. But he’s capable of perking up. I think his quality of life is still reasonable.

Herman Health Update part 2

Herman’s staying in the hospital overnight. Aspiration pneumonia. Pneumonia probably caused by combination of yesterday’s vomiting and summer’s laryngeal tie-back surgery. I know it sounds like the time you think about making that decision. It is. But, for now, the hospital stay may help him get through this, and he may still have some decent quality of life left.

Herman health update

Because I have the blog. Might as well cross-post between Facebook and here.

He spent the day vomiting. Like, everywhere. Long after there was no more food to expunge. Horrific hacks of foam. More like lattes, really. And then he couldn’t stand up for more than a few seconds. So off to the vet hospital. Several hundreds of dollars later, nothing new to report. Sent home with Cerenia and bland food. Wednesday and Thursday were really good days for Herman…the Gabapentin seems to have helped his back leg. But this was not a good day. I guess I should start that exercise of logging my pet’s quality of life from day-to-day.

Since I don’t post such updates anymore, I should mention that this comes a couple days after a night of two seizures, which follows two other seizures over the last few months.

And he’s got severe lameness in his hip…can’t bear weight on left hind leg.

Soundtrack of 2013: Top 25: Part 1

I don’t if this is a precursor to a big year of blogging or not. Last year, I had about 25 posts, but only five in the past six months (I don’t feel like counting). There were another 5 or 6 drafts that I felt too self-conscious to post. I used to have no filter, or, at least, a very thin filter. I don’t know what 2014 holds.

No one cares about the music posts. But, in some way, the soundtrack of 2013 sums up the year FOR ME. I’m not going to get into why a song is part of the Soundtrack of 2013. Perhaps, I’ll get some closure here. I’ll move on past move of these songs.

Now, these are all Spotify songs, meaning almost all of them are songs I first discovered in 2013, though almost none of them are 2013 songs. So almost none of them are part of that Top 379, and represent, generally, a major departure from what’s in that countdown. I have a 50-track playlist on Spotify representing my soundtrack of 2013, but about 20 of those are instrumental tracks from movie scores. Those wouldn’t mean anything to anyone. Of the remaining actual songs, with lyrics, I’ll pick 10 20 22 24 25, and I’ll rank them, because, as you know, I like to rank songs.

Here’s part 1 of 3, because 25 embedded You Tube videos is too much for one post.

25. Gordon McRrae – Oh What a Beautiful Morning

24. Ambrosia Parsley & the Elegant Too – Goodnight Moon

23. Florence + the Machine – All This and Heaven Too

22. Imelda (The Voice of Holland) – Gangsta’s Paradise/Survivor

21. Coldplay – The Scientist

20. Jason Walker ft. Molly Reed – Down

19. Julee Cruise – Into the Night

18. A Fine Frenzy – Hope for the Hopeless

17. Michael Crawford – It Only Take a Moment

_ [9-16] [1-8]

Top 379: My absolute favorite song (#120 – #113)

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Love Letter

My Rating: 9.14
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I could stop the countdown now. This is my #1 as of October 9, 2013.Truly. This song has been my favorite song for the past year, maybe two years. I’ve often pushed onward with this countdown for the purpose of getting to this song. I have listened to “Love Letter” more than any other song; I am certain. What the hell did I ever know about alt-rock, post-punk singer-songwriter Nick Cave prior to about two years ago? Nothing. Perhaps I had heard of him, but I had never heard him. Then, one day, I was browsing a friend’s Spotify playlist. I had to listen to a song called “Love Letter”. And it filled my heart was aching and yearning and passion and all those squishy things that a song should do, but in a richer, more piercing way than any other song I’d ever heard. Just…perfect.

So why only #114? I didn’t know how to rate a song I had never heard before. Each time I heard it, I’d give it a higher rating. In late December 2011, I went through my song list and gave each song a “final” rating. I wrote at the time:

“From unknown to top 10…if i had more time… Hard to know if it’s just a phase. When I finally post this, how will I feel about this rating?”

It would have actually been #11 had I just gone with the very last rating. Instead, it lands down here. Two years is a long time, and, as I’ve made apparent several times, my affinity and nostalgia for some of the lighter fare in this countdown has faded. I hesitate to say my tastes are more sophisticated now. After all, the album “No More Shall We Part” was reviewed by one critic as being at risk of devolving “into schmaltz” (I learn from Wikipedia). So it makes sense why I love this song. But even those people who rate songs at like it; it cracks the top 5000.

As I did my ratings for this countdown, there were 5 or 6 songs I figured had a chance to be #1, and any of them could have wound up on top. If I were doing a countdown based on what I love today, “Love Letter” would be on top. I am certain.

Officially, I have no blog posts posted for the last 2 1/2 months. (I have three drafts that I’ve posted and then rescinded). A post about blog posting can come later. Perhaps I’ll be starting back up again. At the very least, I’ll play catch-up with my Top 379 recaps. Even though most of the songs no longer inspire me as they once did, as they apparently did as recently as two years ago when I rated them, I still feel an obligation to myself to see this through. Unfortunately, at the pace I’ve been posting, it will take me years to get through, and the songs will be even further removed from my present affinities. Though, I must admit, whenever I cringe over a song I need to post, and perhaps there are weeks I procrastinate before posting it, when I finally get around to it, and I listen to the song several times, that affection returns. There were genuine reasons I’ve rated these songs highly, and, I know I still fear judgement for sharing them.

Anyway, I will present my write-up of #114 in full here. I don’t know who’s reading Toastiest besides my father. (Hi, Dad). I suppose I’ll put this link on Facebook. If you’ve seen this via Facebook, I’ll kindly ask that you actually comment in here if you have a comment, just because I don’t share this blog with all my Facebook friends, for various reasons. I can’t quite tell these days if Facebook is still announcing to all your friends when you comment on someone else’s page. I know, I can’t really control this. Enough of this social sharing ruminating…

As I’ve done before, here’s the recap of the rest. Maybe I’ll get to #112 on this quiet Friday night.

More Than Words Can Say

My Rating: 9.12
Visitor Rating: 4.00
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The Proclaimers
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

My Rating: 9.13
Visitor Rating: 7.30
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Take My Breath Away

My Rating: 9.13
Visitor Rating: 8.00
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Michael Bolton
Now That I Found You

My Rating: 9.14
Visitor Rating: 7.00
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Whitney Houston
The Greatest Love Of All

My Rating: 9.14
Visitor Rating: 9.50
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Every Breath You Take

My Rating: 9.14
Visitor Rating: 6.00
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Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Love Letter

My Rating: 9.14
Visitor Rating: NR
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Bette Midler
The Rose

My Rating: 9.15
Visitor Rating: NR
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