Friday, February 26, 2010

Heja Sverige!!

Grattis till Sveriges curlingdamer!! Guuuuuuld!

P.S. Anna Le Moine, gifta mig.

Jävla vackert. sigh sigh sigh...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Perfect Day

To whom it may concern:

Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" is being used in some commercial with a snowboarder in a halfpipe who ends up in space. I've got the Olympics on whilst I whittle away at some homework. Curling's on and I'm enjoying very casually watching Candian and Swiss women have at it. There's one woman on the Swiss team with the most striking eyes...she's kind of tan, dark hair, but really light grey-ish eyes. Amazing.

Anyway, the point I wanted to make with this post is that when I heard "Perfect Day," the thing which popped into mind straight away was Trainspotting. That song is forever tied to the overdose moment and still, after all these years, gives me that uncomfortable bit of churn in my stomach...anguish, like, "Why'd that have to go and happen?" Great filmmaking causes that. Yes, indeed.

Moments like those make me want to dig out my old camera and jump back in.

All the best,

J.O. Morris

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

EPIC paranoia and propaganda


Gotta balance this out...

Ahhhhhhhh, yeah.

Notes from a pre-medical student

  • Had my physiology make-up exam today. It was an oral exam. I was grilled, stayed cool despite my nervousness...uh, for about five minutes. Then I lost it. All of it. I felt like I should switch to Business Administration (no hard feelings, guys) when I couldn't dredge out of my brain that the optic nerves cross in front of the hypothalamus. Drew a complete blank. When she gave the answer, I was so ashamed. I knew that! I knew more than what she taught in class on the whole optic pathway! I tried to patch things up a bit at the end, after several more disastrous questions, by expressing my dissatisfaction with my performance and explaining that I knew x, y, and z and all sorts of supplemental info. I think it was that and my legitimate excuse for missing the exam that saw me walk away with a far better grade than I deserved. But man, talk about being on the hot seat.
  •  Had another I want to be a doctor moment of affirmation this afternoon whilst watching a programme on HBO about the awful mess folks have stirred up in the DRC...awful, unbelievable mess. It still hasn't quite registered with me, and I honestly don't expect it will unless I were to see such pathetic and completely avoidable circumstances in person. Anyhow, at one point they showed a woman who'd apparently been eating nothing but bananas for a number of weeks. She was massively underweight, with a severe infection, and in pain something fierce. Seeing her lying there, helpless and miserable, really dragged something up deep out of me. I was nearly in tears myself as she was howling in pain. The desire to jump in and see to it that she got the best medical care the world has to offer consumed me and I could think about little else. I examined the hospital she was taken to and was depressed at the sight of it. I hoped with everything I had that she'd receive good care there and would be released in fantastic health. A few minutes later, it was explained that the infection she had claimed her life after three weeks in hospital. Awful. How completely awful. That poor, poor woman, caught up in some of the worst of what greed, ignorance, and fear have to offer. What a shame. 
  • Didn't have a moment's hesitation taking my medication last night or this morning. Perhaps the public outing of my ridiculous fear was enough to chase it away. 

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Josiah visits the big city doctor

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    I broke down and went. Glad I did, but I was cringing the whole time in the waiting room, just hoping that it's just not some crazy flu virus. Sounds funny, doesn't it?

    Within three high-speed minutes, I was diagnosed with sinusitis, given a prescription for a whopping dose of amoxicillin, and sent on me way.

    Before this tale reaches its conclusion, let me back up and officially state my amazement at the device with which the nurse took my temperature. All I've ever personally experienced has been those colour-coded strips one slaps upon their forehead (for home use), and the standard, "Keep this under your tongue for an eternity" contraption. Luckily, I've avoided the one utilised in a person's backside, and I have some knowledge of the gadget that takes one's temperature through the ear. I thought I'd seen all there was to see.

    I thought wrong.

    The nurse swiped some crazy thing clear across my forehead and then back behind my ear for a second. And that was it.

    I couldn't help myself. To her, I expressed my amazement with the invention. Remarkable. Right then and there, I wanted to know all there was to know about the device, but the conversation unfortunately did not carry on past my expression of delight.

    The doc caught me studying some flashcards I'd made for physiology (make-up exam very soon... not at all ready) when he came swaggering in. We discussed my academic life briefly, he grinned and gave me best wishes of luck on gaining entrance to medical school...and on my exam. Nice guy, thorough, and as previously mentioned, swift.

    Ol' Josiah's now going to share an embarrassing fear he's had for several years, mostly rooted in slivers of truth and a whole lot of ignorance, but with some other psychological reasons (had a bad episode some years ago, to be vague and dismissive). Ah, here goes.

    Each time I introduce a medication to my body (with the exception of the allergy pills I've routinely taken for years), I do so with a good bit of fear that something will go awry, even if I've had the medication before. I tell myself I won't read the list of potential side-effects, but I do it anyway, and that only makes things worse. It's not until after the second dose that I start to relax. It's embarrassing and I know I haven't any reason to worry. But I do it anyway, with my mouth shut.

    There were two times today that I'm sure I gave the, "WHATDIDYOUSAY!?OHNO!" kind of look. The first was when the doctor said, "We'll put you on a megadose of amoxicillin..." I felt my eyes go wide that time, but corrected it within seconds. In my ignorance, megadose = mega-increased likelihood of complications. Second time was at the pharmacy. "This'll probably upset your stomach..." Oh, how lovely. I have a bit of a weak stomach naturally. I have to take one in a moment with dinner, and then another in a few hours before bed. I can imagine little sleep and a raw backside tonight, the night before my exam...that I'm not at all prepared for.

    However, and I'll leave you on this upswing, I went and procured myself several tins of soup for the days ahead. As I headed down the "ethnic" part of the aisle, what did catch my eye but a package of chocolate oranges! ...and Ripple bars! They also had some PG Tips newly for sale, but it can be found for less elsewhere. I was all a-tingle with excitement. In the surrounding plots on the shelf were "COMING SOON!" labels for all sorts of food from the UK! My experience has not been a varied one, so I'm looking forward to seeing what else is out there.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    It's really something, alright

    It's really something when I can hear the television in the living room over the television in my own room.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Just about everything except for what I should've been doing

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Throat is still scratchy, cough still persistent...mostly nonproductive. Extraordinarily annoying. I lounged around for most of the day, with my television tuned to the Golf Channel, taking in an exciting match play scenario unfold. Ian Poulter (Go UK!) made it to the finals, and it was down to Camilo Villegas or Paul Casey to move on to face Mr. Poulter tomorrow. They ended up having to call it a night due to impending darkness. Absolutely amazing... as a relative newcomer to the world of golf, seldom have I seen an exciting match not involving Tiger Woods. Needless to say, while both are great golfers, I would fancy seeing Paul Casey moving on to face Ian Poulter. Brit Showdown! (Go Ian!)

    I must mention my annoyance with every last announcer saying Camilo Villegas' name...each and every time it was uttered, it was pronounced, "Vih-JAY-gus." No. I can't possibly see how that is correct.

    The plan today was spend about 12 hours of the day revising for the exams I have in the coming week. What actually happened was that I spent about three hours studying and the rest lounging around being miserable. I felt so guilty, but my body was rebelling against my mind.

    Someone stumbled upon this place on the 32nd page of results for the search term "gagland." My first thought was that the seeker had meant to type "Gangland," as in the amazing programme put on by the History Channel. 32 pages of results. Surely they'd have found what they were looking for before that point. That's some serious perusing. When I investigated the links surrounding, and on many of the preceding pages, my eyes were as wide as saucers. There, on page after page, were more links to pornography than I have ever seen at once. I guess "Gagland" is a video series. How dreadfully unappealing that sounds. If I were looking for some supplemental material to get my jollies off, something so titled would not come under any sort of consideration...unless I wanted to be put off completely. See for yourself.

    As I had breakfast this morning, a-surfing through television channels I did go. I am generally wont to pass right on by HBO, for I find that many films they screen are insulting to the intelligence (such is the condition for 90-something percent of Hollywood films... makes me sound awfully snobby, eh?). However, I was given reason to stop this morning when I heard Ricky Gervais' unmistakable, high-pitched schoolboy laughter. I'm a tremendous fan of Extras, and only to a slightly lesser extent, The Office (UK, of course). It seems as though they've taken a couple episodes of The Ricky Gervais Show podcast and set them to animation. Having never heard the majority of the podcast, I thought it might be worthwhile.

    I was right.

    I looked it up on HBO's website, and the full first episode is freely available for viewing. Some of it (mostly Gervais) was a bit annoying, but Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington are absolutely brilliant. See for yourself, part two

    The time has come to seek relief via Ricola and a nice cup of green tea. Should at least look at my o-chem book...

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    P.S. Living With Pigs updated!

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Wouldn't you know it?

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Last night was a most peculiar evening. Throughout the day, I continued to feel as though my health was improving. My cough and runny nose were still present, but for the most part, my cough was dry and non-productive. Yessss.

    At approximately 8:30 p.m., after having an enjoyable hour-long telephone conversation, I returned to my studies... but something was not right. My forehead and right temple ached and my nose was running a bit more than it had been. I was feeling pretty nasty after a few more minutes, and it occurred to me that I'd not had a drink of water in a while. Perhaps I'm a bit, I went and drank a glass or two of water, and once more, hit the books.

    An hour passes and I'm slightly feeling better, but COLD. I bundled up but my efforts were in vain. Our heater is generally thing my flatmates and I have in common is a healthy appreciation for lower temperatures. I set the heater to 70 degrees F and went about my business. Twenty minutes later, I was sufficiently warm and decided I'd go ahead and turn in. It was nearly 11 p.m. Off went the heater.

    At about 1:30 a.m., I woke up sweating something fierce. I got up and peeled off some of the layers of clothing and tried to go back to sleep. No use, still sweating like a pig. Down to my unmentionables I immediately stripped and slipped back into bed...again, no use. I put on the ceiling fan at the highest setting. My heart rate was up there...not in danger zone, but certainly not normal when resting and not having performed any strenuous activity.

    I did my best to relax myself, but it was the cold air provided by the fan that set me back on the right path. I put on a base layer of clothing and finally fell asleep, only to be awoken by my alarm several hours later.

    Only once in my life have I had a hangover. I was 16 or 17 years old, and it was the day after the first time I'd ever been thoroughly inebriated. Such a miserable experience it was that I vowed to never again repeat it. I've held true to that to this day, but I surely did feel this morning as I did a decade ago. My head, ears, and torso ached. My nose, a fountain. My cough, persistent and productive.

    Oh, no.

    Several years ago, I finally trained myself to have an appetite in the morning after feeling not hunger, but nausea and disgust at the thought of food before 11 a.m...a situation I developed in my night owl high school years. Food was the last thing I wanted any part of today. I knew that I'd feel better if I got out of bed and just ate and drank a little, but could not possibly bring myself to do it.

    In my bed I stayed for another four hours, most of which I spent sleeping. Of course, I missed all of my classes...and we have exams in each of them on Monday. I desperately hated to miss, but really had no choice.

    When I finally did peel myself out of the cozy confines of my bed, I was beyond miserable. I managed to drink a few glasses of water...and a couple of hours later, ate some saltine crackers. After a long, long shower, I felt happy to be clean (one of my all-time favourite sensations), but ill as all get-out. I knew I had to eat, so out I marched into the kitchen.

    The usual foul smells coming from fermenting gym clothes stacked up in corners, and from the dirty dishes strewn about in the living area, nearly gagged me. "No. No, I will not succumb to these urges. I'll be as swift as possible and take whatever I decide on consuming back to my room." That last bit, of course, is in direct violation of the contract I signed with myself upon moving in. However, the idea of opening my mouth and (forgive me for the silliness I'm about to write) having those stink particles infiltrate my oral cavity was more than I could stomach.

    I am happy to report that I did start feeling a little better about half an hour after consuming some orange juice and more saltine crackers. Still unbearably miserable, but it'll pass soon...I hope...

    Party Boy I had been ill with a cold, as well, over the last week + a few days, and he reported a similar middle-of-the-night experience. As of half an hour ago, we're both still feeling the same way.

    Perhaps this is what I get for not being ill for a year. Ugh.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Ms. Krall

    To whom it may concern:

    Soul-crushing, hair-greying mathematics is easier with the soothing sounds of Diana Krall's velveteen voice...and when she's covering some of my favourite Nat King Cole numbers (especially "You're Looking At Me"), the task at hand seems almost enjoyable.

    Now, if there were a way to have her physically present and performing these songs in my room...oh, man.

    If she'd have me, I'd never get anything scholastic accomplished.

    ...and, for a time, wouldn't care.

    All the best,

    J.O. Morris

    Another vision of the future

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Today, I once more entered the big city hospital to finalise some particulars of my recently-earned position there, and once more, that inexplicable feeling of belonging washed over me. It did not hurt a thing that I was wearing an overcoat, which is of a similar length as the coveted white coat. Swiftly making my way down the hallways, head held high, a smile on my face, and my overcoat bobbing around on my legs, it was easy to imagine myself rushing off to check on a patient, or for some other task.

    I. Can. Not. Wait!

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010


    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Here I present to you photographic evidence of the disgusting manner in which my flatmates conduct themselves about the apartment: Living With Pigs

    Here's hoping that your life is clutter-free and sanitary.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Saturday, February 13, 2010


    Thank you for leaving me in peace for about seven hours. Also, thanks for kind of half-cleaning up the least the sink is now accessible!

    However, I don't appreciate you coming back at around 11 p.m., turning the volume on the telly up to fifty and yelling in the living room for the last half hour...with no end in sight.

    ...and if you think for a second that you're going to bring marijuana in this house, you just try it and see what happens. I can hear you morons through the paper-thin walls, you know, and your yelling just makes it that much easier.

    What in the world did I ever do to deserve this? Whatever it was, I sure am sorry for it. Sure am sorry.

    Quick note

    Hi, me again. Yeah, your flatmate.

    Um, when I casually mentioned that the dishes in the sink reek to high heaven, the cure I had in mind did not involve you dumping a half a bottle of bleach between the two sink partitions.

    Clean this place up...properly.

    Oh, by the way, I was so pleased to see that not only Frat Boy I, but Frat Boy II firmly planted on the couch (one with shirt off), mouths agape watching television on my electricity bill. Fantastic.

    Clean up and exit my life. Permanently.

    Enough is enough

    Okay, I get that you and Party Boy I are great friends. I'm happy that you found each other and enjoy each other's company so. However, I'm sick to death of seeing you.

    I'm sick to death of your diseased carcass sprawled out all over my couch, in my living room, in my apartment, that I pay rent for. I'm sick of hearing you coughing constantly. Like just now. And now. And again. How dare you bring your illness into this apartment and get Party Boy I sick, who in turn, passed the favour on to me. Some nerve you have introducing the illness into this home one day, and a couple of days later, decide that you want to stay here for a week. No, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of you. I won't have it any longer.

    You've been here for one week and one day now. Haven't you got a home? Don't your parents wonder, or care, where on this earth might you be?

    No. No, they probably don't. That explains some of the more annoying facets of your personality. Your parents didn't give a hoot enough to raise you properly.

    You and Party Boy I have made the house a complete wreck once more. Open bags of crisps carelessly tossed onto the rug, crumbs spilt out everywhere... a wide variety  of assorted drinking glasses and cups strewn about; some with various liquids within, some with all kinds of nasty, festering things caked upon the interior; remnants of fast food containers, half-eaten artery-clogging hamburgers, and Lord only knows what else, just left sitting out; enough clothes piled up in corners and hanging off of furniture to open up a modest Goodwill shop; dishes stacked to the ceiling in the sink ("Oh, I didn't make that mess so it's not my responsibility!" Yes, it is. They're your savage friends who came in and trashed the place. If they haven't got the decency to clean up after themselves, it is then YOUR responsibility to do so.), crumbs of all sizes and origin all over the floor, that wonderful aroma of a city dump emanating from the rubbish bin... oh, yes, all of these things have made it just a joy having you around.

    Please, do stay another three months. Let's see how quickly we can get the joint condemned! I bet the other jerks in your stupid frat would love to hear about it!

    Fuck right off...but clean up first.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Another olfactory trip

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    I'd forgotten how comfortable the fogginess of sickness can sometimes be. There's a disconnection, at least it's always been the case with me, from the mad rush of the world surrounding.  It's almost like the kid in gym class who, for whatever reason, had a note that excused him from running round the track and had to walk it instead. I was that kid once or twice and it was always a pleasant experience, even in the freezing cold.

    My hatred for running was well-known. I wonder if they suspected foul play on my part on these days to get out of it. Probably could've gotten away with faking a few times had I not been scared out of my mind at the possibility of being caught.

    I was transported back to 6th grade today, and it was actually a quite pleasant journey, despite my general feelings of disdain for that school year.

    As a youngster, I was ill somewhat frequently. Some of the days that I hated most during that school year were when I was sick, especially in my first period science class. He was a great teacher, very funny, and even looked an awful lot like Bill Murray.

    But his classroom (in a portable on the edge of campus) STUNK.


    It smelled like a stack of soaking wet towels that had been left in a greenhouse, with a little eau de gym sock lightly sprinkled throughout. It was completely overwhelming, and it often made me gag.

    To be fair, a lot of things used to make me gag. A lot of things still do. These days, however, I'm mostly only brought to that point when I'm already feeling under the weather. Back then, even on the days I felt the healthiest, some smells would drag me to that threshold...which thankfully, I never crossed whilst at school.

    It's funny, but I just realised that I started wearing cologne back then just so I could have a pleasant smell to refer to when things were reaching the puke point. I fell back on that mechanism many a time, I can assure you.

    At any rate, that was first period, 7:30 a.m. I knew that if I could just get through that stinky class, I'd probably be okay for the rest of the day.

    Besides, I had second period to look forward to! Second period was a typing class, but it was done on computers. They were Apple computers, and I'll never forget the look of the desktop on those...the trashcan in which you'd discard unwanted files was a simple black and white design, but its alternating thick and thin lines around the middle were mesmerising.

    The computer lab that this class was in was in the main building, right next to where the high schoolers were attending classes. There were three rows comprised of two tables crammed side-to-side to make one wide table, upon which sat a bunch of computers. There was a dry erase board at the front of the class, which was just as amazing to me as the computers. All my life, until this point, I'd been taught from chalkboards. Dry erase boards, computers, printers producing pages with the perforated crap on the edges you had to tear off...all of it was cutting-edge stuff. Boy, if I didn't already feel like a big shot being in middle school, the very idea that I was using technology that grown-ups used in exciting jobs (far, far, far away from the confines of a school!) really made me feel like something. I desperately loved that class, and it was there that I learned to type.

    Another thing I loved about that class, and the thing which ties this look to the past in with my story from today, is the smell of those dry erase markers.

    Maybe it was only because I'd just come from one of the most horrific stenches I'd ever been subjected to for more than a few minutes, but those markers sure did produce a lovely and welcoming aroma. They smelled so clean and sterile, almost like the rubbing alcohol applied to my arm just before a shot. Despite my absolute dread over the fact I was about to be jabbed with a needle, the rubbing alcohol smell comforted me and made the process that much more bearable. But, yes, you can be sure that I always tried to sit as close to the front (and thus, as close to the dry erase board) as possible. Taking in that smell was like spraying Lysol up my nose to destroy the funk collected in my nasal passages in my first period class...only, uh, I'd imagine slightly less harmful. As you might've guessed, the smell was most enjoyed on the days that I was sick and on the verge of gagging at the slightest hint of an unpleasant odour.

    To put the two pieces together, which up until now have been separated by 14-some odd years...drumroll please...

    So, this a.m. I was attending my only class of the day. I'm ill, miserable, don't want to be anywhere besides me bed. The bus ran late, of course, and it's quite cold out (something I'd ordinarily be overjoyed with), and I practically had to run to make to class on time. Upon arrival, I find that only a few seats are open...some way in the back where the constant talkers sit, and one, just one, in the very front row. Hmm. Not much of a decision to make here. I plop down in the front row.

    Everything's going fine...or, perhaps more realistically, I'm bored out of my skull. I started to think about my scratchy throat, and suddenly started feeling like one false aroma would send me into gagland, just like back in the day. At the precise moment that I was making that connection to the past, my professor began writing on...yep, you guessed it, the dry erase board. The pleasant aroma of those markers wafted ever so gently towards me, and my psychological queasiness was subdued. Of course, my mind wandered off into the past, to the the beginning of this letter.

    It's amazing to realise that I'd not used a computer until I was 12 or 13 years of age, and surely almost all of my classmates this morning had been using them since kindergarten. That's one of the first "back in my day, we didn't have..." I've come across. Hmm. Aging is a funny thing and I'm so glad that I've always been welcoming of it and the changes it brings.

    Homework calls, my dear.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    It was fun while it lasted

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Nothing much in the way of exciting or interesting news to report, other than the fact that another first in my life away at university seems to be occurring at the moment.

    I reckon I've gone and taken ill.

    Party Boy I has been ill, as has been one of his frat boy friends (who has, of course, been practically living on our couch for the past couple of days). Neither of them seem to believe in covering their mouths when they cough, just as a little icing on the cake.

    The trouble just started this morning, so to combat it, I've been guzzling orange juice, eating even healthier than normal, and doing my best to take it easy. The goal for this evening is to turn in early and get a good 8-10 hours of wonderful, glorious sleep. Ordinarily, I wouldn't allow myself such a luxury during the week, but I'm left without a choice.

    Illness, whereas once it was a constant companion, is now but a scarcely recognisable stranger. The last time our paths intertwined must have been over a year ago. I honestly can't recall.

    Some tea sounds quite lovely right about now. My scratchy throat sure could use the soothing that only some jasmine green tea can provide.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    Josiah in the big city hospital

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    What a day it has been. I retired to my quarters at 10 last night and was promptly visited by the sandman. Not only was I not stirred from my sleep by my flatmates, but I had some of the best sleep I've had in a few weeks. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. feeling refreshed and rarin' to go. I'd better have felt that way, for this morning was my interview with one of the local hospitals!

    On my way there, I opted to take a toll road to ensure I arrived in plenty of time. I got trapped in a lane for those who have a pre-paid toll pass. I don't own one. Whoops. There was a one dollar toll to pay at my exit later on, and I did indeed insert four quarters into the machine, but it only counted three! Not having any more change, I had no choice but to drive on. Two times a toll offender.

    I haven't been to the downtown area of my city for many years. I'd forgotten just how many tall buildings there are. A rush of excitement, on top of the excitement I was already feeling, surged through me. You've got to understand, I'm still a small-town yokel, essentially. Even at 27 years of age, the everyday world of millions of Americans still has so much I've yet to discover. I feel like such a hick, but the excitement is genuine and, indeed, even childlike and I quite enjoy it.

    There was a very nice man, a parking garage security attendant, of whom I had to ask a question. Normally in such situations I adopt an accent, just for my own amusement. As I was parking, I thought that I might have started something I shouldn't have. What if I was selected for the position and saw this chap on a regular basis? Oh, dear.

    It was a cool morning, a bit breezy. I walked with purpose, head held high, towards the main entrance. To my right as I was nearing the doors, two doctors in scrubs and white coats were walking in my direction. One woman, one man. The woman was quite attractive. They actually both fit the general stereotype of new doctors. Young, beautiful, confident. I grinned at them and waved before I realised what I'd done. They looked a little curious, as if they should know who I was. Ha. I'm just an extremely excited pre-medical student entering a major hospital for the first time...and to interview for a position!

    As I passed through the entrance, I instantly felt at home. In passing the cafeteria, there were doctors, nurses, and other hospital employees alike hanging around, drinking coffee, etc. I looked at them like my colleagues, my peers. Several times I had to remind myself that I still have some milestones to pass before all of that is true, but boy, never have I felt so strongly that I belong somewhere. A wholly inexplicable feeling, that is. But it feels good.

    REALLY good.

    I was grinning from ear to ear by this point, a spring in my step, all was right with the world. The corridor down which I had to travel to meet my interviewer couldn't have left me with more than an inch of headroom, no lie. It reminded me of that part in the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka film where the passageway kept getting more and more narrow.

    The lady who interviewed me was quite nice and seemed to be excited by my excitement. None of the positions for which I applied seemed to be of any concern to her...she kicked in with all of the medical units! All of them sounded absolutely brilliant and I wanted to work in them all. I noticed neurology wasn't in her first. When she mentioned it, I couldn't help but light up. We talked a lot more, about all sorts of things, and then she moved to her computer where she sought to schedule me to work... the neuro unit!

    My trousers very nearly became unsuitable for wear.

    The whole thing was like God smiling down on me, saying, "Yes, boy. Go on. Do me proud."

    If you thought I was in a good mood going in, you should've seen me on my way out! A dancing man I most certainly am not, but I sure felt like gettin' down all the way out through the exit and into the parking lot. "Top of the world, ma!" as Cody Jarrett said...only mine were much more favourable, and sane, circumstances.

    In passing the physician's parking area, I saw a doctor come in driving some sort of new, sporty car (figured him for a surgeon...initial reaction,  but who knows). As we passed, I was still smiling and nodded to him, which he returned with a smile.

    I felt ten feet tall.

    As I was leaving, I took further notice of a big grouping of large buildings overlooking a (probably man-made) lake. They all had to have been at least twenty storeys tall. Impressive feats of architecture. I imagined scenes from a time gone by, what with men in suits and suspenders and women very stylish but reserved in their dress, typewriters dinging and file cabinets all over the place. Lots of wood...desks, chairs...

    Then I noticed for which kind of companies these buildings served.


    The anti-capitalist in me was instantly outraged and sickened by the kinds of nice, honest imagery I was imagining. No, it isn't like that at all. It never was, I know.

    Then I began to wonder why there were so many floors. I wanted to walk in and take a tour, to be honest. Again, with the lil' hick in the big city business. Curiosity ate at me for a bit there at that red light with this imposing cityscape laid out before me, but almost as swiftly as the light changed colour, I'd decided that I didn't care to know the reason for so many floors. Best to leave it to the imagination. It's fun and probably much more satisfying than knowing the actuality of the situation.

    My orientation is to take place in two weeks and I start in three. Looks like I'm going to have a lot of patient and nurse interaction, which is bleeding brilliant. Not sure how much I'm going to have the chance to interact with any physicians. High on my agenda is making some connections to perhaps set up some shadowing opportunities and such. I have a feeling that I should consult with the nurses to see if I can suss out which doctors are friendly and welcoming to students and which are not. My interviewer said some of the doctors can be real beasts and to steer clear, which I...I find really disappointing. Ah, well. I understand that the life of a physician is a busy and oftentimes stressful one, and I've got a mind to avoid being annoying and in the way as much as possible.

    She did speak, however, of a few doctors who absolutely love to take students under their wings. One doctor is all the time trying to get interested parties in to witness procedures, and she'll even "let" us perform some easy and routine things under her supervision. Heh, reminded me of Huck Finn, but you'd better believe I'm going to snap up every possible opportunity.

    To say that I'm thoroughly excited is a massive understatement. This is yet another point in my life where I am reaping the rewards of hard work. Sometimes, sitting down in the windowless first floor of the university library all alone and completely jazzed out on caffeine to keep my eyes peeled open, I get a little put off. Every time, though, that I start to really feel the pressure and the loneliness, something comes along and sets me straight again. For that, I'm eternally grateful.

    Can't believe I pried my way into the hospital. Look out, nurses!

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Two in a row

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Things have been going pretty well between Ms. Eastern Europe and myself, and I've been getting rather excited over what the future might hold. Ran into her twice today...the first time, stopping to talk for a good ten minutes. The second, just a smiley, gottagotoclass,bye! interaction.

    As usual, I'd reserved two seats for her and another friend in one of our shared afternoon classes. The other friend informed me a few minutes before class was to begin that she wasn't going to be there. I'd have Ms. Eastern Europe all to myself!

    She never showed.

    I saw her a few hours after class... the arms of some guy. Some guy I know.

    I, in a high-spirited and joking manner, asked what she thought she was doing skipping class. She looked confused and said, "I was there..."

    "Oh." I didn't mention that I'd saved her a seat. We finished our conversation and parted ways.

    And so it goes.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    An epidemic?

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Another crying girl spotted this afternoon as I was exiting a building with lovely thoughts of my bed floating around in my mind. Haven't been sleeping time. She had dark brown hair which was put up in little elastic-type hair-holding apparatus. It was pink. On her face, she wore a minimised version of classic geek glasses, as is currently the style. You've seen them. Her eyes were a dark and dull blue, which in my experience is rather rare. She was wearing a black hooded jacket (zipped up, hood not on head) and speaking with someone on her cell phone.

    She said, "...people walking in and out of my life..." and was sobbing. She seemed a bit agitated on top of things. I had some sympathetic looks all packaged and ready for delivery, but she looked at me not once as I passed.

    So  many sad women lately. I've been on the lookout and haven't seen a single male wandering around looking anywhere near this upset. What's going on?

    In other news, I was queued up at the grocery store this evening and resting upon one of the benches by the exit was a young lady. From a distance, she seemed attractive. Who was she waiting on? she looking at me? I asked myself this after several exchanges of glances and concluded with some certainty that she was. Well, let's hope that she's still there by the time Mr. Apocalypse in front of me gets his selection of six of everything in the store rung up and bagged and out of my way. My sleepiness has made me a little impatient, but I'd never let on to anyone that such was the case.

    When, finally, the chap ahead took his carcass and 3/4 of the store out with him, I was being rung up. As I was waiting for the total, a sensation of nervousness began somewhere around my knees and worked its way up to my throat. I was preparing for the moment in which I would speak some enchanting words, she'd fall for me, and we'd live happily ever after.

    The cashier motioned off in the direction of where the girl was sitting, as if to say, "Just another minute!" Suddenly, I put two and two together. As I was leaving the store, the girl was gone and I saw her return to her seat in the reflection on the window.

    And so it goes.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Don't just do something; stand there

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Not once, but several times yesterday did I see rather lovely young ladies on campus with that characteristic redness around their eyes. Some of them still had some tears dribbling down.

    The first girl I saw was coming out of one of the buildings in which courses for the nursing program are conducted. Dirty blonde hair, greyish-coloured eyes only enhanced by the irritation surrounding. Striking. Arresting. Had the circumstances been any other, I would have offered a smile. Instead, a sheepish, hopeful look so as to indicate, "I'm sorry!"

    The next two I saw were a pair, near to the campus bookstore. It was not clear if they knew each other, but were walking side-by-side in somewhat close proximity...a perfectly ordinary occurrence, though. I just remember one of them. She was wearing a pea coat, had light brown hair with a little bit of curl to it. Remarkably, her eye colour escapes me. That's usually what I first notice.

    The last young lady in some sort of distress was on the only-slightly chunky side, had wavy dark brown hair, and green-ish coloured eyes. They were sort of pale, but intense. Reminded me of some sort of gem stone. She was walking towards one of the main nursing program buildings.

    For each of these women, several possibilities occurred to me. Girl 1, I thought, might've just failed a test or been chewed out by one of the administrators of the nursing program. Word on the street is that some of them can be downright nasty, but we never know how much exaggeration and transference of personal issues go into such descriptions.

    The pair of women presented a challenge. Nothing was obvious about what their situation could be, given their location on campus and relative freshness of their crying eyes. After a few minutes, I wondered if this was related to the first case I saw. Perhaps someone they were close to died. It doesn't make me feel good to admit it, but I imagined that it was probably some guy (a member of one of the many notoriously party-oriented frats) who'd made a careless decision at the heights of some inebriated state. A few people I knew from high school back home have injured themselves (some to the point of death), or others, in automobiles after having imbibed. Thus you can see my jump to that conclusion.

    The last girl did not have the lost look of a person who had someone of close relation just pass on. She almost had a slightly upbeat and confident air, despite her otherwise downtrodden appearance. Maybe she'd just gone through a difficult break-up, one that had needed to happen long ago and only now she'd found the courage. Go on, then, sister!

    In each of these cases, my immediate reaction to the sadness of these people was alarm. Just as quickly as that set in, an extreme desire to console and sit, for hours on end if necessary, and listen to them took over me. I found myself wanting to shed some tears right alongside them, despite not having a thing in the world to feel sad about...besides the sadness of these four women.

    As I was making my way to the bus stop at the end of my day, one section of sidewalk outside of a particular dorm had been closed off. A police car was parked upon it, and a firetruck was fast approaching. Foot traffic was diverted. Suddenly, I thought again of the four women and wondered if something had happened to someone they knew. Couldn't be, though, because this was hours after first encountering the first girl.

    Oh, no.

    A terrible thought emerged.

    Still, at this point, I don't know what the circumstances were. I desperately hope that what I had imagined is the furthest thing from actuality.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    I'm a steamroller

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    In traveling along the sinusoidal wave that has been my educational experience (err, life!) thus far, naturally, I've hit my low points. Earlier today, I was gearing up to cross the x-axis in the negative direction with some indecision, some second-guessing, and some self-doubt. Typically, I ride the wave and always press on.

    Tonight, however, I think I've finally learned that if I want to take the absolute value of this function called life, I can prevent the dips across into the negative values. The decision is mine. Surely, there will be intervals during which the function will be decreasing, but never negative.

    Thanks very much to the kind and patient physician this evening who took the time to speak to me. It was precisely what I needed to hear, precisely the moment at which it needed hearing. Lessons learned that will not soon be forgotten, indeed.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    At the mercy of the maintenance man

    My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

    Forgive me for the erm, rather sensitive subject matter with which this letter deals, but this is too good to go without documentation.

    The dryer in my apartment has not worked since Thursday, and because we are still without, much dirty laundry has accumulated. Today, I wore my last pair of pants and drawers. Uh oh. I'd been banking on a new, or newly repaired, dryer to greet me upon my return home today, but alas, it was not to be.

    Not wanting to wear recycled drawers, and without sufficient funds to even buy a loaf of bread in 1932, I was left with no other choice.

    Yes, my dear, I cleansed my unmentionables in my bathtub with shampoo. With the help of a hairdryer, I got them to the slightly-soggy point. I've affixed them to a hanger, which I've attached to my ceiling fan that is currently on its highest setting, and now it's up to the man upstairs to see that they're fit for wear come morning.

    May the grace of He keep you always,

    J.O. Morris

    När Kapten Grogg skulle porträtteras

    To whom it may concern:

    I have for you a bit of cinematic history. Animation, to be precise. A real gem.

    And it's Swedish!

    Read all about Victor Bergdahl, the animator of what you're about to see: På svenska ... and I can't find anything in English. No time to translate at the moment. Perhaps in the future. It's a real shame there's no good info in English. Y'all are missing out.

    The title of this is "När Kapten Grogg skulle porträtteras," which is something like "When Captain Grogg gets a portrait." Well, that's the general gist of it, anyway, from the standpoint of my diminishing Swedish language skills.

    Keep in mind, this was made in 1917!

    All the best,

    J.O. Morris