Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Beauty and the Geek, season 2

So, season two is up! This, in my humble opinion is one of the best reality shows. I don't normally watch them (I stole a glance or two at POP TV's Bar and found it immensly boring), but this is just too good to be left out. I care not if they eat slugs on the Survivor or if twenty gorgeous girls try to win the heart of a Bachelor (who always turns out to be the most repulsive man I've ever met) or if people who couldn't sing in tune even under threat of death try to make it as pop singers.

But here, oh boy! I can pretend to be shocked when the girls don't know John Kerry's name, when they don't know who wrote the Declaration of Independence and when they think 1941 was the year when "Columbus sailed the ocean blue".

I admire the guys and wish there was someone who cared to explain astrophysics to me while we waited for the sun to rise or taught me how to master the Rubic's cube or play speed chess. (Really; my hands start shaking and my knees become weak when I'm around geeks.)

Season two is better in a few respects: the guys are definitelly geekier. Season one's guys were ordinary smart men, but not real nerds (which is what the show promises to bring to you every week). Girls in the new season are much more competitive. While they still take care to get the usual 5 hour long sunbathing done every day, they are prepared to sleep less in order to master the tricky science of plugging colour-coded wires into the right plugs. Also we finally have someone who's willing to step over bodies to get the prize. And, incidentally, I don't buy Chris' "only kissed one girl so far" for one moment. With his "super competitiveness" I think he was counting the girls he'd kissed and charted his progress on a graph; at the same time making sure he had kissed more than any other guy he knew.

Also, what's with Cher? It just might turn out she's Chris' female counterpart. And don't you just love Josh who predicts a nuclear war to start the next day? Who strolls down the corridors and mutters to himself: "This is going to be a disaster, such a disaster... entering this show... big mistake...diaster, oh, no!" Tristin is a whiner and the less I see of her, the better, while Sarah finally brings some real female curves to the show - to the delight of men around the globe. Even boyfriend (and in MY presence! - imagine his tactlessness) groaned under his breath when she took the upper layer of her clothing off.

I'm a bit sorry to have witnessed Tyson go, because he really seemed willing to change and experience new situations, but that's what you get if your partner doesn't know what a hard drive is.

The best part of the show for me is LISTENING to the beauties, because oh my, they are beautiful. (Gaseous food, eh?) I take this as a further proof that beauty isn't everything and that brains are far more desirable to have than any amount of beauty. Even if that beauty comes in the shape and size of Sarah's breasts.

posted by Nadezhda | 12:35 | 3 comments

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Give up? Never!

This year I have a subscription ticket for SNG Drama in Ljubljana (theatre). Unfortunately, I was unable to see one of the performances when it was scheduled. I called the box office and they were very kind, said it wasn't a problem at all and that next month I should check their programme and choose a performance when I could attend.

I called them in November, December and January. All sold out. I went to buy tickets for February, certain that by now everybody will have seen the performance, but no luck - they are already sold out again. That or the lady behind the counter fancies me and as she's realized I really want to see this performance, she has me coming back every month, asking if there is a spare seat, so I can finally see the performance.

P.S. Would anybody be willing to read my totally unprofessional reviews of Drama's performances?

posted by Nadezhda | 11:46 | 7 comments

Friday, January 27, 2006

King Kong (2005, Peter Jackson)

I can safely say that King Kong isn't Peter Jackson's greatest work. He was working on this project for the last two years, but I was rather disappointed by the end result.

Knowing I was about to see a three-hour film, I braced myself for something highly reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. I was certain I was about to see a real cure for sore eyes. I was wrong. The film is overlong. While I could watch the extended edition of LotR, Return of the King, which is over four hours, without a break, there were several moments in King Kong when I checked my watch to see just how much longer will this take to end. It is not my habit to check the time when watching a film, however the middle part of Kong stretches and stretches into eternity and a good cut would do the film a favour. The story begins and ends in New York, both of the parts take about an hour, perhaps slightly more. Then there's the middle part, when the party is either traveling to or is on the Skull Island. That part is just too long, mainly because it has nothing big to contribute to the plot (apart from a big, hairy, vengeful monkey). There are several (in any case too many) scenes where the sailors or the movie crew fight the dinosaurs, spiders and other terrible creatures. And after the first ten minutes of one character being hunted by a particularly nasty Tyranosaurus rex, and then another of the same species and finally by a third specimen of the kind, you sort of start felling they overdosed the dinosaur parts. Whether CGI people were writing begging letters to Jackson, to let them work on Kong, because they have children to feed, I don't know. One thing is certain: too many creatures, too little plot. The creatures were admittedly horrible. Whoever designed them must have really terrifying night mares. (And I thought my night mares were bad...)

As I said previously, these creatures should be incorporated into the action sequences. The middle part of Kong is just one huge action sequence, which (I feel) is unsupported by any substantial plot, apart from the lady being kidnapped and then given as a yearly (?) tribute to the giant monkey; at which point her colleagues find she's missing and they form what seems a rescue party with suicidal intentions. At the heart of this rescue party is Adrien Brody as a screenplay writer, who's fallen for the lady and naturally feels, he can't live without her anymore and so it is but natural that he go and save her. Apart from a few more convincing scenes, their love is nothing more than platonic and there are no sparkles flying. I must, however difficult it might be, admit that I've been nursing a soft spot for Adrien Brody ever since I saw The Pianist and predicted that he's going to win that year's Oscar. (The fact that his nose is crooked does not make my resolve any less firm, but thanks for asking.) So I was a little reluctant to go and see a film where he'll be falling for another girl. However, after having seen the film, I can safely say that Naomi Watts is no real threat to our (mine&Adrien's) happy future together. To be exact, I thought that the monkey and Watts had more chemistry between them. Because Brody and Watts' relationship was so superficial, it was difficult for me to understand why exactly would he go into the wild, full of the world's (long extinct) foulest creatures to save her. And let me also say, however painful it is, that Brody is never going to be a huge action hero; he just lacks that machismo and self-centeredness.

Watts (at least to me) LOOKS very 1930s. She tried to get into the role and for the most part, she succeeded. She however, is more cute than fatal. How she could be a femme fatale for a monkey is beyond my comprehension. Maybe it's just that she knows how to deal with men and how to guide them, so she can't fail with something that is, admittedly bigger, but less sophisticated. And at least the monkey cannot say: "Honey, if you don't behave, say goodbye to that cashmere coat," so she can twist and bend the rules to her liking.

The best actor in the film would have to be Jack Black. A film director, obsessed with making spectacular movies that will sell, you can almost see the dollar signs flashing in his eyes. Mad, eccentric and ready to risk everything to get rich, he was simply the most powerful character in the film.

Since one of the last lines of the film is "Beauty killed the beast" I can hardly understand if this film was really about the death of a giant monkey and why. It seemed to me to be much more about how people are prepared to go to extremes to discover something primal, something that has not yet been touched by civilization and how they make money out of that. How people are willing to risk the lives of their friends to get what they want. How people just cannot get enough of the media attention and how all this leads them to their end.

It is not a bad film, but it has its flaws. For my part, I thought LotR was infinitely better. But more about that next time.

posted by Nadezhda | 12:07 | 5 comments

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How to do well in exams

I have read many books on effective studying and exam preparation and since it is exam time at University in Slovenia, a quick glance over strategies for doing well on exams can't hurt.

Naturally, the best way for doing well on exams is to prepare thoroughly. Second best way is to know how to answer the exam questions effectively.

In the exam, read over all of your choices and make selections early. Divide your time so you know how many minutes (approximately) you have per question and in an essay style exam make a brief plan for each question before writing. Plan a little time to review, usually 5 to 10 minutes will be enough for an hour-long exams.

Begin with the easiest alternative to accumulate marks quickly and boost your confidence. Read over the questions and plan time. Note the relative worth of questions so you can plan your time accordingly. A question worth 50% of the grade should probably take 50% of the allotted time. Decide which questions you want to do, if you have a choice. It is often advisable to begin with questions you can do readily. Do not worry about doing the questions in order unless the professor specifies otherwise.

If you fall seriously behind your time plan during the exam, leave adequate space for the question you are working on, and start answering the other questions. You will be more likely to get a passing grade if you answer all the required questions at least partially rather than trying to make one or two answers perfect.

Re-read the questions, noting what each question asks you to do. At this point your knowledge about organizing essays from key words like "compare and contrast" and "discuss" will be helpful in focusing you on what you have to write and how to organize the answer. Students sometimes lose grades or fail exams because they fail to answer the question; instead they ramble on about material that may be related to the question but not precisely what the question requires.

Organize your thoughts before beginning to write with a brief outline. A well-organized answer will be better received than one with a less coherent presentation. Write a brief introduction including your statement or thesis adapted from the question you are answering. Tell the reader how you will prove this. Keep your point straightforward and clear. To do this, use clear transitions to link your points. Also, include some examples or references to authors of your course. Examples demonstrate your grasp of the subject matter. References to specific and precise examples from readings and lectures support and illustrate your point.

Sum up to reinforce the coherence of your answer and review the paper for errors, legibility, and for things you might want to change. When writing essay answers, favour a direct, concise, precise writing style. Do not waste time trying to compose a graceful lead paragraph as you might if you were writing an essay; get to the point quickly and directly. State what you intend to discuss and develop those ideas with well-chosen examples. Demonstrate that you can analyze and evaluate the subject matter and not merely repeat information from readings and lectures. The essay exam is an exercise in thinking and expressing yourself, not in memorizing and parroting.
Be sure to write legibly, even if you have to print, and write on every other line. If your writing is virtually indecipherable, you may lose credit because the grader cannot understand what you have written. Writing on every other line produces a less crowded appearance, and also allows you to add material to your original answers when you proof-read them. If you use several exam sheets, be sure to number them before handing them in, for example, "1 of 3," "2 of 3," "3 of 3." Protect yourself if one booklet becomes misplaced.

Wih OPEN BOOK EXAMS, the important point to remember is that you should prepare effectively and thoroughly. Do not expect to be able to simply look up everything you do not know: you will not have adequate time to do so. Be prepared to use your texts and notes efficiently. Know where to locate information you might need when writing your answers (quotations, dates, definitions, graphs, diagrams, etc.); you can also mark the important pages with some post-its. But do not let yourself be drawn into a false sense of security so that you do little or no prior preparation.

For MULTIPLE CHOICE EXAMS the following strategies come in handy: Start with the easy questions. Don't waste time labouring over troublesome questions at the start. Be sure to get credit for items you know well. When you come to the end of the test, recycle - try to answer the questions you could not do on the first attempt. Sometimes the answer will occur to you just because you are more relaxed after having answered other questions. Sometimes an answer to one question provides a clue to the answer of another.

Allocate your time according to the relative worth of questions. Try to save a few minutes at the end for revision. Your first answer may not always be your best answer. Change answers, but only if you have a good reason for doing so. For instance, changing an answer from "b" just because your response to the previous four questions was also "b" and you cannot believe that five questions in a row would have the same item as the correct response, is likely not a good reason.

Read the questions carefully, twice if necessary. Avoid jumping to onclusions about what you think the question asks. Circle or underline key words in questions! Multiple choice tests examine your ability to read carefully as much as they test your ability to recall and reason. Watch for words like "all," "always," "never," "none," "few," "many," some," "sometimes."

Try to recall a concept from memory before looking at the options. Doing this successfully may help you "wade through" the alternatives and find a reasonable answer or choice. Also consider reading the question and try to answer it by recalling before looking at the alternative answers.

Sometimes the alternatives differ in one or two words or in the order of one or two terms. These can seem very confusing. It helps sometimes to read the stem of the question with an lternative while covering up the others. By methodically thinking through the alternatives this way, you may be able to make more sense of the options by labelling them true or false and eliminating those that don't correctly complete the question.

Use the hint of highly similar pairs - this says that often the answer is imbedded in one of two very similar pairs and the "most correct" answer is often the one that correctly uses course terminology; consider the all or none of the above cues - if two of the preceding alternatives are opposites then one of them and the all or none of the above choice is also wrong. Consider guessing when there is no penalty for a wrong answer.

Be alert to terminology which links the alternatives or questions to key areas of the course, lectures, or chapters of a course's materials -- this may help you narrow the field of possible choices and think through to the best answer.

Be wary of the words which are overly exclusive or overly inclusive. These absolute terms tend to portray things as right or wrong where this is often not the case. Words like always, never, completely, and only are absolutes. Relative words like often, usually, seem and may are often more accurate.

Translate double negative statements into positive ones. Examples like "Not lacking" or "not none" become "having" and "some" and this can reduce confusion. Note that these are often partly in the stem and partly in the choices of a particular question.

If you must guess, look for some of these possibilities: the style of an answer option is very different from all of the others - this may disqualify it; the grammar of the question stem is not in agreement with the grammar of an alternative; some alternative is not in the area or topic of the question, but comes from some other part of the course- this may disqualify it.

Overall, remember that you are looking for the best answer, not only a correct one, and ot one which must be true all of the time, in all cases, and without exception.

I hope this helped and wish you luck in your upcoming exams.

posted by Nadezhda | 00:27 | 2 comments

Friday, January 20, 2006

Reading Lord of the Rings

After several years of teasing I decided time was ripe for me to read the one book I've been planning to read for ages. I'd dearly like to flatter you into belief that I've read Kant or something similarly sophisticated, but I won't try to.

I read Lord of the Rings trilogy (actually have got about 100 pages before I finish it) and must say that I don't regret the choice. Naturally, I have more important things to be doing at the moment - like studying biochemistry for my exam, but compared to LOTR, biochemistry is just so dull. ATP here, ATP there, whereas in LOTR you have kings and queens and - elves!

The book is very epic. Not just the action, but the mere wording of every sentence. The book vibrates with heroism and pride and clearly cuts the border between good and evil. This is actually one of the few points that bothered me. You have either the good guys or the bad ones. And if a good guy starts transforming, then he will almost always fully convert and unite his forces with the evil master(s). Boromir is a typical example of that. (Incidentally, in Harry Potter (I hear you groan, but at leasst the nice Googlebot alwaysss listensss) Snape is a character who cannot be classified either as a baddie or a goodie and this shade of grey about him is what I like, because the world is not divided into good and bad people; actually you have a whole bunch of people, perhaps the majority, who are sometimes this and then at other times the reverse.) I see what Tolkien is trying to say about the good and the bad and those who want power above all, but it just seems so unnatural to have this strict division. Frodo and Bilbo are perhaps the only characters who succumb to the power of the ring, but stay pure at heart.

I actually quite liked the style; the long sentences and the awkwardly lengthy dialogues. However, I was annoyed with the slightly patronizing tone Aragorn and sometimes Gandalf use towards the others. They seem so lifted above the mundane, there is the pride (so evident in their address and manner of speaking) and the almost unbearing virtuous character traits, especially in Aragorn that made me sick with all the perfection. Couldn't Tolkien create more normal characters? Characters that have their flaws, but are essentially still good (if he was so fierce about protecting the forces of light). It is true this is a historical piece (or it aspires to be such) and is set in 1400 and something, but still... were all people (the big folk) speaking that way? I liked the hobbits, really... I mean, they have an appetite that is not likely to be matched and big, hairy feet, but they're behaving normally, whereas anyone who was someone (the lost heir to the throne) had to speak in long, complicated sentences adorned with so much decorum and almost overbearing politeness that I had difficulty reading them. I do understand it was important to make the distinction between the future king and the others, but did Aragorn really have to be so perfect? (The films make him slightly more flawed, which I liked. Also, the book has so little of the Aragorn/Arwen backstory I felt their marriage was solely out of platonic inclinations. Hadn't I seen the films before, I would have been puzzled about them.)

I loved the maps. At any point when someone mentioned a place or a path they would take, I checked it on the map. I liked the complexity of the Tolkien's world, but have to mention that I skipped most of the oral tradition: songs and verses incorporated in the text. At first I tried reading them, but later on I would just skim through that section. You're virtually in the middle of a fight, the orcs are swarming around the characters and then all of the sudden they'd break into this song... All right fellows, do pluck up your courage by singing, but I want to know how many orcs get a taste of Gimli's axe, not about a battle several thousand years ago.

All the flaws aside, the only big flaw Tolkien's text has is the lack of a really strong female character(s). Contrary to the film Arwen, where their story is explained more thoroughly, the books boasts about two places where she is mentioned. In Rivendell she just stands and talks to Aragorn and in the Return of the King, she marries him (A little like the Jolie/Pitt debacle, don't you think? ;) Just kidding!). There are a few passages, where their love is hinted at, but hadn't I seen the films first, I would have been puzzled. Surely love wasn't at the heart of Tolkien's work, but had he stressed this little side-plot more, had he presented more prominent female characters, his work would have been perfect indeed. The absence of women was what bothered me immensely. I loved Eowyn because she is the only female character who gets enough space and who is directly important in one aspect of the book - the war in Gondor. Galadriel is interesting and her help comes handy in several places in the book, but again, she should have been more prominent, she should have had a bigger role, perhaps by just one direct intervention in the war or in completing the destruction of the Ring. Another nonsense regarding women is connected to the war. The Rohirrim are known as the soldiers and fighters and their women seem to have been taught to duel/fight as well, so it really seems illogical to call for every man in Rohan, who is old enough to be able to carry a sword and take them to Helm's deep when there are women, who are just as good fighters and who are slightly older (thus also more experienced). Denying the women their role in the story and almost pushing them out of the action seems a little too protective of the "weaker" (?) sex and certainly doesn't help the novel. When I complained to boyfriend about this, he said the book was written more than 50 years ago and that women just weren't as prominent in the public life then. Anna Karenina was published in 1877 and women were far less prominent in the public life then, but reversing the roles and putting a woman in the limelight proved to be a formula for success.

Overall, the book was captivating and I frequently read till 2 in the morning, because I just could not put the book down in the middle of a fight. After the current affairs were settled, there, almost immediately (or several hundred pages later, which is just the same) was a new battle and you just cannot go to sleep thinking - well, they might not make it, but what do I care?

posted by Nadezhda | 09:16 | 9 comments

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why is it unwise to aspire to be a celebrity

I remember Angelina Jolie saying a few years ago that she never wanted to be a mother herself. That all she ever wanted was to make life better for the orphans of the world. Orphans who currently live in the most impoverished countries in the world. And for a second there I thought she might keep her word. First she adopted Maddox and then Zahara. All seemed fine. But there was this unavoidable fact: she didn't have the significant other, yet she wanted to be a mother. The obvious way to go was to adopt, not to get yourself pregnant.

Now, however, she has the significant other. Only she wouldn't want to admit it before certain photos of her surfaced. Photos like this one. I'd say she's about 6 months pregnant. That means she got pregnant in the Summer when she claimed she and Brad Pitt were just friends and that she'd never steal a married man from his wife. Guilty conscience, huh?

What worries me more is that Brad and Angelina met while filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Then Brad divorced Jennifer Aniston in January '05 and moved in with Ange and got her pregnant within half a year. Ok, so Brad is the next inseminator after Kevin Federline. These days it is not enough to live with or be married to a woman, you have to get her pregnant to show how much control you have over her. And ladies just keep getting pregnant. So I understand that Britney got pregnant the first time she had the chance, because she kept whining about wanting to be a mother for years before it actually happened. But Jolie with all her independent spirit, her rebeling and self-sufficiency, not to mention: "all I want is to adopt"?

This is yet another proof that ladies don't decide in Holywood. How do you persuade a woman you've known for a little less than a year to have your children even though she didn't want to have any children of her own before? Imagine a conversation between Brad and Ange.
Brad: "Hey, Ange... I want us to have a baby."

Ange: "Sure, honey, we're going to Vietnam in a few days. We can adopt there... It'd be so nice to have another little child, even though Maddox is still so very young."
B: "No, like... I want you to get pregnant."
A: "I won't get pregnant. There are so many orphans in the world... I think it'd be better if we adopted and saved some children from suffering. It is much more humane than just having your own children."
B: "But, Ange... What are people going to say? I mean ... we've been living together for a few months now and if I don't get you pregnant - and soon - they'll say I'm sterile... or something."
A: "Brad, you know... we've just adopted Zahara... she's still a baby... shouldn't we wait a year or perhaps more to see how we handle two children before rushing to have three?
B: "A year! Then they'll definitely say I'm unable to have children. Besides... I divorced Jen, because she didn't want to have children... I am dating you, because you want to have children. I want to have six children and if we don't get going soon... it might be too late..."
A: "It won't be too late, trust me."
B: "People will say you're bossing me around... You know I shouldn't allow that... to perserve my masculinity and my image and all..."
A (after moments of silence): "Ok, let's get busy, then..."

All I can say is I feel sorry for old Ange... Brad is an adulterer who's divorced his wife for Ange. I assume it is because Ange has bigger breasts and lips and is younger, therefore she can have more of his children. Before Jen, he was dating Gwyneth Paltrow. After breaking up with her, he married Jen within half a year and Jennifer lost many pounds. Now, he's dating Ange and she has lost pounds as well... It's not that she ever was really fat, but she's had a fuller figure before... Now she's just reed thin...

What is it that Brad's got? What makes all the women go crazy and do everything he asks them to do? What makes a woman want to have a child of a known adulterer before they've known him for at least a year? What makes them lose weight when they start going out with him?

I don't blame Brad... I blame all his women for letting him take control of their lives. I blame all the women for thinking it is their duty to do as the man says. I blame them for not standing up for themselves, for abandoning freedom of choice just to please men. I blame them for not thinking. I blame them for having children which will be raised by adulterers, emotionally unstable, childish, irresponsible and self-centered fathers who think they're the centre of the Universe.

And yet you see women who whisper: "I want to be just like Angelina..."

posted by Nadezhda | 12:48 | 7 comments

Friday, January 13, 2006

Doctor, doctor...

Today, I will finally keep my promise and write some more about medical school. It is really difficult for me not to keep promises, but for you, my dear Google bot I try to do my best. So today, after many weeks, I will tell you what kind of person in my opinion is ideal for a future doctor.

After passing my matura exam with flying colours, I went to medical school. Med school in Slovenia lasts six years and when you finish it and complete a few months of practical work (mainly ER) in a hospital, supervised by a senior doctor, you graduate. Then you either do a postgraduate course or try to apply for specialisation in one field of medicine. This takes a futher 5 to 6 years and after approximately 12 years you're ready to start working on your own.

The first day of October approached and I started my higher education. Needless to say, one expects to be encouraged and assited in the long and winding path leading to the graduation. That is not to say you expect someone else to do the work for you, but you expect people to try and make life outside higher education easier for you. Turns out that not even the people in the University really believe in you.

Before lectures began, the Dean came to greet us. I will never forget what he said then. He began his speech with: "The studying of medicine is long and difficult." The crowd of first-year students became restless. They also probably expected a better welcome than someone trying to tell you that - well, you might not make it, pal, but don't take it to heart. The Dean later went on with his speech and emphasized how difficult med school is, how almost impossible it is to finish it... And one could not help but wonder, how then is it that he was standing before us, with his degree and specialisation and everything. Could it be that he was some sort of a superman?

Of course not. But for some reason people try to scare you about medical school. I will not attempt to hide the fact that medical school is quite difficult, more difficult at least than several other university courses offered in Ljubljana. But it is possible to complete your education in a med school and what is more - it is possible to pass with flying colours. When and if you decide to try your hand in studying medicine, there are, however a few things to consider.

If you think doctors are well paid, think twice. As a junior doctor you will not get a terrific salary, you'll work long hours, often doing night and weekend shifts. As you get older (and become a more respected doctor) however, you will do less of these. Your friends with degrees in economy and marketing will be much better paid. If you're looking for a well paid job, medicine really isn't the right path. It's not so much trying to ignore the fact that certain respected and very good doctors get high salaries later in their careers as it is that the path to getting those amounts of money is long and torturous and if you cannot appreciate the profession, you will not be happy. Depressed and frustrated doctors cannot be good healers.

It takes a lot of courage to study medicine. As mentioned before, people generally don't think you'll make it and that goes for teachers as well as your relatives. It's not that people don't want you to succeed. It's just that they continually talk about how difficult it is - so with a part of your consciousness you start to believe them. Oh, the countless of times I've heard: "12 years before you actually start working on your own?! You're telling me you'll be studying 12 MORE years?!!" And I tried to reply as calmly as I can: "Yes, it's 12 years. No offence, but I can do the math, too."

Anyway - the students already know this themselves. It is more dangerous if they start believing that they are not capable of passing and exam just because there are (and always will be) people who are better than themselves. Also, there are exams, famed for their difficulty and (I am not ashamed to admit it) something like this happened to me as well. There was a difficult exam last year that I was supposed to pass but I was so frightened at the mere thought of it, I let myself be persuaded that whatever I do, it is almost not possible for me to pass it. I started studying a little too late (as I always do) and then I lost all hope of ever having studied enough to finish this exam. I continued to study for this exam, but at the same time I didn't believe I'll ever pass. And I effectually failed this exam.

Courage and self esteem is vital in studying medicine. It will take more than brains to get you through med school - loads of courage (but not foolishness or carelessness!) and high self-esteem are good starting points. While studying medicine you will be faced with many difficult situations and learning to believe that you'll able to conquer them (and emerge victorious) is essential.

In the immortal words of the Fake Doctor - "[...]Seeing as this is the medical profession, I assumed that most of the hazing would involve various demeaning verbal assaults on my intelligence, ability, and/or character by preceptors or angry residents." In short: on entering med school you're aware that you'll have to amass a whole load of information and the thought might scare you. But you also know that you'll be put down. Either by older students, by frustrated TAs or the snobbish professors. Here again, the ability to cope with this and just get over it is essential.

What I've been trying to say in this entry is that when entering a med school it is not just your brain entering an institution where you'll be filled with so much information as you couldn't have imagined happening to you before. You (and this is the real distinction between med school and other university courses) have to be a formed personality with some very strong character traits, someone who can manage a lot of stress if you want to be a doctor. Sheer intelligence can't help here.

Join me in a couple of weeks for episode three - surviving the med school.

posted by Nadezhda | 12:41 | 2 comments

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I would like to have an Orgasm very much

Beauty experts are united once more (which - by the way - rarely happens). They claim that this season blush is essential for any woman's cheeks. No more flawless coverage of the foundation. This season colour's the measure of everything.

Now, the aforementioned beauty experts also claim that there is a blush that suits all women regardless of their hair/skin colour. This is a certain NARS blush, conveniently called: Orgasm. I have little experience in using a blush so I don't want to buy something that won't work. I decided to trust the "experts" and have it my way with the NARS product. I checked Nama, Maxi and Mueller in Ljubljana and none of these carry NARS products. I have yet to check Limoni and Douglas, but I don't think they carry this brand, either.

But for a moment, let's just imagine that one of the department stores does carry NARS. Imagine what my conversation with the saleswoman might be like:

- Hello. I'm looking for a quality blush. I don't really have experience with it so I want to buy something that'll really work, even for beginners.
- Oh, yes, of course. (Eyes shining, because she knows she's earning...) We have very fine products by Dior, Givency, Lauder, Lancome, NARS...
- I've heard some very positive things about NARS blushes... (sales lady gets the hint and smiles with sparkling eyes)
- Here, look at these samples (takes the testers from the shelf). Do you have any colour preferences? We have some very nice hues like Lovejoy, Mata Hari, Deep Throat, Desire, Outlaw... (she goes on to name the 22 different shades NARS blushes come in... which is every shade, apart from one...)
- Isn't there another shade... I can't really remember its name...but... (hopeful that the sales lady will get my hint)
- I'm not sure I know what you mean (evil smile playing around her lips while she tries to be utmostly polite)
- I mean (giving up all hope that she'll say it) isn't there a shade called ... (in barely more than a whisper) Orgasm?
- (Faking surprize, mixed with politeness) Oh, that one... yes, there is. It's rather a favourite among our customers. (Triumphant smile)
- Yeees. I'll have that then.
- That's $25.
(we handle the transaction)
- Goodbye and have fun with that one!

Since I'm quite sure that none of the Slovenian beauty shops carry this brand, I won't be having conversations like this. But neither will I have a blush. Having checked out their web site, I already like many of the NARS products. And if the above conversation wasn't enough to convince you, try to imagine shopping for Lip Pencil in Sex Machine, Eye Shadow in Notorious or Sugarbaby and Lip gloss in Hustler or Triple X.

Boyfriend has a credit card and if in despair I still wanted to buy a certain product, just imagine me say: Honey, I want an Orgasm.

posted by Nadezhda | 10:18 | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year's Resolutions - better late than never

I don't know what makes me do it - every time I make a promise on the blog, I break it. Should someone sense the involvement of extraterrestrial forces - please, inform me of it, because something strange indeed is going on.

I say "tomorrow", but the readers have learned that this means "probably next week (if we're lucky!)". The unflattering truth is - I was busy. I made a shorter version of the above list early last week, but the second I promised to post it (because that makes it a sort of a binding contract for the year and thus all the more likely to be actually brought into action - but I disgress). So, the second I promised to post it, I started wondering whether that really is the COMPLETE list and shouldn't I tweak it up a bit?

So, yesterday I finally completed the list and when I decided to take the photo - the batteries went out and thus effectually prevented me from posting the resolutions. I could have typed them, but that would defeat the objective, which was to practice writing (by hand) and then practice to exhibit my handwriting. :)

posted by Nadezhda | 22:00 | 1 comments

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Contemplating holidays

The message about crazy drivers has well sunk in (I hope) but to fool you that I left it there that long only to serve as a reminder would be childish. You should know, however, that I've been extremely busy.

On Friday I went to visit an ex-school mate of mine, who now lives with her boyfriend. She's such a heart warming person! I laughed loudly (it's a good work-out for the abs) and heartily to her remarks and have managed to be funny a few times, which alone is an achievement. Boyfriend and I had a lovely time there and were a bit sorry to go, but unfortunately at 1.45 in the morning we were not able to pretend (anymore) that our eyes are still open, just a different (sort of skin-like) colour.

I woke up late on Saturday - at 11 o'clock. Anytime sooner than that would be indecent in anybody who's keen on doing something worthwile on the last day of the year. I read Order of the Phoenix, ate breakfast and then seriously contemplated what to do next for an hour and a half. I decided running would be the best option. Not being too lazy, I jogged the 5 kilometres (met a friend of mine, another ex-school mate, and chatted with him a bit) and took a good long shower. Then we had lunch and I did the dishes (look at me - such exemplary benevolence even that late in the year, when Deda Mraz has his parcels wrapped and ready to go, I didn't cease to be helpful!).

I read for a short time, then got ready to go. Boyfriend, I and a couple of friends went to Koper. We booked a table at a Chinese restaurant. After we had eaten, we went to listen to Tinkara Kovac's live performance. We counted down to New Year's (and didn't forget the extra second) and then watched the fire works. I like watching the fireworks, but absolutely HATE fire crackers. I wonder why some people cannot do without them? (The later being a serious existentialist question, I suppose.) Anyway, some bloke thought it'd be fun to put some serious fire crackers to work, so he lit what could have been the junior brother of a real bomb, it was so loud. Boyfriend and his gang of male-friends reckoned they've never heard/seen anything like it and that as far as they knew, nothing like this ever (legally) reached the shop shelves.

We then meditated for a while on this subject and vaguely wondered whether the Chinese who run the restaurant got some of the fire crackers cheap from their relatives in China and now made a business of selling them to as many locals as they could. The sad part of the story is that some policemen only stood there and observed, asked some by-standers to remove themselves to a safer distance, but obviously it was not within their power to do something about these "bomb" crackers. (Isn't it interesting that when the police don't do anything, it's always beyond their power and authority?)

We got back home at two a.m. and got to bed. (Actually I am a bit concerned because even my parents aka folks that are three decades older than me, got to bed later. The only thing I can offer in my apology is that I've never been much of a party animal but rather a person who needs LOTS of beauty sleep. Mind you, I look fabulous, so you can't really blame me for going to bed early.)

Today boyfriend and I woke in time to listen to the broadcast of the concert by Wiener Philharmoniker. Actually, this's been the first time in years when I've listened to it. Then we drove to my place and had a lunch with my family. My cousins also came and after having argued which film to go and see at the cinema, we decided not to go at all. We resorted to the tested and tried watching of Allo Allo.

It's now been two hours since boyfriend and cousins have departed and I still haven't finished this post. This brings to my mind some thoughts I had earlier this week about the proper name of this blog. I thought it would be better off as "An Hour Wasted" or "The Wasted Hour", but bearing in mind today, it would be best to name it - "Wasted Hours".

I've been dissatisfied with "Random Ramblings" for a while now and I'd like to know, whether you, dear readers (and not to forget the most faithful Google bot), think this blogs needs to be renamed or not. Any suggestions for the title are most welcome.

P.S. Naturally, I've made my New Year's resolutions and I'll be posting them tomorrow. I am going to write the post about medical school this coming week as well. I offer my sincerest apologies to anyone who has been looking forward to this particular post. In my defence I can only say that the holidays are tough on people (most notably myself) and that should you feel this is not really so - take my word for it! :)

posted by Nadezhda | 19:25 | 2 comments