Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category


When last I wrote of the garden, we were harvesting lots of blueberries and not much else. Now, our blueberries have stopped producing and our tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash are in full swing. We’re also harvesting a good amount of peppers.

If you were unaware, we recently acquired a dehydrator. We’ve found some pretty good uses for it. such as drying fruits and herbs, and this year, we’re branching out. With our recent influx of tomatoes and zucchini, we also thought we’d try making dried tomatoes and zucchini chips. Unfortunately, almost everyone in my family hates the dried tomatoes – but not quite everyone. My sister actually likes them, so we’ve made plenty. To me, they just taste like highly acidic blobs. The zucchini chips aren’t bad, but no one except my sister is a huge fan of those either.

Everything else is coming along well. Our corn is still growing, we’re harvesting some green beans and wax beans, and we even have a few watermelons growing. We’ve also gotten significantly more cucumbers this year than in previous years. If all goes well, we could get some apples this year.

We leave on a week-long beach trip August 12th; we are a little worried that most of our corn will ripen while we’re away, but other than that, all is going well.

Ollie’s Death

Posted: July 20, 2017 in Articles

It is my sad duty to report that Ollie, our goldfish, has died. We weren’t expecting him to live for nearly as long as he did, which was around 5-6 years. The table where his tank once was is now empty… well, technically, it’s filled with tomatoes, but it looks empty.

Regardless, we won’t soon forget the incredibly long-lived goldfish that annoyed us for so many years.

Adventures in College Park

Posted: July 14, 2017 in Articles

As I mentioned the last time I wrote, I recently went on a little trip for two weeks. Well, technically, it was supposed to be two back-to-back little trips that lasted two weeks together, but I got sick and had to miss the first, so it was actually just one little trip that lasted nine days.

You might be wondering what the trip actually was. I was attending the National Youth Leadership Forum: Medicine in College Park. This program was essentially a 9-day intro to the field of medicine and some of the career paths one could take. It also provided hands-on experience for common techniques like phlebotomy, taking someone’s pulse, and taking someone’s blood pressure. Since talking about the entire trip would take quite some time, I’ll try only to go over the most notable parts.

First of all, the living accommodations. They were, in a word, bad. There was adequate space for two people, but the mattresses were some odd type of plastic that wasn’t soft at all. The first two nights I didn’t sleep a lot, and it wasn’t until the 5th night that I actually slept well. Even then, my back ached when I got up in the morning. Still, it was bearable for 9 days.

On good days, the food was bad. We ate at the college campus’s diner for breakfast and dinner, and for lunch we had to walk somewhere else or get food delivered. The diner served many gourmet foods such as fake eggs from a carton, pineapple with flies on it, cold peas, and rock-hard pancakes. There was a joke among the students that the best thing to get at the diner was water… and even that wasn’t great.

Regardless, we weren’t there for the food. We were there for the education, which was, thank goodness, of much higher quality than the lodging and the food combined. The first few days were mostly introduction, but we did do their 4 “workshops” which were phlebotomy, suturing, taking blood pressure, and improvising. We also did outdoor medicine simulations, which included making splints, how to move people with neck injuries, how to stop hemorrhaging, and a list of basic things that are good to keep with you when you go on outdoor trips.

In the days after those experiences, we learned about medical ethics and had the opportunity to learn about 2 of 4 more things: the MCAT, nursing, bio-engineering, and the difference between an MD and a DO. I chose to learn about the MCAT, which is basically the SAT for med school, and MD vs. DO. An MD is a doctor of Allopathic medicine and a DO is a doctor of Osteopathic medicine. Both are doctors and can do the exact same things, but they have different approaches to medicine. DO is a more recent form of medicine and because of the way medicine evolved, MD has been around for much longer. Neither is really better than the other as they both have their strengths and their weaknesses.

Over the next two days we had the opportunity to visit two medical colleges, the George Washington University School of Nursing and Johns Hopkins medical school. At the GWU SON we were able to tour their simulation center and see what it would be like to be a nurse, as well as learn things like an easy way to distinguish between metabolic acidosis, metabolic alkalosis, respiratory acidosis, and respiratory alkalosis.

As was stressed all during the Johns Hopkins, visit, it is actually Johns with the s. Apparently, a lot of people simply call it John Hopkins, which bothers many staff members and students there at Johns Hopkins. That’s not all we learned, though. We learned about what it takes to get into med school, specifically Johns Hopkins, and a little bit about the history of the school/hospital. We also got to learn about what one actually learns in med school, and we were able to tour research labs. The one I went to was experimenting on mice and a particular genetic disease ending in the aorta rupturing. I thought it was especially interesting to hear about the genetic modification process and how they use GFP, green florescent protein, as a marker in experiments.

Perhaps my favorite activity was watching a total knee replacement. Unfortunately, it wasn’t live, but it was the next best thing: a recording of a doctor performing a total knee replacement and explaining what he was doing as he went. You’d think that a surgeon would be gentle with his patients, but this guy really wasn’t. He went to town with a drill and took out the guy’s entire knee. He also shaved off parts of the tibia and femur. He was fond of hammering the metal implants in. And when I say hammering, I really mean hammering. There was nothing gentle about it. He did get the job done, though, and the patient had full range of mobility at the end. I liked hearing about how they use bone grafts, bone cement, and bone wax to make sure that the body doesn’t reject the metal implants.  Watching the surgery also made me consider more strongly pursuing a career in orthopedic surgery, which I was already thinking about.

Overall, it was indeed the experience of a lifetime. In addition to all the learning, hands-on experience, and opportunities that would be very hard to come by regularly, what really made it special were the people I got to work with. I didn’t go into the program thinking that I’d make a lot or really any friends, but now that I’m gone I find that I do, in fact, miss a couple of them. It’s odd to go from spending nearly all day, every day, with a few people to not seeing them at all. And while I probably won’t see any of them again, it was nice while it lasted.

Done With the School Year

Posted: May 6, 2017 in Articles

Well, for the most part.

As expected, I had my last debate on the 20th of April. This went pretty well and almost concluded my school year. If you remember, I went into the debate with a slightly negative opinion of our topic, but as I argued the affirmative side, I began to think it would be plausible. Now, after researching and arguing the negative side, I’m back to my original negative opinion of the topic.

That mostly concluded my public speaking class. The next thing that ended was choir, which ended two days ago. I will still have some subjects like Spanish, but most things are over. Now hopefully I’ll write more. Hopefully.

The Joy of Hotels

Posted: April 15, 2017 in Articles

I recently had occasion to go on a bit of a road trip with some family members and stay in a hotel for a night. The hotel was, as one might expect (if you’re me, anyway) full of fun. We stayed at a Hampton Inn, where my parents are apparently members. We arrived at around 8 PM, so we had some time to settle in before I decided to explore the hotel.

Starting with the room, it had many fascinating aspects. It had a view over an old abandoned parking lot and building. The door to the bathroom also served as a door to the closet and as a mirror, which was interesting. They had some nice security features on the door. They had a cover for the peep hole, so that people can’t look in to your hotel, but you can still look out. They also had a way to make sure that you can only open the door an inch or so, should the person inside the room wish that to be the case.

In another part of the hotel, they had a small gym and an equally small pool. They had some interesting rules for using the gym. You had to be 18 or older to use the gym, and you had to have permission from you doctor in order to use some of the equipment. I’d imagine the hotel was just trying to avoid getting sued. The pool had similar rules, and, at most, was only 5 feet deep. It was underwhelming.

Overall, it was quite an enjoyable experience. Hotels are always fun, at least when they’re good. Also, since it has been a while since the last garden post, you can expect an update sometime in the future. There have been several noteworthy developments.