Saturday, April 6, 2013

Week 14 (2013)

Week 14: March 31-April 6

Badminton: 2.5 / 5
School: 4 / 5
Misc: 4 / 5
Overall: 3.5 / 5

Song of the Week: Ryan Star - "Brand New Day". Wow, actual lyrics. I'm more of a hip hop fan, but I usually rather work with instrumentals as I can easily drift into my own thoughts and what I am doing (e.g. studying). However, I must pay tribute to 'Lie To Me', a TV series that only spanned 3 seasons long before it got canceled by Fox, for reasons I'm not sure why. The premise of the series is about a group of experts that specialize in lie detection, and some of the show is actually based on the works on Paul Ekman, a psychologist who researches emotions and facial expressions.. It's a pretty interesting mystery show with a pretty good cast of characters. Tim Roth really does shine in his role and it's definitely worth a watch, as you can probably find an entire season for only $15-20 if you're lucky. I liked Season 2 the best, as it has 22 episodes. Seasons 1 & 3 have only about 13, unfortunately. So, if you haven't guessed by now, this is the opening theme of the series. I also highly recommend checking out Paul Ekman's books. 

This week I think I'll review my courses for the term. UBC BIOC 302 is pretty much the 2nd half of a general biochemistry course. The first part involved more of an intro, with general protein structure and carbohydrate metabolism, while this second half focused on lipid metabolism, protein metabolism, and nucleic acid metabolism and structure. I found Biochemistry quite interesting, though my marks may show otherwise, but I can really relate to concepts in terms of nutrition. Also, some of the medical case studies we came across were quite engaging as well. Unfortunately, the driest part was the DNA to RNA to Protein part, including DNA replication, protein transcription, and protein translation. It's not THAT bad, but the other parts were better I guess. Overall, the professors were pretty good, although we had 3 different professors this time. Makes it a bit hard in adapting to each one, but generally, it wasn't too bad overall. Course objectives and everything are very clear cut, and exams are non-cumulative, but basically, they are just testing on both sections (i.e. fats/proteins, then nucleic acids). It would be pretty crazy to have a cumulative exam, though I think it would be cool to get the interactions. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the course, despite how my grades turn out to be: 4.5/5 (-0.5 for difficulty).


My skeletal muscle physiology course UBC KIN 462 was like a roller coaster ride. There were so many things I didn't understand at times, but I think it finally came together in the end. It's still a relatively new course (3rd time taught at UBC) so I'm sure it will work out it's kinks along the way. The instructor basically designed the course from scratch, so imagine having to make up a course from scratch? Not easy. The first part of the course was quite relevant to muscle physiology, as it was a giant overview of everything we've done with muscles, although I felt the Bioenergetics was rushed a little much. People without a Biochemistry background will definitely be swamped, and it's not an easy task to go learn it on your own. Instead of understanding things, it ends up with memorizing numbers (ATPs) and gets quite overwhelming, with 10 steps in glycolysis and another 8 in the TCA cycle. There's also the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex between the two, which gets overlooked usually, so you get contrasting numbers of ATP. Considering that older texts use a P/O value of 2 and 3 (per FADH2 and NADH), instead of the the 1.5 and 2.5 in Biochemistry, you'll end up with a whole mess of numbers if you don't know what's going on. Regardless, that's a problem that I didn't have, but what I had problems with was understanding transcription factors and intracellular signaling. The signalling cascades were foreign to me (and they still are), but I've finally just buckled down and accepted that they exist and just followed along. To me, it just feels a bit like memorizing, but I'm doing some extra reading about them. We dabbled a bit with it in the end of Biochemistry, touching very briefly on eIF's and eEF's (eukaryotic initiation/elongation factors) but I don't think we need to know which one is which, fortunately. However, to lump them all together seems kind of unfair, and shows a really superficial understanding. BUT, I guess our prof in Biochemistry did make the statement that we will have a "superficial but sufficient understanding" and that seems fair to me.

(Source: So... which ones do I need to know again?

The other major part in this course included seminars and group projects. Seminars were where we discussed a bunch of questions in groups, and it was quite good because it was nice to see where you stood with other classmates (i.e. equally confused hahaha). The group projects were quite nice, as they gave perspective into many different aspects of muscle physiology. Some of the ones that spoke to me more were topics such as rhabomyolysis, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and recovery modalities including massage and contrast baths. There were other really good presentations as well, but I may save it for a blog next time. Overall, the course came together and I think I really learned a lot from it: 4/5 (-0.5 for difficulty, -0.5 for order).

Finally, my last course is Neuroanatomy, or UBC KIN 473. Overall, it's a pretty simple course, with 2 midterms (25% each) and a cumulative final, so it's a pretty straight forward course. The material was sufficient, although a bit shallow, but since its focus was a bit more on clinical examples, it was overall a pretty good course. We spent the first third of the course with motor/descending pathways and problems, the middle third with sensory/ascending pathways and the basal ganglia, and the final portion covering the cerebellum, vestibular systems, and blood supply to the brain. The only problem with the course is that there were no online materials, so we would have to write down everything in class. Attending class is absolutely crucial, and I found it difficult at times because you were busy scribbling stuff and sometimes you lose focus. It's like continually stalling between rallies and slowing the pace down in a badminton game. But aside from that, it was quite an interesting course and gave me much more respect (and a bit of fear) about how complex neuroscience can be: 4.5/5 (-0.5 for no online materials).

My forearm injury has been hampering training slightly, but the extra rest seems to coincide with tapering for the Peru International next week. We leave on Tuesday and the tournament starts Wednesday. Draws don't look too tough, so I hope things work out (and I get some good quality studying done)! On Wednesday, I went for a haircut in the Kerrisdale area and we decided to check out The Red Onion, which seemed to be like a fancy burger place that has been around for a very long time. I've been there as a kid probably more than a decade ago, so this place has survived the test of time. As I went with Carmen, it worked out better because we could split burgers in half and get to try both of them, as I ordered a Hawaiian chicken burger, while she got a gingered salmon burger. Both were incredibly delicious and I would definitely recommend people to try it out, but it's a bit pricey, being $11 and $12 respectively for the burgers. With a half order of onion rings, it came out to be about a $30 lunch after tax and tip, so it's not for those who prefer a more budget friendly meal. However, it you love great tasting food, I guess your money's worth!

(Source: Me)

Thursday night, Carmen and I went to an event in Gas Town called "Share Your Heart with Haiti", where it was a fundraiser for medical supplies for doctors and nurses volunteering their time in Haiti. My friend from class, Aja, who is a nurse and a promoter of the event sent me an invite, so I decided to go with Carmen. I very rarely do these things... actually, this may be the first time I've ever went to something like this, but it was a fundraiser and a potential networking opportunity. After reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers", I decided that opportunities should be taken, and I guess this was no exception. It was held at the Secret Location's tasting bar and it was a pretty interesting evening. We got a free drink, chatted with some people, had a bit of food (exceptional crab cakes!), and Carmen even bid of a few silent auction items. We didn't stay too long, but it was nice to see so many people out to support a great cause and I even got bear hugged by a male nurse named Hugo. Nice guy. But anyway, a big thanks to Aja for the invite and I hope the event was a success!

(Source: Carmen)

(Source: Me)
My Tokidoki stuff finally came, and I got an exclusive skate deck because I purchased a combination of their exclusive Tokidoki x New Era hats! By far my favourite clothing brand at the moment, even though I don't get the chance to wear it out as much as I want. Typically, I'm stuck wearing my badminton clothing supplied by Yonex and anything from previous multi-sport Games events from the Candian Olympic Committee (COC). As I'm training most of the time, badminton clothing is so comfortably, casual, and simple :P Regardless, I have a LOT of hats, and I've added 2 more to the bunch, along with a hat carrying case. That will prove useful on the airplane rides. Also, I got a couple of shirts, one for Carmen, featuring Psylocke, as it is a Tokidoki x Marvel crossover. Anyway, check out their website for more information! To finish off the week, we went out for dinner with our Korean friend Jiwoo, as he is going back to Korea for a while. He took us to this Korean BBQ place out in Coquitlam, called To-Dam (I think). He's a VIP there as he eats there a lot, so we had some pretty good service. The food was excellent, but not sure what the price was. Usually, Korean BBQ is on the more expensive side, especially as it wasn't AYCE (All You Can Eat). However, the quality of the food was very good!

(Source: Me) Carmen modeling a TKDK hat

(Source: Me) Korean BBQ!
So, that's all for this week! Next week I will be in Peru, so I will try to take more pictures and video, but no guarantees as I will be studying like crazy too! Thanks for visiting!

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