Tag Archive | chemistry

My Study Schedule and Week 1 Progress Report – MCAT 2015

mcatprepimagesIn my last post, I talked in general about my study plan, what I planned to go back and cover in content review, and sort of the thinking behind certain aspects of the plan. Here, I want to detail the plan, partly because I’m hoping that making it public will help make me accountable. And also, if anyone reading this who is also taking the test wants to chime in or use a similar plan, that would be awesome.

To see the general plan, click here.

Now, down to the nitty gritty.

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My Study Plan – MCAT 2015

mcat booksSo, I’ve spent a lot of time since signing up for the test trying to make a (somewhat) realistic, doable and foolproof study plan, as if such a thing could exist.

I took stock of all my old study materials, all the resources out there now, and of how I did on the Sample Test, as well as a half-diagnostic from a company called Next Step. That was interesting, sorta reflective of the official Sample Test except I did a bit lower on everything, and somehow did worse on CARS (verbal reasoning) than I did on psych/soc (which is just so weird to me because I haven’t taken those classes in over a decade and really don’t remember anything so it was mostly guessing, funny how that worked better for me than actually trying to think through the CARS section). From those two samples, I made a list of what my weaker areas are.

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Screenwriting as Love Drug Mania Part 3 – Return to Normalcy

Tranquility____Collab___by_freelancahHere it is, the final installment in this trilogy of posts about a recent crazy creative journey (Read Part 1 – The High and Part 2 – Coming Down here) of writing a crazy screenplay called (for now anyway) Sweet Acid. Not that the journey of writing this screenplay is over–I still have tons of editing to do, and then need to figure out what I want to do with it–but that the crazy emotional creativity roller coaster has subsided.

And as for what got me back to normal? It’s nothing shocking. I think just about every working writer or artist or creative person in any field has said this. The cure for all that insane intensity–the good, the bad, the swinging between the extremes–is to keep doing the work.

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Screenwriting as Love Drug Mania Part 2 – Coming Down

stage frightimagesThe creative process can be a mindfuck at times. Last time, I wrote about the ecstatic high of being so madly inspired on a screenwriting project that I was all out of whack. Even though I knew better, I kinda thought that feeling would last a really long time.

And in a certain way, it’s still there. I’m still excited about the project and had a great time talking about it yesterday with the friend who my character Lenne is based on. But I also experienced the other side of the creative process, the doubt and self-loathing, the coming down off the drug-like high of creating.

The crash came along with writing the end of the first draft of the screenplay. Maybe it was just the fact that the initial mad dash creative side of the project was over. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel excited about this project so much as terrified.

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Screenwriting as Love Drug Mania Part 1 – The High

Holy fucking roller coaster, Batman. And the ride isn’t over.

screenplayimagesThe last two weeks have been a completely new kind of writing experience for me. It feels a little weird to be able to say that at 33 years old, especially considering I was writing little stories since, like, first grade. But it’s true.

It was so intense. It felt kinda like how I imagine being manic might feel. It felt like being in love. It felt like being on reeeeeeeally good drugs. It was all rushing and inspiration and not being able to sleep and waking up early with ideas and thoughts of how to work parts of it together. And it was a lot, lot, lot of writing.

Here’s what happened. For my university, there is a requirement called a senior capstone. I’ve resisted it as long as I could, putting it off term after term, imagining the anonymous diatribes I wanted to write against the requirement in the school paper as if that could somehow exempt me from having to take a capstone class. But this winter, I had to sign up, so I picked Research Experience for Science Majors, hoping to, you know, get some research experience.

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Breaking Bad Episode 401 “Box Cutter”

401indexSo, I think there may be something seriously wrong with me because after finishing this episode, which is brutal and hopeless, I went about my day but couldn’t shake it. And I didn’t want to; I almost wanted to just live in this world and not my own a little longer, stay in that superlab with our guys. Disturbing, huh? I mean, of all episodes to feel this way about, this one’s a little…traumatic.

This episode may break some records for characters going the longest time without speaking. These long stretches without dialogue allow for other sounds, especially the creaking of the chairs in the superlab, Gus’s footsteps, Gus changing clothes, putting on his glasses, but mostly it’s the chairs.

So Saul got himself a bodyguard, Huell. He’s always glided over things before but not now. He’s terrified, looking around his office for bugs (hilarious detail that the columns move), speaking on a payphone, asking Huell if he has a passport. And I gotta say, I usually love Saul’s ridiculous outfits, usually find something aesthetically redeeming about his crazy color combinations, but this time? No way. Worst Saul get-up ever. Gross.

I love when Skyler says to Saul, “He carpools…to his job…at a meth lab?”

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Breaking Bad Episode 102 “Cat’s In the Bag…”

Walter White and Jesse Pinkman survived their first cook, their first drug deal (barely), and are escaping with their lives intact and two dead bodies in the back. So they think at first.

This episode is all about aftermath, about the natural and unnatural consequences of what comes next and cleaning up the mess.

And let’s talk about that for a moment, because Breaking Bad takes a turn here that a lot of shows wouldn’t. The pilot episode was fast-paced with lots of dramatic action. It had pants falling from the sky, a fire, a cancer diagnosis, a meth lab bust, blackmail, a meth cook in an RV, a drug deal, two “bad guys” coming after our “heroes,” Jesse getting knocked unconscious, Walt’s ingenuous plot to kill those bad guys with some chemistry, and then a near-miss almost getting caught (not to mention Walt’s almost suicide in the process). And then we get a nice conclusive ending with Walt and Skyler in bed together.

And I think a lot of shows would’ve left it there. The next episode would go on to the next drama of the next cook and the next drug deal. The fact that Breaking Bad doesn’t do that and instead goes back to look at how they deal with getting the RV towed, and how they deal with the two bodies (and later with the fact that Krazy-8 is still alive), shows that it’s going to be a different kind of show. It’s going to hyperserialized, for one thing, novelistic. And the aftermaths of events won’t be swept under the rug or ignored, but rather explored in detail. This is a world of cause and effect. This is a show that’s going to take it’s time and deal with the high dramatics and the internal struggles.

This episode is slower than the pilot, for sure. It’s a different type of episode, and the balance and play of all these aspects is one of the things that makes BrBa so good. I mean, this episode isn’t so much high drama as it is phone calls and coin flips and ultrasounds.

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