Technic Mask

Technic Mask

Inspiration is my recent video game addiction and brilliant pen and ink artists.

Full drawing to come, hands study

Hands, full drawing later.

Hands, full drawing later.

Cafe day

🙂

Struggling with caffeine addiction?

Yea, me too.

Most people ignore the negatives of caffeine if they are addicted. Its chemical name is trimethylxanthine and like its name, its effects are just as complex. First off, that lovely brain boost we rely on is great short-term. But how many of us only have a cup of coffee every few days? Usually, once a person finds a caffeinated drink they enjoy, they come back for more, everyday, and often more than once. Now here is a kicker- it has similar traits and structure to heroine and cocaine. Now, obviously, just because something seems like a dangerous drug does not mean it is a dangerous drug, right?

Just ask yourself this, what do you do when you are denied your delicious caffeinated drink? Do you storm

even though this widely-accepted ingredient is exciting and helpful occasionally, you need to be careful how you treat it- it is still a drug

and rage? Do you pout? Do you “go off the handle” on the nearest breathing thing?  Guess what, you just proved to yourself that you are not only addicted, you also take out your aggression about it on yourself and other people or things. Uh oh!

At my most caffeinated state, I was drinking about 8-10 cups of coffee a day. Yeah, I’ve been there. At the time I did not really care. I also didn’t really sleep. Everyone in my life told me I needed to cut down on it. I used to “detox” for a week every few months to prove to people I was fine. But I was also eating chocolate and drinking tea. I made up for my coffee’s caffeine with other caffeinated things.

And then I figured, what the heck, I can go off caffeine, I’m not addicted.

Guess what happened?

I got a few headaches, experienced crankiness, and then my energy level increased. I slept better. My brain worked faster. I felt lighter and happier.

I felt like a 5 year old with endless energy and boundless ideas.

And then after 6 months of that?

I drank some coffee.  My energy increased even more- for a short time. I fell right back into my old patterns.

In the last ten days I’ve had 3 caffeinated drinks. I’m sleeping better and my mood is over-all improved.

One of the most powerful currencies: and you already own it.

drawing done in an undergraduate art class, i wanted to combine all the things I enjoyed in one drawing.

Everyone needs money. Sometimes super aware of our currency, we know it is important to have it, and we spend a lot of our lives working to get it. We trade it for things, food, a place to live, among other things.

Yet with all of our currency suave, how much do we know about our bodies’ “microscopic currency”? I’m talking about raw power, seamless sustainability and brilliant duplication ability. So seriously, how many of us know what this is? Do we know what it can be traded for, or what it is made of or even where is comes from? Well, I was curious too. I will not answer all of those questions here, but hopefully this gives a good starting point.

Enter adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

This curiously shaped molecule, reselmbling excites our systems. In fact, without ATP nothing would function correctly. Why is this? Let me show you a few things about a currency without a government tax.

Basically, when we eat food, our bodies use the ATP molecule to break down food. The energy it transfers allows chemical processes to continue seamlessly and then recycle that energy to be used once again. Not only that, but it also recycles its entire weight in a day. The entire amount of these molecules only weigh 250 grams, a little over 8 ounces. Considering that the average person weighs 120-180 pounds, this half-pound “small-fry” packs a punch of power.

In addition to the big job of providing energy to our metabolic systems, ATP works two other jobs efficiently and simultaneously. Really, I asked, I can’t even talk on the phone, drive and drink my coffee without spilling on myself, what else could this super molecule possibly do? Read on in amazement. The body uses ATP to signal how much energy is left in other processes. Like a captain of a soccer team who knows his players well, ATP lets the coach know if a player is running low or wants some time in the game. Endless energy, perfect energy regulation, and last but never least, ATP helps our genes recreate themselves in order that we can pass on our genetic code to the next generate. Yep, this molecule also helped code who we are, and who are children will be.

So, our bodies’ currency, adenosine triphosphate, seems to have it all: bronze, heart, and brains. And you have your own never-ending supply- free! Makes those dollar bills your working so hard for look a little boring now, doesn’t it? Imagine if every dollar you earned was never taxed, was recyclable, was renewed fully everyday no many how many times you used it, it also told you how much you’ve spent, where it all went, where you needed to spend it next, and it helped you figure out who you were and who you children would be.

Pretty cool, right?

Functionality fascinates me.

I want to do a lot with my life. That sounds great in theory. In practice it looked like a several half-hearted attempts at different career paths. It didn’t show my improvements at multiple pursuits. At least I used to think so until tonight. Let me explain why the bracing through the stinging failure leads to a stunning celebration.

I love observing the world around me; from the infection of the Brown Recluse Spider (I’m serious, please let me explain. The way the pernicious creatures can destroy a living animal with a single bite is fascinating. Gross, but fascinating.)  to the graceful way water forms into a spherical shape due to its surface tension. All things have their own fascinating functional.

As soon as I found this path (and my eyes were finally opened tonight), I knew it was right for me. Before I could read, I wrote books; I scribbled and drew pictures. I collected books in my room before I even knew which way was “right side up.” I wanted the knowledge. Since I published a piece in a magazine when I was 10, I knew I loved writing. At the same time, science runs right alongside my other passions with equal strength; all of my science classes held my captive from giggling about how the platypus swims with its eyes, ears, and nose shut in second grade to recent marveling and reconsideration at the way light travels in particles called photons and in electromagnetic radiation waves. Because of this fascination with science’s beauty and function, I intended to pursue science in college. At school, I later chose to study the world through form and beauty in artistic expression. That’s a fancy way of saying I graduated with an arts degree instead of a science degree. I also did it because it meant I could study in Italy and graduate early to save money.

I worked in various jobs in the past, from art-teacher’s assistant to janitor. I enjoyed all of them. In my mind, everything can be interesting. But they all lacked the ability to pique my interest like studying the sciences did. After I declined my acceptance to Columbia University’s post-bac pre-med program this past January, I immediately regretted not being involved in medicine. I was confident, however, that stifling my desire to write and create would always remain impossible. Unfortunately, I believed I would be forced to choose between creative expression and science. I wandered in a state of foreboding “forever less-than-satiated.”

Throughout this process, writing comforted me. For the last 12 years of my life, I have spent time everyday to record the experiences of the people and events around me. My decade’s worth handwritten books (the number passed 10 a few years ago) testify that I am incapable of not writing. I can’t live without it. Since I declined a medical path due to funding, an art career rejected and dejected me, it made perfect sense when I started working as an editorial assistant at a newspaper. Not surprisingly, I love it. But I know it is missing something. That something is the thrill I get from challenging myself scientifically and communicating to others the excitement and importance of learning about the world.

Sometimes I am bothered by news. At first, I thought my frustration with the news might mean I still wanted to be doctor. Tonight, however, my moping eyes opened enough to witness writing and science merge together. I can truly have the best of both worlds. Writing about medicine and other sciences allows me to learn cutting-edge science and help other people understand it in order that they may live their lives better. The best part about this career choice? I know I will love it. No, I take that back. The best part about this career choice is that I am already on the right path. I don’t need to take the MCAT to start working on it, and everyday I get better at it.

Oh, wait, the best part is that I still get to practice guitar, harp, piano, read books, spend time in the sunshine appreciating nature, watch funny movies, and not worry that I am going to fail my medical boards or kill someone if I don’t learn exactly what adenosine triphosphate does TONIGHT- because I am not a doctor. I’m a writer, an artist, a wanna-be musician and a science junkie.

…I will want to learn all of its functions in November though. Wish me luck!

Don’t worry, I’ll still post art, I will just also be adding science to these pieces. Maybe this will turn into a book someday.

Hahaha, I can see it now, “Science for the Art Blogger: the Why Behind Your Inspiration”

Ooh! I thought of another positive: I get to write in coffee shops, sidewalks, stores, trees, at home, at work, and everywhere. I love my life. I hope you do too. If you don’t take some time to look at everything you do in a month or week. Where do you spend most of your time? Where does your daydream always end up? Can those two things conglomerate or synthesize? I hope so. Good luck.

skeleton drawing

Freshman year drawing of a skeleton I studied.