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  • megan - Highly recomendThis is a must read for women who enjoy a good romance. While there are some scenes that will make even the more daring blush, there is an amazing story line. Alot of people complain about the writing and how it is "mommy porn" but if you look at the popularity, the numbers speak for themselves. Now I am not saying that the writing is amazing but I can look past that. I really enjoyed this trilogy!
  • Peggy A - Musical History, Version 2013I consider the annual release of the Grammy Nominees an essential part of my music collection, and own all of the CDs, back to the first in the series (1995). Cutting across genres, the "best of the best" are presented under this format each year. To me, they are a form of musical history. It seems there is always good-quality music included in the collection that I haven't heard before, and that I would have missed out on without this CD, so I rely on the this CD to ensure I don't miss out on award-winning music.

    This year's version of the CD includes 22 songs. I loved so many of them that I'd be hard-pressed to select a favorite. Even though many of the songs include themes about relationships that went wrong, the CD never becomes depressing. Instead, quite the opposite happens, and the music charges you up. A quick overview for each song follows. If you decide to buy this year's version, I'm sure you'll find many songs you'll enjoy.

    1. The Black Keys, "Lonely Boy," has strong drum lines overlaid with rockin' electric guitar lines. The vocals are accented by simple female back-up. There is a blues-style message. He thinks he's too good for her, and she hurts him, but he's in love, so he sings, "I got a love that keeps me waiting." WINNER! Best Rock Performance WINNER! Best Rock Song WINNER! Best Rock Album for "El Camino"

    2. Kelly Clarkson, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," is an energetic pop song with very strong vocals and a great message. She is singing about recovering from the breakup of a relationship, becoming stronger, moving on, and relying on herself ("just me, myself and I") to be happy. WINNER! Best Pop Vocal Album

    3. Taylor Swift, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," contains interesting stylistic variations. The song starts out as an acoustic guitar piece with vocals, comparable to a telephone conversation. Then as she starts to get mad, the intensity of the song increases, and it rocks out. Included in the song are several spoken comments that blend seamlessly with the rhythm and flow of the song.

    4. Gotye, "Somebody That I Used To Know," is a soft song, recalling a failed love. It contains plucky string accents and an echoing xylophone counter-melody. The song starts out with his side of the story, and he is mad because she completely cut off contact with him. Then you get her side of the story. WINNER! Record of the Year WINNER! Best Pop Duo/Group Performance WINNER! Best Alternative Music Album for "Making Mirrors"

    5. Katy Perry, "Wide Awake," is about being madly in love with someone, and then moving on when she opens her eyes to the reality of the situation, realizes the relationship wasn't all that it seemed, and was hurt. It's a nice pop track with a spirited vibe.

    6. Fun, "We Are Young," has energy that soars. The lyrics are about a man who is at a bar with his current lover when he runs into his former lover, and wants to leave with his former lover. He wants to seize the day, and "set the world on fire." WINNER! Song of the Year WINNER! Best New Artist

    7. Florence and the Machine, "Shake It Out," sounds a bit otherworldly in the beginning, beginning with keyboards (organ). Then the tambourine and drums are added, adding a spirited rhythm. Between the combination of the rhythm, the lyrics, and the repeated "whoas," the song reminds me of a spirited horse, prancing across the prairie, trying to shake an unwanted rider off of its back.

    8. Pink, "Try," is another song about moving on past a broken heart. It has a message of hope, telling you that, even if you get burned, you have to try again. It's a soft pop song, and the drums help to drive the message forward.

    9. Maroon 5, "Payphone," continues the broken-relationship theme. After a couple of verses of a rocking and catchy song, it changes over to a rap verse, and then back to the catchy song. By the way, this is the radio version of the song. I think I like the explicit version better, but maybe they just sing the explicit version with more genuine feeling in the original version. ;)

    10. Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe," is a fantastic dance song. Listening to it, you're likely to want to get up on your feet and move. It's a great song, and the shoe is on the other foot for the girl who is used to being pursued. Sexy and driving, it has a repeating accent line that sounds like a string orchestra, and that adds another layer of depth to the song.

    11. Miguel, "Adorn," is very creative. The music reminds me of an old Motown song, with a couple of modern accents added in, for good measure. There is a faint, distorted electronic echo in the background, for example. WINNER! Best R&B Song

    12. Ed Sheeran, "The A Team," takes acoustic guitar music performed in the singer-songwriter style of the 1970's, and sets it against a harsh and paradoxical message of a life wasted by drugs and prostitution.

    13. Hunter Hayes, "Wanted," is a beautiful and romantic country tune written to a love interest, explaining that he wants to be able to show her how much she means to him. I would have missed this song without this CD, and that would have been a pity.

    14. The Lumineers, "Ho Hey," is another singer-songwriter style song, with acoustic guitar, returning to the theme of a relationship that has ended. Set in San Francisco, the singer doesn't know why his girl left him for another guy. The song is punctuated by repeated shouts of "Ho!" and "Hey!" along with tambourine strikes. He must have left his heart in SF.

    15. Alabama Shakes, "Hold On," strums out blue grass/rock-a-billy/ and blues style. It sounded like the singer was having a hard time in life, and felt that a voice from heaven was telling her not to commit suicide. There is a lot of pain and anguish packed into the vocals of this song.

    16. Mumford & Sons, "I Will Wait," contains an upbeat blue-grass banjo number that communicates willingness to wait for forgiveness from someone after a difficult time in the relationship. WINNER! Album of the Year for "Babel"

    17. Frank Ocean, "Pyramids," takes off in a completely different direction. It is a sensual and explicit song about a girl named Cleopatra who works at the Pyramid. WINNER Best Urban Contemporary for "Channel Orange."

    18. Bruce Springsteen, "We Take Care Of Our Own," is straight-up rock song full of American political protest. The repeated phase of the title is shown, again and again, to be just a hollow promise.

    19. Jack White, "Freedom At 21," is heavy metal with some smokin' and screamin' guitar licks!

    20. Muse, "Madness," finds the repeated intonation of "ma, ma, ma" from the word, "Madness," echoed in the electronic techno-new wave vibe, with the singer wondering if his relationship with his significant other is real, or if it's built upon "Madness." There is a great electric guitar solo in the middle.

    21. Coldplay, "Charlie Brown," has a good beat. The lyrics, that seem to be about stealing a car, seem to be at odds with the easy-going style of the music.

    22. Adele, "Set Fire to the Rain," is a live version recording. Fittingly, the last song of the CD is about the end of another relationship. The vocals are accompanied by acoustic guitar, which swells to a full symphony style-background when she decides to let go of the relationship. WINNER! Best Pop Solo

    UPDATED February 10th with Results

    Although many Grammy nominees are not represented in this collection (there are over 80 categories!), the artists that are represented shine. This is a lot of entertainment for one CD!
  • ProjectX - FirstAid step 1- Your new best friendFirst Aid is your medschool bible.. even if you are done with step 1.

    First just to make this relevant and have validity I'm a medical student that scored a 244 on step 1. Not the best score out there but 240+ is really what you should be aiming for to keep your options open. If you are like me you only attend the mandatory things which accumulates to ~8hrs of class a WEEK (beware because that goes to 10+hrs a DAY in 3rd year... the year when medical school really starts...) and living the dream of being in your 20s and were not aware what step 1 was until midway through 2nd year. So you want only the high yield materials.

    You need 2 things and BRS as a reference:
    1) USMLEworld Qbank (I'd recommend all random questions in 46q blocks. Mix between timed and read answer after question mode) This is the best resource for your score PERIOD. I went with the 3 month trial which is what I would recommend.
    2) FirstAid - This is a must. Make sure to get the color version which started in 2012. Dedicate a week to read once in the beginning/midway of 2rd year so your familiar with all the terms and reread 1 or 2 more times.
    3) BRS PATH - In retrospect, I wish i would have read more of this. I read it for the more confusing path sections like repro. A section takes ~1-1.5 hr to complete and you are an expert. I looked through Goljan because people in my program wouldn't STFU about it but after glancing at it for a couple minutes I realized I just wasted ~$40.... LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE. I have an old edition of robbin's which pathologists love. It is a very solid book but very low yield. IMO Harrison's has a better more relevant path section. Again, grab color edition of BRS... black and white just makes you fall asleep for some reason.

    After you finished 1 and 2 references and supplemented with BRS take a NBME exam... my program provided us with one exam. Take the newest one. If you go to bed at 10pm stay up until 3am when you think you would perform worst from being sleep deprived incase that happens on test day (which apparently it does to everyone because I've never heard of someone not giving this as an excuse even if they performed well on this exam). That score is very indicative in my experience. No need to take 5... if your like me in max student loans and have a balance on 4 credit cards you can spend your $$$ on something more useful like the new World of Warcraft expansion.

    This was my strategy. There's no magic study strategy. You reap you sow. Since the first two years of medschool are like college undergrad,if you are doing it right, you are probably bored the majority of your time. So just put in 3-4 hours a day on weekdays to complete a block of qbank.

    Good luck. Pick a test date and keep it.

    *Remember there will be a lot of peers using performance enhancing stimulants. Do you need to take those to keep up? Of course NOT. You don't need 'em. And remember - leave the excuses/whining at home.

    *There are also many students whining/crying on here over ~20 minor errors that are mostly irrelevant and will not impact your score/fund of knowledge. Med students are going to be med students. Be glad such a resource like this exists. Just with this book alone you can hit the national avg score of 226. Supplementing Qbank should pull you past 240.

    Other references to keep around:
    Harrison's(Sacred text... better than any resource out there. You read this cover to cover and I want you as my personal physician. 10/10 stars)
    emedicine.medscape.net (IMO best online source... uptodate is 2nd)
    wikipedia (no explanation needed)
    Micro made ridiculously simple
    First aid 2 CK
    If any physician talks.... listen... especially an internal med doc of 10+ years.