Monday, August 30, 2010

So Many Fans, So Little Time

Actual email I received today. Thank you, internet, for making my dream of being berated anonymously a reality.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Panda-Flavored Bubble Tea

My White Coat Ceremony was this past weekend, so my biological mother again decided to make a visit up to Chicago. In true family fashion, our interactions were largely within the context of eating.

Pictured above: My mother drinking coffee. Her eyes are blackened not to protect her privacy, but rather to protect my readers. It is said that all who gaze into her eyes turn to stone, which has really started to become a real nuisance. At least we got her snakes under control.

We also found an excellent Vietnamese sandwich shop called Bon Bon.

Pictured above: A Vietnamese sandwich, clearly the most photogenic of sandwiches.

I ordered a bubble tea, because I think most drinks nowadays don't have enough debris in them. My brother ordered an Vietnamese iced coffee, which I believe is coffee, condensed milk, and panda extract.

Pictured above: You can really taste the panda.

You'll notice that my brother is wearing an excellent blue button-down from American Apparel. Maybe one day I'll be able to be a rich doctor like him and wear $50 shirts, but for now I guess I'll stick to pulling clothes out of a bin at Goodwill.

My mother took pictures of me in my white coat, but those photographs are largely uninteresting. I am considering tailoring my white coat, but I wonder if I'll be the only one with a fitted doctor's jacket. On a side note, I have a feeling that I'm becoming the dandy of my medical school class.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Published!

I am now officially a writer. Click the link to see my first publication.

Science jokes!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Medical School: Day Two

Day one is over, and now it's time to loosen the knot on this necktie of meeting-new-people-anxiety. I've learned dozens of new names, and I even remember one or two of them. The name-tags are no longer being worn, which is hindering my progress.

Pictured above: My ID. Each MD is sorted into a college (like Hogwarts' houses), and mine is Castillo. It is generally regarded as the Hufflepuff of colleges, since everyone in it is very nice and very dumb. It is my goal to be the Neville Longbottom of my class.

After learning CPR in a room with about 30 dummies (And about 40 mannequins. Zing! Medical student burn!), a small group of us went off to explore the city. Like any new residents to the city, we were attracted to the mystic power of the Bean.

Pictured above: The clairvoyant Bean reflects an image of your future self. Unfortunately, it is of you only 5 seconds in the future, so no one has noticed that is has this power.

We went for some coffee at Intelligentsia coffee, where I ordered a coffee with extra intelligence.

Pictured above: It turns out that intelligent coffee is brewed in glass beehives.

What will tomorrow hold? Team building exercises in the woods! Instead of trying out trust-falls, I'm planning on leading my group in trust-crowdsurfing.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Medical School: Day One

I learned the definition of professionalism today. Unfortunately, discussing my medical school on a weblog is probably not professional. Therefore, I just will show you this picture of a picture of a rat. Memories of laboratory past.

Pictured Above: A professional rat model.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Medical School: Genesis

Medical school starts tomorrow. Updates will become more sporadic and less cogent. Good luck, me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Clearlance Sale

My biological mother arrived in town last weekend to "visit me," giving me an excuse to explore Chicago's more Japanese offerings. What I discovered was very delicious, slightly hilarious, and mildly racist.

But before Asian-ing around, we got brunch at a local cafe. Brunch, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is a meal served between breakfast and lunch during what is known as the "gay hour." At this establishment, that meant $1 mimosas and $1 bloody mary's.

Pictured above: Really? The coffee is still $2.50?

We then traveled to the Japanese market up in Arlington Heights. Luckily for us, they were having a clearlance sale.

Pictured above: You may laugh, but their transparent weaponry was very reasonably priced.

We also ate some delicious eel at the food court. Eel joins other food items (such as sea cucumber and seaweed) as the slimy, gross looking things that live in the ocean that Japanese people like to eat.

Pictured above: You can really taste the slime.

My mother also patronized a local, Japanese used-bookstore. This was of little entertainment to me. I am unfamiliar with Japanese writing, despite being fluent in Japanese shame.

Pictured above: Some Japanese stuff labeling other Japanese stuff.

Exhausted from a day of eating Japanese food, we checked into a nearby hotel. When I awoke the next day, I was appalled at what my mother had chosen for breakfast.

Pictured above: Country gravy over rice. She should have to forfeit her Japanese citizenship for this.

Atrocities aside, it was a memorable trip. I even got some ice-cream, or as the Japanese call it: "ice-cream".

Pictured above: The world's greatest ice cream flavor: green tea. All other flavors are just temporary fads (I'm looking at you, mint-chocolate chip).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A letter to the newmen and newwomen of the University of Kansas Scholarship Halls

Good morning. I say “morning” because this is a new dawn for you. I'm sure you were a popular boy scout/band geek/D&D player at your high school. You had upwards to eight friends in your small town, where you liked just “hangin' out” or “chillaxin'” at the local mall. You were pretty cool. But now things are going to change.

You are about to enter the Scholarship Hall community. Most of you don't know what that means since you are scared of change and loud noises. But here is where I come in. I will take you by the hand and guide you through the fiery gauntlet that will be your first year in the scholarship halls. With my help, you might even survive*.

*Note: You probably won't survive.

Who am I to give you advice?

Let me tell you who I am. My name is Sai. I lived my first two years in the Russian gulag called K.K. Amini Scholarship Hall. For the most part, we were fed Borsht and raw potatoes. Using my sharp wit and a sharper shiv I whittled out of toothbrush, I quickly rose to power as the Vice-President.

Pictured above: Just another day at K.K. Amini.

But that wasn't enough. I wanted more, to build a legacy beyond K.K. Amini. I dug my hands into the earth in the vacant lot near Rieger and pulled from the ground a new scholarship hall. I completed the building with my bare hands and named it after my green beret comrade Carl “The Hammer” Krehbiel who saved me back in 'Nam.

Thus, Krehbiel Scholarship Hall was founded. Naturally, I was its first President.

But I became bored with the limited power of democratic presidency. I instigated a coup d'├ętat and forced a constitutional change to establish a monarchy, where I rose to become to first King of Krehbiel. My first action was to commission a portrait and statue of my glorious reign (the portrait remains hidden in Krehbiel's basement, where it grants me immortality as it ages rather than me. The statue is purely decorative).

Pictured above: Propaganda from dissidents at Krehbiel.

After two years ruling Krehbiel, I was deposed, exhiled onto a small island nation much like Napoleon. I am now forced to write for the internet from my small cell, pondering my own fall from grace. The men of Krehbiel are no longer allowed to speak my name (as decreed by the new King Peter), and if it is uttered, the man must spit onto the ground to show his respect to the new King. From my prison, all I have left is my advice for you newmen and newomen of the scholarship halls.

Government

Like I stated above, the halls are run by internal governments, and the inferior ones by “democracy.” If you wish to pad your resume with minor governmental positions that future employers cannot and will not understand, then you should consider running for one. If you join the coveted Executive Board, then you will have access to the secret VIP rooms in each of the halls. The jacuzzi in Krehbiel, the fighting pit under Pearson, the hot-stone massage room at Rieger, and the dungeon in Grace Pearson will all be at your fingertips.

Additionally, there exists an All Scholarship Hall Council which commands authority over all of the halls. This is an elaborate ruse set up by the men of Krehbiel; it is a puppet entity that allows Krehbiel men to control the community unbeknownst to the other halls. Krehbiel men officially hold most of the positions on the ASHC, and most of the Housing staff present at the meetings are merely Krehbiel men in elaborate disguises. The rumored All Scholarship Hall Council Scholarship Hall Council (ASHCSHC) does not exist, despite some blurry photographic evidence and unreliable testimonies.

Pictured Above: The supposed president of the ASHCSHC.

Hall Rules

While I was in power, I was forced to censor my scholarship hall interactions as per the bidding of the all-powerful Department of Student Housing. But now that I have left the system, I am free to talk about any number of prohibited activities within the halls, such as the imbibing of alcoholic beverages, the use of illegal drugs, or keeping your fax machine plugged in over winter break.

Pictured above: I'm so pumped to talk about fax machines.

The first thing you will have to do when moving into the scholarship halls will be to renounce your god(s). Now, there is nothing wrong with your previous choices in worship. But you really should have read the fine print on your Housing Contract. KU owns your soul now.

For instance, Krehbiel men worship Poseidon. It is even said that the King is the descendent of Poseidon himself, and rather be elected, is chosen by divine will and given power over the hall.

Making (New) Friends

As newmen/newwomen, you won't be so much “friends” with the older residents as you will be subordinates. You will address the oldmen and oldwomen as “sir” or “madam,” and avoid eye contact. In Krehbiel, each newman will each have a one-month mandatory butler-service to an oldman. Tuxedos will be provided*.

*Note: You will have to provide your own bow ties.

You and the other newmen/newwomen will bond over such conditions as you tell tales late at night in your servants' quarters. These men and women will be come lifelong friends. Remember these brave comrades-in-arms. You will be able to take advantage of them later in life.

Romance

Inevitably, you will find yourself looking longingly at your sister/brother hall, waiting for the one handsome/beautiful resident to come over and win your heart. That resident will already be in a committed relationship with someone much more attractive and interesting than you. This is a fundamental truth of the scholarship halls.

Advice for Women

Rather than some handsome man arriving on your doorstep with a bouquet of flowers, you will get throngs of awkward and drunk men pounding on your door late at night. You will ponder the unfairness of it all. You will either have to lower your standards or increase your celibacy. Whichever you choose, it will be the wrong choice.

Advice for Men

Let's face the truth guys, we're pretty awesome. We can play Modern Warfare 2 for hours without shame, eat nothing but frozen pizzas and remain inexplicably alive, and shout profanity at mealtimes in what we consider “conversation.” But this is not enough to get women. Your best chance will be to use deception.

Much like in love, in order to lie to someone, you first must be able to lie to yourself.

The Scholarship Hall Director

The SHD is your friend. He or she has managed to trick Student Housing into hiring them and is already siphoning money from KU into an offshore account. However, the SHD's are quick to anger and gain superhuman strength if Housing Policy is violated. My old SHD Brice once flipped a car over after discovering that someone had taken too many cups up to their room, and even tied a resident to the back of her car and dragged him through dirt roads for violating the quiet hours.

Your SHD will be in charge of both a male and female hall. Your SHD will have a favorite hall. It will not be the one you are in.

Last Words of Wisdom

Like Odysseus and his shipmates, you are going to embark in an epic journey in the scholarship halls. And like them, many of you will probably be killed or eaten before returning home. Just remember this: don't fear the cyclops, be the cyclops.

Sincerely,
Sai
Former King of Krehbiel

Saturday, August 14, 2010

59 Minutes at Lollapalooza

Thanks to my crazy connections, I was able to score a ticket to the last 5% of Lollapalooza. In addition to hosting the highest concentration of hipsters outside of an American Apparel, did you know that the festival also features LIVE MUSIC? In fact, I was able to see a few bands.

Pictured above: Typical blurry concert photo for the first band I saw. Pitchfork gives them a sincere 9.3. They become sellouts.

This band, I believe, was The Arcade Fire. Now, they were not as good as other recreation disaster-themed bands (such as The Playground Sinkhole or The Lan-Party Gas-Leak), but they are certainly my favorite city-planning-themed band. They played all the hits: from “Song about Neighborhoods” to “Song about Suburbs.”

Pictured above: Another blurry photo of a band. Pitchfork gives them an ironic 7.5. Nobody understands.

Soundgarden, well, “rocked” and “rolled,” but I found myself unmoved. Maybe it's my unhealthy obsession with hip-hop, but rock music has been sounding drearier and drearier to me. The whole time I was listening I was just thinking about how I wanted to buy the new Janelle Monae and Big Boi albums.

Pictured above: Oooh...lights!

Disc jockeys. They were quite good, deploying the smoke machine and laser lights at appropriate times. I used to be a DJ, but then I realized that I was terrible at it. And unlike medicine or science, I really couldn't fake it.

Pictured above: You're right, spikey Lollapalooza ball. I should just start believing in myself.

Overall, the experience was certainly worth the $0 I paid. It's true what they say, the best things in life are free. And the rest you can steal.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Paradise

Pictured above: A thrift store right next to a dollar store. Paradise.

When I saw this, I fell to my knees and began weeping. It was the most beautiful thing I've seen since I went to the grand opening of the Salvation Army in Lawrence.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Real" Writing

For those interested in longer and more boring entries with no pictures, I have created another site where I can publish all of my essays that get rejected by McSweeney's.

http://sartorialskeptic.wordpress.com/

I have already posted my first entry. Feel free to leave angry comments on either blog.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fond Memories of a Mad Scientist

Today, on a very special episode of The Sartorial Skeptic, we will take a look back at the fond memories I had during my laboratory rotation in the Evanston campus of Northwestern University, as it will come to an end this week.

Pictured above: NOT Trash.

This is a pile of “NOT Trash” outside my lab. It seems odd to label something in the negative, perhaps reflecting upon the philosophical struggles of these everyday scientists. Every day I walk past it, and I have the urge to print off and add hundreds of sheets of paper labels of other things that they were not: “NOT Elephants,” “NOT Bombs,” “NOT People,” and so on, with one that just says “MAYBE a metaphor for human drive to stall the inevitability of death.”

Pictured above: Sign on the flammable (inflammable?) materials closet. Another victory for CAPS LOCK.

I'M SO GLAD THAT THE TOP OF THIS SHELF IS CLEAR. I FEEL VERY SAFE. OH, AND YOU'RE WELCOME. I WAS GOING TO PUT SOME FLAMMABLE MATERIALS ON TOP, BUT SINCE YOU SAID THANK YOU, I FELT COMPELLED TO OBLIGE. WHY ARE WE YELLING?

Pictured above: An anthropomorphized brain slicer.

See? Mad scientists know how to have fun. They put eyes and a mouth on this brain slicer, which is clearly humorous. Much better than the time that robot we built that could only experience pain escaped into the woods. The villagers thought that was much less funny.

Pictured above: Arch on campus. '06!

Ah, unnecessary quotation marks. What is the proper reading of this arch? Is it saying “06” ironically? Sarcastically? In my mind, the arch is saying “06” while rolling its eyes and wishing its parent arches weren't so square.

Pictured above: Farewell, university arch. You know, old-timey lantern, I think I just might miss you most of all.

Now, I am preparing for the brutal transition from professional student scientist to professional student doctor. Well, it's not that hard. It really just means wearing a slightly shorter white coat, though I am excited to have a real reason to wear a tie.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Elevator Exchange

Occasionally, I will share the elevator in my apartment with other humans. My exchanges are usually unusual.

Here is one such instance, between me and some guy looking for his friend in the building:

ME: [I enter the elevator, holding the door for SOME GUY. I punch in my floor number.] What floor are you going to?

SOME GUY: Apartment #1003, that's on the 10th floor right?

ME: That would be my best guess. [pause] It's too bad, though. I really should know this. I've been to every single apartment in this building except for #1003.

SOME GUY: You must be a popular guy.

ME: No, I just lie a lot.

[Awkward laughter. SOME GUY exits the elevator on the 10th floor.]

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pun Ogre-Load

I miss the days when graffiti was just a charming tag on the side of a library calling someone “gay”. But the hipsters in Wicker Park have taken it too far with their “ironic vandalism” of a respectable musical.

Pictured above: I'm not sure which is scarier: a Shrek musical or an army of Shrek characters with the heads of babies. Scratch that, it's definitely the baby army.

Thank you, Wicker Park, for providing the subject of my nightmares for the next two weeks. Though I am impressed that Shrek: The Musical is progressive enough to have an all-baby cast. Babies have faced discrimination in the theatre for decades. Most infant roles on Broadway are given to non-babies, and usually to Kevin Kline.

Pictured above: I have it out for this guy. He made me cry when I watched De-Lovely, which is unforgivable.

However, I was pleased to discover that our friends at Dreamworks are still working those ogre-related puns. Here were some other ones from the studio.

“Cooking with Shrek: How to Use Left-Ogres” [Shrek as guest with Rachel Ray on the Food Network]

“Operation Ogre-lord: Shrek the Nazi-killer” [Proposed sequel to both Shrek 4 and Inglorious Basterds]

“I wish I worked Ogre at Pixar” [Angry note by a fired Dreamworks writer]

“I Ogre-stepped my boundaries” [Dreamworks CEO on sexual harassment lawsuit]

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Quesadillas and Brad Pitt


Zucchini is the Brad Pitt of vegetables. Great in everything, but never really appreciated in the more obscure roles.

I still haven't adjusted to making food only for myself, and not for 50 men at Krehbiel. Maybe I should just start making dinner for everyone on my floor.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

On the Zoos and Their Lies

I always loved zoological parks as a child. It helped reassure me that man still had dominion over the beasts. However, I still have a deep-seeded fear that the ants will rise up against us. And don't get me started on zombie ants.

Insect horrors aside, the Lincoln Park Zoological Park was thoroughly enjoyable. For today's post, I will both entertain and inform you (I normally do neither) by providing MYTHS and FACTS for the top three zoo animals.

Pictured above: The giraffe, known for its awkward height, awkward gallop, and awkward conversation. MYTH: Giraffes are the tallest animals. FACT: Giraffes lie about their height on giraffe online dating sites.

At the time of seeing this giraffe, I was curious as to what the so-called “experts” at the park thought of these creatures. Luckily for me, there was a placard.

Pictured above: The history of giraffes. Of course, our sapien-centric philosophy blinds us to the fact that the giraffes themselves had a rich oral history. Tales of giraffe heroism were bleated and barked to the younger members of the herd for generations, until all records were lost due to poaching and the inability to form consonant sounds. The last two giraffes with knowledge of giraffe lore horned each other to death over who would have movie rights for their story.

But what of the flighted animals?

Pictured above: A bird. MYTH: According to Greek legend, some birds foretell tragedy. FACT: Birds foretell tragedy only for Greeks.

This animal's ancestors were the dinosaurs of old, who once ruled the planet with an indiscriminate violence from hooked claws, razor-sharp teeth, and tiny arms. Now the best a chicken can hope for is to give a human salmonella after not reaching the appropriate cooking temperature. Evolution is not fair.

Speaking of dinosaurs, I'm sure most of you know that the word “dinosaur” means “terrible lizard” in Latin. However, this is not because they were thought to invoke “terror,” but rather because the scientist who discovered them proclaimed them to be “stupid and terrible” reptiles. Evidence of this bitter attitude can be seen in some preliminary (but ultimately rejected) dinosaur names: Worstocerotops, Tyrannosaurus Sucks, and Diplodocus.

The park was also home to the world's greatest animal.

Pictured above: My namesake, the rhinoceros (a.k.a. The Black Rhino, The 'Noceros B.I.G., Rhino Biggie Smalls). MYTH: The woolly rhinoceros. FACT: Rhinoceri are so awesome, their myths are facts.

That's enough for now. I've got a screenplay to work on (Giraffe-mageddon III: Mud-bath Bloodbath).