Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ducks Don't Have Hands

The first exam of medical school is fast approaching, and I will be faced with my first academic challenge in Chicago. As my classmates scurry to the library to stress about this upcoming test, I place my hand warmly upon their shoulders and say: "Don't worry. This is medical school. Failure is not an option; it is an inevitability." Oddly enough, this did not comfort them, despite being a big part of my upcoming motivational speaker series "Don't Give Up, Give In: You've Already Lost!"

Regardless, I have found some time to distract myself from the tedium of pretending to study. I went to explore the underground tunnels near the lake, where I discovered a city of hundreds of spiders.

Pictured above: Chi-town spi-town. The joggers and bikers going through the tunnel all stopped to see why I was taking pictures. Then they noticed that the entire tunnel was covered in spiders, and promptly started to freak out. They all ran out, even after I reassured them that they would have a solid 12 hours of consciousness before they succumbed to a violent death from a spider bite. Some people just can't see the bright side of things.

When not spider spelunking, I've also been putting in some time with my brother and his wife. My brother plays the husband role well (wears a variety of sweaters), and my sister-in-law is just as accomplished (criticizes said sweaters). But occasionally, we will all go to a coffee shop to get away from it all to discuss politics and other non-sweater-related issues.

Pictured above: I also ordered the world's smallest scone. I didn't mind so much, because it made my coffee look huge. Then it also made my hands look huge, which made me quite self-conscious. But I recovered, remembering that promise I made never to let baked-goods affect my self esteem ever again.

The coffee shop also had a board of weekly specials. This was good news for me, since I was only aware of the "free doughnuts in the dumpster behind Dunkin' Donuts after it closes" special in my neighborhood.

Pictured above: My favorite is the "buy two pies, get one free" Wednesday. Some of you may be asking, "Why do you need three pies?" Well, I certainly do not need three pies. I do need two pies, and who am I to deny a third if it presents itself?

We also went to a Vietnamese restaurant later that night, where our table shared dishes prepared from an entire duck. The roast duck was carved and made into Vietnamese sandwiches, the scraps were made into a fried rice dish and a fried noodle dish, and then the rest of the carcass was made into a Pho soup. At the end, we were all given a raspberry sorbet, leading us to ponder as to what was the duck's contribution to the dessert. Initially, my guess was that the ducks (being excellent chefs) actually prepared the sorbet while they were still alive, but then I remembered that they don't have hands. And as anyone who has made a sorbet can tell you, you definitely need hands.

Pictured above: Peking duck. Like the Native Americans who use every part of the buffalo, the Vietnamese truly use every part of the duck. But while the American Indians fashion tools from some of the most exotic parts of the buffalo, the Vietnamese simply label the more disgusting body parts in a duck as "delicacies." Even a guy drinking water from a buffalo bladder would think that is gross, and buffalo bladders are one of the bottom five bladders you can drink from.


  1. I believe the sweater criticism was brother on brother. I wouldn't criticize a sweater I purchased at a Kohl's "clearlance" sale.

  2. Darn, I missed a perfect opportunity to criticize sweaters! If it's not too late, I will put my two cents in -- "It's too bright for you, old man." "Stripes don't become you." "What, V-neck? You don't have a neck for it!"

  3. Speaking of necks, Nobuko, one of the Top Chefs made roasted stuffed duck neck. Again, it was revered by Padma and Tom for its "delicate nature."

    (That quotation isn't from the show, but from my cynical memory of the scene. I don't know the MLA format for that citation, though...)