Monday, November 29, 2010

From the Archives: Middle School Mayhem

[During my senior year of high school, I was asked to give a commencement speech for the graduates of my old middle school. Below is a copy of the ACTUAL commencement speech I orated back in 2006. It is so old, I only have a hard copy.

1) The red marks are from my mother, who I asked to edit it.
2) Keep in mind, I ACTUALLY read this to dozens of teachers, hundreds of students, and even more parents.
3) It is curious that my humor has failed to mature in nearly five years.]

Friday, November 26, 2010

Topeka: The Apple That Never Sleeps

Well, here I am. I am far from the glory of Chicago, the riches and splendor of that glittering metropolis of Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. And today, on this holy day of Turki-cide, I am back home. I am in Topeka, the jewel of Kansas.

The trip went smoothly enough. I was finally able to use my leather travelling bag and try out my special airport outfit.

Pictured above: I wanted to look good for the full body scanning, though I did forget to wear my lead tie.

The MD/PHD program's private jet was a great way to travel, but the champagne fountain really just became annoying above 15,000 ft. And just as I was lighting a Cuban cigar with a $100 bill in double-first-class, I wondered what it would be like to be a "normal" medical student.

Pictured above: If I were, I probably wouldn't have this in my basement. This is the first poster I ever presented at a scientific meeting. Oh science puns, I miss you.

When I arrived at home to my biological mother and brother, we gathered to join in that most magical of holiday traditions: manual labor. I worked to install four sets of drapes in two rooms and hauled furniture through hallways. I was just glad that I didn't have to work in the salt mines this year.

Pictured above: Ooh, this is one of my favorite holiday games! You remove the metal brace from the old drapes with a rusty hammer, and if you begin to bleed uncontrollably, it is said there will be five more weeks of winter. Just kidding, I don't actually believe that! I know that screws and bolts don't control the weather! Poseidon does.

After our feast of this year's tofu harvest and the ritualistic sacrifice of a jar of kim-chee, I departed my house to enjoy the company of my few remaining Topeka "friends." We all played something called "Trivial Pursuit", which is a "board game." From what I understand, these "board games" are a kind of PlayStation made out of cardboard and plastic. They are different in that board games cost less than $300 and do not require electricity. They are the same in that both distract us from our own mortality.

Pictured above: The "game." The version we played was published in the 1980's, so I was placed in a severe disadvantage. My knowledge of leg-warmers and mullets was noticeably limited, though I did do well in the "Hammer-pants" category.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

(Failed) Speed Dating

For the most part, I write blog entries describing my medical school triumphs and sartorial eccentricities. But when something momentous occurs in my life, I will gladly share it with the internet. A personal dream of mine was fulfilled this week as I participated in my first-ever speed dating experience. I, and other medical student men, went on 4-minute dates with the lovely ladies of the nearby law school. We were given forms to fill out to indicate which men/women we found suitable. This may be a challenge to most men in my position, but I was prepared.

Pictured above: Just throw on your tuxedo jacket and let the peak lapels do the talking.

Actually, I arrived more casually, as to not frighten these kind women too early with the true nature of my metrosexuality. I wore a necktie and a v-neck sweater, which is the first step in my personal seduction system.

Step 1: Look like Mr. Rogers.
Step 2: Explain why you look like a grandpa.
Step 3: Apologize for spilling your drink.
Step 4: Go home alone.
[Note, the Sai Seduction System is still in its beta phase of field-testing]

Pictured above: Only deploy a velvet vest in emergency dating situations.

So, I ended up talking to nearly 15 different ladies from the law school. They were all quite sweet, but the awkwardness of the situation expanded as the night wore on, like some sort of awkward souffle. My conservations typically went like this:

ME: Place of origin?
GIRL: Place of origin.
ME: Joke about place of origin!
GIRL: Do not understand. Hobbies?
ME: List of hobbies plus joke hobby.
GIRL: Joking?
ME: Joking.
GIRL: Silence.
ME: Words.
[Time up!]

And after all the smalltalk could not be spoken any smaller, the male medical students parted ways with the female law students. While in the medical post-date huddle, I discovered that some of the men had chosen an interesting strategy. Many had responded "yes" to nearly every date. This gave me a great idea.

Now, I'm sure there were a few ladies who implemented a similar plan. Therefore, this is great opportunity for me to launch my bold new company Sai's Speed-Speed-Dating, where I will just give the emails of all the singles to each other (for a small fee) as soon as they sign up, without having to go through the trouble of "meeting" each other! Slogan: "Where love and sadness meet!"

Pictured above: With my adventure over, all I have to do is sit back, relax, eat my poppyseed-apple-eggnog pancakes, and let the results of the speed dating roll into my email inbox.

And they just came in! No matches. Well, I was planning on crying alone in my apartment tonight anyway, so that simplifies my plans for the evening. Hooray!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vintage Voyage Vivacity

When people comment on my personal style, it usually comes down to two types of questions.

1. Why are you dressed like that?

2. How old are you?

The answer to the first question is easy enough ("Because I'm awesome."), but the second is more tricky. Apparently, my sartorial decisions have made me look like an old man, devoid of any youthful glow and content to complain about how the internet and fax machines are destroying family values.

It seems most Chicagoans assume that I am about 28 years old (approximately two Justin Bieber's), which over time has increased the standard deviation of age-related guesses beyond a comfortable level. But instead of trying to fight back against this image of senescence, I've embraced this truth about my appearance. Better to be old and bitter than young and beloved. Wait, that doesn't sound right...

Anyway, I've indulged in some recent vintage clothing purchases to cement my elderly personal philosophy and appearance. First, I needed a raincoat.

Pictured above: A beautiful, double-breasted, navy-blue trench-coat. I don't plan on engaging in much trench warfare during my 7-15 years in the MD/PHD program, but you never know when the Kaiser will strike.

I had to take in the sides a bit (London Fog tends to be a bit boxy), but when such a coat is only $6, it is definitely worth the effort.

Pictured above: The recommended washing instructions. To maintain its authenticity, however, I will be cleaning it the old-fashioned way: by indentured servant.

I also purchased a leather travelling bag ($5) and a khaki fedora ($10). Now, my ensemble is complete.

Pictured above: I wonder if there is such a thing as a "vintage nerd"...

Together, I now will look like a 19th century British explorer, ready to indulge in the silks and spices (and colonial oppression) of the orient or participate in big-game hunting (and colonial oppression) in the Serengeti. How extravagant!