Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year: In Memoriam (2010-2010)

At only a year old, the year is already gone. Many of us will mourn the passing of 2010, but others know that it was just its time. On this, its last day, I remember some highlights from the break.

The holiday means something special to my family. And by "special," I mean weird. On Christmas day, in honor of the food that had been and will be eaten, my mother took my brother and I on a blistery power-walk through the Shunganunga (its actual name) Park of Topeka. Although my brother and I initially complained at the prospect of "physical activity", it did give us time to work on our respective swaggers.

Pictured above: Haters gon' hate.

Afterwards, we gorged on the finest foodstuffs Kansas had to offer: Panera Bread. For those unfamiliar with the chain, everything is served out of a bread bowl, including the soup, coffee, and your receipt. Veterans like us know that the bowls do not always have to be eaten, and in fact can also double as festive bread hats. These can be re-used for future bread-themed parties.

Pictured above: My brother enjoying his two favorite things: eating and stabbing himself in the hand with a knife.

Then, we all went home to give each other gifts. I presented my brother with his 1st bow tie and my mother with her 145th and 146th scarves. As expected, I received gifts akin to my new lifestyle: socks, undershirts, pocket squares, and men's jewelry. As a 60-year-old man trapped in the body of a 22-year-old, I was ecstatic.

Pictured above: Pocket squares, cufflinks, and collar clips, also known as The Gentleman's Trifecta.

Happy New Year, internet.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Very Kansas Christmas Eve

Just like all of the other medical students around the country, I have begun my annual migration towards my home far-away for the holiday season. Similar to the green sea turtles, we travel hundreds or thousands of miles back to where we hatched. And like these great reptiles, many of us will probably be eaten by seagulls or get stuck in traffic.

My journey started at O'Hare Airport, where I dined on authentic Chicago cuisine for the last time before my trip. It would have to last me nearly a week.

Pictured above: The cookies were homemade, but the coffee was brewed with the disdain of Chicago's finest minimum-wage employees.

As I waited for my flight at the gate, a lady probably in her late twenties sat across from me. As I was in dire need of practice talking to such women, I engaged her. Here is an abridged version of our conversation.

ME: Nice glasses.
LADY: Got them in Europe.
ME: I have heard of Europe. Living in Chicago?
LADY: New York.
ME: Graduate school?
LADY: Art History.
ME: Medical school.
LADY: Unimpressed. Mundane city talk.
[Now boarding]
ME: Enjoy your glasses.

All in all, I give it a C+ for conversation, though I was very proud of my actual parting line "Enjoy your glasses." Apparently, she did not find this nonsense phrase very amusing. I boarded the plane and, on the walkway, had this conversation with an elderly gentleman.

[MAN stops to tie his shoe. I stand behind him awkwardly, not wanting to cut in line.]
MAN: Oh, you can go ahead.
ME: Sorry, I didn't know how touchy you would be if I cut in front of you.
MAN: [laughs] Don't worry.
ME: It's just that I've been trying not to get into fistfights in walkways anymore.

The plane ride itself was largely uneventful.

Pictured above: The view from my aisle seat.

I even put out a symbolic flag for those around me, to let them know how elitist and sophisticated I was.

Pictured above: I'm reading David Sedaris. He is not a comedian, he is a humorist. He is also gay. Can't you see how interesting I am?

Once I arrived in Kansas City, my odyssey was nearly complete. My driver/mother was a few minutes late, but this is just what you get when you let the mothers unionize.

Pictured above: The Kansas City Airport was full of both hustle and bustle.

Now it is Christmas Eve, and as the frozen rain falls upon these Topeka streets, I realize that I had forgotten to pack my holiday tie. Tragedy befalls me yet again.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dirigible Pirate

I have two weeks of break before I must return to medical school, and I'm trying my best to indulge in as many vices as possible. With all these free time on my hands, I was planning on starting up a blacksmith inside my apartment. However, I forgot about that "smelting clause" in my lease, and I was forced to close shop. Maybe I'll just stick to buying vintage clothes.

Pictured above: Thrift store shopping spree. Three bow ties, one necktie, two gray blazers, and two scarves.
Not Pictured: Pair of khaki pants, dignity.

I purchased all of that for less than $50, believe it or not. And even more shocking, I didn't even have to root around in the trash to get it. I acquired them in "stores," though I am unaware of the origin or status of the previous owner. All I'm saying is that I can neither confirm nor deny if these clothes were the result of grave-robbing.

Pictured above: A "brand" of some note.

But I am also using my time to develop new habits to become more of a gentleman. For instance, I have begun wearing hats while outside.

Pictured above: I am only a few steps away from challenging someone to a zeppelin race 'round the world.

Alas, I am still not the coolest guy in medical school. A "friend" of mine had the honor of purchasing a pirate jacket from H&M yesterday.

Pictured above: Unfortunately, H&M was fresh out of designer eyepatches, so he could not complete his look.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Break!

Hooray! Now that I have completed my third medical school exam, I will be able to go outside and enjoy the wonderful Chicago winte-
Oh, yeah.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Medical School Study Tips

It's that time again. With an exam on the way, medical students everywhere are eschewing our dear friend Kris Kringle for the warm hearth of gastro-intestinal anatomy and histology. In the holiday spirit, I offer you my tried and true study tips, guaranteed to increase test scores by 20%, decrease body fat by 63%, and eliminate the symptoms of tertiary syphilis.

1. Mnemonics

Having trouble remembering the names of the arteries and nerves? Try some helpful mnemonics! For example, the arteries of the pelvis can be remembered by the saying: "The superior gluteal, inferior gluteal, pudendal, obturator, and superior vescicular arteries are stupid and hard to remember!"

2. Time management

We all have trouble balancing studying and our hobbies (such as binge drinking or cage-fighting), so here's a tip on how to save time while listening to the audio lectures. Just collect 20 sets of speakers and set them up around your apartment. Then, connect them to 20 mp3 players and have them play 20 different audio lecture notes at the same time. Stand in the center of the room and absorb the information with ease. This Cacophony of Cochard (trademarked, by the way) method is also effective at pulverizing kidney stones.

3. Study groups

Study groups present the illusion of productivity, but did you know that they offer you the opportunity to take an offensive role in your medical school education? Sabotage other study groups to lower the mean of the exam. Join many different groups and send them confusing and contradictory information. Advanced users of this technique may also vandalize wikipedia pages.

4. Location, location, location

Everyone knows that you should study where you will take the exam, but for even higher scores, you should live there. I have been living our of my histology locker for the past few weeks, and as long as you don't mind shaving with your anatomy scalpel, so can you!

5. Cheating

Did you know that you can cheat to get a higher score on the exam? It's easier than it looks! All you have to do is study your notes beforehand, and when you are taking the exam, you will remember the facts you are being tested over! They won't see what hit them!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday (Party)

It is that time of year again. Snow is softy falling upon North Face jackets, songs of anatomical mnemonics play through the heads of frozen medical students, and seasonal affective disorder drifts on the clouds of steam from hot cocoa.

Pictured above: Porcelain angels are also lining our televisions, filling the air with porcelain song.

The holiday season has always held great meaning to me, and not just because of my large collection of red and green v-neck sweaters. It is a month to be kind to my fellow man, which will allow me to disregard him for the other eleven. But how am I to enjoy the frivolous pursuit of superficial happiness alone and cold in the big city? To solve this dilemma, I discussed it over breakfast at Elly's Pancake house with my neighbor/accomplice Ro. Loyal readers will remember her as the lady who tried to poison me with macaroons last summer.

Pictured above: Much like Ro, Elly's was full of deceit. And wicker baskets. And I don't know which was more unsettling.

After a brief knife fight to decide who would get to order the eggs benedict (I lost, as Ro is famous both for her love of butterfly knives and her love of hollandaise sauce), we debated the merits of embracing the holiday season.

Pictured above: Coffee helped ease the tension. But not my slash wounds.

Of course, I will throw a dinner party and invite all of my friends! But first, I needed some friends. I promptly went out-of-doors and offered $20 to any passerby to come to my apartment and be my friend. Despite my reassurance that "I'm not a weirdo or anything" and my insistence that "I'm just super lonely and have no friends," no one took me up on the offer. There was a pigeon that did steal a dollar from me though, and I did not take that as a solid "no".

It looked like I would have to go with Plan B: invite medical students. I managed to trick a few of my peers into attendance by blindfolding them and tossing into the back of a van. Before you judge me, you should know that all of this was explained on the e-vite I sent them.

Overall, I had a lovely time at my dinner party. And although I have a reputation for being quite the "square," I had plenty of opportunities to get "groovy" and "funky" with my friends late into the night. I stayed up past 9 o' clock and put whipped cream on tea AND muffins. I was out of control!

Pictured above: Clearly, the tea was flowing at my party.

It was quite the evening, but now I've got to clean up and get back to work. The gastro-intestinal system isn't going to learn itself, you know.