Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011: My Brother vs. Elephant Seal

Christmas is a time to reflect on the important things in life. Naturally, on Christmas morning, my family gathered around the dining table while my little brother (now a grown man) argued that he could kill an elephant seal with his bare hands. Here is a summary of his (actual) talking points:

1) Running
According to my brother, elephant seals have a "maximum land speed of 5 miles/hour." He recommends sprinting away and having it chase you to tire it out before engaging it in combat. I applaud the fact that his first move in a fight is to run away.

2) Poor turning radius
Run in a circle around the seal, then brace yourself behind it. Because of its "poor turning radius," (said with the passion of someone who had personally measured it) it will be unable to attack. This would be the perfect time to trash-talk the seal, i.e. "Hey, elephant seal! Yo momma so fat she easily survived the winter with a adequate insulation of blubber!" [there may be some translation error]

3) Poke eyes
My brother then instructs to poke out its eyes from behind. Much like hurricanes and small children, the elephant seals' eyes are its weakest point.

4) Speed over power
He argues that while the seal is more powerful, he is faster. He makes an analogy to Dragonball Z, but since my Nerd Licence expired back in 2006, I didn't quite understand what this had to do with him poking a seal in the eye with his fingers.

5) Confounding factors
My brother grants that, in a cage match, the elephant seal is likely to win due to the confined space.

All of this took place over the course of half an hour. On Christmas.

My response: "Here's why you would lose to an elephant seal: Oh, no! It's too late! It's already killed you."

My mom's response: "This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Special, featuring the Swedish Piñata and Kurt Vonnegut's "Gingerbreadhouse 5"

To celebrate winter break, I decided to have a holiday brunch and explore the season's decorations around Chicago.

Pictured above: An adorable Swedish Piñata. Every year, the neighborhood children celebrate by breaking it open with a stick of knotted, Swedish bread, and then they gather up all the meatballs and pieces of Ikea furniture that fall out. A special prize goes to the first child to make a shoddily constructed chair.

Pictured above: A Wicker Park statue celebrating its first slumlord, Jonathan Wicker. He is depicted with broom because he famously practiced witchcraft, which was why he is often referred to as Jonathan "The Unkillable" Wicker. He is still at large.

Pictured above: Soldiers guarding Lady Gregory, our destination for brunch. They are seen here decorated with medals for their bravery during the infamous Sugar Plum firebombing of Tinsel Village of the Second Christmas War.

Pictured above: A meatloaf empanada and Irish cheddar grits. Somewhere, both an Irishman and a Spaniard feel suddenly disgusted, but do not know why.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Insight into Madness

This past week, I gave a three-minute speech to my medical school class about futility in medicine, Greek mythology, and Camus. Although it went well(?), I realized that my notes for the talk appeared to be the handiwork of a madman.

Pictured above: My actual notes. NOT a threatening letter from a serial killer.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Tour of the Family Manor

My friends are always asking me, "Sai, tell me more about your humble upbringing." After I punch them in the throat and tell them they can't tell me what to do, I lean back in my rocking chair, take off my straw hat, and chew on a piece of hay, and I tell them of my mansion in Topeka, KS.

It is a simple home, with ABSOLUTELY NO HISTORY OF GRUESOME MURDERS/HAUNTINGS. You can't prove any of those skeletons were human. Anyway, the house is full of many lovely amenities, including locks conveniently placed on the outside of the doors of each of the bedrooms, allowing the extra rooms to be rented out as a combination Bed and Breakfast/Minor Security Prison.

Pictured above: The dining room is joined with the kitchen, which allows the residents of the manor to watch over their food preparation by the servants. This is particularly helpful if your waitstaff is not to be trusted and you fear a violent, class-based insurrection.

The backyard is spacious with handy rain-warning system for the weather-conscious owner. If it begins to rain heavily, the pipes burst instantly, flooding the basement, warning the occupant to bring an umbrella before going outside.

Pictured above: The living room is nicknamed "The Den" because of its cozy couches. And the den of foxes that feed off table scraps and visiting children.

So, if you are ever in the neighborhood or are a white-collar criminal, come on down!

Pictured above: elegance!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Family Portrait

Pictured above: My family rules.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Hello, faithful readers. Some of you may remember me as the Dating Expert for the world's greatest marginal medical school newsletter The Beat. However, since my last column, my license to practice dating has been revoked by the Illinois Board of Romance and Firearms. But you are in luck! As my fellow second-year students can attest, trivial distractions like dating have given way to the more pressing soul-crushing collapse of our sanity in preparation for the USMLE Step 1 exam. To help my classmates prepare for this test, and as part of my court-ordered community service, I have compiled a set of study tips that are guaranteed to either raise or lower your Step 1 score.

So, when should you start studying? Here is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there is a large window to begin studying that can accommodate nearly everyone. The bad news is that is has already passed and you are behind. But there is no need to worry; here is an easy trick to estimate your score and put your mind at ease. For every day you aren't studying for boards, just subtract 1 from your total score. Think about that every single morning you wake up, and your stress will just melt away, just like your medical career!

So, now that you've already been studying for a few months, you are probably interested in some practice tests. How many USMLE exams have you taken? Well, that's not enough. I recommend finding some past exams, but not just the ones in the past few years. The really helpful stuff is in the past few centuries; that's where they really start recycling old questions for boards. The hard part is just translating the Old English, or “Olde Englische”. For example, in an 19th century medical exam entitled A Pamphlette Medicalle Boarding Write-About, “A 17-year-old woman with tuberculosis and portal hypertension” is written as “The consumptive maid was in hysterics over her liver dropsy.” Similarly, in the medieval Witch-Burning and other Plague Cures, what we would call “A man with poor hygiene, multiple boils and blisters, and likely infected with Yersinia Pestis” is simply described as “A man.”

It's fairly well known that one of our weakest areas is gross anatomy It's been almost a year since we've been in the cadaver lab, so it's understandable if you cannot remember what stringy parts connect the slippery bulbs in our torsos. Unfortunately, the selfish first-years are currently monopolizing the cadavers, so I recommend a simple solution to get more anatomy practice: find a first-year that looks like you, hold them hostage, build an elaborate disguise, and go to the labs in their stead (Helpful hint! Choose one the same gender as you.).

Another subject that many students struggle with is the mental health portion of the exam. Often overlooked by students studying for boards, it is essential for a high grade. Just remember, every psychological condition can be analyzed under the unshakeable foundation of Freudian psychology. Some may question its lack of plausibility, predictive value, or scientific relevancy in a time in medicine when we place value in “facts”, but, after a thorough review of the literature on the subject, I can confidently say that there is plenty of penis to use it.

Finally, if none of that works, you always have cheating. Cheating is what separates the good doctors from the great doctors. While good doctors are limited by so-called “honesty,” great doctors are only limited by their own imaginations and a flexible legal system. Don't you want to be that famous doctor who is the classic triple-threat, capable of cheating on his patient records, his taxes, and his wife?

So, good luck, class! With my help, we'll have the highest board scores yet! Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go feed the first-year I have locked in my closest.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brass Stays and the World's Saddest Mascot

This weekend, I explored Andersonville. I had heard glowing reviews from my friends who stated that is was both "really far away" and "definitely a place," so I wanted to check it out. But I wasn't expecting to be confronted with a demon from my childhood.

Pictured above: Yes, that is the actual logo for this Japanese math program (of which I graduated from while in high school). Nothing says "daily math worksheets" like a smiley face with an expression of utter hopelessness.

I needed to cleanse my mind-palette, so I went over to the Brown Elephant thrift store and picked up a vintage messenger bag.

Pictured above: From the state of it, I would guess that its last content was a letter expounding the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

I was also fortunate enough to get a free $50 gift certificate to Paul Stewart. But since all they have there are $500 cashmere-blend, hand sewn, tailor-fit, bespoke argyle umbrellas, my options were limited.

Pictured above: Brass collar stays! Nothing says "dandy" like fashion accessories that cannot be seen. Transformation complete.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Restaurant Review: Uncommon Ground

In addition to my chosen career of traumatizing patients and engineering super-viruses, I like to dabble in potential back-up vocations. So far, these have included dog psychologist, personal hype-man, and, now, food critic. Here is my review of the Roger's Park restaurant Uncommon Ground.

From the moment you are banging on the door marked "Not an entrance, please use other door" to try to enter, you can't help but be drawn into the rustic atmosphere of hardwood floors, hardwood walls, and hardwood curtains. The paintings on the walls are widely varied, from elegant scenes of ducks swimming to beautiful portraits of ducks standing. It transports you to a simpler time, when all we had were a sturdy pick-axe and the iPhone 3.

But oh, the food.

Pictured above: Distressed potato sticks, pan-baked in an air reduction, covered this delectable dish of pensive mussels, hand-broiled in a mysterious sauce of uneasy tomatoes and indifferent peppers.

Pictured above: A bacon-sealed meat-muesli of organic, local, grass-fed, sentient beef, served with ground tubers, freshly drowned and covered in an urban gravy, and imported Belgian sprouts tortured in a milk-fat expansion.

Ah, what a feast. And plus, since the waitstaff recognized me as a local food critic, they brought me a second meated-loaf, courtesy of the chef.

Pictured above: "Excuse me, the bacon-seal is broken on this one."

Overall, a wonderful experience. I give Uncommon Ground 1000 stars. Out of 10,000 stars.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Week Off

Sorry folks, but I'm taking the week off. I'm working on a long column for the medical school newspaper, which I will post as soon as it comes out. And this whole medical school thing is taking more time than I thought. Whoever heard of studying on weekends?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Michigan Ave Street Painting

Michigan Avenue, or "The Mile of Tourists," is a home to many wonders, but I saw something there the other day that just baffled me.

Pictured above: Bafflement with some befuddlement.

Now, this man was painting what looked like an eggman protecting buried gold (and sky-gold) from seagulls. He explained that the character on the left was Humpty Dumpty. He continued to do this for several minutes before I had to go back to saving lives at the hospital.

I still don't know what was going on, but here are some theories:

1. Performance art. This "man" is "painting" a "scene" challenging the "audience" what it means to "be." Get it? No? Exactly.

2. Humpty Dumpty fan-fiction fan-art. This man, after writing an elaborate story in which Humpty Dumpty meets Bella from Twilight, becomes a pirate, and buries the treasure, he decides he needs to share it with the world in the only way he knows how: watercolors.

3. An incredibly bad, but very dedicated, caricature artist. "I'm not so good with faces, so I'm going to focus mainly on the background. Also, you kind of look like an egg. That'll be $100."

4. Viral marketing for a new movie, a gritty reboot of Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty will be played by Shia LeBeouf, and the wall will be played by Vin Diesel. Tagline: "You are going to need more horses and men."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween Costumes

Halloween is a great holiday. It's not just the decorative squashes, it's the insinuating that your sister-in-law has tentacles that makes it so great. But did you know that people also wear costumes? I still haven't figured out what I'm going to be yet, but here are some of my ideas:

1. The Confused Horse Group Costume

In this costume, I'd have to coordinate with a friend to both go as the back-end of a two-person horse costume. Then, while at the party, I'll get upset when someone asks and blame the other person for buying "the wrong half".

2. The Guy Doing Laundry

I won't shave for a few days, mess up my hair, and carry around a bag filled with my laundry. Then I'll make awkward small-talk with everyone.

3. The Ghost of Sai

I'll wear a big sheet over my head, and then put on some glasses and a necktie on top of it.

4. The Occupy Halloween

I'll dress like a protester carrying a sign that says "The top 1% control 99% of the world's candy!"

5. The Medical Student Terror

I won't wear a costume. When someone asks why I'm not wearing a costume, I'll ask them why they aren't studying.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Hospital Bill

So, I finally received the bill for my short stint in the emergency room last month. Although the total bill was $1,635.57, I only had to pay $469.73. For those unfamiliar with the healthcare-industrial complex, here is the full, itemized breakdown of that payment:

100.00 - Co-pay
20.00 - Co-pay co-pay
30.00 - Sassy nurse subcharge
20.00 - Handsome doctor fee
120.00 - Haircut for handsome doctor
40.00 - Resident listening to sob story
45.00 - Resident replacing "in usual state of health" with "idiot" on chart
45.00 - Attending yelling at an intern for some reason
17.00 - Intern crying in supply closet
32.00 - New supply closet lock
00.30 - Stitches
00.15 - Guaze
00.15 - Neosporin
00.13 - Pennies discovered stolen from "take-a-penny-leave-a-penny-tray" at Starbucks

TOTAL= $469.73

And that's why healthcare reform is ruining America.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Honey-betes and a Million Dollars

This weekend, I went to the Meli Cafe, a honey-themed brunch restaurant. "Meli" is, of course, the Greek word for honey. It can be found in such words as diabetes mellitus, mellitology (study of bees), and Weezy. However, for some reason, my preceptor still tells me that I shouldn't tell the patients that they "have honey-betes."

Pictured above: Along with a mountain of pancakes, they serve a small vial filled with honey and a butter infused with honey. Also, every hour a bell rings, and the wait-staff all take a shot of honey so they, too, are infused with honey.

But my favorite part of the restraurant was its sign-board outside.

Pictured above: I guess last week's Belligerent Borscht wasn't a big seller.

Also, it's a good friend's birthday today, so I gave him the world's greatest gift. Money.

Pictured above: "What did you get him? Oh, that's nice. Know what I got him? A MILLION DOLLARS."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Speed Dating 4: Medical School Edition

So, my medical school put on a speed-dating event last Thursday. As I had gone a long time without diving into a huge pile of loneliness, I gave it a shot.

Pictured above: For this particular lonely event, we were all given numbers to rank our relative attractiveness. I was number 45. There was no number 46.

What was it like speed-dating with medical school classmates? Well, my unrelenting optimism apparently comes thrashing out when confined in a small space with a girl, which does not always go down well with a stress-out medical student. So here are some phrases I learned I must avoid:

"Living in Chicago is easy!"*

"Medical school is easy!"*

"Second year is easy!"*

"Studying is easy!"*

"You look easy!"**

*actually said by me
**implied by me

Pictured above: I began the evening by myself at dating-station "L." There weren't enough ladies at the event, so I started with a bye match. I ate a Butterfinger candy bar alone for five minutes and now imagine this scene every time someone asks me, "How's dating going?"

Unfortunately, the ladies of medical school were all quite lovely (and all capable of finding this blog), so they shall not be the source of any jest. I am not aware of my results yet, but here's hoping that I tricked at least one of them into accidentally confusing my number with the one of the handsome man that went after me.

You know what? I deserve some kind of reward for going to so many speed-dating events. Something very manly, but also strangely depressing.

Pictured above: A set of men's colognes designed to look like a cigar box? That works.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ball Sandwich and an Entire Sleeve of Crescent Rolls

It's the weekend before the first exam of the second year of medical school, so you can imagine that I am making the appropriate preparations. Just this Friday, I participated in the medical school Society Olympics, which is my favorite event blending arbitrary tribalism and complementary sandwiches.

The best event was one of the relay races called the "Ball Sandwich." Now, that may SOUND vaguely homo-erotic, but let me put you at ease. It was just two sweaty, muscular men linking arms and holding hands back-to-back, skipping together with a kickball wedged between them. And if that still makes you uncomfortable, you can also call it a "Man Sandwich."

Pictured above: A blurry ball sandwich. Please don't Google "blurry ball sandwich".

Well, time to get back to studying. And what powerful carbohydrate have I chosen to fuel my brain engine? Why, not an entire sleeve of cinnamon rolls, but rather an entire sleeve of crescent rolls!

Pictured above: This is not a sleeve of crescent rolls. This is half a sleeve. Multiply this by two, and you will understand both my study style and the reason I live alone.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bloggin' Your Way to a Thinner You!

Last Friday, I had the amazing opportunity to give a guest lecture on blogging to a "Writing in the Technological Age" course at the University of Illinois-Chicago*. After the laser-show and the stunning introduction by my hype man, I entered the classroom and pummeled them with wisdom. Here is a small** excerpt.


"Are you frustrated with your lives? Can't seem to find what you are looking for? You're right! There is something wrong with you. And I am the only person who can help you help yourself. With blogging.

With my patented 44-step blogging system, I can teach you how to blog yourself into real blogging shape. Here's my first tip: go on a blogging diet. Eat only foods featured on your blog.

Pictured above: It's got a TOMATO. It's HEALTHY.

But don't blogging stop there! Inspire others with your blogdom and blogography.

Pictured above: You know what this flight of pancakes makes me want to eat? A healthy fruit snack.

Once you've blogged into the blogosphere, you can blog your blog into full blogness by blogging about other blogs. For example, you could blog about how amazing my blog, The Sartorial Skeptic, is. Be sure to include many, many links. And hyperlinks.

I've really enjoyed my time live-blogging with you (that's what I call talking), and feel free to blog about this blog-lecture. Just be sure to blog about my blog! Blog ME? No, blog YOU. Happy blogging!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Stand-Up Comedy Personas

So, every year my medical school puts on a comedy/variety show for charity, and this year I'm thinking about doing a stand-up routine. Since I've spent this past year trying desperately to be funny on the internet, I think I should try to be desperately funny on stage.

I've never done this kind of thing before, so I'm going to need to craft my "on-stage" persona. Here are my options:

[Note: my actual jokes will be better than these. Well, I hope they will be.]

The Seinfeld

High-pitched voice and lots of complaining.

"What's the deal with white coats? I think instead of long-coats for doctors and short-coats for medical students, we should have a spectrum of lengths. You start your first year in a white halter-top and end medical school with a white cape."

The Louis C.K.

Get it? The joke is that my life is sad.

"So, I've started online dating, because nothing helps you get back into the dating game like eating a bag of chips in front of the computer while clicking on pictures of girls on the internet."

The Chris Rock

Well, except with Japanese stuff.

"Any Japanese people here tonight...? Why aren't you studying!?"

The John Hodgman

Let me teach you some nonsense.

"Kansas's state slogan is 'Kansas: As Big As You Think!' I know, that sounds pretty bad, but it was better than its previous slogan 'Kansas: Now without slaves!'"

The Demetri Martin

Short and strange.

"I really like wearing bow ties. They send a very clear message. And that message is, 'Hey, I don't have a girlfriend.'

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My First Trip to the Emergency Room

It is a typical Friday night. I am doing my dishes, whimsically scrubbing my glassware to the sweet sound of classical music. But as I clean a glass, it shatters, lacerating the side of my right hand. As blood pours out along my forearm and onto the floor, I ponder my predicament.

Now, let me give you some background. I am not wearing a shirt at this point. I prefer not to get my shirts wet while I am performing house chores. I am also wearing some wool, gray-green dress slacks and no shoes (Japanese household and all that). It suddenly crosses my mind that I will have to go to the hospital, which means I need to put some clothes on.

I walk over to my closet, dripping blood along the way, to examine my shirts. I realize that I cannot wear any of my typical button-up, collared shirts, as they require both hands to button, and thus would become a bloody mess. I then decide I would wear a polo shirt, the next best option for a business-casual patient. However, all of my polo shirts are in the laundry, and I do not want to wear a dirty shirt to the hospital.

Thus, I am forced to walk to my dresser and examine my t-shirts. Keep in mind that blood is still dripping on the floor. My first thought is to wear my white v-neck undershirt, but the neckline seems inappropriately revealing to wear in public. Ah, a red shirt. That would hide the color of the blood. It does not match my pants unfortunately, but as the saying goes, "those rapidly losing blood cannot be choosers."

After donning the shirt, I go to find a pair of shoes. Unfortunately, my choices are limited, as laces present the same problem as buttons. I am forced, again, to pick shoes that did not match. In this case, they are blue, which, when combined with my gray-blue slacks and red t-shirt, make me look like a color-blind, deconstructed hipster.

At this point, I realize I should call a friend to help me to the hospital. Having already forgotten that I had injured myself, I reach out with my cut hand for my cellphone. Needless to say, I managed to grab it with my second attempt and second hand, and call a friend to meet me on the way to the emergency room.

I gather a dishrag to cover my wound and leave my apartment. As I am walking down Michigan Avenue, clutching a bloody rag and nodding politely to the Friday dinner crowd, I observe that few people are even taking notice of me. I got more looks earlier that day when I was wearing a bow-tie, making me wonder if bloody hands are already passe in today's fast-paced fashion world. I meet my friend at her apartment. Here's an approximation of that conversation:

ME: Hello, how are you?
FRIEND: What!? Why are you asking me that? We need to go to the hospital!
ME: Okay. I just wanted to be polite. Let's go.
FRIEND: Let's get a cab! I don't want you to walk.
ME: No, I don't want to bleed in the backseat of a cab. That's just rude.

We arrive at the emergency room, where I am told it may "be a few hours." The triage nurse gives me a temporary bandage.

NURSE: Any allergies?
ME: Just cats and dogs.
NURSE: Any allergies to medications?
ME: Not unless they have cats or dogs in them.

Then, after only about an hour of waiting, I am lucky enough to hear this sound across the waiting room.


Ah, how lucky that I, Mr. Flansnee, get to see the doctor so soon. But first, a lovely woman comes in to make sure she has my insurance information, and thus I can pay for my visit.

LOVELY WOMAN: Can you sign with your hand like that?
ME: Well, that depends on how much blood you want on these forms.

After my bills are cleared and my wound cleaned, I am examined by the attending physician.

DR: How did you cut your hand?
ME: I was doing the dishes.
DR: You are a medical student? Where are you from?
ME: Kansas.
DR: Kansas? Why were you doing the dishes?
ME: I'm a good country boy; I do all my own housework.

A new intern comes in to stitch me up.

INTERN: You know, you should make up some cool story to tell everyone how you got these stitches.
ME: Yeah. Like a bar fight.
INTERN: [jokingly] You should see the other guy.
ME: [deathly serious] Yeah, he's dead.

Six stitches later, I am on my way. Now I just need to get back to my apartment before it is legally declared a crime scene.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mom's in Town!

Oh, are you upset that this post is a little late? Well, it was because I was hanging out with my mom. Hold onto your seats, because she got the party started.

Pictured above: And by "party," I mean we doubled-down and ordered both cow tendons and octopus balls. Yeah, we were makin' it RAIN tendons.

After we were done eating, we decided to go for a walk and burn off some of those calories. Just kidding, we got deep fried Asian snacks!

Pictured above: Aw, yeah. We've got satay and rangoon SWAG.

Then, we celebrated my older brother's birthday with a simple, tasteful cake. NOOOOPE!

Pictured above: Fondant designed sushi on triple-layered, chocolate-peanut-butter cake. I'll be honest; I was disappointed that the whole thing wasn't dipped in batter and deep-fried. But there's always next year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Retreat Ettiquette

This past weekend, I attended the annual MSTP retreat: a two-day vacation in the exotic paradise of Wisconsin. Having thoroughly read Emily Post's "Essential Manners for Informal Scientific Conferences Volume III," I was prepared. But so many of my peers were unable to handle the complex mix of faculty, administration, and students. For you, here is a guide for proper conference manners.

1. Listening to presentations

Students have spent years of their lives compiling data, tweaking experiments, and wrestling with personal and professional failure to bring you 15 minutes of science. It is acceptable to fall asleep.

Pictured above: Or, as one of my peers demonstrated, you may also design and draw a tasteful headdress for the current speaker.

2. Talking to faculty

Professors are people, just like you. People that have unlimited power over you and hold your career in their hands like a delicate quail egg. It is best not to inquire as to why they are wearing sandals with jeans.

3. Drinking

As a teetotaler, this is not a problem for me. But for you all, you should remember that the type of alcohol is really key here. While it is very elegant to share a fine scotch with the Assistant Director by the fireplace, it is less graceful to be doing jello-shots with the Dean of Students.

4. Activities

Why not play some sports? Oh, yeah. You are a scientist.

Pictured above: "Hey, do you think we could sample some of the lake E. coli?"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rejected (again) by McSweeney's

Remember when I became super famous for getting publishing in an obscure, pretentious literary journal? Well, I sent in the highest quality essay to their editor(s), and this was the reply I got.

Pictured above: Oh, yeah? Maybe YOUR FACE never takes off, laughs-wise. Good one. Actually, this was actually a helpful and very kind message to send me. Jerk.

Anyway, I need to hunker down and write some real words. Hilarious words. Words that get published. Time to get down to business.

Pictured above: Aw, yeah. Got myself a Task Chair. Now I just need to find one to sit in while I assemble it.

So, what should I do? Here are some actual titles and excerpts of other pieces I am working on. Let me know what piques your interest. (Note: These are still pretty rough.)

Great Moments in Science In Restaurants

Excerpt: "July 23, 1854. Charles Schrodinger orders his burger well done, then changes his mind and asks for it rare. The waiter brings him a turkey sandwich instead, which he feeds to his cat."

Which Heart Valve are you? Take our quiz to find out!

Excerpt: "Answer C. You are the aortic valve! You are quiet, calm, and have a low resistance to intraventricular pressure. You prefer a small group of close friends, talking in coffee-shops, and having sensitive baro-receptors to regulate blood pressure."

Dating Tips for Scientists

Excerpt: "Be sure to keep a control date on the side during all dating encounters."

Real Fake Diseases

Excerpt: "Senioritis, or the the inflammation of the senior, is typically accompanied by mild encephalitis and, in rare cases, acute coolness. This swelling of the brain causes headaches, and, you know, whatever."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Delay (again)

My internet is down. So, this week's post will be delayed, as my only access to internet is this corporate coffeeshop that is a combination of my two favorite things: coffee and whaling. Oooh! Melville reference!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blog Photography

On my blog, I often will post digital photographs of the events that transpire during my life, a virtual "pictoral blog" or "plog." For those interested in matching my photographical prowess, here are some helpful hints to match my skill level.

1. Get it right, get it tight

Pictured above: Just get up in there. Let's see those walnuts on those Anise-spiced vanilla cookies. No, closer. Let's get right on that amchur powder.

2. When it doubt, sad it up

Pictured above: Oh, how artistic. These sad flowers, signifying something, have been abandoned on the subway train, which signifies something else.

3. Photo-bombing

Pictured above: To be fair, this is actually more of a full-on photo-assault.

4. Food pics

Pictured above: A good photograph can make any food look good. For example, this cupcake filled with sand actually looks edible.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Wonders of Online Dating

In the olden days, men with crippling loneliness (like me) were forced to either write long stories with no point or be not-so-secretly gay. But now, with the invention of both intra and inter-nets, loneliness is just a click away! Here are some tricks to make your online dating experience a success! (I would call them tips, but let's be honest; just like real dating, all that we men have is deception.)

[Note: These are all actual messages I received from an actual online dating site]

Trick #1: Proportional Response

Worried about being overly excited or too reserved? Just keep it proportional. If it works for a military campaign, it works for a romantic invasion as well.

Pictured above: About as effective as "Shock and Awe."

Trick #2: Honesty

You are ugly. I am ugly. Let's just accept it.

Pictured above: For some reason, she didn't message me back...

Trick #3: Nerdity

Just nerd it up man, that's how you get awesome nerdy messages.

Pictured above: Is there really any better pick-up line?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Profiles in Courage: Roberto

As you might have guessed, my good friend Roberto visited me a few days ago. Since he was my old roommate at K.K. Amini Scholarship Hall, he was able to muster the courage to actually spend an entire weekend with me. For his honor (and sacrifice), this post is a list of some of his admirable attributes.

1. Punctuality

Having spent a semester studying abroad in Italy, Roberto has mastered the art of the "Italian Entrance", which is where you arrive two hours late and order the smallest coffee on the menu.

Pictured above: Oh, and he also loves pasta. Roberto is set to straight up murder some noodles.

2. Fearlessness

Roberto fears no man, nor is intimidated by any woman. Why, just this weekend, he approached some giant lady to ask for directions. But then, things got weird.

Pictured above: "Dude, did you at least get her digits?"

3. Gratitude

While staying with me, he was quite the upstanding guest. He acknowledged my extreme generosity in granting him the finest accommodations I had to offer: TWO inflatable pools rafts to sleep on, TWO sheets, and HIS CHOICE of pillow or saucepan.

Pictured above: You love it. YOU LOVE IT.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Temporary Delay

[A friend from Kansas is visiting this weekend, so my entry this week will be delayed. You have my sincerest apologies.]

Sunday, July 10, 2011

So, Ivan Pavlov Walks Into a Bar...

I love Japanese food as much as the next half-Japanese guy, so you can imagine my excitement at getting some authentic food from my homeland. This time, it was a lovely establishment called Ginza Restaurant. However, I had to go with my "friends," many of whom haven't even BEEN to Japan. For insurance, I brought along a full Japanese person, but it turned out we didn't even need her, since I knew the Japanese password ("I have brought shame to myself and my family").

Pictured above: You heard me. I don't need you.

It was a fun night, as we were celebrating the end of our first summer research rotations. My friend Diego just ended his time in a pschiatric laboratory, so there were pyschology jokes abounds.

Pictured above: "And then the bartender says, 'That's not MY unconditioned stimulus!'"

Afterwards, as is tradition when I spend time with these people, I bought a cake/pie and try to consume it in its entirety. I failed.

Pictured above: I'll bet Kobayashi could have eaten it, along with the paper plates and glass table.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dude, It Was Just Hamlet With Lions

People are always asking me, "How do you stay so skinny after you eat so much?" After I explain my high parasite load and internal rumen system, I just show them a picture of my typical breakfast.

Pictured above: Lemon-meringue pie, apple fritter, and half a sticky bun. Well, sorry, I needed a snack if I was going to take the time to get a photograph.

Despite my love of refined and other sugars, I often sample the non-desserts other cultures have to offer. For example, just this weekend I explored Chicago's Greektown.

Pictured above: Moussaka from the Athena Restaurant. Not only was it delicious, it was also a perfect topographical replica of the cliff where Moussaka was dropped to his death by Jeremy Irons.

To help me better appreciate the Greek atmosphere, I brought along a companion familiar with the intricacies of the culture and language, as she had once lived in a "sorority." Though every time I inquired as to which one she belonged, she refused to tell me.

Pictured above: "Look, I don't want to ask your friend 'Delt.' Why can't you just answer me?"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Best Of: Just look over there

So, I finally figured out how to make a side tab listing some of my better posts. So, just look over there. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Best Of: Fond Memories of A Mad Scientist

Ever wonder what it is like to be a scientist? Well, click here, and then, I don't know, read a book or something.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Best Of: World Cup Wrap Up

Ah, remember the World Cup last year? It gave us a chance to learn about the all of the un-American countries and their love of Futsbol. Click here to re-discover the wonders of Holland and Spain, as well as pay homage to our octopus overlords.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

100th Post

Dear loyal fans,

This is the 100th post of my blog. It's been over a year now since I started the Sartorial Skeptic back in May 2010, and now it has really taken on a life of its own. I really can't believe that I've actually kept this up, and I definitely do not understand why you people keep reading.

It's interesting to think that although 60-80% of blogs are abandoned within a month, mine has somehow survived 100 posts. But I suppose quantity really shouldn't be the absolute measure of a blog. When I started this site, it was more far important to me to make it entertaining rather than long-lasting.

I've been tracking my blog traffic, and I'm still amazed at the kind of people who read my blog: my family in Japan, my family in America, old high school friends, acquaintances scattered throughout Europe, friends in rural towns, friends in huge cities, medical school classmates, etc. But most of all, I'm surprised that I've managed to keep so many Kansas readers, many of whom I haven't seen in over a year.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know much it means to me that you are still reading. This blog has helped me remain sane throughout medical school and has been an outlet for me to experiment with some ridiculous humor.

So, as a reward to the fans, each day this week I will be re-posting a "Best of" series of my blog so far. I hope I've been a fun distraction for you this past year, and I hope you will continue to find some value in my writing in the years to come.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Zoos and Meerkat Hipster Haters

Readers may recall that the last time I went to the zoo, I wrote a lot about how giraffes are liars and birds hate Greeks. This time, I went to the same zoo, so this post will be neither informative nor entertaining!

Pictured above: Just like this photograph of an exotic bird scheming.

But things were cuter this time around. Just look a these meerkats.

Pictured above:
MEERKAT #1: Hey, check out this hipster with the camera.
MEERKAT #2: God, what a poser.
MEERKAT #1: Digital SLR, man! You aren't even doing it right.

And another bird.

Pictured above: I do exactly the same thing to meet ladies. Put on my bird costume and stand motionless outside of the bars.

And then to an Algerian cafe to end the afternoon.

Pictured above: The mint leaf did not succeed in navigating the Algerian water maze.