Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Homeward Bound

I climbed up the hill to the medschool for the last time in 2005 today, as tomorrow morning I head home. I won't have internet access at home, so this will also be my last post for the year.

2005 was great for me, starting with my quitting Boston and heading to İstanbul for the summer, and culminating in getting accepted into meds here in Calgary in July... just-in-time medschool admission, very efficient. Well, as the year is coming to a close, I'd like to say thanks to everyone who helped me get here, from providing inspiration, or encouragement, or getting me to put in the effort to get through mcats and admissions successfully. You know who you are, so thanks.

I still can't believe that I got in, despite their actually considering my complete undergrad CGPA. Wow!

Anyways, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. May 2006 be as good a year. Peace.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The good old days are back for a day

My friend Rich is in town; we'll hang out tomorrow. What to do in Calgary? Lunch, perhaps Vietnamese? Follow with comic book shopping, arcades, and the Greenhouse Tea Room. Oh wait, subsititute that last one with some other bubble tea place... and, I don't know any arcades here... nor comic book stores...

My bathroom is spotless. I'm very happy about that. On top of that, I caught up with my laundry, and bottled my beer. Now, if I could just clean up my office, I'd be set.

Summer Dreaming

I really wanted to go to Mongolia again next summer for my elective, but now I think that I've decided to go to Tanzania instead... hmm, what to do?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Communal Living

Yesterday about half of our medschool class headed south of town to High River, to go to a skills workshop put on by the docs in the hospital there. We practiced suturing, intubation, casting, and good old IVs. It was a great session.

Afterwards, we headed out to a Hutterite colony not far from High River. They're a Germanic religious group, originally founded in 1528, apparently. They're basically a reformist Protestant group with a strong anti-war philosophy, explaining their movement to the US from Russia (where they had eventually ended up) back in the 1870s; it also explains the move of seventeen of their eighteen colonies from the US to Canada during the first world war. Funny enough, anti-communal laws established in Alberta in the 1930s eventually led to their reexpansion into the US. I knew that they lived in colonies, but I thought that was for religious and customary reasons. I didn't realize that they were communal, with all income going to their colony leader, who then budgets it out on farming equipment, housing, carpentry and metalshop equipment, supplies, allowances, etc. The reason for their belief in communes is due to references to communal living in the Bible.

Pretty nice bunch of people, and it was interesting to see that they still read and write German using Gothic script, something you almost never see anymore. When I was a kid, I read a lot of books in Gothic, so I enjoyed myself reading stuff posted on one of their fridges.

You may wonder why a medskills trip was combined with a visit to the Hutterites, but it makes sense. Hutterites are one of those groups that makes for interesting genetic analysis, and so the conditions carried within their community is something that docs around Calgary need to be aware of.

I need to clean today...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Night of Union

Tonight (the 17th) is the 732nd anniversary of the Night of Union. As Rumi said:

"Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are."

What a concept.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

I'm now officially on vacation until January. Just in time.

Saw 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' at the local IMAX theatre yesterday. Good stuff, great on IMAX. Potter needs a haircut, though. Actually, there was a lot of long hair in that movie. I guess I could use a haircut as well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I went orienteering this evening, for the first time in many years (probably nine or so). It was a simple street course around part of Calgary, and ended up being about a 10 km run. Weird to meet people I haven't seen since '93.

Beer and cookies

I started up a fermentation of 22 litres of wort last week, on Wednesday night. However, it is acting strangely, in that my fermentor isn't producing much (i.e. anything) in the way of gas. So, either the fermentation is just going really slowly, because my kitchen is too cold for the yeast to grow quickly, or the yeast I added was dead, and my fermentor is completely sterile. Both of those answers are unlikely, so that leaves me wondering.

I will open it up early next week to see what happened.

That same night, I also baked up about fifty cranberry and white-chocolate oatmeal cookies, and forty dark-chocolate oatmeal cookies. They were for a bake sale on Thursday, for AIDS week. My cookies ended up being a big hit. I wish I had kept some for myself...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Taken to heart

Yesterday I held a beating heart in my hand for the first time.

I followed it up with eight straight episodes of 'House'.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


We had our class Christmas party last night. Was interesting to see everyone dressed to the nines.

Had fun trying to get my vehicles inspected during the day. I was told that Canadian Tire did out-of-province inspections, so I headed up there on my bike. "Sorry, we do out-of-province inspections, but not for bikes." (They do do the federal bike inspection, though.) "Okay," I said, "I'll go home and come back with my car." I did that, and I when I got back, I got: "Sorry, we do out-of-province car inspections, but not on weekends." Hmm, couldn't I have been told that when I said I was going home to go get my car and I'd be right back? Normally, I would have laughed it off, but I hadn't had a coffee yet. :) Instead, I was miserable about the hour and a half I had wasted driving back and forth.

So, picked up the boyz, we went for a coffee and a drink, and hit the Christmas party. Fun ensued.

Friday, December 09, 2005


On Monday night, I was walking home from the hospital, at around 3:15 a.m. or so. The temperature was sitting around -20 C, and it was snowing lightly.

The snowflakes were extremely fine, such that they weren't really visible as distinct objects in the darkness, as they floated on the wind. Instead, they were only visible as tiny sparks of light, reflected from the street and city lights. It was incredible, like the sky was full of little sparkles, almost to the point that it was like brilliantly shimmering pure white fireworks...

I don't recall having ever seen snow like that before in my life. I hope I experience that again sometime.

In a completely unrelated note, watching 'House' the other day, I noticed that he has the exact same desk lamp as me, the Antifoni from Ikea! I am more like the guy every day.

December 6th

I didn't get around to posting on the 6th, but I wanted to mention it, because it is a pretty important day up here in Canada. In 1989, at the École Polytechnique at the Université de Montréal, Marc Lépine killed 14 women, in a personal war against feminism.

That event completely changed the dialogue on women's rights in Canada. Violence against women is only a small part of this debate. Equality for women in society and in the workforce would seem to be such a basic right, and yet it remains denied to them.

Whenever I hear people say that they hate feminists or feminism (especially when I hear women say this), I can't help but think of those poor fourteen. Their deaths, though, did wake up Canada, and serve as a constant reminder of why feminism is so important in the present and to the future.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

War is over, if you want it

That may sound simplistic, but he and Yoko had it right.

Twenty-five years, since the world lost its biggest advocate for universal love and oneness.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Oh, I wanted to talk about my shower last Friday. There I was, thinking about life, and how I've lived so many lives at this point; I must be on life number five now. Then I thought, five lives? A human only has one. A cat, on the other had, has nine, so that must mean that I am actually a cat living out some kind of feline fantasy, and I have four lives remaining in this world.

Why was that significant? Because, they say that curiosity killed the cat. That explained my activities of the previous night. 2 a.m., having met my study goals for the day, it was time to go to bed. Or was it? No, it was time for me to find out what happened to Ross and Rachel. That's right, after all this time, I needed to know the answer to that question at 2 a.m. on a 'school night'. I ended up going to bed at 4, having finished season 8 episodes 1-6.

Canada Post is mocking me, though, by failing to deliver the next disk in the series to me, even though it was mailed out last Thursday. Ditto for my cardio textbook, by the way, which I have been eagerly awaiting since last Wednesday.

Luckily, I have an exam in another course tomorrow (I guess that's later today), so I had something else to read over the weekend. Plus, the first 'House' DVD came in the mail yesterday...

I was also reading Yunus Emre over the weekend. Perhaps I'll post a couple of quotes next weekend.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sugar Pie

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon baking. I started by heading over to the medschool to download some recipies. My intention was to bake a pumpkin pie, specifically this one, that I came across while reading one of my favourite food blogs. First I was frightened by the crust, but then I got over that by deciding on a graham cracker crust instead. However, the powdered nutmeg and powdered cloves made the recipe a no-go. Nutmeg would have been possible, but I would have had to find and buy a little nutmeg grater. Powdered cloves, though, defied imagination. I couldn't do that with a grater; I would have needed some kind of mill. I guess a peppercorn mill would have done the trick, but seriously, who eats powdered clove?

Anyways, I instead decided to just buy a pumpkin pie. I headed over to the local Co-op, and bought a ton of ingredients for making some cookies too, and then headed over to the condensed milk section, as I had a hankering for some. When I took a can off of the shelf, there on the label was a recipe for sugar pie! Wow! So, I headed home, baked a few dozen cookies, then started the sugar pie. It turned out quite well, although the graham cracker crust could have used some pre-baking to prevent it from being dissolved away by the filling.

For breakfast I had two slices of pie. It's great, but is a real test of one's body's ability to process simple sugars. I don't think I'll ever make this again, unless I have to feed some hungry voyageurs.

I also have a litre of whipping cream in my fridge now. I'd better start on that tonight.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

No Free Lunch

My neighbour finally smartened up and put a password on his network. :( Suddenly, once again, all I have at home for time-wasting are my books and laundry!

I learnt something in the last day. I need snow tyres for my car. My American summer tires just don't cut it up here on the unsalted streets. I barely made it up a gentle incline last night, after dropping off a friend on the south side of town.

Friday, December 02, 2005


First CV textbook down. Next!

I'm tired. Can't wait until Saturday morning, when I have penciled 'sleeping in' into my schedule.

I have successfully slowed down my pace of movie watching, thanks to my love for the EKG.