Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Poor Use of Time

I watched 'Sweet Home Alabama' last night. A girl in class lent it to me; she said I'd like it. Well, I am a sucker for thunderstorms, I suppose.

To pay for the time spent, I had to head in to school at 6:30 a.m.. I have to give a presentation tomorrow, in our 'Well Physician' course. The class is meant to help us learn how to deal with the stresses of medicine, and funny enough, that course is currently my main source of stress.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Fine Line

On Saturday night, two of my classmates dragged me out to see 'Walk the Line'. Down in number from last weekend, we merely constituted a 'Triangle of Nerds'. I'll admit that I was hesitant to see it, since Joaquin Phoenix almost ruined 'Gladiator' for me. However, here, his wooden, lifeless acting was not much of a detriment to the film, given that for most of the time, he was supposed to be drunk, stoned, high, pissed, or in withdrawal. The rest of the time, he just looked either anxious or frightened. Anyways, it was actually a great film, with a great story to tell. Now, I'm trying to figure out how to get Reese Witherspoon and her momma to come save me. Is not knowing how to roast a nice, juicy turkey, sufficient?

After the movie, we hit Montana's again. The rib tips appetizer was awesome, the mile high ice cream cake was great. I declared, 'This is the best night ever!' Unfortunately, after getting through the fried cheesecake, for about three seconds, I was almost positive that I was going to ralph. So, at 1:20 a.m., arteries unhappy, we stumbled out of the restaurant, back into the cold night of reality.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Back to Life, Back to Reality

My health has more-or-less returned to me. All I have left now is a frog in my throat. In small group today, I tried to ask a question, and it took me four starts; all I could get out were strange croaks and rasps.

This week has been a bust. All I did was be sick and be studious. This weekend, with 'Friends' season 10 disk 1 out of the way, the studying should continue. Oh, what delights.

I also went for a spin on my motorcycle today. I finally went for that out-of-province inspection. The bike passed, with a tire replacement. The car didn't fare so well. I have to get some stuff done to it next week, something to do with some axle or universal joint housing cracking or something. Next week, though, I should register both of them and be totally legit. In the meantime, as Bruce said:

License, registration, I ain't got none.
But I got a clear conscience,
About the things that I done.

What was it I wanted to say today? I thought that I had something to say...

Oh yeah, happy Mozart's 250th birthday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Last night, I stumbled out of the medschool and back to the fortress of solitude, and was completely wiped by the time I got home. I fell into bed all febrile, weak, and nauseous. Feverish dreams ensued, with my half-awake mind fixated on a few lines from LC:

I fought against the bottle,
But I had to do it drunk.
Took my diamond to the pawnshop,
But that don’t make it junk.

I finally got sick of being sick, pulled myself together, and studied for five hours. I'm six pages short of being halfway through resp. Then, I looked up the complete lyrics, so that next time I get feverish, I don't get stuck on the first lines.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

All Quiet

Not much happening here at the moment... I think I have some kind of virus, I feel kinda weird.

Last week I ran into a girl I knew in gradschool; she oversaw my work when I did footprinting of a ribozyme in the Collins lab. Now she has two kids, and has been a professor at U of C for the last five years. "So, you're in first year?" she asked me.

Man, those Collins lab people keep on turning up in random locations... whatever happened to Ricardo, I wonder.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crouching Chairman, Hidden Geisha

Last night, I went to see 'Memoirs of a Geisha' with a few of my classmates ('The Circle of Nerds' I like to call us). The movie starred Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh, so of course it reminded me of Crouching Tiger, one of my favourite films. Zhang did a pretty good job, and it was interesting to see Yeoh in a completely non-martial-arts role. In supporting roles were Li Gong, who seems to be getting more intense these days, and Kaori Momoi, who I remember from 'Pyrokinesis', of all movies. But, the highlight of the film for me was Kōji Yakusho, who was awesome, as always.

Unfortunately, the movie is rather too sentimental for my tastes, with a pretty shallow central philosophy. I 'identified' with Nobu, but everyone else in the movie lacks a real raison d'être.

Anyways, after watching the flick (my butt went ischemic sitting in those small theatre seats), we headed across the parking lot to 'Montana's' for some appetizers and desserts. Suburban Calgary is all box stores and chain restaurants; it's pretty depressing. At least Montana's has nice high ceilings. But, why name a Canadian restaurant chain after a US state? For the same reason that that US chain is called 'Bugaboo Creek', I guess.

Otherwise, I studied like nuts this weekend. Getting a good head start on resp, gotta love it. The cardio exam on Friday went fine, and I owe that in large part to finishing the EKG textbook in the middle of the first week of the course. I never did finish the second (more important) textbook...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dream Analysis

I had an odd dream the other night. I was at some big meeting, in a big theatre, with most of my meds class, with some panel discussing something to do with either racial or sexual equality. Why, I don't remember. I was somewhere in the back listening to the discussions. One girl off to the side of the room kept interupting the speakers and going on and on... I couldn't figure out who it was; I didn't recognize the voice. I finally was able to see who it was; I immediately recognized her. "Oh, it's H..." I woke up soon thereafter, and it struck me. Who is H? Do I know H, or was H a figment of my imagination? After ten seconds or so, I remembered who it was: H was in my class in grade 8. In my dream, my brain had somehow brought up an image of this person, aged her appropriately, and then recognized her.

Amazing what the unconscious mind is capable of. Interesting to me, was that when I woke up, it took me a while to figure out who it was, so my conscious mind was a step behind the unconscious.

Anyways, I then wondered why my brain had resurrected H. Why H, given the number of people that must be stored away in the depths of my mind? Well, it ties into Degrassi, of course. My recent Degrassi Junior High overdose resulted in extreme exposure to the name 'H' (the name of one of the characters), and so the part of my brain that stored the name 'H', and people classified as H, was stimulated to send off some signals.

Okay, back to studying.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Still Studying

I got a few good hours of studying in today, which has put me in a pretty good mood this evening. Of course, now I'm surfing the web again, instead of reading. No probs, I just won't go to sleep until I'm half-ready for Friday. I don't have to be in the cardio clinic until 9:30 tomorrow morning, so I can sleep in a bit.

I almost blew it, though, because I decided to go buy some pop this evening. Once I got to the supermarket, I decided that I'd pick up some frozen spinach. Not one of those big blocks of spinach, because so are so hard to work with, but instead those frozen chunks of cut spinach you can buy out east.

I'd never seen spinach like this before Christmas, but back home, you can buy it frozen into these standardized ice-cube-sized chunks, so that when you want to eat some spinach, you just unfreeze, say, three chunks, and you're set. The rest of the spinach stays nice and frozen in your freezer, and there's no hammer required.

Well, I couldn't find any at the supermarket. So, I decided that by hook or by crook, I would not return home until I found them. So, I headed to another supermarket, and again had no luck, despite a thorough dig through the freezer section.

I was about to head further out into the suburbs to the nearest 'Real Canadian Superstore', but reason won out. I got a burger to go from Harvey's, and hit the books again.

Anyways, speaking of food, I bought a little wheel of Oka cheese recently. Haven't had that in a long time; mmm, what a great cheese.

Monday, January 16, 2006

More of the Same

Well, after episodes 1 and 2, the series focuses on the kids. I noticed that Maria Ricossa plays the mother of one of the kids; she was great in 'Riverdale'. Was I the only person that watched that show? From the Imdb, I also noticed that her sister on 'Riverdale', shows up as a principal in later seasons of D:TNG. Toronto is only so big, I guess.


I had a pretty stressful weekend, what with our cardio exam coming up this Friday. So, it was nice to sleep in a bit this morning. Just after ten, I heard the mailman arrive, so I got up to see what had arrived today. First, a notice that my Swahili books are down at the post office waiting for pickup, and second, 'Degrassi: The Next Generation', season one, disk one. Yes!

I watched the first two episodes. The time and place: it's the ten-year reunion of the Degrassi High class, and the setting remains Toronto. The plotline is split between the adults and the kids. With the kids, Emma is sucked in by a cyberstalker, but saved by her |-|4x0r friends. On the adults' side: Joey and Caitlin meet for the first time in ten years. Wow, you could cut the air with a knife!

I was a bit surprised about how well the Joey character still worked; some nice acting. More surprising to me, though, was that the episodes were directed by Bruce MacDonald, with Don McKellar guest-starring. MacDonald was the guy who directed 'Highway 61'; I didn't realize that he had moved towards TV since then. McKellar was one of my favourite actors back in the nineties, great in so many Atom Egoyan movies; I should dig around a bit to watch some of his more recent stuff.

This morning's score:

Degrassi: 2
Cardio: 1

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Not much has been going on here recently; just spending my time studying for a cardio exam next Friday. After reading so much about atherosclerosis, I'm considering actually adding salads to my diet. Perhaps the occasional fruit or vegetable. Can man live on instant noodles alone? I have a feeling that the answer to that is 'no'.

Anyways, sitting here in the study centre for hours at a time can be a bit of a strain on my wandering mind. To help focus, I've got Rivers Cuomo's 'Burning Sun' on repeat in iTunes; I'm at about 50 repeats at this time. Will it make my top 25 list by the end of the day? Funny, I can't find the lyrics anywhere on the net; I guess that's because it's an unreleased song, with just the first 56 seconds floating around the net.

I'd die for you,
Why can't you be the one
To set my mind at ease?

I'd try for you,
But now the burning sun
Is setting on the seas.

Ain't nothing we can do,
I gave my strength to you,
But if my dream came true
I'd hold you every night.

Hmm, my dream came true; I'm in meds. But, where I live, the burning sun tends to set over the southern bank of the Bow.

If I interpret these lyrics correctly, they're about his favourite textbook.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Today is day zero for our class' beard-growing contest. This naturally brought up the subject of Aries on Xena. I forgot that, in the post-Xena years, that actor had died in an accident... a blow to the progress of human beards.

In other news, Google Earth has finally been released for the Mac. I discovered this around 2:30 a.m. last night, and paid for it with decreased sleep.

Things are pretty dull around here, preparing for our next exam, next Friday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Another year, another MacWorld. Once again, the rumour mill was more or less completely wrong in all their predictions. All models that 'reliable sources' predicted would be renewed, weren't, and all models that they predicted would not be, were. Okay, the PowerMacs weren't replaced, but that is the sole exception to that statement.

Anyways, although I really wanted to buy my parents a new Mac Mini, I'm pretty happy to see that the iMac is finally a nice machine. However, I have no use for one.

I'm also happy that my 17" is still not out of date. :)

It's a beautiful night here in Calgary, with an icy fog in the air, and a thin layer of fresh snow on the ground...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


They say that the first step in dealing with an addiction is admitting that you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. Last night, I watched Degrassi Junior High DVDs until I passed out.

Forget Ross and Rachel, now I need to know what's happening with Joey and Caitlyn on the new Degrassi.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Something to look forward to

I spent a quiet weekend, mostly reading Bashō at home, and watching my Degrassi Junior High DVDs. Went out for dinner with the class diners' club on Saturday night, followed by a bit of gaming...

The excitement for the weekend, though, was the discovery that a new Murakami book is coming down the pipe, 'Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman'. Although it's a book of short stories, and I'm guessing that I'll have already read a fair share of them, it still means that late next August, I'll have something to look forward to. I can't wait!

Friday, January 06, 2006


Last summer the ultimate destination of my summer travels was the eastern tip of Turkey. Now, it's the location of the current Turkish bird flu outbreak. Three teenagers have died in Doğubayazıt, at the foot of Mount Ararat, and now the town is under quarantine. Meanwhile, there are more human cases in Van, a bit to the south (I didn't make it there), and there are outbreaks in poultry in Erzurum and Iğdır, where I also visited. It's a beautiful area; I hope things don't get worse.

Meanwhile, today I committed to Tanzania for my elective next summer. I ordered two books on Swahili...

Thursday, January 05, 2006


This year, I need to think more before I speak. Here's why:

Before Christmas, I think I mentioned that I had cleaned up my apartment. In fact, I got my bathroom so clean, that I remarked out loud to myself, "This bathroom is so clean, I could eat off of the floor behind the toilet!"

One night this week, I decided that I needed a NyQuil to soothe my virally-infected nasal passages, in order to get some sleep before an early-morning clinic session. When I opened up the package, one of the caplets fell to the ground and rolled away. I got on my hands and knees to find it: there it was, on the floor, behind the toilet.

If I didn't believe it, I shouldn't have said it. I ate it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Into the Night

Right before Christmas, I ran out of all of my stores of Korean instant noodles. So, after I got back from out east, I had to start eating the rest of the food in my apartment. I finished all of the Irish Stew I had, as well as the ravioli, and even ate into my stock of Kraft dinner. Yesterday, I decided that it was time to go buy another three cartons of noodles, since I could no longer go on without it.

I usually go out to the east side of town to go to a superstore out there that sells them in cartons, but as I left the study centre to go shopping, one of my classmates told me that there was a closer superstore that stocked them, in the northwest. Just take the Sarcee exit from Crowchild. No problem.

So, I headed out into the night, to a place I'd never been to before. I drove on, and on, and on... no sign of Sarcee. The lights of Calgary disappeared behind me, and I carried on. I knew full well that I had missed it, but I kept on going. Leonard sang:

And no one knows where the night is going

I knew that it wasn't leading to noodles. I headed northwest into pure darkness.

As a result, for dinner tonight, I started with a raisin scone, followed up with an old bag of barbeque potato chips, and had two peanut butter cups for dessert.

Monday, January 02, 2006

More on my Christmas Haul

So, since I listed off the books I got for Christmas, I may as well list off my other major material gift/acquisition: 'The Rough Guide to Central Asia'. A pretty fun album, I've had it on repeat since last night.

In not great news, I can't for the life of me find my negatives from my Mongolia vacation a few years back. I found the slides , and one of the rolls of negatives, but the rest are missing. I wonder if I left them at Enders. I scanned them in there at one point, so maybe I forgot them in the old computer room or something? Sad, if they're really gone for good.

Exam went well today, but I was coughing up huge amounts of sputum all morning...

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Well, it's the first day of a new year, and I have returned from parts east to my fortress of solitude here in Calgary. As I watched the ball fall in NYC last night, I got hit with the usual melancholy that you are supposed to feel when you hear Auld Lang Syne. I was thinking about how my last year had gone so well, when I realized that all my supposed successes were in the material world. Of course, watching TV news for the first time in months also reminded me what a lousy year 2005 was for so many people around the world, and here I was, happy about exam results. I need to work more on the immaterial in 2006. More self-denial and giving away of possessions and money.

I suppose that in 2005, I enjoyed some happinesses that had nothing to do with material wealth or status... and I did spend a good deal of the year in a dreamstate of inner peace and contentment, which I guess is also a good thing.

Well, on that note, Christmas presented me with a couple of good books as gifts. First was 'The Peoples of the Great North: Art and Civilisation of Siberia', and the second was 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches' by Matsuo Basho. Hmm, that wikipedia entry is grossly oversimplified.

Well, Basho is, of course, the guy who wrote:

Breaking the silence
Of an ancient pond,
A frog jumped into water --
A deep resonance.

As translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa. Anyways, here's why this book is so awesome:

Determined to fall
A weather-exposed skeleton
I cannot help the sore wind
Blowing through my heart.

You and me both, Basho!!! :)