Sunday, December 31, 2006

HNY

Happy New Year, everybody!

I just got back into town. I was quite surprised to see how clean I'd left my apartment.

Anyways, for the New Year, I leave you this quote from Basho:

Another year is gone
a traveller's shade on my head
straw sandals at my feet

Friday, December 29, 2006

Xmas

Well, merry fifth day of Christmas. I still have two more nights here at home out east. I got my parents hooked up with a cable modem yesterday, so I'm back on the net... phew!

Christmas has been pretty good to me. Two notable things: first of all, my friend M. Tabernac gave me a call, and we got together for the first time in about four years. Recently, he posted his first ever Youtube video:



The other good thing was that my nephews got a book of 'string games' for Christmas. Now, I can do 'cup and saucer', 'Eiffel Tower', 'Cat's Cradle', 'Soldier's Bed', 'Jacob's Ladder'; you name it, I can do it, and I'm awesome.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Night of Union


It's the Night of Union again, the 733rd anniversary of Rumi's death. I'll offer up a quote from Mevlana:

If you want everlasting glory,
don't go back to sleep.

If you want to burn with love,

don't go back to sleep.

You have wasted so many nights!

Tonight, for the love of God,

meet the dawn,

don't go back to sleep!


That translation is by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin in 'Rumi: Hidden Music'.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Break

The gastroenterology exams yesterday went well. It was interesting stuff; I wish I had studied harder. With that, our Christmas break has begun; we have two weeks off. Our next vacation won't be until Christmas of 2007, so I will have to try and destress as much as possible over the next two weeks. Frankly, there's almost no point, since January will easily be the busiest month of medical school.

Anyways, I head back east on Tuesday, so I have three days here to clean up the detritus of my life. I started with some movies. First was 'Magic in the Water', a movie starring a friend of mine from my Boston life. She was very impressive. Next was 'The Million Dollar Hotel', which I rented because it was directed by Wim Wenders. I didn't realize that it starred Mel Gibson, nor Milla Jovovich, neither of which I would have expected to see in a Wenders movie. It was also a surprise to find out that the story was cowritten by Bono.

Anyways, I now have Wender's 'Wings of Desire' in my drive, which I don't think I've seen since 1993 or so.

Oh, the big success of the day was finding a restaurant that serves jajang myeon; it's less than ten minutes drive away from home. Wow, what a relief.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Livin' on a Prayer

I had two brushes with technological disaster in the past 48 hours.

First story: I sitting in small group yesterday, and was just opening up my notes on my laptop. "Where's that crazy buzzing sound coming from," I asked myself; "How are we supposed to work with kind of noise in the building?" I then noted that my computer was vibrating quite strongly, and that it had actually hung. At that point, I realized that the source of the incredibly disturbing noise and vibration was not construction, but my computer, notably my hard drive. Not good! Rebooting resulted in a few loud clunking noises, like a hammer being dropped onto a metal table. Later attempts resulted in a weird opening-and-closing metallic zipper sounds. I thought I was screwed; naturally, I don't have backups. Well, the happy ending to the story is that when I got home, and I tried again, it just sat there for 15 seconds, then booted up as if nothing had happened. I ran off to buy a spare hard drive, and backed up all my files. Phew. Everything's going to be o-kay.

My other mini-story occured the night before. I got home, after a long day at school, and went to try and wash the formalin smell off of my hands. I turned on the bathroom light, and was greeted with the flash of a bulb burning out. No probs. I had a low-wattage flourescent bulb that I had wanted to install anyways. I screwed out the old bulb, and put in the new bulb. I hit the light switch. Boom! There were some big sparks out of the light fixture, and part of the fixture fell out of the ceiling, smashing the bulb into a million tiny shards on my bathroom floor. Examining it later, there must have been a short circuit inside the thing that you screw the bulb into; it had blown its ceramic shell into two parts, and parts of the metal around it had melted away. Excitement! The happy ending to this story? It forced me to clean my apartment, so that I wouldn't be embarrassed when the landlord came by to fix the fixture. Spotless!

Monday, December 11, 2006

El derecho de vivir en paz

I thought I'd comment on the death of Augusto Pinochet.

Back when I was in middle school, my sister brought home a record from the local public library; it was 'Pongo En Tus Manos Abiertas' by Victor Jara. I loved it. This was soon followed by the rest of his albums that were available from the library. To this day, I can sing along to 'Preguntas por Puerto Montt'.

I quickly realized that the library didn't have any albums from after 1974. I did some reading, and found the reason (we couldn't just wiki back in those days): he'd been killed in a military coup in 1973. He was taken prisoner, tortured, and murdered. The man responsible for his death: Augusto Pinochet.

Last year, I was happy to find that Victor Jara's work has been rereleased as an eight-disk CD collection.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Almost there...

I've made it to the last week of school. Exams are Friday. Of course, Darth Vader is right on my tail as I head to the end of the trench, so I must be in top form for the rest of the week.

Last week, we finally finished off the 'Culture, Health, and Wellness' project that had been sucking up so much effort. What a relief that was. Unfortunately, the recent drop in stress levels induced immediate slacking on my part, and I watched a stack of movies. Chief among these were 'Paris, Texas' and 'The Great Yokai War'. Having potential was 'Sympathy for Lady Vengeance', but it got a bit sappy in parts. I also watched 'Slackers', by accident, since I had actually meant to rent 'Slacker'.

Anyways, time to hunker down...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December

It's been a while since I last posted. December and Advent have arrived (well, Advent arrives tomorrow).

Last weekend, I spent both afternoons in a Starbucks at the local Chapters, just doing some 'Culture, Health, and Wellness' work; they were playing Christmas carols the whole time. Three songs jumped out at me; one was an uninspired cover of 'Happy Xmas (War is Over)'. I kept thinking, is that Sarah McLaughlin? She's killed this song. Well, it was her, and she did kill it. The second song that jumped out at me (a personal favourite): 'Hallelujah' by LC. Of course, besides use of the word 'Hallelujah', it is in no way whatsoever a Christmas song. Anyways, the third song was 'Reggae Christmas' by Bryan Adams. I actually have the 72-rpm 'Christmas Time' single from 1985 back home, printed in glorious translucent green vinyl. Ah, that took me back to happy days.

Unfortunately, this weekend, I've been too busy to make it to Chapters. Instead, I've had a couple of Christmas parties to go to. I can't get into the mood, though. We're so busy at school; it sucks, really. Oh well, two more weeks, and it'll be vacation time. January will be ugly too, but February should be nice and relaxing. I can't say that I've ever looked forward to February so much in my life.

From the news, it's interesting to see that St├ęphane Dion has been elected as the head of the Liberal party. Looks like Ignatieff was viewed as being too soft on the Iraq war back in his Harvard days. This should heat things up this winter...