Monday, October 31, 2005

Road Rage Part the Second

Happy Halloween!!!

This weekend I drove from my apartment in Iowa City to my parents’ house in southern Illinois. There’s a good 3.5 hour stretch in that drive through central Illinois where all the radio stations only play gospel or country and there’s no cell phone reception.

When people think Illinois, they think Chicago, and blue state. Well there’s a whole different state south of Chicago and it’s called it’s called Illi-Jesus. There be some serious Jesus-lovin’ going on south of Quincy. A few years ago when my parents were driving me home from college for winter break THIS had popped up by Effingham, about 30 minutes outside of my hometown:

It’s a big ass cross, 20 stories high, in the middle of nowhere. (At nighttime there’s a bunch of white lights shining up at it from the ground, almost like glow-in-the-dark. It’s particularly eerie at night because the lights add this sense of motion to the cross, as though it will uproot itself and smash me with the stipe for not being Christian.)

It’s kind of a menacing figure. I usually try to fill up in Centralia so I don’t have to stop at any of the little gas stations in central Illinois (some of those places are straight out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and everytime I see the cross my initial reaction is Run away, brownie!!

I mean, it has all the subtlety of an avalanche. Why stop with a giant glowing white cross? Why not add plywood flames? Or better yet a red and black banner saying THIS BE THE KKK, BEE-YOTCH.

Matthew Hale is from central Illinois, he went to college in Peoria then law school at Southern Illinois University and passed the Illinois bar exam too. (I think he’s banned from the bar though?) I remember he came to Northwestern during my freshman year to organize a chapter for his World Church of the Creator or whatever. (This was a few months after a follower of his church murdered NU’s former basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong.) The administration seemed to deal with him by just ignoring him, which is probably the best way to handle media-whores, and now he’s in jail for conspirary to commit murder.

Anyway, I’m not sure what all this has to do with the big white cross, but I hate the cross anyway. This time when I drove by there was a big sign at the bottom advertising its website, www.crossusa.org. So when I got home I visited the website and it’s actually not too hateful:

The Cross Foundation is dedicated to building both faith and family on an ecumenical basis. The Cross Foundation has completed a 198 foot Cross at the intersection of Interstates 57 & 70 in Effingham, Illinois. This site is intended to serve as a beacon of hope to the 50,000 travelers estimated to pass the site each day. In addition, the Cross Foundation will promote the values of faith and family through other programs.

I scoured the website for any signs of white supremacy and I couldn’t find anything. Ok. So I guess it’s not that bad. The cross still creeps the hell out of me though! (On a completely unrelated note I was nervous to surf the website lest it actually be some sort of KKK propaganda, because doesn’t the government redlist some sites, and tag the ISPs of visitors? Like that time my friend and I were debating whether the “North American Man-Boy Love Association” (NAMBLA!) was for real and we surfed around to find it. It is REAL, ya’ll. Real and nasty. My other friend whose computer we used was pissed because she said now her ISP would be tagged. Is that true?)

Nilay says I’m probably the first and only person to feel oppressed by the cross. You have to SEE this behemoth. It is LARGE. LARGE and IN CHARGE. This thing could oppress Jesus. Couldn’t they find a secular image to be a beacon of hope and promote family? Seriously, if I had a $1,000,000 with which to improve the world, erecting a gynormous cross by the side of the highway in rural downstate Illinois would be like #800,502 on my list of ways to spend the money.

Currently listening to: Top 50 Country Countdown!! No. 27 is “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” When I first heard this song, I was like, WHAT?!? But the song isn’t creepy, it’s just about getting drunk on tequila and leaving your shit all over the place. (I had a night like that back in May, courtesy of Jose Cuervo. I was puking for the next 3 days.)

Friday, October 28, 2005

FFF

Today's 55-word opus is entitled, A Tribute to Reflux (my dog):
He paced the empty apartment, lonely and dark. Why did she keep leaving him? Hopefully she’d return. He almost howled with despair, moving from room to room. Her scent lingered in the bedsheets; her presence lingered in the air.

He heard a door slam. “Sweetie? I’m home!” Tail wagging, he ran yipping to greet her.
I loves my doggy, smelly, blind and mentally challenged as he may be. He's also deaf, so he actually doesn't usually hear the door slam. I love scaring the crap out of him when I get home, he literally goes running into a wall. But then he's all waggly tail and trying to scale my knees and running-into-walls frenzy.

This picture is from the last time I took him to my parents house. My dad is scared of dogs so Reflux is imprisoned in the laundry basket anytime my dad is in the room. In case Reflux were to suddenly grow a brain and attack him with ALL THE WRATH of 8.2 pounds and no teeth. (And yes. Them be pink ribbons with smiley faces, spank you very much.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Can Play the Guitar Like a Motherfuckin' Riot

Part of my Spartan regime of self-improvement I undertook with my research year at Iowa was to ACQUIRE MUSIC SKILLZ. So I decided to learn how to play the guitar.

My instructor is Noah, he's an undergrad student at the U. He probably thinks I'm half retarded because I can't strum the right strings without peering down intently at the guitar. (I squint at the music for 5 seconds then I stare down at the guitar strings to make sure I'm plucking the right ones. I'm rockin' out but unfortunately I looks like a damn fool.) He phoned me for a pre-lesson interview to ask about any PRIOR MUSIC SKILLZ and I thought I heard him snicker when I proudly informed him that I was 2nd chair flute in my junior high marching band.

I had bought a brand new Fender and all the cute accessories that went along with it. (I guess had the idea that if I had all the cool gear I would be more committed to my quest of ACQUIRING MUSIC SKILLZ.) I also had some music books I had purchased from the store and brought all my gear with me to my first lesson. At the end of the lesson he was like, Um, maybe we should start with more of a beginner book and totally produces this handwritten sheaf of papers. Most of his other students are little kids (seriously...I'm like frickin Billy Madison in there) I think he wrote it for them. I estimate it to be at about a 2nd grade reading level. I felt a little miffed, like are you insinuating that I have NO MUSIC SKILLZ (and am illiterate and mildly retarded)?? but then I flipped through his book and was like, ooh, Achy Breaky Heart! Dixie Chicks! So I'm trying.

***

Tonight at the gym the girl on the next treadmill started clapping when she finished her run. It was a little strange but she looked so proud of herself that I clapped too. Like, Good for you, treadmill gal! We should all support each other! We are sisters! And I thought we were totally sharing this moment til I realized that she was watching the World Series and was clapping because the White Sox had just won. (!!) Well I'll clap to that too -- Yay Chicago!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Big Truck Balls

I have a confession. I have really bad road rage. (This probably isn't surprising to those of you that know me.) Like, REALLY bad.

This past weekend I drove to Chicago and by the time I reached the Quad Cities my voice was hoarse from all the screaming I was doing sitting by myself in my car. (Guns don't cause violence. BAD DRIVING cause violence...there actually is a point to this: I recently watched a very compelling documentary entitled "The Science of Traffic Jams" on the Discovery Channel, and discovered scientific evidence backing up what I had already known -- you know all those times you're stuck in traffic, and you're like, there had better be a goddamn redwood tree that fell on the freeway and is blocking 4 lanes of traffic otherwise someone's going to die because I refuse to accept that I have been driving at idle for the past 53 minutes for NO DAMN REASON, and then, y' know, the traffic kind of clears up and everyone drives away, and to your shock there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING causing the traffic, no accident, no po-po blockade, no downed redwood. Turns out that BAD DRIVING is the culprit. Some stupid driver isn't paying attention and all of a sudden has to hit the breaks hard, or cuts off the driver in the next lane, and the level of breakage amplifies with each car behind him, til about a half mile down the road, everyone has to come to a complete stop.)

Iowans are lovely people with lovely quality but competent driving isn't one of them. Folks will get in the left lane and THEN JUST SIT THERE as though this was luxury driving, go ahead and stretch out and enjoy yourselves, we're not going anywhere. PROPER FUCKING LANE USAGE, BITCHES. Learn it. Use it. Live it.

One particular semi truck was really camped out in the left lane moseying along at 60 mph. (It just ain't right when the speed limit is 70 and you're in the left lane going 10 below that. I was so excited when I first came here and saw that the speed limit was entirely 5 mph higher than it was in Illinois but I quickly discovered that incompetent driving fully compensated for and even overcame any time saved by the higher speed limit.)

Then, I thought I saw something kind of weird on the truck. I squinted to get a better look -- could that be...? Were they really.....? Was I seeing A PAIR OF FUCKING TESTICLES HANGING OFF THE TRUCK?!?

Indeed I was.

A creative Google search turned up several websites dedicated to selling "Bulls Balls for Discerning Truck Owners!" This is what the website says: These vehicle accessories - truck nuts certainly make people grin and laugh. (Well that's not even proper grammar but I don't really expect too much from people who think that a scrotum dangling from the back of a semi truck is the best joke ever.) I was a little grossed out, and then I got pissed.

I'm sure this is supposed to be "Fun! and Lighthearted! and Ha ha I'm a man and I have balls! Aren't I so manly?" but if a female wanted to hang say a big ol' pair of labia off her hood ornament that would just be VULGAR and she would be SICK and doesn't she realize THERE ARE CHILDREN on the road and for godssakes won't somebody PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN. Either that or she'd be one of them LESBOS trying to send a message or something. Give me a gd break.

I went through some of the "testes monials" on the website just to see what these yokels had to say for themselves:

I just wanted to tell you guys that the balls are one of the best things i have seen on a truck. My bumper sticker says "my trucks got balls, where's yours?" so i thought i would write you an email and tell you how much attetion you get when your at a stop light, and you see a flash in your mirror! Somebody taking pictures of them and cracking up.
I hope next time it's someone trying to neuter your truck.

See my buddy and I only have half-ton 4x4 trucks, and we tend to latch down on any trailer that comes in our sight, and for that we always get laughed at by the other guys in town who have diesels, well I guess now they will watch what they say!
Yes your shriveled testes hanging from the back of the truck will certainly speak for themselves.

"People think they're hysterical," Aker enthuses. "Which is a good thing, since we created them to get laughs."

Not everybody, however, is in on the joke. She recalls a letter from one woman in particular who wrote that it was her goal in life to "castrate" any truck nuts she came across.

Shari Graydon, a Canadian media analyst and pop culture expert, says she sympathizes with the letter writer's reaction.

The past president of MediaWatch, a national organization challenging gender inequalities in the media, says this kind of "overt, in-your-face machismo" can contribute to a hostile environment for women. Graydon observes that on BullsBalls.com, customers take "enormous glee" in the fact truck balls can be both controversial and offensive.

"A penis really is THE symbol of masculinity and virility, but we haven't quite reached the stage where it's an acceptable thing to be sporting one your truck," she says, adding that truck nuts may be believed by men to be the next best thing.

(Excerpted from a journal article.)
The website's response: OH well! Can't argue with that infallible logic.

Ok, here are some kind of funny ones:

I would like to thank you for marketing a product that will help me identify and avoid drivers with severe testosterone poisoning.

That level of insecurity about one's manliness is dangerous.

Amen, sister.

i would drive around with twenty chrome girlies stapled to my mudflaps and wear a shirt that said "i love to fondle goats" while all the while lettin' my chewin' tobacco run down my fat chin before i would put a set of these on my truck!!!

Heh. He said "i love to fondle goats."

This guy was really pissed:

Yeah, and what do you say to the kids about this idiotic "accessory"? 'What little brains I have are hanging from the back bumper of this truck.' Is that an example of compensation for the lacking in another area? I type in truck accessories and get this stuff.

Monday, October 24, 2005

You Don't Want No Drama

Just returned on Saturday from Chicago. Had a fantastic time! On Thurs night went to Signature Room with some friends and got hit on by sleazy gold-jewelry wearing old man from Houston. (He was all, Hey ladies! I’m from Houston! Well that don’t mean much to this crowd, except then I suddenly remembered our White Sox were playing their Astros in the World Series. (2-0, ya’ll!!!) He proceeded to awkwardly hover at our table for a few minutes, completely interrupting our conversation, before walking off. Thanks for the awkward moments, dude.)

On Friday I walked around Michigan Avenue for a few hours. I was so excited to go to H&M again now that they’re carrying Karl Lagerfeld designs, but when did H&M get so crappy and expensive? I guess they’re trying to go designer but the materials they use are of inferior quality and the tailor-work is so shoddy. I was disappointed – I remember H&M being nice, kind of trendy stuff you didn’t have to pay too much for.

Later I went to Lincoln Park to see my cousin’s brand spankin’ new salon she just opened a few weeks ago. It was a nice place, but turned out to be a Merle Norman cosmetics, of all things. Anyway, my cousin is hands down the best threader I’ve ever had, and she’s the only place in LP or downtown that does it. (Besides Carson Pirie Scott, if you don’t mind paying friggin’ $50). So I’m excited for her. It’s a really fun neighborhood too, I can’t wait til I move back to Chicago and get to see her every week.

My friend Nikki was returning from a business trip and we had planned to go to a poker party together but her flight ended up being delayed by 4 hours so I went out with G and some of her friends from LA. I love the brown but what is with all the gd DRAMA? I’m not a regular on the desi party circuit but without fail at EVERY SINGLE desi party I’ve ever been to, there is always some retarded-ass drama going down. The girls seem to handle it by getting drunk and weepy while the guys get all aggressive. (Hence the well-known adage, Every desi party ends in a fight. Yah. No shit.)

I’m all for a good healthy drunken catharsis once in a while but how do you have the energy for this shit? So on Fri the retardosity seemed to start the minute we walked in the door at the pre-party. There was heated argument about where to go, then heated argument about how to get there. Drunken logistics coordination ad nauseum for the next hour. (Sometimes I get the sense that people aren’t really that drunk, they just down a beer and use it as an excuse to get all pushy and stupid.) Two guys from the ‘burbs INSISTED on driving there (which was completely dumb, there’s no where to park downtown on a Saturday night), and of course they had been drinking so the girls were all concerned and motherly. Of course, when the car later turned out to be a Benz SUV I was thinking, you jerks aren’t opposed to taking cabs. You just wanted to show off your daddy’s car. (Ok, I guess that’s a little bitchy on my part. But actually it’s not because it’s so DAMN TRUE.)

We finally left one club to go to another one and 5 of us girls smashed in to the back seat of a cab. Two of the girls were having some kind of argument about some dude at the previous club. I heard snippets of the conversation (something about a stolen iPod?), but both girls kept shrieking, “LISTEN TO ME!! I’M SOBER!!!” I don’t know the exact math but isn’t the frequency at which you insist sobriety inversely proportional to the actual level of sobriety? Then one of the girls burst into tears and the other one got on the phone, presumably with the drunk SUV guys. (Meanwhile G and I are looking at each other like What the hell is wrong with these people?)

Anyway, we met up with SUV guys at a different lounge, but they were all pissed because for some reason the bouncer hadn’t let them in. (Their attitude about it reminded me of this guy I saw at The Apartment last year. The bouncer had pulled his fake and he reacted with a hissy fit culminating in him stomping off screaming, “I make more money in a year than you’ll ever have in a lifetime, dude! I don’t give a fuck!” Something tells me this IS NOT the way to get what you want out of people, yo.)

Anyway, all the girls except G and I piled into the SUV. He’d been drinking and besides, he didn’t really seem to know his way around the city. So it was the two of us and some random dude, whom I referred to in my head as THE MOST BORING GUY I’VE EVER MET. We hop into a cab and he pulls out his Blackberry and tries to coordinate our next stop with the drunk ass girls in the SUV, which was as productive and fruitful as you might imagine. We’re trying to decide where to meet at Rush and Division, and one placed is nixed because Boring Guy apparently punched a bouncer in the face there. (What the fuck? Were you RAISED IN A BARN? I mean, I know your OVERPRIVILEGED ASS must have had it rough growing up in UPPER MIDDLE CLASS SUBURBIA but try to control your rage.)

Everyone finally settles on another place, and we get there first and hop out. I’m like, the night’s still young, let’s go to that dive bar down the street and get wasted, fuck the others. But BG heard drunk girl crying (not sure why this was surprising) on the phone and G wants to make sure she’s OK. So we wait. And wait. And wait. We finally go inside because all 3 of us had to use the bathroom and then Boring Guy just stands around by the door waiting for the others. It’s a fun place and G and I are kind of getting into it, buying beers and having fun, like, hell, let’s just make the most of this. BG is SO NOT INTO IT and is literally just standing there with his arms crossed like something crawled up his ass and died. (I was a little offended by this – studying 9 hours a day for the past few years sucked away a lot of my social skills but I was working on a good buzz and having fun.) Anyway, more drunken shouting per telephone, until finally BG I guess just gives up because all of a sudden he announces, I’m going home, g’night, and marches out of there. (True gentleman, that BG.)

G and I are like woo hoo! And we went to the dance floor upstairs. Then the night ended as many of our Rush and Division nights do, with a 4 AM trip to McDonalds and a bad movie. Later that night she heard from her friend, who cheerily announced that they had driven to the suburbs much earlier and were all going to bed. (I’d have been pissed as hell if one of my girls did this to me but G seemed OK.)

The moral of the story is, sometimes my group of friends has drama but nothing to that degree of obnoxious. So I love my friends and their non-dramatic selves.

G wondered why they had so much drama while we didn’t, and were their friendships stronger because they were tested? That was an interesting thought: I mentioned that we have a lot of the same drama-inducing circumstances: we have men in our lives, we have conflict with people around us from time to time, we do stupid things when we’re drunk…so how does that add up to drama for some circles, and no drama for us? She thought a huge part of it was because we just don’t have time for it. On most of your clerkships you only get one day off a week, so you’ve only got that one night to go out, and you just want to see your friends and have fun. There’s no TIME the next day for damage control – you have to wake up, shower, and go study. As far as the “no time for drama” thing, I agree: I’ve noticed that amongst my peers you either let the conflict go or you let the friend go. Most of the time we just let the conflict go.

Could their friendships really be stronger because they were tested? I don’t know if making a mountain out of a molehill is a legitimate “test” of a friendship.

Oh well. Tomorrow I’ll have an enthralling piece on Iowa traffic.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"Don't want no short people 'round here"

The other day Yolanda and I had a 30 minute discussion about "petite" sizing while looking at dresses on jcrew and BR online. We wondered, is it for women who are actually short, or does it mean for small women -- like, small all over. A little person. (Except not, y'know, THAT kind of little person. A little person of standard genotype.)

Why do the short ladies get the privileges? I understand making PANTS come in short and tall sizes, because, y'know, they go on your legs, but why is there a whole section of every store devoted to short women? Why don't all manners of disproportion get a store section? Like, unusually large or unusually small chests? Short waisted? Big shoulders? Big hips? Small booties?

I have to get all my pants altered because even the "tall" sizes are too damn short. (I'm looking at you, Benetton.) Why do short ladies get all this special attention? I mean (here I go on a windy rant about nothing, feel free to tune out) think about it: you can always tailor pants and get them hemmed, but it's not like you can ADD MATERIAL to pants to make them longer. I hate when I hear women in stores gripe about how "these pants are just too long!" Now you feel my pain, sister: going into any store and knowing you'll have to pay $10 extra on top of what the stupid pants already cost because you need them lengthened as tall as they go. (Except for Gap: Good ol' Gap comes in short, regular, long, and EXTRA-LONG. I loves the extra-long. Unfortunately, it is the Gap.)

(World's tiniest violin starts playing.)

I know, I know. If this is the only thing eating my liver then life probably ain't too bad.

Anyway, this quest for information culminated at Talbott's, where I went today to do research on the Petites section. I made an important discovery: I cannot afford any clothing from Talbott's. That shit is expensive!

Anyway, I wandered into Sally Beauty Supply hoping their OPI would be on sale, and I discovered an interesting hair product:

(Good use of the 'n'. Gives it a folksy feeling of down-home goodness. Like pork 'n' beans.)

I was curious as to why such a graphic description of the contents was necessary. In all seriousness, I guess the protein in placenta would strenghten the hair.

I was curious as to whose placenta I would actually be smearing on my hair. The back of the packet says the placenta extracts come from animals' placenta, immediately followed by a no animal testing disclaimer. I still don't know what placenta it is, but I pity the poor med/vet student who had to 'deliver' it. It's probably just egg yolk, anyway.

Before I left the mall I stopped at Waldenbooks 'n' got these 2 books:











(The latter is supposed to be one of the two books every good Chicagoan is supposed to read; the other being The Time Traveler's Wife.)
Speaking of Chicago, received a funny class e-mail from one of the classmates (sometimes I miss those guys) today:
Amid the flood of emails regarding sublets and board books, tests and long call nights, it is easy to forget that we attend medical school in one of the greatest cities in the world. It is a city of arts and culture, of big ideas and bigger personalities, of parks, and a beautiful lakefront. It is a cosmopolitan city, a world class city, and now, dare we say, a Championship City thanks to…

The American League Champion CHICAGO WHITE SOX.

That’s right. Last night in stunning fashion the White Sox won the pennant with a dominating 4-1 ALCS victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Four more victories for a, dare we even dream it, a World Series Championship.

See you all on Saturday night for Game 1 of the 2005 World Series.

Bring on the NL.
GO SOX!!!!
I miss you Chicago. :-(
***
I've got the hotline phone tonight for RVAP so I can't go to yoga class. And yoga class yesterday was cancelled. (*sniffle) Gotta sit at home with the Ben and Jerry's.

Still basking in the steamy afterglow...




...of my favorite soap opera, Grey's Anatomy.

I loves it. It ain't exactly Scrubs, where everything is good-natured and benign, and it ain't exactly ER, where it's all drama, all the time.

Allow me to recap the episode, in case you're unfamiliar with the show:

When I tuned in, the team was rounding on some white girl named "Kalpana" who has idiopathic ventricular arrhythmias. Yang, fresh off her ruptured ectopic pregnancy/salpingectomy wheels her IV pole in the room and insists on taking part in the pimp session. When they kick her out, you can see her red underwear where her gown flaps open in the back. Zany good times on the post-op floor, ya'll.

Izzy and the HOOOOT ex-Calvin Klein underwear model/stereotypical asshole male surgeon who went to med school at Iowa (shout out!!) finally agree to go on a date together. Just HOOK UP already so I can see him with his shirt off. [Envisions Calvin with nothing but his scrub bottoms on..mmm.]

When I return to reality Yang's obnoxious mother is there embarassing her, though she seems surprisingly relaxed about the whole secret-illegitimate-pregnancy-ruining-your-residency thing. In fact, Burke walks in and the mom gushes about how cute he is and why can't Yang bring home a nice boy like him. That sounds like what MY Asian mother would be worried about at that moment.

Meredith, McDreamy, and his hyper-botoxxed wife ad nauseum. Meredith and McDreamy were dating, til all of a sudden his estranged and unfaithful wife moves back to town. Meredith promptly dumps McDreamy who has spent the last few episodes looking wounded and making puppy-dog eyes at her across the pre-op area.

I miss a few more minutes because Reflux is making retching sounds in a corner somewhere and I grab him and we make a run for the balcony.

When I return to the show, Meredith's mom, who has early-onset Alzheimer's and has been admitted for possibly some sort of hepatic carcinoma is dressed in scrubs and making out with Weber, the chief of staff, by the sinks outside one of the ORs. WHAT?!?! This hospital is filled with the most stupid and irresponsible ancillary staff ever, if that be the case. Also, must EVERYONE get it on at the hospital? I am slightly grossed out.

Cut to George, looking all constipated and whining the one line he gets this episode about how "he's a surgeon" and he doesn't want to babysit Meredith's mom anymore. Guess it's an improvement from that "George gets syphilis" plotline.

Ok, now Weber corners Calvin Klein and tells him that USMLE called him to tell him that Calvin failed the "clinical skills" portion of the exam [Step 2 -- shout out to me and my friend who's taking the test Wed?]. Hello? Didn't you take that OVER A YEAR AGO? And you FAILED CS? Isn't that the fake patient interview one where you listen to their heart and lungs, press on their belly, then do a fake write-up?

Anyway, then he gives him a cheery little pep talk about how he better not fail the retake or they're kicking him out of the program. Thanks for the vote of confidence, boss. Calvin puts his fingers to his temples in the manner of receiving ESP messages. Take off your shirt. Take off your shirt. Take off your shirt. Oh sorry...um, where was I?

Feisty Yang stubbornly refuses to be kept on bedrest and is hanging out with the other residents somewhere and finally figures out Kalpana has Munchhausen's; she's taking amitryptiline (undetectable on urine tox screen) daily because it gives her the arrhythmias. She finds Burke to report this news and they have a tense little discussion filled with doublespeak in his office about "telling lies" and "deceiving people." [Burke was the father of her ectopic pregnancy and didn't know about it til after the fact. And oh yeah, he unceremoniously dumped her after impregnating her 3 episodes ago.] Burke gives Kalpana a stern (but sexy!) little sermon about how she's hurting herself and wasting resources, so they're turfing her to Psych now. She seems like a rational person, I'm sure she understands.

Meredith and that sassy female resident who sasses all her attendings look at films belonging to that cutie from American Pie who they wish us to believe is a 26yo w/ Cystic Fibrosis who participates in triathlons. They discuss how "bad" the lungs look (though they appear to be looking at abdominal CTs). Cue the educational moment of the episode; CF boy has mentioned something about chronic pancreatitis, and now he's in constant pain. McDreamy's wife (who is a neonatalogist or something) pipes in about how she's seen a cholecystectomy (??) done to relieve the pain, so they decide to go through with this seemingly nonsensical operation.

The sassy female resident won't call cutie's parents for him because he'll "do it himself when he walks out of here." Those famous last words come back to bite her in the ass when cutie flatlines on the operating table. There's a sad moment as she frantically does chest compressions while the rest of the OR staff look on with pity. She finally calls it.

Cut back to Yang's room. She's talking to her mom when Burke stops by for a chat. I don't remember what exactly the conversation was about, but Burke was wearing a camel-colored turtleneck, a cream suede jacket, and tweed pants. And he wasn't wearing his glasses.

Later on, Yang bursts into tears and cries nonstop for hours, apparently. I guess this is Yang releasing some pent-up emotion. Judging from the amusing piano music playing in the background this is supposed to be funny, but I find it more disturbing. Somebody give the girl a Xanax already.

More Meredith, McDreamy, and scary wife BLAH BLAH BLAH something about divorce papers and how he's a wishy-washy tool and they're both buckling down for a fight.

Calvin and Izzy finally meet up for their date but Calvin is all sulky and brooding because he failed CS. (Yeah, dude, you should be. Nobody fails CS.) Izzy is confused.

Hee hee. That was more fun to do on a Monday morning then read transvaginal ultrasounds.

I love the show but I have a few bones to pick:

1) I wish there were that many female surgeons.

2) On the show everyone wears those dashing fitted caps in the OR. All we ever got were those stupid bouffant shower caps.

3) Nobody wears eye goggles in the OR!! OSHA, ya'll!

Ok, guess I should resume real work now.

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Tragedy in 55 words.

Turn the key in the ignition. I failed drivers’ ed. but who cares? I’m failing everything. I failed my family long ago. I’m not worth the energy. No one notices Trojans and roaches spilling from my bookbag, bloodstained sleeves, my stench of decay.

Open the windows and suck it down. I won’t fail anyone again.

(Why is it so much easier to write a tragedy in 55 words than it is to write a happy or funny story? Like Hemingway's

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
which inspired all the nanofiction today.)

I couldn't post that one on SM, it was too damn depressing, so I wrote another one:

The intern relaxed and smiled under her facemask – she’d just survived her first Whipple. “You guys finish up,” said the attending, discarding his gown and sauntering out of the OR. “Great job,” whispered the resident, watching her carefully suture.

At the code, she wondered if post-op sepsis could be traced back to a punctured glove.
Ok, I guess that one's not very happy or funny either, but it really fits my "nerd" persona. As opposed to fitting my deranged Vicodin-popping alcoholic untalented writer persona.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"I'm Comin' Out..."



Happy National Coming Out Day!!

I almost choked on my yogurt reading this on the bus this morning:

Chain Gang
So I see the anti-choice folks have graced us with their presence again. You know, the sign-waving, slogan-chanting anti-abortion folks who congregate every now and then in the vicinity of Emma Goldman in order to raise money for the clinic.

Well, OK, perhaps that's not their stated purpose, but that's the practical effect of their rallying or protesting or picketing or whatever you wish to call it. (Delusions of damnation, I think I'd call it...)
(And can you believe this was written by this guy?) He goes on to say...
One of the anti-choice folks did give me a bit of a pause, I'll admit. Alice Hale, speaking about the "support" the group received from some of the locals (apparently some motorists honked their horns, and the "Life Chain" [no, really; that's what they call themselves, as if life didn't already have enough chains] group members took that as a signal of support rather than a signal of "Hey, you bloody idiots, NFL games are on TV right now"), told a DI reporter, "It's pretty surprising. Maybe all the radicals are still sleeping off their hangovers - it's only 3 p.m."
Ha! I knew I wasn't the only one that caught that!
And it also seems quite strange for an anti-choice person to label pro-choice people "radical."

That's so wrong it's delusional. According to a Gallup poll taken Aug. 28-30, 54 percent of the respondents identified themselves as being "pro-choice"; only 38 percent identified themselves as "pro-life."

Which is consistent with all the polling taken in the 30-plus years since Roe v. Wade. In another Gallup poll, taken July 7-10, people were asked if they wanted to see Roe overturned; 68 percent said, "No," and only 29 percent said, "Yes."

These numbers are also consistent with other polls. A CBS News poll on July 13-14 demonstrated that 60 percent agree with the Roe decision; only 32 percent felt it was a "bad thing." And a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (July 13-17) found that 65 percent of the respondents did not want to overturn Roe; only 29 percent said "Yes."

The evidence demonstrates that mainstream America strongly supports a woman's right to choose when it comes to abortion.

So who are the radicals?

I guess the radicals, in this case, would be those who are out of step with the mainstream.

Which would be the anti-choice folks - those who wish to take control of a woman's body away from her and give it to the Christian mullahs. Talk about radical.
Booyakasha, Alice Hale! The entire editorial can be found here.

In other news, on the Hindu calendar we are in the midst of Navratri, Festival of 9 Nights, wherein we celebrate Shakti, the divine female power! As part of this celebration, we recognize the maternal aspect of God in three ways: Kali, the destroyer of vice and impurity, Laxmi, giver of wealth, and Saraswati, goddess of knowledge. (Ideally there should be a balance of all 3 aspects in worship, but I could use a little more Laxmi in my life, know what I'm sayin'?)

So for Navratri I have given up meat. (Like a mini-Lent.) I don't eat that much meat anymore anyway, but I have a weakness for General Tso's chicken. Mmmm..I love me some good chicken. Speaking of the General, (before I, um, actually knew Navratri had started), I had some of his most excellent chicken lying around my fridge, after our Friday night excursion to Sushi Popo. I could not let such a delicacy go to waste so I chopped it up for Reflux.

I just gave him a taste at first to see if he could handle the rooster sauce I had dumped all over it and he gobbled it right up. I waited 5 minutes for any vomitous activity, then gave him the rest of it. I've never seen him eat so fast. He digs the General as much as I do. But oh boy were we both going to pay later that night.

He woke me up about 8 times in the middle of the night panting really loudly. And when you can hear the bowel sounds of an 8lb dog sitting clear across the room you know you gots some GI upset. I ended up taking him out twice in the morning but he couldn't go at all.

Anyway, I stuck a diaper on him before I went to work, lest we had a repeat of the cursed bloody diarrhea episode on our hands. Hopefully he'll still be in one piece when I get home.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Life Chain Me No Likey

Evidently this is what I missed in the IC this weekend:

Anti-abortionists rally in IC

Supporters lined three blocks of the Dubuque Street sidewalk, congregating most heavily in front of the Emma Goldman Clinic, 227 N. Dubuque St., for a little over an hour on Sunday afternoon.

The event, called the "Life Chain," was hosted by Johnson County Right To Life and is coupled with Respect Life Month to help raise awareness about anti-abortion issues.
Interesting...Johnson County is EXTREMELY liberal, so I had a feeling these people bussed here from elsewhere. Later in the article, I read:

Sporting signs, crosses, and a van with a photo of an aborted fetus attached to the side paneling, almost 200 anti-abortion supporters ventured into Iowa City on Sunday to demonstrate their opposition to the practice.

Boy it feels good to always be right. Anyway, they may be Christian fundamentalists but they're not above making snarky comments, it seems:

Although Iowa City is typically known as a liberal city, group members said they received very few negative reactions, adding several people even honked in support.

"It's pretty surprising," said Alice Hale, who opposes abortion. "Maybe all the radicals are still sleeping off their hangovers - it's only 3 p.m."

Um...yeah. Good point, Alice. You're right: most pro-choice "radicals" were just beginning to stir from their chlamydia-infested cesspools of sin.

But then I had a thought: is this just another way for the anti-choice folk to delegitimize the pro-choice movement, or might Alice actually have some factual basis for being such a smart ass?

It reminds me of a book I accidentally read at Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago while pretending to study for Step 2:
100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Angry conservative rant? Well, yeah, I guess alot of it is. But Bernard Goldberg also had some insightful critiques about the modern feminist movement. He pointed out that the modern feminist movement is sometimes immature and feminists are embraced for hating on men, with such quotes as "Men who are unjustly accused of rape can only gain from the experience" and "men should all be exterminated." These victimizing feminists set the whole movement back by making all feminist women come across as childish man-haters. (For example: "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.") Personally I think he makes a great argument. (As long as he understands that fundamentalists exist in all camps and it's unfair to assume that every feminist is an unreasonable radical.)

Just to be fair, Goldberg had some pretty inane ones on his list, like Eve Ensler apparently for propagating a tasteless show which is apparently offensively "filled with anti-male content." Um...I love men and when I produced the show (The Vagina Monologues) one of my brothers and my father were in the audience. They loved it. Goldberg goes on and on about how he's made to feel like he isn't supportive of women because he doesn't think the show is funny. I understand if it's not your cup of tea but don't trash the show. It's been an international revolution and while it may have some style flaws it has done more for women's acceptance of their own sexuality and awareness of the plight of women around the world than any other form of media ever produced.

Anyway, anyway, anyway, getting back to the matter at hand, apparently children as young as 4yo were in attendance:

The event included children of all ages - ranging from kindergartners struggling to hold up signs in the brisk October wind to teenagers leading waves of anti-abortion chants.

"For a lot of families, it is a family affair," said Erin Ferragut, a self-described anti-abortion mother who said Iowa City has the highest number of abortions per capita in the nation. "[We are] teaching our kids our beliefs from a very early age."

She added that it is not unusual for kids to make these types of decisions from a very early age. She herself has been an active anti-abortion supporter since her late teens.

Father Ken Kuntz of St. Mary's Church, 220 E. Jefferson St., agreed.

"Mainly, it's about the children," he said. "If it doesn't start with the children, who does it start with?"
Reminds me of Reverend Lovejoy's wife on The Simpsons:
Every time something bad happens, she screams "won't somebody please think of the children!?" What a perfect example of hyperdramatized emotionality. Sorry Ken. Comments like that don't have a place in the context of rational debate, nope. (In any case, try teaching the children about healthy relationships, safe sex, contraception and STDs, and maybe they won't be needing abortions later. Oh no -- don't feel like handing out condoms, do you? I didn't think so.)

In the end though, see who got the last laugh:

Karen Kubby, the executive director of the clinic, said Sunday that the "Life Chain" is a legitimate form of expression.

The protesting financially supports the clinic - every time a protester appears in front of Emma Goldman, money is donated to the clinic through a program called "Pledge-a-Picketer," Kubby said.

"This helps us provide more service to women in poverty," she said.

"If it grows again next year, we will just be able to help more women."

Friday, October 07, 2005

Can I Kiss You?

So last night at University of Iowa was Take Back the Night. Having once been an organizer of TBTN in Chicago I was curious to see how a huge Big 10 Public University did it. Right before the march was a talk from a speaker, Mike Domitrz. The talk was entitled "Can I Kiss You" and was about healthy relationships, granting consent, etc. I had heard he was a good speaker and I was curious to see how he would play to a midwestern college crowd.

I definitely wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. Who would show up to this thing? Why would anyone go to TBTN on a freezing drinkin' night? I knew it would be really funny but I thought the message would be a watered down one at the end of a comedy show ("Don't rape girls, ya'll. It ain't right.") But no. The place was PACKED (I heard later that all male athletes were required to go -- in the hopes of avoiding another Pierre Pierce, I guess), and everyone was very engaged, relaxed and enjoying themselves. The first half of the show was frickin' hilarious; he brings people up on stage and reenacts various relationship scenarios, with the intention of showing how important it is (and how romantic and sexy it can be!) to ask permission before say, kissing someone. Ok, ok. I have to admit: as much as I am an activist about this stuff, I was always like, I mean, sure, it would be nice to have sweet talk like that, but most people aren't capable of that. We're too awkward and weird. Wouldn't it just kill the moment? Don't you just want a guy who knows when to go for it? People, I am a believer now. Both that it can contribute to the moment, and that it is necessary.

He made the analogy that none of us would ever just take a $5 bill from someone without asking their permission. Why would you handle someone's body without asking their permission? Good point. He also said it's LESS awkward to just say, "I'm having a great time with you, but I don't think so" than to be kissed if you don't want to be (true, now that i think about it..."but she kissed me! I thought she was into it!") or have to be all aggressive and push someone away. And it's true, we can't read subtleties.

Anyway, as much as I think I know about this stuff, I guess you can always learn more.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Back at work

So I just finished my 3rd year of medical school, and then I decided to come to Iowa to take a year off for this research fellowship. (I guess it felt like a good idea at the time.) But no, seriously, I think it'll be a year of discovery. I've already discovered King of the Hill reruns on Fox in the afternoons, hyuk hyuk. (3rd year was superbusy, but any of the rare times there was a vacation -- ie, the day before a shelf exam, some holiday my school actually celebrated, etc. instead of going to the library like a dutiful student and studying for my upcoming exam, I would spend it sleeping or camped out on the couch. Later in the evening I would proceed to have a full-fledged panic attack along the lines of "Where did my whole day go?! What is wrong with me?! It's 11:30pm and I haven't even left my apartment yet! The shelf is in THREE DAYS and I haven't started PreTest!!" and so forth. You'd think that now that I have more free time I'd spend more time pursuing all those interests I would wistfully discuss with my friends about doing if only I had free time. Well now I have tons of free time but that ass groove in the couch is so damn inviting.)

Anyway, I wanted to discuss my dog a little more. His previous owners had apparently gotten him as a puppy and named him "Luscious." Quite an appropriate name, had he grown up to become a buxom female stripper. (Everytime I hear that name I envision a morbidly obese woman in a muumuu lounging in a hammock bellowing "LUSCIOUS! Bring mama them Flamin' Hot Fritos." Much like Lisa Simpson in the episode where she envisions being married to Ralph Wiggum. "You kids shut up! Mama's watchin' her stories.")

Needless to say, Lisa and Ralph were terrible petowners to poor little Luscious. Apparently they would tie him under the table for hours on end and didn't feed him right. He weighed 8lb when I got him. Very sad. Anyway, most of his teeth fell out, except for one little one on the bottom in front (which I affectionately call Ol' Chomper). All of his back teeth are rotting, and let me tell you, Homeboy got some funky breath. FUNKY. When he opens his mouth it smells like a garbage can filled with rancid meat rotting bananas and bacterial vaginosis. He also has bad heartburn and will occasionally vomit out of the blue. Charming.

So anyway I spent a good part of my day at home yesterday (between "catching up on journal articles" and "working on my presentation") coming up with various nicknames for my dog. Here's what I've got so far:
1. Ole Smeller
2. Reflux McSmelly
3. Stinky McDeaferson

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It begins!!!

This is my very first blog entry!!!

I am computer-tarded in general, but out of boredom and a desire to emulate the cool people on the Internet I started a blog!

I am doing research this year. This means lots of surfing/word racer coupled with intense moments of frenzied keyboard activity whenever anyone walks by the door. (Word Racer is particularly good at giving the appearance of being completely engrossed in a document -- I recommend it.)

This morning I decided to stay home to "catch up on journal articles" and "work on a presentation." I woke up around 10 and decided to fasten a diaper to the dog instead of taking him outside for a walk. (I am that lazy. It's also highly amusing. I bought the ValuPack of Cub Foods brand diapers for that reason only.) Then I flopped onto the couch and watched 2 back to back episodes of the Tyra Banks show. Girlfriend is one of the girls, ya'll.

I had to take the dog out eventually, though. He was making odd wounded-moose-type noises which made me feel like he needed to go outside, but then he didn't do anything outside. Strange.

My dog is a 14yo LhasaPoo. He is blind and deaf. I picked him out as soon as I got here. One might think I am a big-hearted animal lover for adopting such a disabled little guy but the truth is, I like watching him run into stuff and fall off things. (I kid, I kid. Don't tell the Dog Rescue people.) Actually, though, yesterday we had this huge Banana Republic shopping bag and my brother had the bright idea of putting it over the dog to see if he could get out. (Like, He couldn't even find his way out of a paper bag, HA HA.) This might sound stupid but I tells you, I was proud when he figured out how to sit on the back end of the bag to make the front end tilt upward, then shimmy out. And seeing that paper bag walking around confusedly was pretty damn hilarious. (Just to defend myself against the you-are-a-dog-abuser-how-dare-you-put-a-paper-bag-on-his-head-you's-going-straight-to-hell comments, remember that problem-solving helps keep the Alzheimer's away. We'll try crossword puzzles next.)

Well, back to work. Err..I mean, time to get started.