Sharing the pants…

22 10 2009

One of my new mentors is a middle aged doctor, who does something that I honestly can’t see myself doing in a million years. He is a good schmoozer and has fun teaching students. He’s a touchy-feely kinda guy who feels incredibly blessed to be in the field of medicine. I in turn hope to have those same feelings in another 15-20 years…

I just met his wife. She too is a middle aged doctor, does something that I can’t really see myself doing (although in fewer than a million years). I’m not sure she is as good of a schmoozer, but she also seems to enjoy teaching medical students. She’s caring, but not as touchy-feely as he is, and she seems like she feels blessed to be in medicine.

One more thing…

I think she wears the pants. Rather, I know she wears the pants. But not in the Taming of the Shrew sort’ve manner. I think they share the pants. I think they get up and make decisions together. It’s a refreshing thing to see two doctors who love and care about each other taking time out to talk about what they are going to do and how they are going to do it…

Sharing the pants has a certain allure…

It doesn’t mean giving up all control, more like sharing wheel time on a long drive…

Sharing the pants seems like a good way to go when you think about it, it seems like the thing to do…

In medicine it seems like it would work fairly easily, couple compposed of Doctor A and Doctor B pick city, begin practice — but mixing medicine and other fields is…problematic at best…

My lovely girlfriend and myself have been talking for years about what we’d like to do career-wise… Where we want to live, the places we want to be…

Again, for years it’s seemed like trying to meld our two unique professions would be an impossibility, fraught with sacrifice and dissatisfaction. Wanting to stay true to our dreams has seemed like a struggle…almost like neither one of us has the pants..Right now I’m wearing them — and trying to get myself to a position where we can share them, happily.

You see, I want to share the pants — it’s just difficult when the pants are threatening to take you somewhere distant and difficult to make progress in your life…we shall see however…perhaps sharing the pants will yield some kind of unique insights about how to…meld the pants…I’m not so sure about that however…

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Inglorious Blogging Chefs

27 09 2009

So I watched two movies over this weekend that managed to leave me in quite a unique place, perspective wise.

Inglorious Basterds was the first thing I watched – and it left me somewhat shocked. I was shocked by the violence, the anger, the hatred, the seething (and righteous) passion with which the “Basterds” dispatched their Nazi foes one by one – or hundred by hundred. The way they marked them, the brutality with which they killed them.

My girlfriend told me she thought it was refreshing that finally a WWII movie had a spin to it that was somewhat happy.

I could definitely agree with that – albeit the reappropriation/re-writing of the history of WWII and the scourge of Nazi Germany was interesting to say the least.

At one point, one of the antagonists of the story, Col. Hans Landa of the German SS made a remark about rumors. About the details of rumors being unimportant, but the subject and intent of the rumor being instructive about the person/peoples spreading the rumor.

The same could be said about that movie. It was a hatred/torture/grizzle-fest. I quite honestly think it could only be produced in America. In the movie, the Basterds shot, scalped, bludgeons, and ultimately burned hundreds/thousands of Nazi’s to death.

Now I’m not a defender of the Nazi value-set.

But in the sense that Nazi’s were human who were able to be swayed beyond sanity by a simple concept/idea, the same applies to people who by chance lived in Nazi Germany. While I despised their ideals and values, I felt a great deal of sympathy for them. They felt in a strange sense…American. Granted, they felt like neoconservative Americans…but they felt American nonetheless…

And the Americans felt in a strange sense inhuman.

I had a great deal of trouble reconciling that paradox/paradigm. Also, the fact that a movie that proposed to entertain me for two hours by basically promising to shoot, stab, bludgeon, and burn the hell out of people seemed to say something about us as a culture right now…

We like, praise, covet, and desire violence. It was almost sickening…No, actually it was sickening. It seemed to say that we’d fallen down in exact same hole – we are equally capable of hatred and evil acts. Equally capable.

So where before I felt that the Allies and the Greatest Generation had the moral high ground and were the good guys when compared to their Axis foes, I left the movie feeling like my generation was an amoral aberration of humanity. I felt numb, I had truthfully enjoyed seeing the actor playing Hitler writhe and flay apart as he was shot with a machine gun…in the face…I enjoyed watching a man who was a heartless killer get a swastika carved into his forehead…I thought it fitting punishment for them both, but I also felt as if my own humanity had left as well with that enjoyment…

So I went to sleep. And then I watched another movie the next day.

Julie and Julia.

It was a chick-flick if there ever was one. It was a movie for foodies, families, friends, but mostly just women. But I couldn’t help but smile through the majority of the movie. And it too told me something about the human condition here in good ole’ America.

Julie was (in short) an ADD cubicle jockey who wasn’t quite yet living up to her potential and wanted to feel important, needed, and like someone who was contributing to society, to something bigger than herself. She decided to write about cooking her way through the tome to French cooking – Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In the process she managed to grow, to lead others to a happier existence, and ultimately to contribute.

It wasn’t always pretty, but it was realistic – life really is a roller-coaster. And we, Americans, we’re resilient. We like our nice things. We want to be happy. We want a nice place, we genuinely want to help everybody else out — even the neocons. We aren’t, in general, bad people.

Meanwhile, as Julie was making her way up her own personal ladder, the movie chronicled Julia Child and her ascent up HER personal ladder. Again, it wasn’t always pretty. There was rejection. There were surprises. Heartbreaking foibles and inabilities. Ultimately, it was realistic.

I left the movie smiling, hungry, and feeling oddly balanced. Where Inglorious Basterds had managed to stir the skeptical, pessimistic me, Julie and Julia managed to help me see that in general we don’t all want to see gore and gruesome things. We in fact, would love for things to just work properly, we’d like to be able to help, fit in, and just get along in general.





Balanced Aspirations

27 09 2009

A few years back I felt sort’ve stuck in a rut.

I wasn’t living up to my potential. I wasn’t producing anything of consequence to myself, my family, or society. I wasn’t living anything close to a fulfilled life. I had what seemed like few consequential hobbies outside of cruising facebook religiously. I hadn’t quite mastered anything – only dabbled really.

I still haven’t.

I’m not a failure – I’m on track to succeed. But I have to actually make things if I’m going to do that. I have to work my ass off to succeed at getting places. I have to have clear cut goals, and they need to be balanced.

A few years ago, I decided the thing I wanted most out of life, out of myself really was clear, accurate judgement. I wanted to have the ability to think through things, systematically, logically, and come to accurate and elegant/intelligent conclusions.

I still want that, but realize that you can’t just wish for things and have them, they must become priorities that you develop and work on. I also realized that I have/had a lot of things on my plate.

I still do, always will. I just need to work on making sure my priorities and time management mesh…seamlessly if you will.

So I have a list of aspirations this year. In part inspired by the movie Julie and Julia…

1) I want to master my professional trade – medicine. I am going to create, over the next year – about 3,500 patient scenarios with multiple choice questions, answers, and references. I’m going to then create a website and put it out there…people will begin to access it and I will make money from advertisements/revenue sharing deals…

2) I want to make things. I’m a person who needs to work with his hands and learn new crafts. I want to start by making things that I can use right now – which includes clothing and shoes. Ultimately, I’d like to make things like furniture – but I have plenty and cannot really do too much woodworking here where I live. I’m going to learn to sew, and I’m going to learn to sew shirts and ties first, pants (mainly jeans) next, and then finally once I’m good at what I’m doing, I’m going to learn to sew SHOES…mostly because I want to. Then I’m going to sew custom messenger bags. Again, I will sell them…

3) Over this weekend, I saw two movies which couldn’t have been further apart from each other. I saw Inglorious Basterds first, and then I saw Julie & Julia. They both managed to provoke a lot of thoughts, mostly opposite sentiments about the human species and our condition as a society – but something else they both managed to do was spark a desire to learn some more languages…other than English…I’d like to be able to communicate with the world – effortlessly really. So I’m going to take it upon myself to learn five words a day and one sentence structure per day. I can do it, it’s just going to take some practice and effort. The languages I’d like to know ultimately: Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic…I think that’s a good start. I may go further – I may not. The way I see it, if I can learn the 200-250 most common words in each language, and a total of 1500 words in each language, as well as the sentence forms, I can manage to be okay with communicating in those languages. Then I just need to manage to continue to use the languages on a weekly basis. It will be challenging, but I want to learn for sure. Communication is important in this life.

4) I’d like to upgrade from this blog to a better website – one that has some funky stuff – one that is flashy and attractive. So I’m going to learn XML (another language) and Flash programming. I’m going to make amazing web-documents – it’s something I’ve sorta wanted to do for a while…Again…communication is important.

5) Finally, I’m trying to figure out how to lose about twenty pounds and get stronger/leaner. I have 1 year to do it. I think I know how to lose the weight intelligently. It’s going to take exercising diligently, as well as eating well – again, diligently. 20 pounds of weight loss is exactly 1.6 pounds per month…which is a little less than .5 pound per week. I’ve already started with the “dieting” which really just entails looking at food that isn’t good for myself and associating it with feeling disgusting – associating the bad food with negative body images and feeling bloated and physically poor. When I think of feeling tired and unwell as I’m looking at what I know will be a marginally delicious snack, I find it much easier to pass on the snack. If I pass on two or three snacks a day – then I can manage to lose 1.6 pounds a month. It’s just going to take me sticking to my guns…that’s all…that’s really all it’s going to take…

But I can do this…wish me success…





Mental Hurdles and Shenanigans of the Spirit

4 08 2009

That seems like a very good book self-help/motivational book title. It’s copyrighted…by me…

And it is the crux of my most recent line of thoughts. Namely regrets…

Regrets have had an odd effect on my life. I regret much. Simultaneously I am thankful for every regret. It helps me pay greater attention to every new opportunity that presents itself.

I’m a more fulfilled person this year because of the regrets that I have about last year. I’m a more engaged person this work/school experience around, because of the regrets that I have about the last one. In drawing comparisons to what were past failures, or even what seem like failures, I’ve managed to drive a certain level of improvement.

This is of course one month into the newest chapter of my life, the chapter that the previous sum of my professional life seemed to prepare me for best. Perhaps I’ll manage to continue to grow incrementally and I’ll manage to maintain a level of drive and focus. I am however in danger of forgetting what I regret…at risk for falling apart in the ninth inning so to speak. I certainly hope not.

I’ve stumbled over the blocks that are in my path right now. I’ve had my time to understand their contours and their topography. It’s time to hurdle them…in stride.

I do after all regret not hurdling them in the first place.





Things I’d like More time to do

3 08 2009

– Blog/Write
– Study/Read/Think
– Sleep
– Cook
– Decorate/Clean my apartment
– Garden (I’d also like the space and sunlight exposure to do this)
– Photography/Photojournalism
– Draw





What I’d like to see…

2 08 2009

Just a forewarning: I’ve had two glasses of wine prior to writing this. By glasses I mean half bottles. By half bottles I mean about 60% of a bottle.

I’ve been thinking about technology recently, and after reading about a recent patent application filed by Amazon.com Inc. to embed ads into literature displayed on their Kindle e-book readers, I’ve been thinking about where literature and technology…no, information and technology intersect. Thinking about that and what it could mean to all of us.

It’s funny, but I feel like the flow of information and the timing of said flows is the most important thing that a nation could invest in. In addition, there is no more powerful opiate to the masses than them thinking that what they believe is…well, gospel. Providing people with more information than they can reasonably sort through, information that is truly meaningful, providing them with legitimate battles to fight, and legitimate victories is so distracting to real events, that the real power struggles are disguised and hidden.

Again, I’ve had a lot of wine to drink. This blog posts’ original intention was to say I wanted a completely automated home. But now I’m thinking about information and the transformative power it has, in addition to the psychological effects of information.

Psychological effects of information? Have you ever overheard a conversation where most of the words were obscured by ambient noise…most of the words, but not all… Imagine a conversation like that where your name was included as one of the words that was not obscured… This has the effect of making people instantly curious as to what is actually being said about them. This has a psychological effect on people – they wonder what has been said.

It’s funny but I can’t help but think now, that education could easily replace religion as the opiate of the masses. Of course we’d have a more effectively controlled and happier populace with less suffering as many of the problems of the world would be solved, and our country would continue to be one of increasing power amongst the world…but i can’t help but realize and think that the funny thing about America these days, is that its’ base of power is receding. The power is in helping everyone become as self-actualized as possible – which is not a mutually exclusive with commercial/capitalist success – while making token efforts to defeat enemies such as greed, corruption, and social ills such as intolerance.

What’s funny is I’m realizing that that is what politics and media is all about…

Magic tricks…Charades…distractions…

I probably shouldn’t drink…





Skills and Tide

24 06 2009

As the month of July approaches every year – something remarkable in the medical world happens…

The brand new doctors of the world are unleashed onto the floors as interns.

They are confident in some things, but still have a lot to learn about the way the medical system works and how to keep things going. They also have a great deal to learn still… They have many facts crammed into their brains, but they have more to shoehorn into the gyri and sulci of their gray matter.

They also have a new challenge thrust upon them…

Teaching.

They get to teach the brand new 3rd year medical students who have just been flushed out of their basic science courses with a modicum of understanding as to what’s going on in the world, but nowhere near what’s necessary to actually practice clinical medicine.

They too are going to learn new skills and shoehorn facts into their brains.

What is interesting though, is that both intern and medical student have things to teach each other. In other words, it’s a two-way flow of information. Interns learn how to ask questions of medical students. Medical students learn how to ask questions of an intern as well as get their assistance when necessary. They learn how to report information to interns and residents.

They are also good at certain things. An intern, a freshly-hatched doctor, understands how to do things, and when to do those things, but may not remember all of the intricacies of a certain disease pathway. The medical student ostensibly does – but doesn’t quite grasp all of the idiosyncracies and implications of what’s going on.

This makes for an interesting dynamic – as skills and competence grow, the year is almost up. And the cycle is repeated…the interns become residents, more secure in their skills and abilities, with new, different challenges. And the 3rd years go off into the netherworld of 4th year…

In other words, the tide comes back in…and a new crop of MDs and 3rd years reinvent the wheel, all over again…