Friday, December 11, 2009

Grapefruits revisited

We had a strong storm sweep through on Monday night. Trees were uprooted, branches all over the roads. My wife had the bright idea of harvesting some of the many grapefruit that were naturally shaken off the trees. So on the way home from seminary we picked a big bag of grapefruit from the trees in front of the hospital, where we got the one from the previous blog post. We counted it as our daily good deed (cleaning up debris from the storm) and look forward to eating the fresh fruit and juice as they become ripe. :D x 10!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2nd Report Card

I got A's in pharmacology, physical diagnosis, and epidemiology. And a bunch of B's. 6 more months of classes and then rotations.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Grapefruit trees

My wife and I happened to be taking a walk by a hospital in suburban Arizona, when we noticed a row of trees bearing ripe grapefruit. In fact, grapefruit fall from these trees to rot on the earth. So, we looked one was watching....and I picked one off. We didn't know if it would be any good, and we even heard someone say that you can't eat this kind of grapefruit, they are "just for decoration." But we kept it until it was perfectly tender and ripe. Then we ate it. And it was delicious.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mayan calendar

Somewhere I heard that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, although another explanation is that it just starts over. Anyway, I wonder if the media is going to start putting that out there, kind of like the Y2K thing, and whether people will get hyped up about it. Any speculations out there?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Racehorse pharmacology

A professor in my small clinical medicine group told us a personal experience about accumulating water. He had had some swelling in his feet and legs, and had gained weight. He was prescribed a powerful, common diuretic drug called furosemide (lasix). This fluid accumulation was rapidly reversed - he lost 15 pounds of water in one day! I was looking up some general information about the drug on Wikipedia, and happened to notice that it is used frequently in racehorses to increase their endurance and make them lighter (by shedding water weight). It dawned on me that this is probably why an irresistible need to use the restroom is often compared to that of a racehorse. It makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Born in the USA

Factoring in the costs of the 4 applications, biometrics fees, and the physical exam, it costs a non-resident family member of a US citizen about $1800 to request residency in the United States for 2 years. After that, you pay several hundred more to become a permanent resident, and finally a citizen. So, if you were born in the US, you are fortunate, literally! You just saved yourself a lot of money, not to mention hassle and scrutiny, in becoming a citizen of the most prospered, comfortable, powerful country in the world.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Report Card

The first quarter of PA school is over, and things are looking good. I got an A in biochemistry. Boom shakalaka. And a B- in anatomy. So you win some and you lose some.
This semester it will be pharmacology, clinical medicine, physical diagnosis, and physiology. I guess I will have to step it up.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Creative Scam

A while back we had a note placed under our windshield wiper that said "if you want to sell your truck, call Alex, 555-555-5555." Here are the questions he asks when you call:
1. What year is it?
2. When can I come look at it?
I have come to find out this is a scam. Other people with older cars have gotten similar notes, and been asked the same questions. If you tell them your car is more than 'x' years old, and you are at work until 'n' o'clock, they can devise when you leave the car alone. I have heard they may come find your car and cut off parts of the exhaust system for some expensive metals they can melt down and sell or use.
On the other hand, they might just really like your bumper stickers or the Garfield in your rear window.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Caught Riding Dirty

Yesterday I got my first ticket for running a red light. I need some advice on what to do to get out of paying my debt to society. Are there any good one-liners I can give the judge that might convince him to let me off, or to reduce the penalty?
All I got so far is "thank goodness no one was hurt, and I learned my lesson." Either that or "I had to get home before Judge Judy started."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Global decision-making

The 8 most developed nations got together and decided to limit the warming of the globe to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial times of 150 years ago. Does it sound reasonable for humankind to decide what the temperature will be? Just as reasonable, I would say, would be an agreement that would prohibit an invasion of extraterrestrials attempting to conquer our earth. Yea, we would like to have such power to make these decisions, but we have no control.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The best thing about Arizona

Early Saturday morning, Ana and I were driving toward Mesa. It was sunny and warm, as per usual. There wasn't much traffic. And we noticed something so wonderful it almost brought a tear to my eye. The traffic light along the main road was flashing yellow. And the traffic lights at the intersecting side roads were flashing red. It was delightful! The few cars on the main road never stop. And when we turned left onto the main road, we just stopped long enough to make sure it was safe to proceed. I wanted to give the city planner a big hug!
My wildest dream would be for all cities all over the world to make their traffic lights this efficient. This makes sense on so many levels! Less wear and tear on your brakes, saving fuel, saving time, and even reducing your car's carbon tire-print. My dream begins with minimizing wait times at stoplights during low-traffic hours. This system of flashing yellows and flashing reds is perfect for low-traffic. Let's give it a chance!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Heat

Today Phoenix reached 110 degrees. Something different that happens at that temperature is the breeze will make you hotter. I think the magic number is 98.6. Don't try old fashioned car A/C (rolling down the window) if it's hotter than 98.6. It just doesn't work.
On the bright side - no pun intended- I love seeing the sun all the time. Plenty of sunshine to be had in Arizona. I can't wait for the fall, winter, and spring, when the temperatures will not be so high, and we will still have blue skies!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Family Pictures

My parents, brothers, and sisters were able to come to the wedding, and we took the opportunity to take some family pictures.

Torta de la Barda

When I was a child, we sometimes had to cook for ourselves. On one occasion, my oldest brother was making a sandwich and did not find suitable ingredients. So he decided to make an "Alwitch," which consists of two pieces of bread and any/all random foods/spices from the refrigerator and cupboard that he could find. I think it had mustard, garlic powder, oregano, baking soda, a slice of ham, and I can't remember what else. This is much like the traditional, unique food of Tampico, Mexico - the Torta de la Barda. This sandwich includes avocado, onion, beans, ham, chorizo, fresh cheese (queso fresco?), shredded beef, tomato, lettuce, sour cream, and a pork rind sauce. So it seems a good Spanish translation for Alwitch might be Torta de la Barda.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Ana and I went to Guanajuato for a few days. We had so much fun! We stopped in Leon to meet some of her cousins that couldn't come to the wedding. And we got to see everything from the Don Quixote Iconographic Museum to a hotel that belonged to Cantinflas. I learned quite a bit about Mexican history as well. For instance, most Americans might say Mexico celebrates independence on 5 May, and many Mexicans say they celebrate on 15 September. But the most appropriate day to celebrate Mexican independence is 16 September. 5 May commemorates a less-important victory agaisnt the French. 16 September, 1810 was when Miguel Hidalgo ordered the cathedral bell to ring in declaration of sovereignty. September 15th, however, is widely celebrated because it was President Porfirio Diaz's birthday, who served as president of Mexico for about 30 years. And he liked to celebrate independence on his birthday.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello

It seems like every time you get comfortable where you are, it's time to move on. So I'm moving on. Getting married, moving to Arizona, going back to school.
This last year has been good to me. I worked in emergency response, and in education. I gained understanding. And I met a humdinger of a girl who will become my wife next week. The support and kindness of friends and family in preparing for the wedding has amazed me. We are fortunate to have such support. Leaving behind old friends and my rowdy bachelor lifestyle will be difficult, but we look forward to starting our family next Friday. And we look forward to all the challenges and opportunities awaiting in Arizona.
Pictures of the wedding receptions will be posted here and on

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Science Fair

My little sister is becoming a scientist, just like I always imagined! She took 3rd place in physical sciences at her school science fair for her study of fire-fighting fluids. She found that, of four aqueous substances studied, tapwater is the most effective at extinguishing woodfires. Her project was selected for the state competition, at which she received an honorable mention. Her whole family is so proud of her, especially her nephew!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Mexico was fantastic! I met Ana's mother, and many of her close friends. There were many great memories, but the highlight of the trip was that I asked Ana to marry me, and she said "si." We will be married on May 15th, 2009.

Long-lost Brother

This week I had the opportunity to visit family I haven't seen in about 5 years. Indeed, one 3-year-old nephew I had never seen. We played some games, read a few books, and went to the Children's Museum in Rochester. The kids are quite intelligent - they have a strong vocabulary for their age, and have long attention spans for solving problems. They are also able to get along with each other, especially when they have a little supervision.
It was also a special trip because I took a few hours to see Palmyra, NY. This small town has historical importance for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I got to see the Joseph Smith farm, the Grandin Press where the Book of Mormon was published, the sacred grove, and Cumorah Hill.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Union Pressure

I got a fat envelope in the mail from Scoundrel Education Association inviting me to join their union. No thanks, but then I realized that even if I refuse they still take my money. "You pay an agency fee to the associations to help defray the expense of providing collective bargaining services that benefit association members and nonmembers alike." Whateva. Whereas union members pay $2.61 per workday, nonmembers pay $2.48 a day. Whateva whateva. I don't want to be part of that kind of scheme. I will keep my hard-earned $0.11!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


If Mary Poppins were practically perfect in every way, she would have a lot in common with the girl pictured to the right. This girl is the sweetest, loveliest, most genuine soul I ever knew. She has a magical voice like the siren's call. Her eyes twinkle like little stars. She is the girl of my dreams come to life. Maybe, if you are lucky, you will meet her some time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

4th graders

Today was my 3rd consecutive day dealing with 4th graders, from different schools. It has been fun. My Monday class, which behaved the worst of the 3, gave me several notes expressing appreciation. I like working with this age group. I feel at home. Maybe that's because I share their maturity level.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


My sister got her braces off today. She wanted to celebrate with loved ones (one of whom also recently got braces off) at Trotters. (Top) - My sister with braces. (Bottom) - All of us at Trotters. It's great to see her teeth finally liberated after all this time! She is very happy to be through with all that.

I need 100 Grand and I'm not talking about a candy bar

I will be going to a PA school in May and it is going to cost me. Or maybe I should say it is going to cost you! I am going to borrow most of it from the federal government. The better part of 0.1 million dollars coming out of all of our pockets. Eventually I will have to pay it back. But for now it feels like I'm getting my own little bailout. I hope Uncle Sam can afford it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Erratum in Cereal Poll

I have overestimated my analytic capacity in my last post. I fear there are too many criteria one could use in deciding which cereal is best, and it would be impossible to include all serious contenders, past and present, in a blog-style poll. So, basically, I cannot determine which cereal is the best of all time. A study which may lead to a meaningful conclusion is which factor is most important in picking a cereal. This one should be straightforward, but again, any feedback on this inquiry is welcome.