Monthly Archives: November 2010

Deflated

Ever felt like just throwing in the towel even though you have put your heart and channeled your energy on the line, only for someone to be uncompromising?

I am exhausted.

When someone threatens to ruin all your hard work, money and aspirations, do you bow down and back out to cut the collateral damage and minimize the waste in resources, or do you forge on and hope for the best, even though this thing that you are fighting for may not necessarily be the most important thing nor the best thing that happen in your life?

I was excited but now i am just beaten.

I was hopeful but now i am jaded.

I was willing to try, now i just want it to end.

I was fighting for us, but now i am thinking of calling it quits.

I used to care, but now i wonder if that is misplaced.

I need a break.

Japan is good, to clear my head.

Random thoughts

I bought fifteen new novels. Come again?! Yup, fifteen. Nine from Borders – they were having this massive clearance sale, and having spent close to 45 minutes on the 3 for 2 or each book for $6.99 table, i managed to dig out some pretty good books that i am after. And today, we went to the Asian district (for all good Asian food and Asian stuff) where i dropped by the bookshop, and lo and behold, i found another six books at a bargain price of $6 each or 5 for $25. Even my mum who over the years, has lost her habit of reading got psyched up and purchased a Danielle Steel book. The full booklist can be found here.

Anyway, like i mentioned before, any book below the price of $8 is usually going to be cheaper than Book Depository, so my purchases were completely justified. Plus the new bookshelves my parents bought me look pretty forlorn (and my parents were starting to comment that really i am needlessly spending money if i did not have the books to place on the shelves – i think the concept of accumulating books throughout the years may be a bit foreign to them since they think buying novels are not very good financial investments. They have even gingerly hinted that maybe i should consider the prospect of selling the books i have read. They only stopped when i said one of the books cost nearly $200). Plus i was getting the itch to do some retail therapy and i could not do it on Book Depository since i will be heading overseas for a month next week. I will miss the deliveries and they will be sent back. As it is, i am a tad worried that my last delivery from Abe Books has yet to arrive. It is almost one and a half months. Although they did say the delivery can take up to 45 days, i really did not believe it will take the FULL 45 days. Now i am not so sure…

I was also introduced to an Asian DVD store by my brother’s girlfriend and bought a couple more Chinese martial arts and history shows. Also bought a few Japanese dramas. I am just a little miffed that it is so difficult to buy DVDs from overseas online retailers. Apparently there is a region on the DVD player that can only play certain DVDs. Yet despite checking my DVD player innumerable times, i failed to find this classification on it. DVDs bought from the Homeland played fine on it so i am not sure what the warning is all about. Still, i am too stingy to try.

I am deciding if i should send the dog to the boarding kennel this Friday or on Sunday. I am leaving on Tuesday, the parents are leaving on Sunday. The trip to the boarding kennel will take the whole day (don’t ask why the hell i keep boarding my dog at a place that is a five hour one way drive). The point is i know i am going to get very restless and lonely when the dog is gone by Friday. Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday i will be by myself at home and i will not be able to stand the silence. I will not even be able to do anything i like because i will be missing my dog the whole time. I was thinking of rushing things by sending the dog only on Monday but i think that may be pushing it too far. A ten hour drive by myself in the night may not be in the best interests for everyone. Oh well, i just have to suck it up i suppose.

I need to re-look into my Japan itinerary. I have not looked at it since i arranged all the accommodation in August but right now i should be re-checking what places i want to visit and the time limit. Also i vaguely remember certain places require ticket reservations and i don’t know if we are too late already. What i do know we have managed to arrange, is a skiing lesson for my friend and a snowboarding lesson for myself on one of the mornings before we go do some amateur snow sports. Woot!

I have also been finding it a tad difficult to commit more time to my languages. I am determined to take the DELE (Level A1) next year but i can’t find any practice papers. I am hoping my mum would be able to help (she has a former classmate who married a Spaniard and is now residing at the other side of the world). My Spanish tutor and i are working hard on my grasp of the vocabulary at the moment. Also going to keep my eyes peeled open for JLPT books that i can’t easily source here. (OMFG! THEY CHANGED THE EXAM FORMAT??!!)

As for the piano teacher, i am going to formally contact them next year when the piano arrives. It will be a bit difficult to explain why i am calling them inquiring about lessons now, when i am only going to commence learning next year. My flute playing has improved and amazingly it has to do with posture. I am not going to invest in a new flute just because i think the hefty price tag of $2000 for a new instrument is not justifiable for a mere grade 1 to 2 advancement. I am just going to send my flute for a service.

That’s all that is happening in my life at the moment.

I am really excited about graduation. But i have not yet found the time, the energy and the peace to slowly reflect, analyze and contemplate this mad journey through medical school. I reckon i can’t put it off anymore lest i regret it.

African food

A few days ago, my friend and i decided to Google a random African restaurant, head to the unknown, and sample a foreign cuisine. On the website, there were good reviews. When we headed to the neighborhood, we were slightly taken aback by the dodgy look of the area. To make matters worse, there were only two other customers. My friend and i could only exchange helpless looks. Well, i’m glad we stayed put because we were not disappointed. We ordered a chicken dish, a lamb special, a vegetarian dish and Ethiopian coffee. The vegetarian dish had all sorts of exotic vegetables, we really didn’t know what exactly went into the pot.

Can you make out any of the weird-sounding ingredients at all?

The unknown ingredients transformed into a vegetarian dish on enjera bread.

Then we had the meat dishes. I have to say that there was a bigger selection of beef dishes (is it because African cuisine consists more of beef??), but my friend was a non-beef eater so we stuck to the chicken and the lamb instead.

I was pleasantly surprised to note that the chicken dish had two hard-boiled eggs instead of one, so we each could have one without splitting the damn egg because the chef was stingy.

It really wasn't as spicy as it looked.

Another thing we didn’t realize was that African cuisine included goat’s cheese?? This lamb dish had the distinctive taste of goat’s cheese and it actually went really well with flavour of the lamb.

Lamb with goat's cheese - a unique and palatable combination.

The coffee – we could not finish it. My friend took a sip and decided it was enough for her. I took several; i actually kind of liked it. It had a distinctive herb taste – i out my finger on ginger but my friend disagreed. She’s probably right because she’s a good cook and can tell an ingredient apart from another, whereas i can’t even tell you what the hell spinach looks like unless it comes out of a can that way Popeye has them. The coffee was potent.

Trying to determine if the coffee was strong enough for the spoon to stand on its own. The brew was not that thick.

The clincher had to be the enjera bread. It was similar to Thosai (Indian bread), except this was much much spongier.

Enjera (African bread). Looked like fat rolls of paper towel.

Piano lessons

So it is confirmed. My treadmill has been shifted to my brother’s place. My parents were horrified at the weight he has gained as a result of his general inactivity that they did not mind that i barely used my treadmill at all. Aha.

With the new space in the dining room, i spoke to the Housemate and we decided that we want to rent a piano! Two days later (today), we went to visit the dealer which provides a piano rental service. We have made a booking for a Steinback piano in Walnut Polish. It really looks quite classy. The piano will be delivered in early January. Now i am looking into potential piano teachers.

So it’s official! I am going to learn the piano! Perhaps, in an abstract warped Spudian sense, my fingers will be more agile and stronger to work in surgical procedures. Heh.

Graduation dinner

Apologies for the lack in posts recently but i have been busy. Busy with non-academic stuff, so that’s a reprieve. I had to attend a formal graduation dinner – had to finally whip out my black cocktail dress (i checked the dry-cleaning tag – last worn in 2006…) to try on two days before the dinner. Amazingly, it still fits, and there were no moth-eaten holes. Sent the dress off for dry-cleaning, dragged my feet to the dinner where i dreaded the small talk and useless superfluous comments (“Spud! You look so feminine! You need to dress up more often!” “Spud, oh my God, is that you?!”, “Spud, you look gorgeous!”)*, but surprisingly discovered i quite enjoyed myself. Although there was a mild splattering of social small talk; i spent most of the evening catching up with some good friends, especially those who will be moving inter-state to work next year. But i was not all wrong about the event – it was, as most med events, quite boring. Not sure why that is or maybe it is because i had such a blast during my College Ball that everything else pales in comparison.

Anyway, my parents are here, and they have brought with them the cameras i have requested – the Canon S95 and the Nikon D90 with the 200mm lens. I took the Canon with me to the dinner, and i must say i was impressed immediately. With the first shot, the Canon demonstrated its prowess on the market. It took a fantastic shot of my friend and i against a backdrop of the aquarium. The other cameras were struggling to pull a shot of similar calibre. Subsequently, friends who helped me take shots were flabbergasted and asked what kind of camera i had. Good recommendation and good buy i reckon.

I have not formally tested the Nikon yet, but i am a tad apprehensive since it seems to take a long time to focus. But then again, i did not read the manual. I was also pleasantly surprised to meet a friend at the after party who bought an identical model. He gave me a quick rundown through the camera’s functions after i told him i would not be reading the manual. Yay!

 

*No, i am not that cynical. I know comments from good friends are sincere and i embrace the comments joyously, but from mere acquaintances? Nah.

Grand finale

Had my final exam for Medical School today (*touch wood lest i am recalled to re-take the exam*) and hell it was not bread and butter topics like everyone claimed. I had a patient with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; and it was only by the greatest of luck that i actually had a brief read of this condition a year ago. Needless to say i was shellshocked, and well, so was my examiner when i gave her the right answer. Our conversation went like this:

Examiner: Give me causes of neuropathic ulcers.

Me: Erm, Endocrine such as Diabetic ulcers, Nutritional such as Thiamine, and maybe neurological lesions such as Guillian-Barre?

(At this point, i was faltering badly. I mean what the hell??)

Examiner: Do you know of any inherited peripheral neuropathies?

(I wanted to keel and head the desk. I closed my eyes as a jumble of words rushed into my head.)

Me: Charcot-Marie-Tooth?

Examiner: Impressive!

Me: …

Examiner: Tell me more about Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Me: o_O

(Game over.)

Anyway, my examiners were nice, my patient was friendly, and the test went well, i mean what are the damn odds of asking me about CMT??! but nevertheless, better that than some other disease i have never heard of, so i am not complaining.

I called up my friend who took his exam the day before. He had called me after his exam, hysterical, because he felt he failed the exam. Apparently he had a patient our age (mid-twenties) with bowel cancer, and he was quizzed about the protocols of FAP and HNPCC, and that was not really fair because that is physician level exams not junior doctors. I told him that he should quit whinging because i had bloody CHARCOT-MARIE-TOOTH. He shrieked and starting laughing (not meanly, just in severe disbelief). But i came through it ok, so i am happy.

Anyhow since coming home, i have been working on updating my songlists, purchasing songs off iTunes.

Finally bought this song that i have lost and been missing for over a few years – 一生最爱的人(伍佰).

And finally got round to importing my 信乐团 cd into my laptop and onto iTunes. My favorite song – 死了都要爱。

Bought a couple of other songs too:

1. Something in the water by Brooke Fraser
2. Just a dream by Nelly
3. Grenade by Brunos Mars
4. Planets by Short Stack
5. Love the way you lie by Eminem and Rihanna
6. Written in the stars by Tinie Tempah

There are a couple of other songs i want to get but i don’t know who sang them or what their titles are, so i guess it is trial and error with the radio! All right, off to soccer!

A new level of Re-cycling

I subscribe to T-Post, a monthly magazine in the form of a T-shirt. So i kill two birds at one go – i do not have to shop for T-shirts (my main staple of wear) with a gurantee that i will be unlikely to run into someone on the street with the same garb (because it is limited edition and i hate it when that happens, hence the habit of shopping for clothes from overseas online retailers), and the fact that i get updated with quirky news that you don’t normally see in conventional self-respecting newspapers (i.e. The Economist) or useless tabloids (i.e. [insert name here – i don’t read any so i don’t know]).

I just saw that the creators of T-Post have teamed up with a design school to come out with ways to recycle past issues. Thought it was fantastic, some of the ideas that were thrown up.

For example:

 

Issue 41

Recycled into:

 

My personal favourite.

How cool is that?? And the remarkable thing is that i used to scoff at design and art, partly because of a bad experience with art lessons in high school and partly because i sucked at it. Aha. All those Design magazines (Frame, Monocle) and Architecture magazines (Architectural Digest, Mark) that i read are rubbing off me.