Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Some of you have asked why I put lyrics up as posts. Well, they speak to me, and I want to share them with you all. This last post from Talking to Mary is interesting to say the least. Allow me to expound some of my thoughts of the song.

First, naming the song "Talking to Mary" makes you think that he is dating someone or likes someone named Mary. However, I believe there to be a deeper meaning her. Ultimately, I think he is using Mary to refer to either the obvious, Virgin Mary, or God proper. Now, this might be because I was a Religion major among other things or because I'm reading a book entitled "A History of God." Regardless of the impetus behind me using a hermeneutic of religiosity, I shall nonetheless.

So, with the premise of speaking to The Virgin Mary (or just Mary from here on out), let us continue. You don't have to shout because she can hear what you are thinking like you were saying it out loud (paraphrase). This would also play into the omniscience aspect. Well, that is assuming you take Mary to be omniscient, which I generally do, since she was the only (unless you believe the folk stories about Enoch to be true) human to have been Assumed into Heaven. What does that mean you ask? It means Mary was taken into Heaven without dying. I digress...

"It was her that followed you down every stupid turn you took." She was there through all of your mistakes and faults. She never left you despite your faults. The chorus poses an interesting question in that it prophesizes that she will leave you. Are these the words of warning in the same manner as Moses who told the Israelites that your God is a jealous God? The song elucidates this a bit more...

"Saw the one big problem you keep hidden and it's unlikely that others will be cool with that." She knows your faults. She sees your soul and all you are. Who else would have followed and watched you while you were making mistakes, knowing your faults? You're traveling now, got your "bus fare" and few extra dollars. There is most likely no way back. Or at least a way back you can't afford. So you are on a voyage, but she's not going to tell you how to talk to her because you won't listen to her. You haven't listened to her in the past, so why would you start now? Again, echoes of disobedient peoples being scorned by their benevolent God.

After the next chorus line, the song takes a bit of a turn. I take it as "Mary" speaking here. "It's okay. I'll keep quiet if it's easier for you to make believe that I don't love you as much as I do." Here the benevolence shines through. Even if you don't acknowledge my power, know that I still love you. This song has a pseudo-happy ending, unlike many Elliott Smith songs. The more I write an exegesis on the song, the more I think it to be about God and not Mary. Mary is the pen name given for God. The song ends with a fade out of the chorus leaving a final warning.

Either I'm right, or he really did just write about getting on a bus to see his ex who isn't returning his phone calls. Who knows...


Talking to Mary

Elliott Smith
Talking to Mary

Talking to Mary
You know you don't have to shout
She can hear what you're thinking
Like you were saying it right out loud

She sees behind
That dirty look
It was her that followed down
Every stupid turn that you took

One day she'll go, I told you so
One day she'll go, I told you so

Saw the one big problem
You keep under your hat
And it's pretty unlikely
That anybody else will be cool with that

You got bus fare in your pocket
And more money down in your sock
But she can't tell you how to contact her
If you won't listen to her talk

One day she'll go, I told you so
One day she'll go, I told you so

It's no problem,
I'll just keep quiet if it's easier for you
To make believe in then
That I don't love you as much as I do

One day she'll go, I told you so
One day she'll go, I told you so
I told you so, I told you so


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Going nowhere

Elliott Smith

Going nowhere

He waved hello.

Silent like a mime, meaning there’s no changing my mind.

I won’t walk the stairs with you tonight.

Going nowhere.

The clock moved a quarter of a turn.

The time it took her cigarette to burn.

She said “you got a lot of things to learn.”

Going nowhere.

I saw you move a certain way.

I missed you a lot.

Return to this abandoned place.

It should’a been forgot.

Echoes drown the conversation out.

Echoes that only seem to bring about a silent expression things you may allow.

Going nowhere.

The steps made a pattern I’d never seen.

I felt like a kid of six or seventeen.

I was off in some empty day dream.

Going nowhere.

It’s dead and gone, and matter of fact, it may be for the best.

You said some things you can’t take honestly I guess.

The old records were sittin on the floor.

The ones I can’t put on anymore.

He walked over to her like before.

Going nowhere.

Going nowhere.

Going nowhere.

(I disagree with some of the lyrics in this, but mine don't make full sense. Of course, Elliott Smith is not known for always making sense... Yes, this is what I listen to on a daily basis. Yes, it is mildly depressing. No, it doesn't make me want to kill myself. At least, not all the time.)

voyeur or researcher?

I believe that I am one of the few American heterosexual men that does yoga and enjoys it. To further this statement, I do yoga at home, not even at a place to pick up chicks. Does that work? I have never picked up a girl from the gym. Might have to give that one a shot. Couldn't hurt right? I digress. Since I have 200 cable channels, occasionally I like to watch a channel that I don't normally. Recently I have been watching more of FitTV. One program in particular: Namaste Yoga. For those of you who haven't experienced this revelation, I will attempt to enlighten you.

Namaste Yoga is a program which features three women doing 30 minutes of commercial-free yoga. They are obviously doing it in front of a green screen because the scenery changes every 15 seconds and ranges from forest to shipping yards to mountain scenes. Every episode focuses on different regions of the body and as such, different poses. In accordance with some unspoken rule, these women all wear spandex to perform their poses. Yes, they are all very fit and very cute. Three women, spandex, yoga. Those words in one sentence should clue you in to why I started watching the show. And no, it isn't on at 2:30 AM on a random Tuesday, it's not some soft core porn. It is on regularly during daytime hours daily.

Yes, I am an oversexed repressed American male with a recent amount of free time to watch television during the daytime. And yes, I started watching the show because it is the closest thing to soft core porn on cable during daylight hours without having to pay $7.95 for a "movie." My interest in the show changed and became something complex and different. Now I can watch the show and pick up new yoga moves without oogling over the hot women. The show also has an inherent Zen quality to it. The music, the voice-over, the yoga... it's almost transcendent. The other day I thought I was having a Zen "religious experience." Well, as close to a religious experience that you can have watching television at 3 PM.

I realize I did a horrible, half-hearted job at explaining that, but there are two reasons for that. One, I have to go make a phone call and don't want to lose my train of thought. Two, it is hard to explain a phenomenon that gives you a meditative calm. The closest thing to meditative calm that I get, other than meditating, is running long. Your thoughts escape you and your head is filled with abundance and absence at the same time. You feel tired and refreshed when you are finished. Not unlike good sex. That is another post for another day. In the mean time, watch more FitTV and experience the joy of vicarious yoga.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

waiting game

I am fully convinced that there is some sort of racket when it comes to residency applications and medical school testing. For example, I have spent almost $3,000 USD on applications and tests this year alone. That is one test (with two parts) and one application (to multiple programs). Does one test really justify the expense of $1000? Honestly? We are in one of, if not, the most expensive professional schools in the nation. Hell, in the world. And, I'm paying in-state tuition for this "wonderful learning experience." On average, just tuition alone, I pay $2000 a month for a class. I have a class now that only meets once a day for 2 hours. Next month I have a class that only meets twice a week. What the hell? Could I have taken a more rigorous schedule? Sure, but I have been in higher education for almost a decade, and I'm starting to get a serious case of "senior-itis."

What else sucks in my life lately? (I'm sorry to be a bit dramatic, but sometimes I get pissed.) My dating life, which was starting to take off a month ago, is shot. It has turned into a Supernova that is ready to implode on itself. Not quite a black hole yet, but I feel like it's on the verge. Although, I don't let this show when I talk to women. They find this out sometime between the third date and two months. That's about the time it happens... I just doled out another $900 for my car. At least I'm not sick (knock on wood). That is another reason to avoid pediatrics. If you go into peds, you will be sick once a month almost guaranteed. Don't be a pediatrician, date one. That is my new philosophy. Have you seen some of the peds girls? Some of them are not too shabby. Yes, this is slanted from the perspective of a male who attended an all male college and is going into a predominantly male specialty. As if medicine wasn't already a boys' club, Ortho is the king of all of them.

I feel like a broken record sometimes. I have to apologize for that. I should stop whining about my stupid dating life. I'm the one who ruins it anyways. I'm also in a position that most people would kill for. I have the opportunity, albeit less than others, to choose the region of the country in which I want to work. Not a whole lot of people get to do that. And if they do decide to up and move to a new region they don't always have a job. Thank god I will have job security all of my life. There is always a need for a physician, specifically ortho. People will always do stupid things and need someone to repair their blunders.

I spend my days contemplating what to do most of the time I'm not in class. It's actually really boring. I don't know what I'm going to do next month when I work less. Focus on running? My focus has been crap as of late. I keep telling myself to up my mileage, but it just doesn't happen. My running partner has no desire to do runs over 5 miles. So I'm stuck doing it alone or going to the running group, which is supposed to be good. I don't know. I've never been there. I am going to head up there on Thurs. Hopefully they won't be running 16 miles. I'm not really ready for that.

Enough ranting and bitching. I'm going to read. I'm actually reading a pretty decent book right now. My ex-girlfriend gave it to me, while we were still dating. Actually, I think she let me borrow it, but since she doesn't call, I feel no need to get her the book anytime soon.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Let me just give some people a head's up.

Please, for the love of God, don't pester people for reasons why they end a relationship with someone else. If you really should know, you would have before the relationship ended. Either you would be the Endee or the Ender, or a close friend. If you are just some innocent bystander, or merely know both parties, that does not give you the right nor privilege to know. So please, ladies, don't ask your guy friends. We are relationship challenged to begin with. We think rationally, and as we all know relationships are anything but rational.

Furthermore, if you know any single, athletic, good looking, smart women who have a good sass about them... send them my way. Oh, the whole living in my area code thing is pretty key as well.


As I write this blog, under the prodding of people who will remain nameless, I can't help but reflect on some things. It is September in my last year (finally) of professional school. I am hours away from submitting my application for a career. Not a job, a career. As I'm sure not everyone is familiar with the way that medical schools match their graduates into a job, let me take this opportunity.

I like to equate the process to sorority rush. Basically, a senior medical student submits an electronic application to X programs. Then Y programs contact the student for an interview. In a perfect world, Y would be almost equal to X, but it's not a perfect world. In an attempt to hedge one's bets, many people going into competitive fields apply to many more programs than they could possibly interview with. The cost of the application also goes up with the number of programs. (Thanks ERAS; you jerks.) I digress. So, where was I? Oh yes, THE INTERVIEW. You go interview with Z programs and then after all is said and done, create a "Rank list." Sort of self-explanatory... but humor me. You create a list of your programs in order of desire to attend. The programs also have rank lists. Then both lists are fed into a computer which then runs an algorithm and matches you into a program.

Question: What if you don't like where you match? Tough. The Match is a legally binding contract. You have to sign before you enter the match. So, you're stuck for at least one year if not your whole residency, which varies from 3 to 6ish. I'll be in for 5 of residency and then another year of fellowship. Hooray for debt deferment.

So that's a pretty low stress time... What am I doing to manage my stress you ask? Well, apparently I have taken up going on dates with people who have no desire to see me again. That rocks... I also have finally started my marathon training for a race next month. A bit late, but I have a solid base. What else...? I have also recently tried to shirk all responsibility in organizations. I'm pretty burned out as it is now. Oh, and insomnia of course.

Actually, I do have a new hobby (all the above ones are previous interests). I have started roasting my own coffee. In part to feed my insatiable desire for caffeine, and in part to be a purist. I'm still perfecting my technique with the "roaster" that I have. (It is a popcorn roaster. Actually, a very common method.) So, now my apartment smells of coffee pretty much all the time. It smells like beer sometimes too, since I brew my own beer as well.


Thursday, May 31, 2007


Ray LaMontagne

She lifts her skirt up to her knees
Walks through the garden rows with her bare feet, laughing
I never learned to count my blessings
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters

Walk on down the hill
Through the grass grown tall and brown
And still it's hard somehow to let go of my pain
On past the busted back
Of that old and rusted Cadillac
That sinks into this field collecting rain

Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged

Of these cutthroat busted sunsets
These cold and damp white mornings I have grown weary
If through my cracked and dusty dimestore lips
I spoke these words out loud would no one hear me

Lay your blouse across the chair
Let fall the flowers from your hair
And kiss me with that country mouth so plain
Outside the rain is tapping on the leaves
To me it sounds like they're applauding us
The quiet love we make

Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged

Well I looked my demons in the eyes
Laid bare my chest said do your best destroy me
See I've been to hell and back so many times
I must admit you kinda bore me

There's a lot of things that can kill a man
There's a lot of ways to die
Yes and some already dead who walk beside me
There's a lot of things I don't understand
Why so many people lie
Well it's the hurt I hide that fuels the fire inside me.

Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Not a leg to stand on

First, let me apologize for not posting in some time. I have become quite feckless and lazy, well that and I had a clerkship final, my girlfriend broke up with me, and I had a birthday. So, I have been kinda busy with things and such.

I am currently on an Inpatient Internal Medicine service at our county hospital. Not my cup of tea, but some of the patients are interesting. Their illnesses are interesting as well. As is my privilege, I will now delve into a story that is morbid and darkly humorous at the same time, as is my status quo.

First, let me tell you that I really like this lady. She is a hard ass and I respect that. I had a patient on my service who was admitted for a perineal abscess. She got some antibiotics and that resolved, but... one morning while I was looking at her foot, it looked red and irritated, there were some necrotic areas between her toes; it was cold, and there were frank colonies growing on it. For those of you not familiar with some terminology or the impact of that description: she had a horrible infection in her foot and up her leg. Let me give you a bit more background. She was an amputee, having a L BKA several years ago. She was also on dialysis, was anticoagulated to the n-th degree, and had neurodermatitis, among a laundry list of other problems. Neurodermatitis is when someone itches themselves, constantly. They will scratch their skin off frequently. It is really not pretty, and quite sad, because they do it unconsciously.

So, needless to say, we consulted vascular surgery and it was decided to take her to the OR to remove her right leg. Sad, heartbreaking procedure for an already amputated patient. I saw her the morning of her surgery in her room, she looked anxious, as one would expect. Having gone through it before, she knew the risks and complications, so I didn't hit on that too much. She went to surgery and was back in her room that afternoon (amputation is not really a hugely involved procedure, contrary to popular belief). When I saw her that afternoon and the next morning, she was so excited to see me. She thanked me profusely, said she was so thankful for what we had done for her, and was just in a general state of elation. When my intern went and saw her, she gave my intern a high five. We were both speechless. This lady had just become wheelchair dependent after losing both her legs. WTF?

To make sure she wasn't just delerious, I went back after that and chatted with her. She wasn't delerious at all. She was very with it. Apparently that leg was giving her problems for a while. So here is this lady who gets dialysis three times a week, has no legs, and has sores all over her body from scratching constantly, being elated about her condition. Make you change your perspective? Um... yeah. Hilarious? A bit.

I wanted to be in her surgery, but stupid Internal Medicine, non-procedure oriented, mental masturbation, did not allow me that privilege.

She is doing ok. She is currently having some complications of being a bilateral amputee and being dialysis dependent, but I'm hoping she can go to rehab sometime soon.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fast forward update

Okay, here we go with another manic post:

I am dating someone. She is awesome. She runs. She is sassy. She is hot. She is also very smart. She enjoys sushi. She likes me, thank god. She is also friends with my roommate's GF, which is also a plus. Down side? She lives in Chicago currently, and I don't. That can change very quickly. Well, within a year.

I am on Pediatric Neurosurgery currently. I enjoy it. The cases are wicked complicated and cool. Cranial reconstruction on a 2 month old is awesome however you look at it. This rotation has swayed me somewhat to consider Peds Ortho more seriously. My outpatient Peds experience kind of left me with a bad taste for peds.

I am trying to decide where the hell to spend the next 5 to 7 years of my life. I'm looking at pretty much every Orthopaedics program in the midwest and beyond. It is so damn hard to sift through the bullshit and get to what the program has to really offer. I also want to be close to Chicago, for reasons that are stupid and selfish, but I really like this girl. I know that I shouldn't let my feelings dictate where I spend 5 to 7 years, but it's hard when you're a sucker for a beautiful woman who rocks.

You know when you see someone who you know, but you are not sure how? Well I had that experience the other day at work. Some nurse came up to me and started talking to me like we were long lost friends. I don't know how I know her face, but I do. I don't think it was from college, but it could have been... Damn it. That is so frustrating.

Okay, off to bed. The hours on Peds Neurosurg are good, but not that good. It is still a surgical service.

Rage -OUT

My decision not to go into Psychiatry

I come into work, knowing it is my last day of Psych, and I'm happy. Well, I have a shit-eating smirk on my face. My disdain has started to permeate my relationship with my patients. Somehow, I end up with the assholes on the service. All of them have Borderline Personality Disorder and are just plain angry. Well, all except for my sweet old man with Major Depressive Disorder with mood congruent psychosis. He is a nice guy that we are giving ECT. If you don't know what ECT is, I'm not going to tell you, because I don't want to get into a debate with someone who has no idea what they are talking about. ECT is the gold standard for treating sweet old men with depression who are so depressed they don't eat. Let's leave it at that.

So... I'm sitting in the conference room with the other students and the residents and we are just bullshitting our usual stuff in the morning. One of the residents brought in a cake for one of the students. (Hmm... now, do I decide to tell you what the cake was for? Why did it have the words "ninety-two" in icing on it?) The cake was for guessing the closest IQ for one of our patients. (It's a long story for another post. Yes, it is cynical and slightly mean, so it fits me.) I digress. All of a sudden we hear a lot of yelling in the hallway. It is the voice of one of my patients, and he is yelling about getting out of the hospital (it's a locked ward, so the patients can't get out). Apparently there is a warrant for his arrest and the police are coming to get him. Long story short, he becomes more physically confronting towards the nursing staff and the VA police are called. Now, a police matter is one thing. Usually it is town, county, or heaven forbid, state. In this case, they are federal cops, and hence underpaid, overworked, and mean. My patient then tries to barricade himself in his room, which isn't smart. He then actively resists arrest from the VA police and is dragged out in handcuffs. Now, most of this we are hearing through the wall and door of our conference room, because there is no way in hell that we are leaving that room. Also, the patient's room was 6 feet away. So, we got an ear-full.

It was not at that moment that I decided not to do Psych. It was much earlier than that. So, that is a glimpse into the psychiatric patients that are being cared for by the US government since they are "service affiliated." Peachy.

My decision not to go into Pediatrics

So there I was in the office of my preceptor with a 15 month old girl screaming in my face as if I had just stolen one of her stuffed animals. I had just walked into the room and had a subsequent epiphany: I don't want to do Pediatrics. Not that I ever did, but that was one of the things that solidified it for me. Another was when I had a 4 month old pee all over my hands. I wasn't even the one to take off the diaper. I don't like poop, so I'm not going to be a general surgeon. I don't like pee, so I'm not going to be a urologist. I don't like the two of them mixed together, so I'm not going to be a pediatrician.

I was mildly intrigued when I spent a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Wishard. (for those of you that don't know, Wishard is a county hospital, hence a different population than a University hospital) I dealt with kids that were sick, but not so sick that they went to the children's hospital, which was next door. My kiddos (as they are referred to in Peds) averaged from 23 weeks to 33 weeks, but all had some serious problems. Well, problems in addition to having shitty mothers. Mothers that continued to smoke crack while pregnant. Mothers that didn't want to claim their children. Mothers that drank while they were pregnant. Mothers that did heroin while pregnant. All in all... real winners. I liked the kids though. The hours were good, and you do a lot of procedures for neos. But it was not meant to be. It was not surgical. It was not for me.

Fast forward a month from my NICU month. I'm on outpatient peds in the office of a guy who is preaching to me about Jesus and God's love while in the room of a 15 year old kid. It was at that moment that I heard something I never thought I would hear at work. "Do you want to change your life? Then read the Bible every night." I think the sound my jaw made when it hit the floor kinda sounded like someone dropping 40 pounds of shock and disbelief on the floor. For a moment I thought I was in Iraq during the invasion and by god, I was "Shocked and Awed."

So anyhoo, needless to say, I am not a Bible beater, nor am I going into Peds. I am however, considering Pediatric Orthopaedics, among others. I also like Ortho Onc and Hand. Yes, I'm set on Orthopaedics. I don't care what the hours are. I like it. When you go to work and finish a shift still feeling intrigued, you have found what you should do with your life. Passionate. Dedicated to learning, delving, discovering what is out there. What more? What else? That is how you should approach your job and your work. Well, as long as you don't work in a cube...

Sorry guys, that is just not for me. Also, I think I have a bit of a complex. I know what it is. It's prevalence in the population is the highest for all the personality disorders. I have a healthy dose of narcissism, and I'm not really ashamed to say it. I guess technically that means I don't have the personality disorder, but maybe I'm just insightful... Or am I just stating the obvious? Irrelevant and Erroneous on both accounts!