Monday, November 30, 2009

One year old today

Happy birthday. 365 posts today.

...

Speaking of birthdays, today Yuffie brought in a cake today to celebrate one of our classmate's birthdays. She recruited J-Rock, who had skipped morning classes, to pick up some matches on the way to school.

Now being Asian, most of us can pass off as being seventeen if we had to. This can mean receiving a second look when entering bars, clubs, or polling stations or when purchasing alcohol or cancer-sticks. Today, a new low:

[J-Rock lays down a set of 5 cent matches on the grocery counter]

Cashier: Um, I'm going to need to see some ID.

J-Rock: Uh... okay? [Hands over his drivers licence]

Cashier: [After inspecting] Wait... You're born in 1986?

J-Rock: Yeah?

Cashier: ...okay.

Sorry, J-Rock, we thought you were like, you know, five. We're not supposed to let children play with fire.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Queen of lies

So on Thursday, I wrote about how my alma mater, Queen's University, probably the greatest school on God's green earth (as evidenced by the fact that we have a theme song in Gaelic, sang God Save the Queen at convocation, and have a Royal Charter), has been working hard to solicit donations from we the unemployed alumni of yore. This plea was punctuated with caringly handwritten notes from current Queen's students... or so I thought!

Ruru, after seeing my own note from Victoria, ArtSci '10 [here], began to question the handwritten authenticity of these solicitations. It was a tough sell: the lettering had certainly been done by hand, and the crisp, matte, black ink had all the hallmarks of a high quality pen and excellent penmanship. The message was even presented on a slight slant, with none of the artificial perfection expected from computerized print-offs. It looked convincingly handcrafted.

Requiring further corroboration of Ruru's wild theory, I asked her to scan in her own money-grubbing alumnus communique. Sure enough, superimposed with my own, they matched up letter for letter. Note the perfect alignment as the tail of the "e" penetrates the loop of the "a" or the identical asymmetry of the double-L in "Cha Gheill" (pronounced: kay-yah). These were unique slips of hand that would never be duplicated in perfection twice.

(If you don't believe me, try the following experiment: Draw a circle on paper, and then try to trace that same circle over and over. You'll find no matter how perfectly you trace the circle, it will start thickening. No human being can write the same thing precisely the same way twice, even with the template in front of them. And if you're wondering about the vanishing tail for the "u" in "us", I double-checked my original note and it does in fact exist. I don't know why it didn't show up in the scan)

We'd been scammed.

So while Sandlot and other Queen's alumni were throwing their figurative hats into the air in celebration of the Golden Gaels once-in-a-lifetime national football triumph in bringing home the Vanier Cup (okay, that's pretty cool... I'll admit) and brimming with school pride, I was brooding about the deceitfulness of my alma mater's fundraising.

I mean, it's one thing to send me a printed letter... but to so sneakily try to pass it off as a painstakingly handwritten product? That's incredibly lame. To think I had credited Victoria, ArtSci '10 with the time consuming task of writing hundreds, possibly thousands of these little notes when in actuality she had written just one. Ridiculous.

This is not the only lamesauce thing my school has done to we the alumni (I never get tired of saying that). For instance, while other schools gave their undergraduate students meaningful educational addresses like firstname.lastname@utoronto.ca, Queen's assigned us the equivalent of a barcode, composed of our initials plus an assortment of numbers corresponding to our entry year and the number of people who shared our initials (e.g. 4ppb12@queensu.ca). One would think that if we were going to be assigned such a horrific sounding address, it could at least be ours for life, no? Not so. Come March after graduation, our undergraduate e-mail accounts are deactivated. In lieu of this, we were given access to a permanent forwarding address... with the domain @tricolour.queensu.ca. Wtfux is with the tricolour shoved in there? Did I go to university with Rainbow Brite? Okay, I realize that we have a triumvirate of school colours, and that's all very nice, but I do not work for the school yearbook nor in chartered bus ticket sales. Please, give me a more legitimate sounding e-mail like @alum.queensu.ca.

So the conclusion of the matter? In school spirit, Queen's is King; in practical things, just a pauper.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A procrastinator's anthem


To the tune of Jason Derulo's Whatcha Say:

Pro- pro- pro- pro- procrastinate! (N-N-N-N N D)
Mmm whatcha play
Mmm do you always slack off?
Well of course you do
Mmm whatcha play
Mmm so it's all for the blog?
Of course it is

My study plan was a sham
Only tryna watch drama (drama)
Yeah, I could not miss on IRIS
When I oughta learn lymphoma
So, no I know I should've studied it harder
Cause passing marks are not something to barter

So sit me down (sit me down), turn off the comp (turn off the comp)
And make me memorize
Cause when the Skype rang in and the phone picked up
I was happy to talk to you
But when I put down the line, I need to study this time
Or this exam I'm going to rue (to rue)
Over to you

Mmm feelin' grey
Mmm thinkin' H1N1?
Well of course you do
Mmm feelin' grey (feelin' grey, feelin' grey)
Mmm running' for Tylenol?
Of course you are
Mmm feelin' grey
Mmm thinkin' H1N1?
Well of course you do
Mmm feelin' grey (feelin' grey, feelin' grey)
Pro- pro- pro- pro- procrastinate!

Oh why, your essay in the way
When you got a presentation (-tation)
And ooh, you need tea, you need sleep
But you only got frustration
You know the libs are going to close soon
But you and I can chat under the cold moon

So settle down (settle down), turn off the tweets (turn off the tweets)
And write your fifteen pages
Sure when the bulls run in, I might get gored out
But I'm happy to lift for you
And when my lyrics are cheese, well I hope they still please
Even though they're awkward too
Over to you

Mmm waste a day
Mmm at a Star Wars concert?
Well of course you do
Mmm waste a day (waste a day, waste a day)
Mmm it's a big geek party
Of course it is
Mmm waste a day
Mmm at a Star Wars concert?
Well of course you do
Mmm waste a day (waste a day, waste a day)
Pro- pro- pro- pro- procrastinate!

Girl, I don't want to study (study)
I don't want you to tease me
Though you caught me tweetin'
I don't, I don't want to study (study)
Read about metastases
Testing for p53's, girl
Girl, I don't want to study (study)
And I'm not a dictionary
Medical vocabulary
I don't, I don't want to study (study)
I really need to learn it right
How to read that MRI, girl

Cause when the Skype rang in and the phone picked up
I was happy to talk to you
But when I put down the line, I need to study this time
Or this exam I'm going to rue
So Sandlot whatcha play!

Mmm whatcha play
Mmm do you always slack off?
Well of course you do
Mmm whatcha play (whatcha play, whatcha play)
Mmm so it's all for the blog?
Of course it is
Mmm whatcha play
Mmm do you always slack off?
Well of course you do
Mmm whatcha play (whatcha play, whatcha play)
Pro- pro- pro- pro- procrastinate!

The work presented here has profound implications for future studies of procrastination and may one day cast light on the phenomenon of Andy being awesome.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Orchestra at Lightspeed

Last night, Sydney and I went to see the one-night-only showing of Star Wars in Concert at the Air Canada Centre. Sitting in on the sweeping classical score of the Star Wars hexalogy performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra was going to be legendary.

I left home at 4:30 PM and dropped off my car at Finch. It was rush hour, so driving all the way downtown would have been murder. I met up with Syd at the CBC on Front St., where she's working on Test the Nation (also check out Syd's walkby in episode 210 of Being Erica: 18:29 and 22:45 in the jean skirt). I took the opportunity to snap a photo with Mr. Dressup's treehouse in the foyer. That's right. Mr. Freaking. Dressup.

Sydney had recruited me to attend a Toronto International Film Festival volunteer appreciation "party" with her, where we were supposed to grab some free eats before proceeding onward to the concert. Pizza was supposed to arrive at 6 PM, however, when we got there, there was no food to speak of. Instead, we sat through a lengthy programme that included a religious satire short film, a photo session, and an incredibly boring talk by a verbose filmmaker who went on ad naseum about the quirks of digital versus analogue and why films run at 24 frames per second.

He handed us each our own film strip out of novelty.

The pizza arrived at the beginning of the boring guy's talk, but nobody would let us eat! Eventually, we had to leave hungry. At least they gave us a loot bag that included a Stella Artois beer glass, a TIFF notebook, and a DVD of student short films. Syd and I scrambled over to the Air Canada Centre and scarfed down a Big Mac Meal in a record three minutes before heading in for the show.

Random wanding and pat down searches... right...

They were selling programmes for $30 at the door. Sydney was really tempted to buy one because she's an even bigger fan of useless paraphernalia than myself. Somehow, though, she managed to resist the urge to buy. The vendors were also supposed to sell lightsaber keychains for $10 each, but they were sold out by the time we got there. Those luminescent little bastards would come back to annoy us later on in the show.

Believe it or not, this was actually my first time at the Air Canada Centre. I've been to the Skydome (a.k.a. Rogers Centre) numerous times for various conventions and sporting events, but I've never been to the ACC! I do think that my family went to see a hockey game when I was little, but I have only vague memories of it and am fairly certain it must have predated the Air Canada Centre. Maybe not, though?


Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks Star Wars is the stuff of legends, because the ACC was completely packed. This is impressive, considering it's a facility that has a capacity of over 18,000. It's even more mindboggling when you consider that neither Syd nor I had seen any advertising for Star Wars in Concert anywhere in the city. We wouldn't have even known if Sydney wasn't signed up for TicketMaster e-mail updates.

The concert was really more of a show or event than an actual concert. Being held in the ACC meant that food and drink was allowed (and sold). People liberally handled their cameras (which allowed me to also get some snapshots). Additionally, people were generally less reserved and proper than in a typical classical music showing, and there were no ushers to silence the rowdy or annoying.


Of particular concern were the lightsaber wielding fanboys and girls who lit up like a chain smoker everytime the lights went out. For the most part, these lightsabers were the keychains that were sold before the show, but some people had brought genuine props. For the most part, people only waved their weapons of mass evisceration around at the end of songs when the lights faded out, quickly silencing their blades as the next song began. However, a few less considerate folk remained bright almost permanently, thus a few waving lights could be seen in the crowd at any given point. This included the annoying little kid beside us, who was relatively well behaved for the first half of the concert on account of the fact that he had dropped and broken his keychain. However, by the second half his pops had fixed the offending toy, and boy oh boy was that boy annoying. After a few songs, I had half a mind to pluck the damn thing out of the kid's hand and declare, "I'll give this back to you when you learn to behave." It's like those people who light up their cell phones right in front of me in the middle of a movie... makes me want to kick the head of their chair. Of course, I sympathized with the child's boredom, and I restrained myself both because I'm a nice guy and also because the kid's dad probably would have tried to beat me down.

The actual show was amazing. The beautifully crisp and grandiose sound of the live orchestra floated outwards in all directions, saturating our ears with its classical magnificence. Each piece was tied together by a narration presented live by none other than Anthony "C-3PO" Daniels himself. To accompany the music, wonderfully woven scenes from the films projected on a massive screen behind the orchestra and also on the JumboTron. Interspersed with dialogue and following the most exciting and seminal movie moments, the clips drew together a concise narrative of the six films, following the life of one Anakin Skywalker from start to bitter end.

Sandlot had encouraged me to dress up for the event, but I resisted the call. There's only so geek I will go. That's not so for all people though - and those who did dress up became star attractions after the show, with reams of people lining up to take photos of them and with them.

"Hey, if we dress up, that could be us," I commented to Sydney. She did not seem impressed.

J-Rock was also at the show with one of his former housemates. Having always been covetous of a particularly awesome photo I took at Fan Expo in 2008 of myself being held at gunpoint by Imperial stormtroopers, he took this opportunity to take an analogous photo. However, in his picture, the hostage taker was none other than a tiny clone trooper I saw floating around after the show.

"Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"

After the show, Syd and I stopped to browse the available merchandise. J-Rock had gone all out, spending $50 on a black Star Wars in Concert hoodie (left) and an additional $10 on a lightsaber keychain. For my part, I was interested in the slightly more subtle grey Star Wars in Concert sweater depicted on the right, which amazingly retailed for a whopping $80. Bollocks to that.

At the end of the night, Syd and I headed back to our respective homes out in the burbs. She'd parked on the opposite end of the subway line, out in the ghettoness of the Downsview side. I offered to head back up that way with her, and she agreed to drop me off at my own car at Finch.

Indeed the West side of the loop is quite a bit sketchier than the East side, and when we arrived at the parking lot at Wilson station, we made our way through a desolate outdoor tunnel (with random clothing scattered about the ground... pretty sketch) and up a flight of stairs to an equally desolate parking lot. "This is actually a lot better with someone with me," Syd commented. I guess that leaves her feeling somewhat uncomfortable the other six days of the week.

News of the week is that Syd just got a new car - a shiny black Hyundai Accent. I, apparently, was the first person to ever ride shotgun in it, which made me rather pleased. But what impressed me even more was that Sydney was paying down the car on her own, and she had also taken out a mortgage on a condo downtown. Damn, she is so cool. It's kind of depressing how people I graduated high school with can be like fifteen years ahead of me in terms of life stage. At least Syd has resisted the adult compulsion to become a boring drone who only talks about cooking and home decor.

So overall, a pretty awesome night. Star Wars in Concert brought back to me all the geekish wonder of a twelve year old, reminding me that:

The Force will be with you... Always.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Royal emotional blackmail

Hi Victoria, Artsci '10

Thank you for your heartfelt and handwritten message hidden inside a desktop calendar. I'm glad that you think that despite having zero income and paying out a cool $19k annual tuition, I'm still in a position to help you through your undergraduate degree.

I sympathize for why you might need this kind of financial aid, since Queen's has just about the highest tuition in Ontario and spends their money frugally buying shoddy looking aluminum statues for thousands of dollars to decorate the front lawn of my residence building.

But given that you're graduating this year, I doubt my Monopoly money would do you much good anyways. Unless what you mean by "means so much to students like me" is that handwriting these notes to me is actually a paid job for you and in that way I'm helping to fund your tuition, in which case, you're welcome... I guess.

I'll tell you what, hit me back in ten years and maybe I'll be in a position to help out. Of course, by that time, you'll probably be on the receiving end of these money solicitations rather than dishing them out. Until then, feel free to continue pestering my parents instead.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chasing those grey skies

To the tune of Blue Skies, a Healing Tonics classic:

Grey skies, raining on me,
Nothing but grey skies, do I see
Loved ones, so far away,
Dreaming of loved ones, here to stay.

When I woke up, heart in my throat
Thought you were gone, oh what a jolt
DOCH's got me down, and PBD
When will it end? Next's FMP...

Grey days, I'll soon be free
Chasing those grey skies, you and me.

This little ditty popped into my head walking from my car to the subway station. It may be a little on the emo side, mostly because I didn't sleep very well last night and the weather is crummy.

Still, I love these days.


This entry was
adopted by Brutus.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Things just got a little comfier on this side of the couch

Recently, you may have noticed a parade of blue and red couches rolling out in subway stations, across buses, or on highway billboards. Bell and Rogers, the two main phone, Internet, and cable/satellite providers for Canada are duking it out, trying to firm up their market share at the other's expense before a number of newcomers enter the market next year.

To be honest, they're both full of disappointments. My sister, for instance, has gone on an anti-Rogers crusade after a big kerfuffle over her old Internet bill. After she got married, she moved across the hall into a bigger apartment. A new tenant moved into her old apartment. However, Rogers apparently consolidates their files based on address rather than last name. The result? The new tenant's bill was merged with her own without notification, not only causing a great deal of confusion but also giving each other open access to one another's personal and billing information via the online account management tools. After the matter was sorted out with little in the way of good service, my sister (not the type to be pushed around) also took the extra step of writing a letter of complaint to the appropriate regulatory body. That scared Rogers enough to call her to apologize, offer some free stuff, and assure her that this was an isolated incident and not common practice. That might be believable had the same thing not happened to another lady who worked in the same office as my sister. Two identical stories in such close proximity are likely indicative of a much more systemic problem.

As for Bell, we've subscribed to Internet with them pretty much since the advent of high speed. Over that time, they've improved very little. They still provide a paltry 5 Mb of webspace for a personal website (despite the fact that it's 2009 and I have music files on my computer that are larger than that). Additionally, they wave off any enquiries or complaints regarding this webspace with the magic argument, "We only offer the webspace, but we don't run it, therefore we don't offer any support regarding it." Bollocks to that.

Furthermore, my Internet in recent years has been highly variable, with speeds jetting up and down. Oftentimes it's so bad that I can't even load a YouTube video without it pausing to think every two seconds. We have, at times, considered switching providers but have occasionally tried to troubleshoot the problems ourselves instead rather than go to the hassle of converting all our webspace, e-mail addresses, and billing over to another provider.

Therefore, it is was quite astounding when Bell called us up the other day and said, "Hey, we noticed that your Internet is really slow! We're going to send someone over to fix that this week - free of charge." True to their word, a technician came over today and fixed up some settings outside, then came back inside and set us up with a brand spanking new modem-cum-router. Where there was once 300kbps now there is 4Mbps.

How did they know? Apparently, they can monitor the speeds of whole neighbourhoods at a time, and by comparing us with our neighbours with similar service they can say, "Well, if your neighbours are getting this speed, you should be able to also." In other words, they said, we weren't getting the speeds we were paying for.

Service provider-initiated customer service... on the house? My Internet woes a thing of the past? Suddenly, I'm feeling a lot happier on this side of the couch. Congratulations, Bell.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The knockout blow

The Showdown of the Scholars has come to a close, with Research Databases and Google Scholar laying the knowout blow on frank Google searches. Research Databases come out as the heavyweight champions here, proving that my friends, much as they might deny it, do their literature searches the right way... for the most part.

In total, 14 respondents entered the arena, answering two questions apiece. Here are the results:

Round 1 asked respondents to check off any and all methods they utilized for literature search from the following options: Research Database (Ovid, Medline, EMBASE, etc.), Google Scholar, Google, direct from Journal Website (e.g. via Elsevier), or Other.
  • 12/14 used Research Databases (85.7%) [the winner]
  • 10/14 used Google Scholar (71.4%)
  • 5/10 accessed direct from Journal Website (35.7%)
  • 4/10 used Google (28.6%) [the loser]
Sorry, Kushima, but your champion got KO-ed in Round 1.

Sandlot selected Other, opting instead to search literature by hiring killer robots. Silly Sandlot, you don't pay killer robots. They're slave labour.

Round 2 asked respondents to choose their most preferred method of conducting scholarly literature searches from the same options.
  • 7/14 chose Research Database (50.0%) [the winner]
  • 5/14 chose Google Scholar (35.7%)
  • 1/14 chose Google (7.1%) [was that you, Kushima?]
  • 0/14 chose direct from Journal Website (0.0%) [the loser]
Sandlot preferred "Hired Killer Robots that don't go AWOL and Turn Against Me." I agree, this is always a legit risk.

So, in the end, most scholarly research takes place through accepted Research Databases (Medline, PubMed, EMBASE, or Scholar's Portal) or through Google Scholar. Journal Websites and Google are supplementary resources, and all is well with the world.

That's what I said all along. QED.


This entry was
adopted by Brutus.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Protocol to my Life


A qualitative study on how to be a giant ball of stress

Principle investigator: Andy the Awesome, Colossal U
Funding sources: Mr. Christie


Rationale and background information
School is a painful, never-ending blight on my life. In the words of that guy from Saved by the Bell, "School would be great if all those classes didn't get in the way" (1). Between the months of August and November, stress and unhappiness have risen in prevalence from 10% to 99%. Anxiety has become a major public health epidemic that must be addressed.

References
  1. Saved by the Bell [homepage on the Internet]. Everywhere: Wikipedia. c2009 [cited 19 Nov 2009]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saved_by_the_bell
Study goals and objectives
To make Andy a happy camper again.

Study design
We plan to restore happy camper status by eating lots of cookies and hanging out with awesome people.

Methodology
We plan to use a reliable and validated method as described by Awesome et al., 2009.

Safety considerations
Over-ingestion of cookies can lead to post-prandial fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, and emesis. Pepto Bismol prophylaxis may be indicated in severe cases.

Follow-up
A 5-point Likert scale will be used to evaluate persistent satisfaction with cookies.

Data management and statistical analysis
An analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be conducted to determine whether ingestion of cookies interact significantly with either anxiety or happiness.

Quality assurance
This study comes with an AndyLand stamp of approval. Nuff said.

Expected outcomes of the study
One satisfying tummy ache and a multiplication of awesomeness.

Dissemination of results and publication policy
Two words: Nature Medicine.

Duration of the project
Until the balance of awesomeness is restored.

Problems anticipated
My Community Health course cutting into my cookie-research and awesome-people-hanging-out time.

Project management
Investigator: Andy the Awesome. Tis all.

Ethics
There are some ethical concerns with force feeding people cookies.

Informed consent forms
...are so long I know you're not going to read them anyways. Bollocks to that, just sign your name.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Can you keep a secret?

Dear Windows Live,

Well, as long as you promise not to tell.

Andy


This entry was
adopted by Brutus.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dark Lord of the Text

This is what happens when a popstar's music career gets sick and dies: they become a physician.

...

In other news, during a particularly coma-inducing lecture today, I started texting J-Rock (who was sitting beside me) in a vain attempt to distract my brain enough to stay awake. This is how it went down:


Andy > J-Rock: Aaaaah!!!

Andy > J-Rock: Use the force, Luke...


Several minutes of watching J-Rock typing later...


J-Rock > Andy: sure thing master kenobi lol

Andy > J-Rock: Just trying to keep you awake, bro. I guess texting is pretty slow on your phone...


J-Rock turns to me, "That's not fair! You know Kenobi is not a word in my phone's dictionary. I had to type it out letter by letter!"


Andy > J-Rock: Best lecture... Ever


J-Rock points out Mello, who is one row down and several seats across from us. She is hunched over her notes. "Do you think she's reading or sleeping?" J-Rock begins to text furiously, daring me to beat him to it.


Andy > Mello: Are you sleeping?


I put down my phone while J-Rock is still scrambling for letters. Mello looks at her phone, turns around, looks at me, and shakes her head. J-Rock's text arrives a few seconds behind mine. A minute later, J-Rock holds up his phone in triumph: Mello had replied to his text and not to mine.


Mello > J-Rock: No, listening and reading.


Meanwhile, I had been texting Mello back.


Andy > Mello: J-Rock was racing me to text you, but he's too slow

Mello > Andy: Lol, fail


I hold the phone up so J-Rock can see. His jaw drops open in anguished defeat.


Andy > Mello: You just made my day

J-Rock > Andy, Mello: Lol hey it's not my fault i got eat fingers which slow down my typing!

Mello > J-Rock: Eat fingers?

Andy > J-Rock, Mello: Stop eating your fat fingers, bro.

J-Rock > Mello: Fat fingers

Mello > J-Rock: Lol, he beat you again


J-Rock's eyes pop out of his head. Game set and match.


Impressive. Most impressive. But you are not a Jedi yet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Awesome people, faulty logic

Well, I know what Sandlot thinks of people who live on campus...

Sandlot: So the girl with the short-shorts returned to the library wearing pants. I guess there is an upside to this cold weather.

Andy: Two outfits in one day, eh? I bet she lives on campus. I think living on campus is advantageous... everyone should do it.

Sandlot: Although, I doubt she did live on campus, because living on campus at Awesome U can mean a 15 minute walk to the library...

Sandlot: ...and a lot of odd people live on campus... like... the girl who wears hotpants.

Sandlot: QED.

Andy: That's not QED... that proof doesn't make sense at all.

Andy: 1) I doubt that she lives on campus.

Andy: 2) A lot of odd people live on campus. Like her.

Sandlot: Oh shoot... I mean...

Andy: This is a fallacious argument.

Sandlot: Ahh... okay, so that argument failed.

Andy: Yup. -1 point for misuse of QED. Plus -1 for epic fail.

Sandlot: Darn... who keeps score anyway...

Andy: NPH.

Later...

Sandlot: I just wanted to use QED, couldn't you just leave it be?

Andy: Don't worry, I'm sure you'll have another opportunity to use it when you're actually right.

Andy: Then again... maybe not.

Sandlot: Hey!

/evil laughter

Friday, November 13, 2009

Now we're all sons of bitches

At 5:29:45 (Mountain War Time) on July 16, 1945, in a white blaze that stretched from the basin of the Jemez Mountains in northern New Mexico to the still-dark skies, "The Gadget" ushered in the Atomic Age. Upon witnessing the explosion, its creators had mixed reactions. Isidor Rabi felt that the equilibrium in nature had been upset as if humankind had become a threat to the world it inhabited. Robert Oppenheimer, though ecstatic about the success of the project, quoted a remembered fragment from the Bhagavad Gita. "I am become Death," he said, "the destroyer of worlds." Ken Bainbridge, the test director, told Oppenheimer, "Now we're all sons of bitches."

So that quote's not quite as described in this week's FlashForward...

Last night, I headed over to the Toronto Centre for the Arts to see the stage musical Jersey Boys (which I thoroughly enjoyed!), based on the true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

The show was set to start at 8 PM, and I'd arranged to meet Mello and J-Rock (who ditched us to play Modern Warfare 2 work on his DOCH ILP) for dinner at 6:30. I left the house at 6 PM, which should've given me more than enough time to make it.

However, as I turned off my street, traffic was backed up as far as I could see. I can only guess that there was a traffic accident of some sort. I drove ploddingly along for one block, then turned off and doubled back in the opposite direction so I could take an alternate route. 10 minutes lost.

I charted the most direct course to the subway station from my reroute, which took me through a familiar set of side streets. But halfway there, traffic thickened up considerably - slowing once again to a crawl. This time, I had to chalk things up to rush hour volume.

As an aside, when your car is rolling along slower than you can walk, you can't help but consider what a flawed system we've created. Of course, much of the problem lies in human reaction time. If all our cars were synchronized and driven by computer, the minute a light turned green, every car would start moving simultaneously. Instead, it takes cars at the back of a long line eons to receive the ripple "go" effect... by which time the light may again be red. Oh and also: stop signs on crowded streets do not work.

I made it to Finch at 6:30. Mello called me to indicate her arrival at North York Centre, but I still needed to catch the subway one station south. Traffic had made me tardy!

I rushed down the stairs toward the station platform and heard a familiar door chime. In front of me, a tall Korean fellow made a run for it, whoosh, sliding into the subway train just before the doors slammed shut. Curses, just missed it!

I walked over to the other side of the platform to wait for the next train. As I stood there, still troubled by my lateness, it dawned on me that there were an unusual number of people waiting with me considering that the train had only just closed its doors.

I looked back in the other direction and noticed that the tall Korean boy seemed to be the only one on the train. Neither did the train seem to have any intention of leaving. The "Next Train" sign was stalwartly flashing in my direction. Could K-boy have rushed headlong onto an out of service train?

Indeed, by this point it seemed that K-boy too was detecting that something was amiss. As he stood there, staring out the door, he paced back and forth a few steps as a nervous grin crept on to his face - the same "this must be a joke" grin that the boys get in movies when Jun Ji-hyun does something really crazy to them (like handcuff them to herself).

At that moment, the sound of the next train pulling up on my side of the platform became audible. My tardiness still hovering above my head, I stepped closer to the edge to wait for it.

Wait! My blog!

I turned around, whipped out my phone, and snapped a speedy picture of the trapped K-boy.

Blurry...

I stepped onto the train and sat down by the window. Pulling out my phone one more time, this time with a steadier hand I pointed and...

Hey, you, get out of the way...! Hmm, he's got the doors opened a slit now. Man, I hope he doesn't come over here and yell at me for taking pictures of him.

Click. Snap.

Then, the doors closed and the train left. As I left K-boy and his unfortunate predicament behind, my cogs in my brain began to turn again, and it started to sink in what had just happened. I'd seen a person get into trouble, and I'd been so preoccupied with my own lateness that I just left him behind.

Okay, so that's not very Good Samaritan of me, but not exactly unusual. I mean several dozen other people did the same thing. However, not only had I left him to suffer his own fate but I'd been vulture-like enough to take not one, but two photos for my blog!

Boy, I felt bad. Real bad.

I saw a stranger in distress. I didn't help him. In fact, I exploited his situation for my own (and your) amusement. This, I considered, warranted some serious reflection on my own character.

I mean, I like to consider myself a nice person. Certainly, I'd go out on a limb for any number of my friends. Yet when it came to the stranger I had no connection to... I was, well, Jerry Seinfeld.

I told this story to Mello after I met up with her. After she'd recovered from the original "oh my gosh" face and wiped off the "this is funny" grin, she paused to reassure me that in our society it's pretty normal not to stop and help strangers and indeed we don't necessarily expect strangers to help us.

"I think if I was in trouble, I'd hope someone would help me," I countered.

"Yeah, but then you would look like you wanted help."

"That's true," I considered, "I suppose if he had flailed his arms or tried to get someone's attention, I might have gone over... but I took a picture."

"Well that was for your blog. That's different."

True, I am a slave to my blog. So that made me feel a little bit better. And based on my photographic evidence, someone did stop to talk to K-boy once he started prying the doors open... though that could have been me.

Still, that unsettled feeling in my gut tells me that this was not a proud moment and that perhaps I am not the person I ought to be.




...but it was a pretty good catch, eh?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Felled by the Common Cold

When I started out with a mildly scratchy throat last week, I had it in my head that I'd caught the infamous H1N1. In my mind, I had hoped that the partially geared up antibodies from my vaccination the week before combined with a particularly robust immune system were the reason for my mild symptoms, and that I'd fight the bug off in a day or two.

One week later, I've given up on my H1N1 delusions and resigned myself to reality - I have, once again, been felled by the common cold. What I have is not an uncharacteristically mild form of H1N1 due to a powerful immune system, but more likely a prototypical rhinovirus. Like my immunologically questionable friend, Sandlot, I too have a tendency to catch the proscribed five to seven upper respiratory tract infections (URI) a year.

Like I said, things started out with a bit of sore throat over the weekend. No cough meant no droplet spread, and I was feeling pretty fine about my body's defences. By the beginning of this week, I'd picked up an extra cough, which was particularly pronounced at night time. When I woke up this morning, I felt like things were perhaps starting to settle down. My throat didn't hurt, though it felt a big phlegmy. But by the time I got to class, the sniffles had really hit me. Things were so bad, that I had to excuse myself from interviewing my patient three times to go blow my nose. It was really quite embarrassing and tragic. Had I known things were going to go down like this, I imagine it might have been a good idea to skip school for the day.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that my woes should be almost over. As we learned for our first pathobiology exam, URIs are self-limiting infections that resolve after 7-10 days. They begin with an initial phase of sore throat (check), malaise (check), and/or fever (uncheck) followed by 1-2 days of nasal congestion (check). If all goes well, I should be well as can be at this time Saturday. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Love's suicide


So, I actually spent two hours adventurously trying to record vocals to Edwin McCain's I'll Be for some reason or another. But I've decided to keep my questionable singing off the blog. Please be distracted from my blogging failure by this amusing YouTube video.

(...if you didn't catch it, the "Fight the Power" cat is a reference to this year's animated feature Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs)


This entry was
adopted by Brutus.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Of Wikipedia

We all trust it more than we should. That conglomerate encyclopedia put together by altruistic experts and know-it-alls across cyberspace. Wiki has become a verb on the tip of everyone's tongue and a destination one click away from everyone's homepage. At its inception, Wikipedia was panned in academic circles as a spurious and unreliable source. Today, while still not a citable resource, many teachers and mentors accept its surprising level of utility and accuracy. Still, what's to stop any 14-year-old buffoon from stepping in and undoing the painstakingly cited work of that PhD in Vancouver?

We the plebeians of the Wikipedia world can only assume a complex series of checks and balances exist. Still, it's obvious from talking to various academics that Wikipedia is more accurate on some topics than others. In social issues, it can be laced with bias and controversy, with Wiki pages becoming veritable battlegrounds of editing and counter-editing. Of course, every now and then, something even less subtle than overt bias slips in...

One lovely Wednesday evening, Sandlot and I were discussing the latest episode of Glee. Why, she had pondered, was the Glee club referred to as "New Directions" while it was already called "Glee"? Well, I suggested, perhaps Glee was a type of club, and "New Directions" was its name. To solve this conundrum, I turned to the all-source of knowledge - Wikipedia. The veracity of my claims were quickly verified, as "Glee club" does indeed exist as a type of institution. However, as I reached the terminus of this thoughtfully composed though brief article, one line jumped off the page... "Glee clubs are gay."

Of course, because we're actually used to trusting Wikipedia, it took me a minute to process the meaning of these innocuous four words as a failure of my vaunted Internet tutor. I jammed the "print screen" key, not knowing how long the offending statement would remain unscathed.

After e-mailing my awesome find to the awesomest person I could think of, I linked another friend to the page in question with the "HOLY CRAP DID YOU SEE THAT?" fervour of an automobile accident witness. My query was met with the "Did I see what?" stupor of a schizophrenic's best friend. I clicked the link I had just passed along, and I found the juvenile rip on Glee Clubs was... gone!

Okay, so Wikipedia does not completely fail, but who knows how long "Glee clubs are gay" was there before I hit the page. And more to the point, if such a blatantly miscreant statement could make it under the radar and onto the page long enough for me to see it (even if it was only there for a few minutes)... who knows what other misinformation we're taking for granted?

As one university prof put it, "The Internet is like a library maintained by drunkards."

...

NB: Mello was actually the friend who I linked the Wiki page to. After it became clear that the statement at the source of my amusement was no longer there, I sent her the above screenshot, which she accepted... and did not open.

Andy: I don't know why I bother sending you stuff. I should send it to people who will appreciate their brilliance.

Mello: =( I do open things sometimes!!!! =D

The file remains unopened to this day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This Common Ground ain't so common

Back at my alma mater of Queen's University stands a little coffee shop called the Common Ground, tucked away cozily inside the John Deutsch (pronounced doy-ch) University Centre (affectionately referred to as the JDUC: pronounced jay-duck). This is where our story begins.

Sandlot: They're closing down the Cogro!

Andy: Er um... what's the Cogro?

Sandlot: Are you serious? Co Gro. Common Ground.

Sandlot: Seriously, Andy. What the heck did you do during undergrad?

Andy: Oh, okay. You can't throw these acronyms at me.

Sandlot: But no one says Common Ground.

Andy: Well, I never hung out at Common Ground. It was just one of those places I passed by on my way to buy Tricolour tickets. (Chartered bus tickets to go home)

Sandlot: But people refer to it as Cogro, just like how everyone says JDUC. Aside from class, did you ever leave your rez?

At this point, friends, I have to interject that I did have a life outside of my residence building. I mean, I wasn't the complete nerd that Sandlot paints me to be... I swear. This lack of campus knowhow really had me confounded.

It was time to message everyone I knew from undergrad and get a straight answer.


J - My residence canmate, Life Sciences 2008


A: Can I ask you something? Do you know what Cogro is?

J: No, I have no clue.

A: Okay, cool.

J: Haha, sorry.

A: No no... Someone was making fun of me because I didn't know.

J: Oh.

J: ...

A: Apaprently, it's what everyone calls Common Ground in JDUC, but I had no idea.

J: Ohh... NO. Haha, sounds retarded. Sounds like some plant fertilizer...

+1 Andy. Sandlot had only this in response:

Sandlot: Um... people who lived in rez are a peculiar bunch.

Well, I wasn't going to take this lying down. It was time to cast the net wider.


K - One of my more outgoing friends, Life Sciences 2008, Non-rez


A: Question.

K: Hey, what's up?

A: Do you call Common Ground cogro?

K: Sometimes. Why?

A: I've never heard of this before.

K: Oh, lol. Yea.

A: Is that weird?

K: Nope, there is a lot of lingo I haven't heard of. :)

+1 Sandlot.


Lory - Previously "the mean one", Life Sciences 2009, McMaster Meds 2012


A: Hey, question.

L: Yup.

A: Do you call Common Ground cogro?

L: Yeah.

A: Hmm... I've never heard this before.

L: Whattttttttt????!!!! Really????

A: Lol, yeah.

L: Were you living under a rock?

Andy 1, Sandlot 2. Seriously, stop laughing.

I mean it.


M - DDR Club member, Biochem 2009, Rez


A: Do you call Common Ground cogro?

M: Yep.

A: Hmm, I've never heard this before.

M: Really? Hmmm, maybe people in our year came up with it. Lol, I dunno, I first heard it two years ago.

Andy 1, Sandlot 3.

However, this shatters Sandlot's "residence-dwellers are losers" paradigm. It also proposes an interesting new hypothesis: Cogro is from the Class of 2009. K hung out with a lot of 2009-ers, or as I still think of them, "the third years" (as though I am perma-stuck in my fourth and final year).


X - Life Sciences 2008, Rez


A: Did you call Common Ground at Queen's cogro?

X: Hmm, no.

A: Have you ever heard that before?

X: I guess I wasn't that trendy, lol.

A: Hmm, okay. Me neither, haha. But someone made fun of me today for that, so I've been asking around.

X: You were the special one perhaps? lol.

A: No, I mean, for not knowing that.

X: Oh. Hmm, well I am part of your group, then.

Andy 2, Sandlot 3. Another rez-dweller? Don't worry, there's more.


G - Arts guru, Life Sciences 2008, Non-rez


A: Hey, can I ask you something? Did you call Common Ground in JDUC cogro?

G: Er... no. Just Common Ground. :P Man, I miss Common Ground. I miss Queen's, just not Kingston.

Andy 3, Sandlot 3. Deuce.


R - My HK buddy, Biology 2008, Non-rez


A: Question.

R: ?

A: Did you call Common Ground cogro in undergrad?

R: No. Common Ground is Common Ground.

A: Haha, okay good. Have you ever heard Cogro before, though?

R: Nope. Not in my time.

A: Excellent, thanks.

Andy 4, Sandlot 3. Advantage Andy.

The Class of 2008 rejects your Cogro.


J - Thesis project labmate, Biochem 2008, Non-rez

A: Did you ever call Common Ground in JDUC cogro?

J: Hummmmm... No, haha.

A: Have you ever heard of that before?

J: The food place? Coffee bagel? Etc. Etc.

A: No, I mean calling Common Ground... Cogro.

J: Haha, nope.

A: Wait, do you know what Common Ground is?

J: I always thought its just the place where you get coffee and bagel in JDUC 2nd floor or something.

A: Yeah, that's right.

Andy 5, Sandlot 3. Game set and match.

...

So my Queen's pride is safe for another day. I don't know what Cogro means, but it's not because I was residence-insulated hermit... but because I'm more senior and mature. Just in addendum, however:

A: Let's confirm. You lived in a legit house and were not a rez-kid like me, right? Because my friend who made fun of me thought maybe this was because I was an insulated rez-dweller.

G: Hahaha, well, they did write "cogro" on their menus and signs...

Okay, so maybe not the knockout punch I was looking for.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What's on your mind? Vol. III

Well, it's been many months since I installed Google Analytics on my blog, and one of the most amusing features of this application is tracking the keywords that land peoples on the humble shores of Chronicle from the foreign seas of the World Wide Web at large.

These days, the Medgames crowd has died down, and people are less interested in gay sex at Grad House. What's been on people's minds as of late? Here are the highlights of the 49 searches that sent people my way...

To spice things up a little, I'll be addressing search keywords as though they were mailbag questions because A) many people actually search in question form and B) it makes me feel more popular to think that people might actually mail me questions (which they don't).

#5, 9, 13-14, 18-19, 25-27, 31, & 38-42 - Glasses

Q: (#13-14, 18) Can glasses hide bags under the eyes?
A: Yes, they can. This is secretly why I wear them - because medical students don't sleep.

Q: (#19, 25-27, 31) Glasses make my eyes look small?
A: Yes and no. Depending on your prescription, your eyes will appear significantly smaller; but the accessory itself may help to fill out your face.

Q: (#38) Wear glasses look much older.
A: If by older you mean smarter, then yes.

Q: (#9) "I wear glasses."
A: Thanks for sharing.

Q: (#40) Wearing glasses I am 17.
A: ...

#10, 15, 17 - Types of Cosplay

Q: (#15) Cosplay for all body types?
A: I'm sure my post on the Five Types of Cosplay was not what this person was looking for. However, I can't help but offer my two cents: Dress up as a character that matches your own body type. If you're a 200 Pounds Beauty, feel free to dress up as Alphonse Elric or E. Honda, but for Pete's sake, please please resist the urge to put on Princess Leia's golden bikini or Supergirl's ridiculously short skirt.

Miscellany

Q: (#8) Compulsive procrastination?
A: You've come to the right place, my friend.

Q: (#32) Statement of intent for medical student.
A: In conclusion, I intend to study happiness through cookies.

Q: (#20) Halloween Haunt mazes outdoor Wonderland rating.
A: I hate clowns.

Q: (#22) HR nightmare.
A: The only reason I can think of that someone would want to search for HR nightmares is that they, like Ruru, enjoy reading about others' misfortunes... you sadist.

Q: (#11) Best in the world kalbi recipe.
A: Read: Yubin.

Q: (#23) Incestuous.
A: Read: Mello.

Q: (#16) DeviantArt 0ndy.
A: This is actually an interesting search string because it seems directly targeted at me. However, while my Blogger address might confuse people, my dA ID is actually a-ndy.

Q: (#46) Toronto MD backpack.
A: Believe it or not, my blog is actually one of the only Google searchable sites that has legitimate pictures of the Canadian medical school backpacks (as far as I can tell).

That said, I'd just like to remind you that Andy's Great Backpack Challenge is still on with the reward being a free-freaking-lunch.

RURU LEADS WITH FOUR POINTS.

Go forth into the world and get to it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The world unseen

From the lesser to the least: a journey through the microscopic layers of the world. I was actually blown away by just how many levels this brilliant little Flash application has - just when I thought I thought we'd gone as small as we could go, it just kept going.

Thanks to Pomme for sharing this with me.


It's a perspective difficult to appreciate in just words...


This entry was
adopted by Brutus.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's 5 AM, and I'm Dancing With Myself


People who don't know me very well have at times mistaken me for a proactive and diligent person. I can see how watching the Chinese guy with glasses sitting attentively in lecture third-row-centre could be deceptive that way. However, after scratching the surface of my personality, one of the first things people learn is that I am a notorious procrastinator with a severe case of attention deficit. Of course, making the deadline and doing things right are important to me - but because of my suboptimal disposition, this often involves a great deal of stress and a great deal of time wasted.

So, when it came time to draft up a research abstract for an upcoming conference (abstract is a bit of a misnomer, since it includes figures and references... it bears more similarity to a research poster), I found myself awake at midnight with little more than a title to show for it. It's a little secret of mine that I hit my writing stride around 3 AM, and while the spelling and grammar mistakes might be slightly more frequent, the writing is generally quite passable.

The wee hours of the morning are excellent for writing. People have logged off, you're tired, you're bored, and you'd really really like to go to sleep. It's a great motivator. Of course, even at these unholy hours of the night, I still need a little something to keep me going. In this case, I found myself listening to a selection of songs from the television show Glee.

As it turns out, the upcoming episode of Glee features the first solo by obscure boy-band member turned nerdy cripple Kevin McHale - a cover of Billy Idol's Dancing With Myself. This felt particularly appropriate given the obscure and lonely hour at which I was writing.

But Kevin McHale isn't the first person to cover this particular song. Back in Grade 7, a passingly popular pop music group called the Boomtang Boys was at the zenith of their career and they had produced a version of Dancing With Myself quite different in character. Performed by Kim Esty, the Boomtang Boys version was an upbeat and catchy tune, with vaguely provocative lyrics such that it was banned from airtime in our Visual Arts class. And so, I dusted off ye old Greatest Hits Volume One and let the memories roll.

Of course, when it came to real abstract writing, I wasn't actually "Dancing With Myself." My friends Yee and Brutus kept me company for most of my all-night adventure - Yee making it to about 4 AM before passing out and Brutus braving it out all the way till 5:30 AM when I too surrendered to a single hour of sleep before my seven hours of lecture. What troopers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Get with the Times, New Roman


Today, we had an academy session to learn about how to write up our Individual Learning Plan (ILP) and Research Ethics Board (REB) submissions for our upcoming Community Health projects. It's actually incredibly overwhelming and insane. At this point, I basically have just a research question - no tools, no methods, no plan... and my supervisor, despite professing weekly meetings during my interview, has been MIA from the onset. Yet somehow, within two weeks, I have to have buttoned down a full research plan including who is going to make first contact with patients, samples of the surveys and consent forms I will be using, what kind of analysis I am going to do, and on what timeline the project will be completed. I have no idea how this is going to happen.

Most of this headache became apparent during the second hour, in which we learned about the composition of our comprehensive Research Protocol and REB. For the first hour and a half of the morning, we had a diffuse and uninformative lecture on how to approach our ILP. This included such gems as not being "poorly prepared", using "greater than size 12 font" (although, upon clarification, size 12 is okay too), and using "specific verbs."

Andy: Things I learned today - a poor research plan is poor, use size 12 font, and use specific verbs... Hooray?

Sandlot: Oh that's good to know. Especially since I've been using size 14 Comic Sans with nonspecific verbs when writing a research paper.

This couldn't help but remind me of the amusing College Humour video posted above. What if the United Nations was, instead of diverse peoples, composed of different fonts? An aggregation of such characters would then be... a Font Conference.

Joking aside, I learned very little in the three hours of lecture I endured today... except that I'm entirely screwed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Missing those Summer Nights

After a vaguely depressing PBD exam experience, the ladies and gentlemen of the Great Wall rallied together to recoup and de-stress. After lunch at Eaton's, we headed over to Echo in Chinatown for some karaoke madness. Unfortunately, we soon discovered that self-respecting karaoke joints don't open up until 3 or 4 PM in the afternoon, so we ended up kicking around for an hour or so eating gai daan jai at Chinatown Centre.

When 3 PM finally rolled around, we made our way back to Echo and belted out nonstop ballads for five-and-a-half hours until 8:30 PM. Six obliterated voices later, we'd accumulated many memorable auditory experiences - from muddling our way through the Wonder Girls' "Nobody" (even though none of us spoke Korean), to J-Rock and my "No Air" duet (you can be my girlfriend anytime), to my Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" solo... and the obligatory "In the End" rap.


Get your own playlist at snapdrive.net!

As our time drew to a close, we split ourselves down gender lines (J-Rock and me versus Mello and Yuffie) to peform a Grease favourite, "Summer Nights" - a new addition to our Healing Tonics repertoire this year. I swear, we sounded even better live. Sadly, I blame my camera's microphone for filtering out all the nice echo effects butchering our voices. (If you hear someone saying "crotch, crotch" during the performance, that was Kon being inappropriate with the camera-handling)

After our $12 per person five hour singing extravaganza, we hopped over to a nearby Chinese restaurant for a tasty Peking duck meal at an equally reasonable $16 a head. J-Rock practiced, and was ridiculed for, his slightly-more-broken-than-mine Cantonese. Meanwhile, a stimulating political conversation about Canadian national identity and parliamentary pitfalls ensued once Stewie finished talking about penis.

Bidding farewell to Kon at the end of the night, J-Rock practiced his goodbyes in equally questionable Mandarin.

Andy: Hey, you should say goodbye to Kon in his native dialect!

J-Rock: Kon's native dialect isn't Mandarin?

Andy: Dude, he's from Hong Kong [one of Kon's most discussed identifiers].

J-Rock: OH RIGHT, KON'S A HONGER!

Stewie: You're so racist, J-Rock. All sounds the same to you, doesn't it?

J-Rock: Shut up.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

See Stewie's doodle

Studying can be kind of fun.

Now before you smack me across the face, I'm not talking about the long and arduous process of committing facts to memory. No, I'm talking about the interesting surprises that you rediscover along the way. See, when lectures slow down, doodles tend to appear on people's pages. That's just the nature of things. Then, when it comes time to study... surprise!

Take for instance, the above figure - completely illegible because of UofT's ineptitude in black-and-white printing. Stewie's sarcastic commentary? "Best Figure EVAR!"

Things quickly devolved from there. By the next page, Stewie (presumably speaking of our professor) added the above annotation.

And by the next lecture...? I think the idea was to make it start off like, "I'm allergic to penicillin."

...

Of course, I talk my fair share of smack via doodles on people's notes as well. If you follow my Twitter, you may be aware that our professor ran half an hour overtime on Friday... mostly because she talks incredibly slowly and was obsessed with answering everyone's irrelevant questions and flying off on tangents despite already being short on time.

As a result, Mello's page became littered with the manifestations of my frustrations.
  • Left (top): STOP ASKING QUESTIONS O_O. If only my classmates could hear me.

  • Left (bot): NO CURE (to this lecture). My mirror neurons wrote "no cure" in response to the lecturer's assertion that systemic lupus erythematosus had no cure.

  • Middle: Mr. Potato Head with scrotal elephantiasis and parasites (presumably ascariasis) coming out of his mouth.

  • Right (top): The professor said that a certain battery of symptoms should "scream lupus in bright flashing lights." Hence, it's a lady... screaming "LUPUS"... in bright flashing lights. Har har.

  • Right (bottom): Our lecturer went off on a tangent about how her PBL group tried to discover the origin of the disease name "lupus." Of course, most people accept that it's known as lupus because of the butterfly-shaped malar rash patients get on their face (which looks like a wolf). She went on to discuss her group's own inventive ideas, such as how the disease is like a "wolf in sheep's clothing." If you make up your own explanation that's not true, it says.
But now, it's time to bunker down and pay more attention to diagnoses than doodles. If you'll excuse me.