Monday, June 23, 2008


Yo, my homies. Just so you know I'm away on vaca (like, totally), and will be back in about a week.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fun work distraction

I was turned on to this great doodle site: bomomo. Check it out. Totally fun. Note: IT ONLY WORKS WITH FIREFOX.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Attention all! My little sister Monkey, who will be coming down to NYC in a few days to visit me ALL BY HEROWNSELF, just found out that she will be first chair for clarinet in the high school symphonic band next year; the youngest first chair ever.

YAY, MONKEY!!!!!!!!

PS: coffeepot trivet shoelace boogerbrain

PPS: I win! Hell yeah.

Wednesday Afternoon Stupidity

Me: I am sooooooo tired.

You: How tired are you?

Me: I am so tired that I just dialed the phone number of a patient whose appointment I needed to confirm for friday, put the receiver to my ear, and stated "Good afternoon, Dr. Morris'* office," which is the standard greeting for when I answer the phone.

Luckily, the patient had not yet picked up, so he didn't hear my momentary lapse into complete idiocy, but unfortunately, my manager was standing right nearby.


Literature Review

I finished this book a few days ago, and apologize for not talking about it earlier. I'd read one of Martin Miller's other books: The Good Fairies of New York, and quite honestly, wasn't all that impressed. Nevertheless, I undertook reading this sizable tome, and was pleasantly surprised.

Lonely Werewolf Girl is the story of a clinically depressed seventeen year old werewolf princess with a substance abuse problem on the run from assassins hired by her own family - and the humans she unwittingly befriends.

At no time did this book slow down, nor did I lose interest. At some points I loved the characters, and at other times, they pissed me off, thereby proving that this is an extremely well written book.

I would definitely recommend this book to people who are into the dark fantasy genre, the werewolf people, or just the people who enjoy books about complicated political stratagem.

Honestly, I will be reading this again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Getting my rock on

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the latest addition to my nerd collection: a specimen of cinnabar on dolomite. Cinnabar is the red crystal and the dolomite is the white rock. Cinnabar's chemical composition is HgS - Mercury Sulfide - which means it's poisonous. This means that despite the fact that the specimen looks like strawberries and cream does NOT mean that it is edible.

Do you like it?

Another snickerable item

A friend of mine had a baby recently. Cutest baby ever. I got her this grooming set for her shower, because I believe in clean babies. This is the thank you note she sent me afterwards. She's a very direct person. It made me laugh. (FYI: The gift wrap to which she refers was covered in sperm because she works with me in male reproductive medicine.)

Another Shout Out from Mental_Floss

In Mental_Floss's series Feel Art Again, they had asked for reader recommendations on artists to profile. Last week, they'd used my recommendation and profiled Alphonse Mucha, mentioning me in their article. Much to my surprise and delight, they did it again today. Maxfield Parrish is an artist I've loved since high school, and they profiled him today, naming me in this latest article.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Literature Review

I finished Cormac McCarthy's The Road on the subway on the way home today. Although it only took me a couple of days to read it, it was really painful. It's one of the saddest, most hopeless stories I've ever read.

There's been some awful catastrophe that has burned everything to the ground. All plants are dead, all animals are dead. The vast majority of people are dead, and the only ones left are roaming the countryside in bands of cannibals.

A few years after this catastrophe is when this story takes place. A man, known only as Papa, and his young son, who remains nameless, are traveling southwards on a road through a desolate landscape covered in ash and grey snow. They don't know what they'll find when they reach the coast. Always hungry, they search abandoned buildings for food at the risk of getting caught by "the bad guys" and killed to be eaten. The only food that exists does so in canned form. All the water is full of ash and soot, a slow moving sludge.

While reading this book, it becomes quickly apparent that there is no happy ending in sight. The reader realizes that the father is dying, and the young boy will soon be on his own in this hostile landscape, which, since he was born after the catastrophe, is the only world he knows. Nevertheless, the boy shows remarkable empathy and caution.

Yes, I'd recommend this book. It was fabulous. But not as a pick-me-up. If you're clinically depressed, make sure you're current on your medications before venturing into this story.

Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia

I am currently reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road (review to follow as soon as I've finished), not because I enjoy Pulitzer Prize winning books, but because one of my absolute favorite genres of books is post-apocalyptic/dystopian society.

Because, throughout my reading career, I've had much difficulty finding my next post-apocalyptic fix, I've compiled a list of my favorite pieces within the genre, accompanied by a very brief synopsis.

The Road: Civilization is gone, all fluara and fauna are dead, and the majority of the remaining humans have resorted to cannibalism. A man and his young son travel through a dead world in a desperate attempt to survive. (Genre: Post-apocalyptic)

I Who Have Never Known Men: Forty women are caged in a bunker, watched over by armed guards. None of the women know one another, and the guards never speak. None of them remember how they came to be there, nor why they're being incarcerated. Then, one day, the guards disappear, and they're able to escape, only to find that they've entered a completely unfamiliar landscape. (Genre: Post-Apocalyptic) This book is in my top 5 favorites.

Oryx and Crake: A small tribe of genetically engineered humans living in a world where all the normal people have died off. (Genre: Post-apocalyptic)

The Giver: This book basically falls into the same category that Brave New World lives in. A young boy is assigned to carry the memories of a people no longer willing to experience anything unpleasant, and the burden leads him to rebel. (Genre: Utopian)

Uglies: A young-adult series set in a world where people are physically altered when they come of age and are made "pretty". This book examines what "pretty" really is, and what it actually means. (Genre: Utopian)

Alas, Babylon: We follow the survival of a group of people after America has been attacked by nuclear weapons. (Genre: Post-apocalyptic)

Anthem: In this book, there is no longer any such thing as the personal pronoun. The characters actually speak exactly like the Borg. This is the story of one person becoming an individual. (Genre: Utopian)

A Canticle for Leibowitz: This book is about post-apocalyptic society trying to reclaim civilization. Pretty cool for people into archeology and exploring abandoned buildings. (Genre: post-apocalyptic)

I Am Legend: I'm not going to bother summarizing this, since it was out in theaters so recently. I will, however, say that the book far, far outshines the movie in every possible way. (Genre: Post-apocalyptic?)

**I am aware that I did not include any dystopian titles on this list. I can give honorable mention to 1984, which is dystopian, but, honestly, I thought that book was too cumbersome a read.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A shout out from Mental_Floss

A while back, uber-smart mag Mental_Floss had asked for reader recommendations for artists to profile online. I had recommended Mucha. Today, they did, and mentioned that I had requested it . I'm famous!!! (not really, but let me enjoy being mentioned by one of my favorite magazines, eh?) Click the link to see my name. I swear that's me. I swear.

Vanessa's Rules by Which to Live: Rule #5

Dear all the men in the world,

I know you mean to seem attentive, but never, ever, tell a woman that they look tired or that they look sick. Actually, you know what, this can also be addressed to women as well. Let me rephrase:


Don't tell a woman that they look either sick that they look tired. It implies that they don't look their best. You will only put them off. Unless you mean to put them off. Then you're just being mean.

Thank you for your time.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Just a tease...

As the four people who regularly read this blog know, I spoo over all things math. It's a side-effect of having spent four years in college doing all math, all the time. Pi is of particular import to me, what with it's being transcendental, irrational, constant...

I digress. I came across what I believed to be a math-themed hotel. Somewhere I was sure would provide me with an excess of endorphins throughout my stay, what with being surrounded by portraits of physicists (just mathematicians who deal in application, really) and mathematical equations...just look at this duvet from one of their guest rooms!
But alas, it was not meant to be. The Hotel@MIT had been bought by a chain and changed into something more vanilla...something more...tourist friendly. I cannot describe how grossly disappointed I became the further into their site I ventured. No immense mathematical library, no great sculptures of Archimedes or Erdos. It seems the most math is on the comforter, possibly in an attempt to bore Joe and Jane Tourist to sleep in the evenings. In not one of their photos did I see evidence of a platonic solid, or see a hint of a sine curve. No. I'm afraid, without even having visited, I am not inclined to even give it a chance. Is there anyone who can prove me wrong? Is there a slight possibility that this place would be able to tickle my math bone?

Calvin and Hobbes

I'm Inspired

I was browsing around, and came across these pieces. These are all pieces of art I wish I owned.

Artist: Ashley Wood

Artist: James Jean

Artist: Carlos Gomilla

Artist: Melissa Haslam

Artist: Will Cotton

Artist: Chiara Bautista

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stop self-diagnosing, people

I would say, in a typical patient week, the most commonly presented problem in my office is varicocele. This is basically an enlarged "varicose" vein in the scrotum, which, depending on the size of the varicocele (which range from subclinical to the largest, grade III), can impede sperm production, sperm quality, and testosterone production.

When a man comes in to our office for an evaluation, my boss will take a detailed medical history, examine him and order any further testing he deems necessary for the evaluation. Sometimes one of these tests is a scrotal ultrasound, which will confirm the varicoceles felt on examination.

One of the biggest pet peeves of my office is when a patient gets an ultrasound and then the technician tells them "yes you have a varicocele" or "i see you have a cyst" or "oh, I see here you have calcifications." Why is this a pet peeve? BECAUSE TECHNICIANS ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO INTERPRET WHAT IS ON THE SCREEN. THEY ARE ONLY QUALIFIED TO OPERATE THE MACHINE. I'm not saying that technicians are unnecessary, or trying to diminish their role in the diagnostic process, but they need to not tell patients what they think they see. They are not doctors. Period.

I say all this because I just read a blog entry about varicocele on this guy's site. I'm not going to link to it because it irritated the living hell out of me. Apparently his wife is in ultrasound school, so she thought she'd do a sonogram on his nuts. Let me reiterate: she is in school to be a technician. She's not currently a technician; she's learning to be a technician. So, she did an ultrasound on her husband's testicles, and lo! Diagnosed him with varicoceles, hydroceles (a bag of fluid that sometimes happens concurrently with varicocele), epididymitis (an infection of the epididymis - usually very painful; how any man had epididymitis and didn't realize it I'm not entirely certain) and my favorite: microlithiasis (small calcifications in the testicles that can be a predictor of an increased chance of getting testicular cancer in the future).

This poor guy must be convinced that his balls are about to fall off. I hope he goes to a good urologist who will evaluate him and tell him his wife is completely off her rocker. I hope she learns a lesson in this that when she's performing an ultrasound, she NEEDS TO SHUT HER MOUTH.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I definitely wanna go to that college

I just had an extremely intellectually invigorating conversation with a chat-rep from CUNY Online (City University of New York).

tamara: Welcome to CUNY Online Baccalaureate live chat.
tamara: How may I help you?
Vanessa: Hi, I actually already have a BA
Vanessa: I'm looking to take an online statistics course
Vanessa: something to just refresh my memory, but so that I can accumulate credits
Vanessa: is something like that available through you?
Vanessa: hello
tamara: We do offer stats but onlu during the fall and spring semesters. In order for you to part tatke, you would have to be fully matriculated.
tamara: Hellow
Vanessa: so there are no online classes available for non-matriculated students?
tamara: Non matriculated students can participated only during the summer session.
tamara: We offer one summer session. THis current session we are not offering stats.
Vanessa: all right
Vanessa: thank you for your help
tamara: Thank you for your interest in the CUNY Online Baccalaureate Program. Please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Brilliant, no? I'll definitely be sending my children to this college. This is supposed to be one of the better colleges in NYC.

Now my brain hurts again.

Monday Late-Morning Idiotic Conversation

The names have been changed. I refuse to get in trouble for my incessant blogging.

I answer the phone.

ME: Dr. Morris' office.

Caller: Yes, oh, I'm looking for a Dr. Coo, uh...Cuhan?

ME: This is Dr. Morris' office.

Caller: Oh, uh, do you do the billing for Dr. Cuhan?

ME: No, this is Dr. Morris' office.

Caller: Oh, so this isn't Dr. Cuhan's office?

ME: No, this is Dr. Morris' office.

My brain hurts.

Tourist Fights Back

I was slacking off at work, reading OverheardinNewYork. I came across this little gem. Honestly, I haven't lived down here that long. I've been here for six years, which, although 22% of my life, isn't all that long in the grand scheme of things. I was at one point a tourist, and can relate to these little darlings who wander helplessly around the city, naively asking locals for directions. This tourist fought back.

Is That a New Gay Bar in Chelsea?
Tourist: Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to MoMA from here?

Suit: Fuck you, what do I look...

Tourist, indignantly interrupting: No, fuck you, you motherfucking piece of shit. You don't want to answer, you say "I don't know". All you New Yorkers are a bunch of cock-sucking assholes.

[Suit, stunned, gives directions.]

Bystander to tourist: Where did you learn to do that?

Tourist: The Midwest.

--Outside the Guggenheim

Overheard by: Ehem.


Monday Morning Favorite Thing

When I get woken up by the BF, and he's in a suit. He's so adorable in a suit and tie. Makes me smile.

Peeps in Space

I am not a big fan of the marshmallow treat peeps. I'm not really a big fan of marshmallows period. But never before have I been jealous of a peep. Dyed yellow and coated in sparkly sugar, this peep got strapped to a scale rocket and literally was blasted into space. I wish I could go to space. Stupid peep.

Peeps in Space An adventurous astro-peep flies to the edge of space on a balloon mission, nearly 97,000 feet high.

My Remarkable-Unremarkable Weekend - Part 6

So Sunday rolled around and I didn't really want to leave. The garden was looking mighty pretty and lush. I made rice krispie treats and we tried out this recipe I found online for making the Friday's Jack Daniel's Glaze. Boy, was that recipe spot on. Our steaks were yummy. Unfortunately it was still unGodly humid outside, so we had to eat in the comfort of the airconditioned kitchen, but it did start to thunder and rain. It got a wee bit cooler.

Our neighbor from down the street moved out about a month ago. The new owner hasn't moved in permanently yet, so I go over occasionally to check on the wildlife in the pond. This little frog just floated there, staring at me, not really giving a hoot how close I got to him with my camera.

Then I fed the koi and they were happy. They've gotten really big, and not one of them has died since last year.

Then, as the BF and I were on the way back to NYC, we looked out the window and saw a kick-ass sunset.

What a great weekend.

My Remarkable-Unremarkable Weekend - Part 5

So after we left the goosepond, the BF and I just drove around for a while. The sky was looking mighty pretty, so I took a pic.

I was enjoying myself, even though there's no air-conditioning in the jeep right now. At least it was shady, and the windows were open and the wind was in my hair. I had new rocks and fossils, and was with my honey bun. Life's good.

Then I saw a cow. I lurve cows, because from cows comes cheese, and I loooooooove cheese. My favorite is mozzarella, which, granted, is supposed to come from buffalo, but I'm just such a fan of dairy, despite the fact that I'm completely lactose intolerant. The most tasty things are well worth the resultant gas, I say.

We went by the wake-board pond and lo! there be the geese who were conspicuously absent from the goosepond. All with fam in tow. Very sweet.

And then the sky got even prettier.

My Remarkable-Unremarkable Weekend - Part 4

The goosepond wasn't all jumping bugs and cringing flight. There was also the actual goosepond itself. Granted, it was temporarily goose-free, but that's because the goose family had gone out for dinner at a nearby wake-boarding pond. I still thought the trees reflected in the lake were pretty.

Here's me looking all ragged because on Saturday it was hot...damn hot. I was all sweaty and nasty because not only was it damn hot, it was also damn humid. I think it was somewhere in the vicinity of 93 degrees, and this is after we'd been walking around Museum Village all morning.

And here's another picture of the walkway,because I love how it looks. This is really one of my favorite places near the country house.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Remarkable-Unremarkable Weekend - Part 3

After the rock and mineral show the BF and I went to nearby Chester, NY to the Goosepond. Here's the walkway. Pretty, right?

But then, we were suddenly attacked by a horde of jumping bugs. They were everywhere. Everywhere. I cannot reiterate EVERYWHERE enough. There was cringing.

And here's the little bugger himself. Only about a quarter inch long, but they numbered in the thousands. Honestly. And they could JUMP.

Here's a different kind of bug that we saw there that didn't scare us quite so much. I like bees 'cause I lurve honey.

As we were leaving, we were discussing the attack of the jumping bugs. To illustrate a point, the BF pretended to jump like one of the bugs. There was much laughter.

My Remarkable-Unremarkable Weekend - Part 2

On Saturday, BF and I started our day by going to one of the cutest little places called Museum Village. It's one of those history-immersion places. Crazy cute. They were having a rock and mineral show. I lurve rocks and minerals. I collect them. I will not say how much money I've spent on hunks of rock, but suffice it to say that I could have paid off a nice little chunk of my student loan.


This little beauty we got there is called Metacanthina and is a fossil from the Davonian Epoch (420 - 395 million years ago). Cute, no? It's a little ocean-critter. We named it Ernie.

Here's a closeup of it where you can see the facets in its eyeballs.

And this is a piece of Cactus Quartz. It's about the size of my fist, and although you can't see it very clearly in this picture, it's really sparkly. I love sparkly.

I also got a nice piece of peacock ore, a almandine garnet in the matrix and an almandine garnet not in matrix, a piece of white-smoke hydrothermal vent calcification and a piece of road ore that happened to have a couple calcite cubes growing in it. All in all a really good day.