Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Meet Calvin.
We picked him up last weekend. He's literally Chloe's brother; they're from the same parents. We made a trip up to MN to visit my sis who seems to be settling down pretty well with her roomie, and picked Calvin up too.
Chloe and Calvin seem to be getting along pretty well. He even has the same favorite toy- my gym socks.
Needless to say, sleep has been a premium these days. People say this is a good practice for the future kids. I suppose this is easier in a way- at least i can put the pump in a crate when it's nighttime. The again, kids don't try to eat their poop when you're not watching.
Do they?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The wife and I went for a date (translation: the wife dragged me to watch a girlie movie with her).
My Sister's Keeper.
It was actually a pretty good show. Never mind that I was the only set of testicles in the theater. I kid you not- everyone else there was female. Also, never mind that we paid 20 bucks to suffer; my wife (along with the other women in there) bawled her eyes out. And strangely enough, I suffered from minor 'eye irritation' too. Her eyes were so swollen from the crying that she wore my cap when we went grocery shopping after the show, just to hide them.
I have to say I enjoyed the show immensely. But on a serious note, it did make me reflect on some of the experiences I've been a part of. I thought about my dad's battle with cancer. I thought about Buddy's reaction to chemo, how he was literally throwing up buckets, like that scene of Kate puking from the chemotherapy. I thought about the patients, and their families, when they were faced with a terminal diagnosis. I even thought about that one patient when I was a resident, Mr. A, and how he kept wanting to 'have surgery' thinking it would cure his endstage metastatic pancreatic cancer, like how Cameron Diaz's character was in denial. I think the characters in the show played their parts well, real enough that it got you putting yourself in their shoes.
This one goes out to the gallant cancer fighters out there; those who have lost, or won their battles, those who have yet to know the outcome- God bless you all for the courage, grace and faith you have shown to the rest of us.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The weekend

What a weekend! Buddies drove down from Rochester to spend the weekend with us, friends from Malaysia and Singapore. And as a surprise, George and family tagged along as a spur-of-the-moment trip and to surprise me (Kristin knew).
Sometimes, there's nothing like hanging out with good friends, people you can really let your hair down with. It's nice when your friends actually take the trouble to drive a few hours to visit you and your new home; says that they are keen and want to see how you are doing. We haven't had too many of our good friends visit, so this was a wonderful surprise.
And it was a bonus that these people were excellent cooks, and drove down with their marinated chicken and beef satay!
We had a few fun games of badminton, and a nice campfire out back.
And, as always when we get together, I'm stuffed.

In the evening, we made a visit to the nearby lake to soak in the festivities; every Sunday they have a free outdoor concert. Chloe enjoyed the trip as much as we did!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What the f*ck? D*mn bl**dy sh*t KNNCCB.
I found this pretty hilarious; abstract taken from Pubmed. I bet carrying out this study must have been rewarding in itself.

Swearing as a response to pain.
Stephens R, Atkins J, Kingston A.

Although a common pain response, whether swearing alters individuals' experience of pain has not been investigated. This study investigated whether swearing affects cold-pressor pain tolerance (the ability to withstand immersing the hand in icy water), pain perception and heart rate.
In a repeated measures design, pain outcomes were assessed in participants asked to repeat a swear word versus a neutral word. In addition, sex differences and the roles of pain catastrophising, fear of pain and trait anxiety were explored.
Swearing increased pain tolerance, increased heart rate and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing. However, swearing did not increase pain tolerance in males with a tendency to catastrophise. The observed pain-lessening (hypoalgesic) effect may occur because swearing induces a fight-or-flight response and nullifies the link between fear of pain and pain perception. PMID: 19590391 [PubMed - in process]

Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm Rich!!

Omigod! We're rich!! Pity to you, my poor readers, for I am sure I will be swimming in more wealth that you can ever imagine. I was lucky enough to win this internet lottery from Switzerland!
That's 1 million Euros! US$1,359,000!!! The cars I can buy! The 2nd, 3rd, 4th wives I can wed. Oh, the mansions we'll live in.
Never mind that I never really entered any lottery- some kind stranger must have put my name in for me. Never mind that I have never been to Switzerland; after all with the internet I don't need to move my fat ass off my chair to travel. Never mind that the currency of Switzerland isn't the Euro. And never mind that they listed a Belgian contact for a Swiss lottery.
(Are people really stupid enough to fall for these things, anymore?)
(and no, while my wife, family, health make me feel rich, wealthy we are not. I was being facetious, dear readers)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Of Driving in Iowa

While people often tease us about living in Iowa, I have to say we like this city very much. It's a decent size, not too big, nor too small. Low cost of living, safe.
But if there's one thing I really despise about this place, is the number of roadhogs I see every single day driving to work. I hate to generalize, but really this place has the worst drivers I've encountered. This is how I'd classify them:
  • The Clueless: People who drive on the fast lane totally oblivious that they're holding up a mile of traffic. Often (again, another generalization, they frequently tend to be little old ladies driving their Buicks)
  • The Enforcer: People who stay on the fast lane because they feel that they are driving at the speed limit, and you have no business overtaking them anyway
  • The Maniac: Drivers who treat the roads like it's their personal racetrack. You know, the ones who weave in and out of traffic just to get, what, 20 meters ahead of you?
  • The Speed Demon: 'Nuff said (okay, so I admit that I'm being a hypocrite; I drove at 110 mph up to Minnesota that one time, but I was late for the wedding rehearsal, and I was the Best Man!)
  • The Multitasker: These are the stupid drivers who are yakking on the cellphone while holding the cigarette in the other hand. Hello? And do you hold the steering wheel with your foot, then? Also tends to have one of the aforementioned traits
  • The Instigator: I see these pretty frequently. They drive up to my car in their American muscle cars (Mustangs, usually), gawk at the Porsche's cockpit, rev their engines, and take delight in being able to suddenly pass a German car. Young punks, usually, I just ignore them.

Thankfully, one type of driver I do not encounter here are the cursed drivers we all see in Malaysia who, at a traffic jam, decides to cut into the emergency lanes. Don't those people know that if they add another lane to a bottleneck, it just makes things worse? I think there should be a special place in hell for those drivers.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July, folks!
It's our first Independence Day at our new house. It's funny, how we're starting to count milestones like that, in our first home together as a family.
Anyways, for a Malaysian, it's hard to fathom the significance of this day, aside from BBQs, fireworks, and of course, a day off work!
We had a nice view of the fireworks from our house, and took this video.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Should patients be charged for not showing up?

Interesting video I saw on CNN today. Should doctors be charging patients who do not show up? Unfair as this might sound, our clinic has started doing it, and I have to say I think it's reasonable (though we first make patients aware of this, and let them off the first time with a warning. And we charge only a nominal fee).
The truth is, time is time. And if a patient schedules a 30 min slot on my calendar, he deprives another patient from seeing me sooner (as it is some patients already need to wait a month to see me). Sad to say, but the truth is, time is money too, and you can't expect to run a self-sustaining clinic if patients don't show up.
And boy, do some patients do that. I've had patients schedule appointment after appointment, and finally, after 3 or 4 no-shows, I've had to refuse to let them reschedule. It's a clear sign, that some of them simply have no respect for your time.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Our NICE-SUGAR reply

We wrote this in response to the NICE-SUGAR study a few months ago. Apparently the journal editors thought some of our points were valid scuba diving in Navy Pier .