Two weeks ago, I tore my hamstring. I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to explain how it happened: defending a sobbing infant from a rampaging bear, freak freeclimbing accident, landing a base jump. But the truth is, I injured myself playing recreational, co-ed, two-hand-touch football – during the first game of the season.

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Why Does Flying Suck So Much?

After spending the better part of a month flying to and from medical school interviews, I have one overriding question: Why does flying suck so much?

Flying used to be fun. A trip flying the friendly skies was an event where the airport was an exciting place, you complimented the pilot on a good landing and the flight attendants smiled and said “sure!” when you asked for the entire can of Sprite.

When did that vision die? When did airlines become cattle car operators with a dull coat of paint, and when exactly did we allow our fear to scare us so badly it’s recommended we arrive at the airport two hours early to sit through Security Theater? Continue reading

Performing Tumor Surgery, Or Why You Need Physics

I complained for the duration of my entire postbac program about physics.

Why do premeds have to take a year of physics plus the associated labs? What possible relevance does shooting metal balls out of a rubber band launcher, and tracking how far they fly, have for medicine? Why is my professor such a disinterested teacher? Why do I have to sit through an hour of tutorial a week?

This morning, all my questions were answered. I, with the help of the electronic circuits unit from second semester physics, successfully performed surgery.

Am I a doctor? No. Am I in medical school? No. But I, surgical instruments in hand, spent my early Sunday morning removing a tumor from a patient – an unsightly but benign tumor that was causing significant distress to the patient’s family members.

I am of course talking about the buzzer on my dryer. Continue reading


I’m a morning workout person. I like the early hours of the day; it’s quiet, there’s no traffic, and no one wants to talk to me. I go to the gym before work because it’s almost empty. More importantly, the gym is running a promotion with my company where everyone gets a free 8-week membership. So going after work would be like visiting a meat locker of coworkers. Not my favorite idea. Continue reading

Bangkok, The Scramble For Koh Phi Phi, and the Cambodian Mystery Death Infection

My titles are nothing if not dramatic.

When we left off, Ellen and I were taking a minibus ride to Bangkok. It was a frustrating trip because we stopped at a gas station nearly every hour, which meant I bought a lot of unpronounceable Thai snacks. Some were tasty; some tasted like burnt wood.

Now, because I am clearly a charming little tourist (and humble) I made friends with the couple sitting next to me. Ellen was not sitting to me; she had done what she always does on motorized transportation and passed out in the back. It’s a pretty amazing skill, actually. Anyway, the pair next to me were Dutch travelers who spoke excellent English. I mention this interaction because it scored us a dinner date once we arrived in Bangkok. After wading our way through a veritable army of pushy taxi drivers, we walked about twenty minutes toward the backpacker district of Khao San before stopping for dinner. Continue reading

Tuk-Tuk? NO. Now now, not later, not EVER. Go away. (Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to Bangkok)

Long title, I know. Sorry, not sorry.

When we left off, Ellen and I had just reached Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. We disembarked from the boat and were immediately met with a swarm of drivers. In Cambodia, the predominant form of tourist transport is a tuk-tuk, which roughly translates to “extremely annoying driver of a box attached to a motorbike. Tuk Tuk drivers are, to put it mildly, everywhere and insanely irritating. No matter where you are or where you go, there’s sure to be a gang of tuk tuk drivers hanging out outside, just waiting to pounce on you as you exit. (“Tuk tuk? You need tuk tuk ride?” NO I HAVE TWO LEGS, LEAVE ME ALONE.) One of the highlights of this trip has been the relative non-pushiness of the people in the tourism business here; tuk tuk drivers were the notable exception.

(“Tuk-tuk?” I JUST GOT OUT OF ONE YOU MORON.) Continue reading

The Magic Note: Can Tho to Phnom Penh

This story begins with a man named Mr. Triet, a travel agent who met Ellen and I upon our arrival to a hostel in the Mekong Delta town of Can Tho. We had bussed to the area because of its famous floating markets; every morning, a gaggle of boats congregate at places along the Mekong River to basically trade wares.

We took motorbikes from the bus station to the hostel – a somewhat harrowing and exhilarating experience when you also have a backpack to carry – and were checked in by Mr. Triet, who we thought managed the hotel (he didn’t. Oops). After waving off the usual hard sell of a tour of the floating markets the following morning, we set out to explore Can Tho and promptly got tremendously lost, making a wrong turn literally out of the driveway of our hostel. Continue reading

WAS to EWR to NRT to HKG to.. ah, I lost track

After a whirlwind many hours, my traveling companion Ellen and I are in Saigon. And, as luck would have it, leaving tomorrow after two nights here. We made it to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC – same thing as Saigon; Ho Chi Minh is kind of a big deal here) with only two hitches.

1. Our relatively insane flight schedule took us from Washington to Newark to Tokyo to Hong Kong to HCMC. The final three flights – Newark to Ho Chi Minh – were nominally the same flight number on the same airline, though we had to disembark at each stop. Because we booked our tickets late by international travel standards, our seats were originally apart, and after some wrangling we got seated together (Ellen slept for the vast majority of the trip, so this turned out to be a nonfactor anyway). The unintended consequence of this was we only got 1 boarding pass for the double leg of Tokyo to Hong Kong to Saigon. Upon re-boarding our flight in Tokyo, they tore our ticket stub. Continue reading

Date, Interrupted

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. It’s been a long few weeks without a break – tests, tons of work, and a couple of special trips up to my hometown D.C. – one for a date (!), and one for a job interview. So sorry, not sorry, for the delay.

Like this.

The date is the topic of today’s post. It was a nearly-perfect afternoon and evening, but I promise I’m not going to write sappy hogwash about bucolically strolling around the Washington Monument under a backdrop of thousands of kites, although that’s exactly what we did. If you’re looking for that, look for a blog with pink frills and prominent background pictures of roses (or maybe Chelsea Handler and Tucker Max, if that’s your thing). But those of you who know me well know that I am absurdly picky and the mere fact that I even went on a date, much less wanted to write about it, is at least noteworthy.

(Andrea, my date, actually suggested I write about what happened. See? She’s a good one!) Continue reading