Cracking Down

I'm staying tonight to study so I can justify going out tomorrow night. And by "study," I really mean "play Youtube Street Fighter." Never heard of it? Basically, you click the buttons on the screen and watch your character fight the opponent of your choice. All via the magical portal known as Youtube! It's pretty much the most amazing thing I've seen all week. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!

Guilty Pleasure

This is embarrassing for me to admit, so I'm just going to go ahead and say it... I'm obsessed with Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew. Yes, that is the full name of the show in all its ridiculousness, and that is how I always refer to it. Except for when I use the dyslexic abbreviation, ABDC, which also entertains me to no end. Basically, the show is a dancing version of American Idol, only ten times more ridiculous because 1) JC Chasez is one of the judges, 2) it's hosted by Mario Lopez, and 3) the dance crews have horribly misspelled names reminiscent of Flavor Flav's girlfriends, like Fly Khicks and Boxcuttuhz.

I have three favorites that I hope will make it to the end of Season 3. The first is Dynamic Edition, a small town dance crew that has held the Clogging Champions of America title for seven years running. Then there's Quest Crew, representing all of the Asians from Los Angeles. But in the end, my bets are on Strikers All-Stars, a step team from Florida A&M University.

Tonight's episode features a Britney Spears challenge, in which each team will be dancing to a different Britney song while employing certain dance moves assigned to them by the judges. Ugh, why am I such a sucker for trashy television shows?

I Has a Hot Dog

Given my love for Lolcats and Loldogs, we all knew that sooner or later, I'd be building my own Lols with Titan. Here is my first creation, inspired by Titan's attempt at sabotaging my studying last night. I was finally beginning to grasp the concepts of peripheral vascular control when he decided that it would be more beneficial for me to scratch his back. I am actually sitting in my computer chair with my feet propped on my bed in this photo, with Titan setting his front paws on my legs. That last sentence contained five different prepositional phrases. Grammar win!

For All You Nerds Out There

Let It Snow

This morning, I awoke to the sounds of a wintry mix beating against my window. I ran to my computer to check my e-mail, hoping that our 8am class had been canceled due to the dangerous road conditions that had been threatening to keep our guest lecturers away. Unfortunately, classes and small group discussions continued as scheduled. Womp womp.

That was only the first let-down of the day. I was really excited to come home after class let out to play with Titan in the snow, but when I let him outside, it's as if he barely noticed any of the precipitation that had collected on the ground. Okay, fine, I realize that we got MAYBE 1/4" of snow and ice in the grass, but still, I expected at least a little bit of a reaction. Instead, he just putzed around, smelled the ground here and there, and then pooped. I have a really exciting dog.

Xin Nian Kuai Le

Today is the first day of the new lunar calendar year, and I just got off of the phone with my parents. Apparently, while I was up late studying last night, they were partying with their friends, who had come over to eat jiao zi (dumplings) and nian gao (New Year's cake). Of course, no Chinese New Year is complete without the "CCTV New Year's Gala," which I suppose is the Asian version of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," only with the added bonus of comedy skits, acrobatics, and Chinese opera.

Kevin came into town today, and I guess I should have suggested that we eat at an Asian restaurant, but instead, we went to Mono Loco with Catherine, Ashley, and Nick. I'm pretty sure that Mexicans don't celebrate Chinese New Year, but they sure do make a mean burrito. I highly recommend the Bobby's crispy cod and spicy shrimp burrito. It's delicious and large enough for two meals, and that's saying a lot coming from me.

Cracker Barrel

...why dost thou evade me so? Last semester, I learned that, being the damn Yankee that he is, Jon has never been to a Cracker Barrel in his entire life. It has been my desire, nay, my dream, ever since then to introduce him to what may be the finest chain restaurant in America. Well, maybe second to Olive Garden.

Our first attempt at realizing this dream was on our road trip up to NYC during Thanksgiving Break. Alas, the stars did not align, and everyone in the car was so hungry by the time we got to Maryland that we had to pull off of the highway to eat as soon as possible, and we ended up at McDonald's instead.

Our second attempt was going to be today. On my way back from Roanoke, I was supposed stop at the Cracker Barrel in Waynesboro, where I would meet up with Jon and the rest of the crew. But, on my way there, I got a call from Jon saying that our plans had been canceled. This was a double-whammy for me: on top of the fact that I would not get to eat at Cracker Barrel today, I had skipped out on the lunch at church in order to make it there in time, so I missed out on free Southern cooking as well.

Good thing I have some leftover dolsot bibimbop from the Korean House. Lunch win!

VMed Talent Show

How quickly it was all over.

The entire school has been busy for the past week as students practiced for the VMed Talent Show, and Nosheen and I have used up all our funnies trying to write creative skits to introduce each act. The show ended up being a blast, and our barbershop quartet, the Lymph Notes, had an awesome debut performance. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make any jokes for the next month, as I am entirely drained of any funniness and punniness that I may have ever had.

And now, to commence my two-hour drive to Roanoke. I wish I could go to the Talent Show after-party and get wastey-faced with my classmates, but I'm accompanying for one of my college choirs, Jubilate, at the Colonial Avenue Baptist Church tomorrow morning. Here's to hoping that I don't fall asleep at the wheel and die tonight. More importantly, here's to hoping that with Sunny in NOVA and me in Roanoke, someone will step up to the plate and document tonight's festivities.

Korean House

It's my new favorite restaurant in Charlottesville. I've been there a few times now, and each time, I have walked away full to the brim. Tonight we went there to celebrate Patrick's birthday, and the owner made dumplings for all of us on the house! We ordered our food family style, and I tried two dishes I'd never had before, the spicy squid and the seafood pancakes. Mmm, dericious!

On the way home, I stopped at an Exxon to get gas. While the tank was filling up, I walked around, searching for one of the window cleaners. One of the downsides to living at my house is that our driveway is bordered by a dense collection of trees, so there are constantly bird droppings all over my car. Well, as it turned out, this particular gas station that I had stopped at didn't have any window cleaners. What were they thinking? Have they no regard for my OCD tendencies!?

Christmas in January

I finally finished the last of my mom's Christmas ham at lunch today. I've been packing a ham sandwich every single day since we got back from winter break, and as much as I love Virginia ham, I would be lying if I said I wasn't elated to be finished with it for a while. Of course, just as I pulled the last package out of the freezer to defrost last night, I discovered that I still have several frozen turkey slices from Thanksgiving. Hooray?

I also just call from my neighbor saying that he had found Titan wandering down the street an hour ago. I swear, that dog is going to be the death of me.

On My Deathbed

I've been feeling a little bit under the weather the past few days, but my illness hit me full-force last night. I went to bed pretty early, and woke up around 2 or 3 in the morning with night chills. I was shivering under my covers, yet somehow sweating at the same time. I don't typically get headaches, but I had a terrible one last night. It literally felt like my dural sinuses were pushing out against my skull and about to explode. The back of my neck was aching, and I was in so much pain overall that I thought I was dying. "Well, if this is it, I'm ready for you to take me," I said to God. I've had appendicitis, and I was a victim of the UVA flu outbreak last year, but nothing prepared me for the amount of discomfort I was experiencing last night.

To add insult to injury, I apparently didn't close my door entirely last night. I was awoken this morning when Titan barged into my room and tried jumping onto my bed but succeeded only in sticking his paw into my mouth. Probably the grossest thing that he's ever done to me. Thanks a lot, "best friend"!

The good news is, I survived the walk to the new CVS on the corner, purchased a box of Sudafed, and now I feel much better. Only six hours left until the LOST season premiere...

Red and Yellow, Black and White

We got a break during school today to watch the inauguration of President Barack Obama (w00t!). I felt bad for him when he made two boo-boos in a row while taking the oath, but I thought his speech was awesome and inspiring. Civil rights advocate Rev. Joseph Lowery ended up stealing the show with the final words to his benediction:
We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.

It's not the first time he's said those words, either; he used the same line at a Michelle Obama campaign appearance in Charlotte, North Carolina last May. My only question: have I been too tense? How can I make myself more mellow!?

Also, Rev. Lowery's speech reminded me of the hymn we always sang in Children's Church on Sundays:

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Superb Lyrebird

I don't know how we got on the topic, but I remember talking about birds with Nosheen and Cameron the other night, and I was suddenly reminded of a video we watched in Animal Behavior class. This was truly one of the best classes I ever took. We had lecture on Monday and Wednesday, and every Friday, we would watch a wildlife documentary. The ones hosted by Sir David Attenborough were always the crowd favorites.

Attenborough celebrated his 80th birthday in May 2006, and to commemorate his contributions to the study of natural history, BBC conducted a poll to reveal the public's favorite Attenborough moment. It turns out the clip I was thinking about was the winner, and it's easy to see why.

Watson 110s, Part V

Well, it's the last day of the week, and who better to end this series with than my own roommate, NSG?

I have always been somewhat of an idealist. I went into college thinking that my roommate and I would quickly learn that we had a lot in common, become best friends, live together all four years, keep in touch even after we graduated, and watch our kids grow up together. This was as far from the truth as possible. NSG and I were nothing alike: me, the outgoing kid who didn't drink during his first year of college, and NSG, the seemingly shy kid who eventually found his niche when he pledged a fraternity.

Just as the speakers at the beginning of the school year promised, I was able to learn a lot from my roommate. For example, I learned that you should not keep a carpet in your dorm room, just in case your roommate decides to consume a little too much alcohol, come home, and pee all over the floor. In fact, MP and CR learned the same lesson a week later, when NSG did the same thing in their room.

Of course, by the time I found out about NSG's drinking habits, I had already signed a lease to live with him, JS, and CS during our second year. My learning process was not over, it seemed. In our new apartment, I discovered that alcohol and cooking could be a fiery combination. Literally. For some reason, whenever NSG came home after a night out, he would want to cook himself a pot of stew. Yet, he would often pass out before he finished cooking, leaving the stove on all night. Twice, I woke up to the sound of the smoke detector, ran into the kitchen, and found our stovetop and countertop ablaze. TWICE! It is truly a miracle that NSG never burned down the entire Venable Court complex.

NSG, you have proven to me that it is possible to live with someone for two years and still know nothing about him as a person. Yet, you provided me with an eventful college experience that I will never forget, and I thank you for that.

Watson 110s, Part IV

Perhaps the most eclectic person in our suite was MW. MW went to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and embodied every stereotype I associate with it.

The first thing you would notice when you met MW was the way he dressed. Like all UVA students, he would wear Polo shirts, but for some reason, his were all too large for him. So large, in fact, that they looked more like Polo dresses. MW also wore moccasins all day, every day. He would wear them both inside and outside the dorm, a source of great frustration for me. Living in new dorms, my roommate and I had the luxury of stacking our beds on top of one another so that we would have more floor space. MW would frequently run into our room, yell "BUNK BED SYNDROME!", and jump into my bed, plopping his dirty moccasins on my pillows. I was never amused.

MW did not fully grasp the role that roommates played in each others' lives. He would insist that he and CS, his roommate, go to bed at the same time. CS would always stay up really late to study, so MW would stay up with him until they could both turn the lights off and go to bed together. I can understand how this made CS uncomfortable, especially because MW said to him at the beginning of the year, "Don't worry; I won't touch you while you're sleeping."

One incident I will never forget involved me brushing my teeth in the bathroom. Suddenly, I heard robot noises coming from the shower stall. "Boop. Beep boop. Beep bop boop." Many people sing in the shower, but as with everything else, MW did it his own special way.

MW, I hope you have found joy and happiness for yourself. I only wish you were still on Facebook, so I could find out without having to actually talk to you.

Watson 110s, Part III

There is nobody else quite like my dear suitemate JS. JS had many interests, including Russian, music, and math. In fact, he was so interested in those three subjects that he applied to major in all of them, in addition to the engineering degree he was pursuing. However, his greatest interest of all was eBay. According to the mailroom workers, he received the most packages out of everyone in the entire first year class. Included in these packages was a pair of tasers, one for me and one for him. He also ordered me a katana, a request inspired by my obsession with the movie Kill Bill. Our suite was not exactly a model for safety.

What JS purchased for himself, however, was much more interesting. For example, being a member of the Cavalier Marching Band and an avid marching band fan in general, he ordered 30 different band uniforms from various vendors. He declared February "Marching Band Month," during which he wore a distinct outfit each day.

Like many first years, JS was only recently becoming aware of his limits when it came to alcohol intake. One night, he came back to the dorm so drunk that he took off all of his clothes and passed out, naked, on the bathroom floor. DP, being the kind and humane roommate that he was, took a picture of JS's embarrassing condition, printed out several copies, and taped them up on every door in the suite. Needless to say, JS and DP didn't get along very well for the rest of the year.

JS, I can't believe I consented to live another year with you. May your future be bright, and may you use your astronomical intelligence for good and not evil.

Watson 110s, Part II

SS, another member of my first year suite, was an international student from India. He seemed quiet and reserved at first, but his friendliness won me over, and we were pretty good friends by the end of the year. However, it turned out that SS was also someone who believed everything he read on the internet. One day, he read an article that said that it was medically beneficial to poop only once a day. From then on, he would hold in his poop from the moment he woke up until after we came back from dinner. Needless to say, when he finally went, the bathroom would smell so awful that nobody would be able to use it for another half hour. Despite our protests, SS refused to change his habits.

In addition to having a god-like control of his external anal sphincter, SS also had an absurd ability to sleep. It's much easier to count the number of classes he attended than to count the number that he missed. He would often sleep more than 12 hours a day, which was remarkable, given that he never physically exerted himself. It's also an understatement to say he slept; rather, he would have daily comas. Once, we set off the fire alarm in his room to see if that would wake him up. That was when we discovered that if there were ever a fire in Watson, SS would surely perish in the flames.

SS, I respect you and envy your ability to sleep through an earthquake, tsunami, and bear attack, all at the same time. May our paths cross again soon.

Watson 110s, Part I

The organization of my suite makes me doubt the UVA housing process. Allegedly, they try to pair you up with someone with whom you would be a good match, but in the case of the Watson 110s, it did not work at all. It's not that none of us got along; we could have easily swapped a few roommates amongst each other, and I think everyone would have ended up happier.

I will begin with one of my suitemates, CR. I would not be exaggerating if I said that CR had the worst body odor of anyone that I had ever met. It's not that he didn't shower; in fact, he had excellent hygiene. But somehow, he always carried around an aura of stink that no amount of soap, deodorant, or cologne could hide. CR also had the world's worst case of bacne. Yet, he insisted upon taking off his shirt and pants as soon as he walked into the suite door, wearing nothing but his too-tight boxers, even (especially?) when girls would come visit our suite. Also, his face resembled that of a koopa troopa.

CR pledged a fraternity in the spring of our first year, proving that the UVA Greek system wasn't lying when they claimed that there is a frat out there for everyone. CR was very proud of his frat, and would often gloat about it in front of the rest of us. When DP and NG ordered Chinese takeout during the Superbowl, CR exclaimed, "You can't eat Chinese food during the Superbowl! That's so un-America! I'm going to go to my frat, where we'll be having pizza and beer!" Heavy emphasis on the words "pizza" and "beer."

Ah, CR. I will never forget you. Or your stench. It haunts me to this day.

Memory Lane

I went to see the University Singers performance at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Richmond this evening, and on my way home, I made a wrong turn and ended up a few blocks from my high school. The rest of my drive home, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia for both high school and college. I am dedicating the rest of this week to stories about my first year suitemates, because I have honestly never met a more peculiar group of people in my life.

In other news, I'm helping out with the Richmond, Virginia Regional Selection Committee for the Jefferson Scholars Foundation tomorrow. My team is interviewing five nominees, and we will be meeting with the rest of the teams at the end of the day to make recommendations on who should be invited back for the second round of regional interviews. It's hard to believe that five years ago, I was the one sitting in the hot seat, freaking out about what I would be asked and how I would respond. I'm not going to lie, it feels a lot better on this end. After all, I am an ENFJ. It's in my nature to judge other people.

The Day the Music Died


I let Titan out of my sight for five minutes while I took a shower, and I came back to find that he had destroyed my Mollard conducting baton. And I mean DESTROYED. He reached up to the shelf where I kept my baton, chewed through the case, and broke it into four separate pieces. Needless to say, I scolded him more than I had ever scolded him before. While I was yelling at him, I noticed for the first time that Titan can wink. The more I screamed, the more he winked his right eye. I've never simultaneously loved and hated anyone as much in my entire life.

We Eat What We Like!

One of the good things about spending so much on Titan recently is that it has forced me to curb my own expenses somewhat. I haven't eaten a single meal at a restaurant or at the hospital cafeteria since I've been back in Charlottesville. I pack a lunch to bring to school with me every day, and I cook dinner for myself in the evening. Hooray for saving money!

My usual lunch consists of a sandwich made with leftover Christmas ham, which I am still trying to get rid of. I want to make the switch over to pre-made food that just needs to be heated up in the microwave, but I just can't bring myself to buy Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine anymore. I used to eat them a lot in college, but the portions are way too small, and I would have to eat two or three boxes at lunch just to come anywhere close to being satisfied. Why can't there just be a "Choice" or "Cuisine" that's made for people who aren't trying to lose weight!? I'M SO HANGRY!!

New Year, New Regrets

Last night, Nosheen and I threw our med school's annual Faux New Year's Party. We had it at Boylan Heights, where we were able to watch the big game on their giant televisions. At midnight, we played a DVD of the Times Square ball drop, and from there on, DJ Mega Myke took over the party. As we predicted, the first year class immediately turned the entire upstairs into a dance floor, while the rest of the school stood around and stared at us with their judging eyes.

Things were going along pretty well until the manager came over to me and asked me why people weren't dancing on the stage yet. Of course my immediate response was to jump onto the stage and pull as many people as I could with me. Sorry, I'm not very familiar with the word "dignity." And neither are the other future doctors of America.

Gold Digger

I swear, Titan is just using me for my money. I've spent over $150 on pet supplies and almost $300 on vet visits already. While I was at home in Richmond, I took advantage of the free wellness exam, paid for by the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter, but I got a call from the vet yesterday saying that the lab results were back, and Titan has both roundworms and giardia. So, I had to take him to the vet again today to get medication. He also hurt his right shoulder playing with Sampson the other night, so he's just all kinds of beat up right now. Apparently taking care of a dog is hard and expensive work!

Also, to prove that I can, in fact, talk about something other than Titan, here is an amazing video from the people at The Onion. I feel like they're talking about consumers just like me...

Hosea, Can You See?

I just got back from singing the National Anthem at the UVA vs. Brown basketball game with the Arrhythmics, our med school a capella group. It was fun, and we did a good job, but it just reaffirmed my dislike for our national anthem in general. Its range of one and a half octaves makes the melody really awkward for to sing, no matter what key it is in.

At least the song has some pretty awesome lyrics, and I would be lying if I said I didn't get goosebumps every time I hear it sung well. And at least our national anthem has words; those of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, and San Marino are completely instrumental. BORING! And at least we don't share our national anthem with another country, like Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ciskei, Transkei, and South Africa, which all use the same song. LAME! And at least we have a national anthem, because under Taliban rule, music was banned in Afghanistan, and having a national anthem would have been against the law. WEAK SAUCE!

Also, Happy Epiphany! Apparently the Twelve Days of Christmas start, not end, on December 25. Hooray for the visit of the wise men and their legacy of commercialization!


Tina gave me all three seasons of "Arrested Development" for Christmas, and she also included a card with this drawn on the cover. My mom thought it was the funniest/cleverest/most creative thing she had ever seen. Thanks a lot, Tina.

Titan is now on Facebook. Yeah, I know, I'm that kid who makes a profile for his pet. So sue me. But by "sue" I mean "friend" and by "me" I mean "Titan Zhao."

Google Analytics is a service provided by Google that makes daily reports on any website that you register. It lets you know things like how many visitors you get a day, how they came across your website, and how much time the average visitor spends on it. In the past two months, I have had hits from Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and even Kuwait. Who are you, international stalkers, and why did you stop reading my blog?

I have also learned that people have come across Idiopathies by searching for the terms "romalian type font," "leah remini," and "obsessed with self diagnostics." Perhaps more interestingly, people have come across Our Separate Ways by googling "fucking pi kapp boys." I mean, seriously? Who is looking for that, and what do they think they're going to find? Gotta respect the crazies out there.

Extreme Loggers

Last night while Catherine and I were at 27, the bar in downtown Richmond where Kevin works, the TVs were turned to the Discovery Channel. Apparently, in addition to being a hip and happening joint, it is also highly education-oriented! Anyway, they were playing an "Extreme Loggers" marathon, and like the proverbial train-wreck, it demanded our full attention. We watched, mouths agape, as lumberjacks tried to take down trees in the "cursed swamplands" (their words, not mine). Oh, the drama.

Coincidentally, I helped my parents cut down three trees in our backyard this afternoon so that my mom can have more room to grow her garden. I was basically an unstoppable force. Watch out, Brawny Man, I'm coming for your job!

And, most importantly, I got my camera back. It has absolutely been the longest two weeks of my life. Prepare to be accosted by my paparazzi skills if I see you in the upcoming week.

Long Day

Today was a long day, mostly because of Titan.

First of all, he chewed one of my mom's slippers to pieces. And I mean pieces. When we got home from running errands, we couldn't even figure out what he had ripped apart until we noticed that there was only one slipper there.

Second of all, he decided to poop in the middle of PetSmart. Luckily, they have bags and paper towels in every aisle in case your pet makes a mess. Still, it was pretty embarrassing, but more so for me than Titan, who didn't seem to care at all.

Third of all, he got a little too excited while we were playing and bit me. So if I start suffering from paralysis, cerebral dysfunction, paranoia, and hallucinations, you'll know exactly when I caught rabies. Bummer.

Happy New Year!

Here's to a new start with a new puppy named Titan! I adopted him from the Chesterfield County Humane Society yesterday, and I already love him more than anything else in the world. The workers at the shelter think that he's a six- to eight-month old lab/shepherd mix. He was picked up as a stray, but he definitely had a family before, because he's already house trained and knows how to "sit." You can expect a bajillion photos of him as soon as I get my camera back from Best Buy.

And, since it's New Year Day, I suppose it's time to do my resolutions. But let's be honest, how can you improve something that's already perfect?

1. Go to the gym at least four times a week. You know you're out of shape when your puppy can run faster than you can.
2. Refrain from telling every joke that comes to mind. Apparently people don't think I'm as funny as I do.
3. Spend time on devotionals every day. Because of all of my relationships, I probably spend the least time on the one I have with God.
4. Floss my teeth every night. You can never do enough to fight gum disease, halitosis, and tooth decay.
4. Capture Osama bin Laden. I know, I've made this resolution before, but I swear, this is the year that I actually do it!