Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Random Quiz Results 2

You Are a Realist

You don't see the glass as half empty or half full. You see what's exactly in the glass.
You never try to make a bad situation seem better than it is...
But you also never sabotage any good things you have going on.
You are brutally honest in your assessments of situations - and this always seems to help you cope.

You Belong in 1966

If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

You Are a Pegasus

You are a perfectionist, with an eye for beauty.
You know how to live a good life - and you rarely deviate from your good taste.
While you aren't outgoing, you have excellent social skills.
People both admire you - and feel very comfortable around you.

Your Geek Profile:

Academic Geekiness: High
Music Geekiness: High
SciFi Geekiness: High
Movie Geekiness: Moderate
Geekiness in Love: Low
General Geekiness: Low
Internet Geekiness: Low
Fashion Geekiness: None
Gamer Geekiness: None

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

Your Slanguage Profile

Canadian Slang: 75%

Aussie Slang: 50%

British Slang: 25%

New England Slang: 25%

Prison Slang: 25%

Southern Slang: 25%

Here's a few surprises for all my friends:
You Have A Type A Personality

You are hyper, energetic, and always on the mood
You tend to succeed at everything you attempt
And if you don't succeed at first, you quickly climb your way to the top!

You could be called a workaholic, but you also make time for fun
As long as it's high energy and competitive, you're interested
You have the perfect personality for business and atheltic success

You Are a Mac

You are creative, stylish, and super trendy.
You demand the best - even if it costs an arm and a leg.

Your Movie Buff Quotient: 72%

You are a total movie buff. Classics, blockbusters, indie favorites... you've seen most of them.
Your friends know to come to you whenever they need a few good DVD rental suggestions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rest in Piece Cathy

Long time readers of my blog may know who Cathy Seipp is. She was a writer and blogger whose work I stumbled upon over two years ago. I wrote a post about her last June commemorating an anniversary of sorts for her - the fourth anniversary of her diagnosis with inoperable lung cancer. She lost that battle today.

Her blog (click on her name above for a link) was? is? one of the many I read every time there was a new post. I commented a few times on various posts. She talked about a number of things politics, healthcare, life, children. She was always brutally honest and she seemed to enjoy the spirited debates that would happen in the comments section of each post. In fact, she is responsible for my greatest high as a blogger so far. Just click on this post from last July and check out the commenter. It was the first (and so far only) time that someone I considered a "big" blogger not only read my blog but felt moved to comment. Lately though, her posts had been less frequent and were more and more dealing with trips to the hospital, pain pumps etc. Every time the RSS feed told me there was a new post, I dreaded clicking the link, because I knew that one day it would be a post from Maia (her daughter) or a friend telling us she had died.

There are a number of tributes to her. Her blog's most recent posts were written in the last few days by family and friends to serve as updates. Just read the comments on those and you can get a sense of who she is. You could also read this piece by Amy Alkon or this one by Susan Estrich . One of the more interesting ones is a piece in the LA Times which she often lampooned for falling into political correctness a bit too much.

My thoughta and prayers are with Maia and her family. There loss is felt by more people than they know.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007


Today I recognize the passing of a relic from my past.

For Christmas, ES1's parents bought us a treadmill. I finally started using it regularly a few weeks ago. I needed a water bottle, so I grabbed my old trusty standby. Then gravity kicked in.

A short trip of 1 meter down, at an acceleration of 9.8 m/(s^2), means that, discounting air resistance, it took approximately half a second, with a terminal velocity of roughly 4 1/2 m/s or a little under 10 mph.

This was the result:

I was at first discouraged at how little it took to destroy it. It was then that I realized what this thing had been through.

I picked it up on a whim in 1993, at the Three Rivers Rowing Center in Pittsburgh. It was my first away race during my time rowing. It was the first of many. I got to thinking about what this bottle had been through.

This bottle has been from Toronto to Manassas. It's seen service in sub-zero temperatures as well as >90ยบ. It's been sloshed with ice water and blazing sun. From 1993 to 1997 it saw service 6 days a week. After that it was a bit more intermittent, but it still went through a lot.

I started rowing in 1992, in the summer between 7th & 8th grade. I rowed for the West Side Rowing Club club crew until high school. I spent all four years rowing for the Crusaders before going to college.

My first hellish year of college was spent at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I tired of their crew very quickly. They didn't like me yelling at people to stop doing stupid and dangerous things -they found me "abrasive." I couldn't stand their cavalier attitude toward clear safety violations.

Case in point: One frigid morning, the coach's boat was frozen to the dock. The coach told the crew to go out and just run a few courses back and forth, but to stay within visual range. If they should happen to run into trouble in the cold water, there would be nothing that could be done to rescue them. If that pathetic excuse for a coach had tried half that crap at West Side, they would be trying to decide whether to simply fire her, or file charges for reckless endangerment. I'm still surprised that nobody was killed.

The Worcester area grated on me for many reasons. From the annoying regional habit of using "wicked" as an adverb, to what passed for "Buffalo Wings"*, to the fact that the social life of the university was monopolized by cliquey fraternities, I couldn't be rid of that area fast enough. I'm not saying the area has nothing to recommend itself. I'm only saying that the university did nothing to demonstrate it.

After returning to civilization, I spent a few semesters rowing for Canisius College. I couldn't do it for my entire college career. After spending most of my rowing career in teams that were competitive internationally, I couldn't focus on one struggling locally. It was, however, a fun crew. They were hard working, the coaches knew about training (as well as basic safety rules), and everybody got along.

I finally hung up my spandex in my junior year of college. I told myself that when I hit 27, the age at which one could row in the masters category, that I would return.

That happened last June 1st. I haven't returned yet. Part of me wants to go back. Another part of me, however, worries that I would simply be trying to recapture a time in my life that is gone.

The wall of my parents bedroom looked like this:

Right now, they're all sitting in a box. I haven't found room for them yet in my married life. That water bottle was the last relic from that time that I still used. I suppose it is fitting that it finally died. When we have more space, I will find some place to display my old medals. Right now, however, my life is about other things. It's about teaching. It's about honing my skills with a chef's knife instead of an oar. It's about the paint samples ES1 just handed me for the living room. It's about the kids we'll be having in a year and a half or so. And, yes, it's about waiting for the gorram Apple TV to finally come out. My past is my past. I may go back one day. That day, however, is a long way off.

*Point of fact: "Buffalo Wings" do not exist. If you are in Buffalo, they are not called "Buffalo Wings." They are either "wings," or, on formal occasions, "Chicken Wings." If you are outside of Buffalo, you don't know how to make them. Partial exceptions made for transplants, but even the stuff at Buffalo Wild Wings, while very tasty, aren't quite right.

Updated 8/16/07 to correct image links.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

My two cents on the vaccine issue

I'm not a pediatrician, although I might end up a pediatric anesthesiologist. But I was once a budding infectious disease doc (I almost did the IM residency to do ID before I came to my senses). My basic opinion on vaccines - they rock. Since the time of Jenner and using cowpox to prevent smallpox, vaccines have been preventing serious disease in millions of people. Some diseases we vaccinate for are so rare, my generation of physician will likely never see one in a patient (unless we travel to a third world country) nor have to treat one. I just don't understand why so many people are afraid of vaccines. But they are.

One of the biggest controversies surrounds the use of thimerosal in vaccines and a supposed link to autism. The basic theory is this: they put thimerosal in the vaccines and autisim rates went up, therefore thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. An interesting thing to note is that when the vaccine in question was being introduced, the definition of autism changed making it broader. There was also more awareness of the disease, which always leads to increased diagnoses. These things could account for an increase in diagnosis completely unrelated to vaccines.

Here are two articles( 1, 2 ) from Slate regarding autism and thimerosal, one debunking the theory that thimerosal is unsafe and one focusing on the myth of an "autism epidemic".

One of my favorite bloggers (a pediatrician named Flea ) has a series of posts on autism . He has a number of very good breakdowns on the myths and facts surrounding autism.

Do'C from Autism Street has this post reviewing an article that recently appeared in Capital Times.

Respectful Insolence talks about antivaccination lunacy .

Finally, Shinga at Breath Spa For Kids, questions why people believe in vitamins but not vaccines.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

A few Random links

First off: the "Should You Vote?" test. For the record my score was 97% and Peter scored a 94%. They show you a series of pictures of people and answer 2 simple question about each picture. Who is this person and what is their job. And they're multiple choice.

Second: So NYC's banned artificial trans-fats and the FDA is requiring companies to publish the amounts of trans-fats in all food items that have more than 0.5g. This New York Times article (registration required- sorry), talks about an interesting side effect of the trans-fat obession and fears. Natural trans-fats. Turns out there are natural trans-fats found in beef, milk, butter, cheese, etc. Commercial bakeries are having to cut butter our of their products and replace it with margarine/palm oil because consumers are demanding trans-fat free foods. Weirdest fact? Scientists think that the natural trans-fats are healthy but the artificial ones aren't. And I'm sorry, but I'm with the baker, it's not a croissant if there's no butter in it.

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