Metropolis Musings


September 30, 2009
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You can argue about religion all you want, but that Darwin was a smart guy!  I was so close to watching natural selection first hand today.  Now I grew up in Boston, jaywalking is not foreign to me, but I calculate my moves.  Sure, I’ll walk across the street when it says don’t walk, but only because I have looked both ways (thanks parents).  Every now and then I may even push the limits and need to put some spring in my step, but I don’t actively chose to put myself in front of a moving vehicle.

As I was walking home from class earlier I found myself stopped at an intersection.  Generally I like to keep moving, so I cross the street in the direction that has the walk or I keep going up another block, but in this case, I really just needed to wait my turn.  While I was waiting, two delinquents (and yes, they earned their title) came jogging up next to me and proceeded to yell, “FROGGER!” before running out into moving traffic.  Frogger, to those of you unfamiliar, is an arcade turned computer game where you guide poor excuses for frogs (hey, it was the 80s, graphics have come a long way) across a road, dodging cars and trying not to get killed.  Well, I at least give them points for being comical.

So sure enough, they set out into moving traffic, stopping car after car.  And by “car” I mean cab, and cabs don’t like obstructions.  If I were one of the cabs, the only thing that would keep me from teaching them a lesson would be the insurance nightmare that would inevitably ensue.  But alas, yet another opportunity to rid our society of the bottom rung snatched from the jaws of defeat.  Let’s just pray they don’t breed.


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Worst nightmare

September 28, 2009
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Everyone has different fears and it sure is easy to scoff at one’s fear you may not share.  So I want you to think of what scares you the most, got it?  Well that’s what I experienced today.  Are you shaking in your boots?  Are you on the verge of a breakdown?  Is your heart racing as you stave off the anxiety?

I went to my first doctor appointment at my student health center today.  (Come on people, if it just crossed your mind that I would have that kind of anxiety over a doctor appointment you clearly don’t know me.)  Nay, the appointment was fine.  Well, on second thought, you do have to wonder what respectable doctor works out of a student health center.  She had me pronounce and explain a handful of my disorders, inspires confidence.  This is neither here nor there, I was not going for medical advice, I was just using her.

Apparently in the great borough of Manhattan one needs referrals for specialty appointments.  Since those are essentially the only doctors I see, and see them I do, I needed to get my hands on some of those referrals!  So I meet with this doctor and she clicks away at her computer screen till she has entered in all my necessary specialists.  Since I waived the student health insurance and opted to keep my Blue Cross of CA, she directed me down to Billing & Insurance to talk with a gal regarding my referrals and who I can see.

So downstairs I go a-skipping, disturbingly excited to get back on my doctor wagon.  When I finally talk with my new friend in insurance she looks at my card which reads that my insurance is only valid for emergencies when used outside of California.  Well, I’m minorly concerned, but I know I’ve used it in Massachusetts countless times and there has never been an issue.  She amiably says, “let’s find out” and proceeds to call my insurance.

All I can say is, wow.  I hate dealing with insurance companies and medical bills and to watch someone do this as their job, well a piece of me died inside for this poor lady.  Horrible.  After she was given the run around and transferred from one unhelpful person to the next, she finally got her answer.

(Cue the utter fear and anxiety…)

I am not insured outside of California except for emergencies.

WHAT?!  How could this happen?  She said they probably just changed my policy.  Well I could not dial my father fast enough as I walked out of the office wanting to cry and yell all at once.  This of course all came to a surprise to my father as well, who had done extensive research regarding my insurance leading up to my matriculation.

Several phone calls later between insurance companies, my father and the student health center, we cleared up the confusion.  Congratulations, me.  I have health insurance.

Trivial as this may be to some, it turned my world upside down for an hour.  I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my mother for the certain panic that she would experience.  I stay out of the political health care debate, but for people like me to be uninsured, to say it’s a nightmare is an understatement.  Because once it begins, you’ll never wake up out of it.

So that was the terror that was my day.  And in the spirit of this, I would like to share some phobias with you:

Aeronausiphobia – Fear of vomiting secondary to airsickness.

Albuminurophobia – Fear of kidney disease.

Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

Bolshephobia – Fear of Bulsheviks.

Defecaloesiphobia – Fear of painful bowels movements.

Dextrophobia – Fear of objects at the right side of the body.

Lutraphobia – Fear of otters.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia – Fear of Friday the 13th. (Try to say that one!!!)

Symbolophobia – Fear of symbolism.

And I shall add my own…

Uninsuraphobia-fear of being uninsured.

I will not judge your phobia, don’t judge mine.

Posted in Health

Mouse disorders

September 25, 2009
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So my mouse friend is still here.  I see him every now and then just working out on my roommate’s bike.  He just runs up and down the frame of the bike, it’s really quite cute, or so I thought.  After further consideration, I’m a bit concerned.  Do mice know the scientific benefits of exercise?  Despite the integral role they play in research, I don’t think those tiny little brains process that.  So I’m going with vanity.  This little mouse has body dysmorphia.  And what’s worse, he has never got into our food before, though there’s plenty of rice, cereal, oatmeal, good stuff for little mousies.  Well this morning as I was getting my cereal, I noticed he got into a bag of Dove chocolate and had taken a piece out.  Now, who am I to judge a chocolate lover, but I’m just a bit concerned that it’s all I’ve seen him eat.  And then he’s back running laps on the bike frame, a bit distressing.  If this continues I’ll have to stage an intervention.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Around town

September 23, 2009
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Let’s do a photo blog today, shall we?  Random pictures from around the city.


I knew there was something going on in those subways.


What this photo doesn't depict are the gold plated headphones he's adorned with. I bet music sounds sweeter through those puppies.


Even pigeons need shelter from the elements.


An outside screening of The Wiz was preempted by a MJ montage.


Air pollution?


This is inside a secret bathroom, you have to push that green button on the right for the door to slide open.


"Oh, look! My favorite New York pizza place. I'm going to go get me a New York slice!" ~Michael Scott

Posted in New York City

Single Babies

September 22, 2009
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Posted in Miscellaneous

I’ll take my meds

September 22, 2009
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A mother’s nagging is a powerful thing, but after some time, you just stop processing it.  I think this is important, for if we behoove the advice right away, then how would we ever make mistakes and be able to say “Moms are always right”?

Well, today was one of those days.  I was back in Boston this past weekend and my mother kept saying “Take your Enbrel (my arthritis injection)”.  I was sure my plan was better, for a plethora of reasons, I wanted to wait to restart it (after a summer off with the whole brain tumor) until I found a rheumatologist in NYC who would advise me of their ideal treatment plan so as not to keep starting and stopping with these powerful drugs.

I still think I may be onto something, but today’s lecture in my Physical Biomechanics class exhorted me otherwise.  Today’s lecture was on cartilage, though I won’t bore you with the complex mechanisms that govern it, as many of them still are unknown.  In my own life, I can be told my cartilage is breaking down which has deletrious effects on my joints, blah blah blah, but what is it they say?  A picture is worth a thousand words?  Then let me share a few thousand…WARNING: super cool images, but if you’re not into that thing, they’re somewhat graphic.


a) a healthy knee condyle, notice how smooth and shiny b) severe erosion of the surface, not smooth c) the beginnings of erosion, d) the entire condyle head broken down and deformed, nothing smooth about it.


just enough surface incongruity to cause a slippery slope of degeneration


rheumatoid arthritis of the hand on the left, osteoarthritis in the right


severe rheumatoid arthritis affecting the metatarsals and phalanges

Now in the first images, the breakdown of the cartilage and bone is due to osteoarthritis, but hey, you readers should be mighty concerned!  It is highly likely that that will be you someday as it affects over 27 million Americans!  Be afraid!  I fall into both categories, so be on the lookout for my glamour shots up there someday.

But really, this is common, and more common with age, but those of you who are runners (ahem-Jaime!!) or do any sort of high impact or repetitive motion, those pictures should be a slideshow through your mind as you do those activities.  Because guess what?  There’s nothing that will reverse that.  Believe me, or I’d have it done too!

My mom’s preached to me that you only get one set of eyes, so I should take care of them, but you only get one set of cartilage.  Abuse it, see what happens.  I dare ya.

So that is my public service announcement about taking care of your joints.  Do with it as you see fit.

Posted in Health

Late night visitor

September 19, 2009
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I am back in Boston for the weekend.  I went to sleep last night and was so happy to have such silence from the outside world, I didn’t turn my fan on.  30 minutes later I was awoken by an odd noise.  I illuminated my phone to see if I spotted anything.  Sure enough, something flew by.  As my eyes had not yet adjusted, I figured it was a moth.  So I turned on my bedside table and saw this is no ordinary moth.  I hopped out of bed and scurried to turn the light on.  And there he was, in all his glory, a bat circling my room.  Fabulous.

Now growing up, I was obsessed with bats.  They were my favorite animals.  I even have a bat house that still hangs from a pine tree in my side yard.  But I built it so they would live in that house, not mine!

Ultimately, I shut the door, and sleep in a different bedroom.  He probably made it in through A/C that was not tightly sealed.  This morning, figuring the nocturnal creature was fast asleep, my mother and I tag teamed opening the window and taking out the A/C unit so the lil one can fly out this evening.  Let’s hope he finds safe passage out and keeps his rabies to himself!

Posted in Miscellaneous


September 15, 2009
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Ok, so I couldn’t resist sharing this with the world.  I have some excellent news.  I know some of you have heard of “Miranda,” the unfortunate YouTube sensation.  Viral video takes on a new meaning here, as when you watch it, it literally makes you ill.  In this cyber world we live in, you can post anything on the web.  Look at me–and Wikipedia for crying out loud.  So here is a girl, Miranda, who believes she’s the best talent singing has seen since Aretha Franklin.  She is so sure of this, she actually posts videos giving singing lessons.  Learn from a master.

Well, they are far from masterful.  This unfortunate looking girl makes you really wonder, could this possibly be real?  She has posted 39 videos of herself either giving voice lessons or making music videos.  She talks about how her mother helps her edit them, and it forces the question, what mother in their right mind would enable this?

A mother could only support this if the child we actually mentally handicap.  I mean, come on.  So the inference is there.  Even how the girl moves suggests something is just not quite wired right.

Miranda says her inspirations are Britney Spears, Spice Girls and Josh Groban.  However she says in one clip that “I mostly just listens to me, because I know what I’m doing–I teach myself.”  Okay sweetie, keep telling yourself that.

We all have seen the American Idol auditions, do these people honestly think they can sing, or do they do it just to get a rise out of people?  William Hung made a name for himself, though he genuinely believed he was a star.  And incidentally got his 15 minutes of fame.  But what is this girl doing?

Well, exactly that.  She’s getting famous through her mediocrity.  If you could even justify it as that.  Her YouTube channel has been viewed 3/4 of a million times.  That’s insane.  But she’s making a name for herself.  And she’s doing it to prove a point, sometimes people get more famous for being talentless.   Just look at Heidi and Spencer of The Hills.

The bombshell here is that she is quite good!  I was rooting for this to be the case!  No one, I don’t care how mentally challenged, could continue to make such a mockery of themselves like she does.  It does leave it to be questioned how she has so much free time to be making these videos, but we won’t question her time management.

Miranda is the alter ego of one Colleen Ballinger.  And now after seeing her true talent, I can fully appreciate her mastery.  Bravo Miranda.  We are a people of diverse talents.  And one of life’s great challenges is identifying and flourishing in your own.  It’s painful to watch people strive for something they may not be meant to achieve.  Now I can sleep at night knowing that mankind is that much closer to reaching our potential.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Colleen…

This clip is taken at a Broadway cast party where she performed as Miranda earlier on.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Night at the United Nations

September 13, 2009
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IMG_0516This city sure is supplying quite the spectrum of events. After a concert in a shoe store days prior, last night I attended a function at the United Nations.  The UN hosted the Concert for Pakistan, an event meant to raise awareness towards the 3 million internally displaced people of Pakistan.

The evening was filled with both speakers and performances.  Some of the speakers included Deepak Chopra, Jeff Skoll (who was the first president of eBay and now runs many socially aware companies and foundations) and Dr. R.K. Pachauri (who along with Al Gore, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007).  Performance highlights included Gavin Rossdale (who was accompanied to the event by Gwen Stefani), Sting (via video) and Junoon.


iPhones can capture some pretty amazing pictures.

Though perhaps not as star studded as Darfur or Burma, it was definitely a top notch event.  The “Who’s Who” of Pakistanis were there, flying in from all over the country.  As exciting as this all was, the message stood, peace in Pakistan is paramount for securing peace around the world.

So that was my Saturday night.  Pretty standard.

Posted in New York City

Shoe Store Surprise

September 11, 2009
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Well, my initial hypothesis stands.  New York City is just so random and last night was no exception.  It was what is known as “Fashion Night Out” in NYC so the trendy shopping areas go crazy.  Now, if you know me, you know fashion’s not really my thing, so I was not intrigued until I happened upon some exciting information.  I looked up what stores were involved and finally saw one I recognized–Nine West.  photo-8The rest were mostly designers, well I’m assuming that’s what they were, just lots of European names that sounded really expensive.   So I click on Nine West and to my surprise, they were having a concert in their store that evening.  And who would perform in this unusual venue?  Third Eye Blind!  It’s a band, people, anyone over the age of 35 may have to google them.

So.  Now I’m pumped.  I love Third Eye Blind (or as they are affectionately known, 3eb).  When I arrived with some friends, there was a line around the corner, though they were located one store from the corner so it was not a horrific wait.  However, in the scheme of how many patrons a shoe store could fit, it was iffy if we were to get in.  A few girls behind us left when they heard Justin Timberlake was at Saks, but that didn’t help us move up in the line.  Finally they let a few people in and that was it!  Already filled to capacity.  I refused to accept defeat yet!

We hung out in line for a bit longer, people in front of us slowly drifted away and you could hear the music inside.  Eventually enough people had left so that I was at the front of the outdoor crowd.

Before I get to the climax, I must digress and mention that there were some characters out last night.  3eb has it’s followers, but is not as mainstream as some bands, so its followers come out of the woodwork for Nine West concerts.  There was this one guy who was in his 40s, I’d say, and was a diehard.  Sang along to all the lyrics, but showed his undying support by sporting a yarmulke with a 3eb logo stitched on.  Mighty impressive.

The other hilarious encounter was not so much a devout fan as it was just awkward behavior.  There was this Asian girl that weaseled her way up right in front of me.  After a few minutes, it became clear that she was trying to find her friend in the back of the crowd.  She kept turning around and looking back and forth constantly and every now and then glance back down at her phone.  Then she decides she needs to be a bit more proactive and thinks it best to try and call out to them.  She goes to bring her hands to her mouth and yell out to them, but then thinks better of this and chicken’s out.  After all, some of us are trying to listen.  Well she continues to do this at least another dozen times.  It ends up looking like she is dry heaving, very erratic.  Finally, she commits, and in an ever so soft whisper calls out “Chris”.  Yeah sweetie, now he’s got the location pinpointed.  She was thoroughly amusing to watch.

Alright, back to excitement.  So, I’m towards the front or the crowd outside, and what should happen?  Stephan Jenkins (the lead singer) feels bad and decides he’ll come outside and play a song for us!  With the people having to make room, he is literally standing directly in front of me, no more than a foot between his guitar and myself.  It was incredible.  I don’t get star struck, but I was somewhat in shock of the whole situation, definitely worth it to stand outside for the minutes prior.


Stephen Jenkins of 3eb, this picture is zoomed all the way out.

So that was my randomly amazing evening.  The added bonus being that Nine West gave out free umbrellas just for kicks.  It was drizzling off and on, but they came in handy later.  And with a free umbrella and a performance that breached my personal space, I went home happy.

Posted in New York City
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Adjusting to city life...