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Friday, February 17, 2006
  Winter Finally Arrives in the South!
At long last, wintry weather has arrived down here in Texas! I believe this will be only our second freeze this winter season, although we may have had more than that - I just don't remember it.

It's about darn time!
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
  My Weight Loss Saga
Like so many others, I've gained weight over the past few years - about 40 pounds in the past 4 years, in fact. Despicable, I know. So, now that graduation is right around the corner, I've decided to lose weight and attempt to get back down under 200 pounds - a weight I haven't seen in about 5 or 6 years.

The thing is, I don't look fat right now - a bit soft around the middle and a few other places, but not fat. However, I've watched my pants size expand over the past few years and I finally got tired of it. I'm going to lose weight and get healthy, dammit!

This isn't my first time having to lose weight. During undergrad and just after, I packed on a few pounds and was in much the same shape as I am now - although now is probably a bit worse because I've been at it a while longer and I'm also a bit older, which never seems to help in the weight department.

About 3 or 4 months before I started medical school, however, I decided to lose weight and was quite successful in my venture - I lost quite a bit of weight and also toned up quite well in the months before August 2002. Now it is time to begin again.

I've re-started my original diet, which consists of calorie restriction (starting at 1700 calories a day and progressively decreasing over the weeks) and daily exercise to build muscle mass, which only increases fat burning potential. I also drink a LOT of water - like between 1 and 2 gallons a day. These things are the basis of the "Bowflex diet." Fortunately, back when I actually had a job, I bought a bowflex, so it has always been sitting around - just waiting to be brought back to life. I think it was probably the best purchase of my life... well, definitely one of the best :)

I started 2 weeks ago, and although I haven't lost a ton of weight, I can feel and see the changes in my body. My stomach doesn't stick out as much, my thighs don't rub together quite as much as they used to, my love handles are smaller, and I have much more definition in my chest and arms. Once I burn off this spare tire, I think I'll look pretty good again.

My scale has weight and fat percentage measurements (it's one of those fancy digital scales). With that information, you can calculate how much of your body weight is attributable to fat. For instance, when I started, according to my scale, I had 73 pounds of fat on my body - gross. So, since I started, I have lost almost 2% body fat. While my weight has not changed much, my body composition has. Muscle weighs considerably more than adipose tissue, so until muscle mass plateaus, weight will not dramatically drop. I should be getting to this stage pretty soon.

I'm very excited to see what I can do before graduation - as I said, I would like to get down to about 15-20% body fat, and see where that puts me on the scale. With the muscle mass I add, I might not be in my "Ideal body weight" or "body mass index" range, but I'll be well within the healthy parameters for body composition.

This is one of the fallacies of using the IBW or BMI to determine obesity. Neither scale takes into account your body frame or your body make-up. A man who works out and has a larger proportion of muscle mass than another man can be considered in the "overweight (>25kg/m2)" or even "obese (>30kg/m2)" range for BMI, just because of his body composition. Likewise, the IBW does not take into account the person's body frame. Ideal body weight for me may not be the same for someone who is built like a rail. I have muscle mass, a broad shoulders and chest, and strong hips. These numbers cannot be the same across the board.

I suppose that's why they leave the final judgements up to the person's physician. However, there are internet BMI calculators that will classify you as overweight or obese as long as you provide them with 2 numbers: your height and weight. That's all it asks for - nothing else. Only those two numbers make up who you are..

I hate computers sometimes.

Ok, I'm rambling now - I'm going to stop before I end up on a tirade. Wish me luck!
Saturday, January 28, 2006
  The Shit-kicker parade is on!
This being my first full day back home, I decided to go get groceries and other needed things from the grocery story down the street. Lo and behold, however, my path was blocked by a bunch of shit-kickers on their way to the stock show and rodeo.

I'll never understand why they insist on having that mess of humanity right near downtown where it completely blocks and trashes the cultural district.

Besides, you have all those shit-kickers running around for a week and they are just annoying. Why would someone want to dress like that if they didn't have to? Cowboys are almost extinct - quit trying to be something you're not and be happy with your pathetic, worthless life.

Remember, you're a special and unique snowflake - just like everyone else.

Needless to say, I did eventually get to the grocery store and I made it back home safe and sound.
  Why dial-up internet sucks..
Ok, if you haven't determined it by the title of this entry, I hate dial-up. I hate everything about it. It's constricting, restricting, and many other words I'd prefer not to type out right now... :)

I spent the past 4 weeks on an away rotation with no access to the internet other than (gasp) dial-up. I just can't deal with that. The internet is no longer designed to be user friendly for people without high speed access. With the rich media content of the internet, slow access is no longer acceptable.

As such, I feel now is the time to push for universal access to affordable high speed internet access. Whether wireless wide-area networks, dsl, cable, or fibre-optic - it doesn't matter to me. The internet has become a staple of our society, and as such we need to ensure everyone has equal access to it.

Besides, dial-up just sucks.
Monday, January 23, 2006
  Good Lord, it's been a while!!
Ok.. I'm going to start blogging again. I took quite a large hiatus in November and December while I was interviewing all over New England and the MidAtlantic states. I really have no excuse, except that I am lazy :)

I promise I'm going to be back, although not as frequently as I'd like, since I am now working from a 28.8kbps dial-up account. I'll try to write something at least once a week...

Since I know you are just dying to know more about me, check out my 'Myspace' account at I've put a bit of info on there for everyone to enjoy, and several of my friends are from my favorite radio show, Opie and Anthony.
Monday, November 07, 2005
  TAMS alumni mailing list
I started getting emails today from the TAMS alumni mailing list today.. so far I've gotten about 15... good grief. I enjoy hearing from people I haven't heard from in almost 10 years, it's just strange. There are people that are lawyers, relief workers, medical students, chiropractic students.. and that's only including people who've written in so far.

How much fun is that!!
  A new place
Like I explained in my last post, I am living in a hotel. Well, yesterday we moved to a new hotel - this one very near Philadelphia, Pa.

I spent a lot of time yesterday reading in one of my favorite books - Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide (Companion Handbook), aka Baby Tintinalli. Since I finished the other books I bought at Barnes and Noble last week, I thought I should start reading something at least vaguely related to medicine.

Today, I am setting my computer up again. I (once again) deleted it completely and installed a couple of operating systems. First, I tried to install a Gentoo system, but I could not get the ethernet modem setup, so I gave up on that. FreeBSD did not detect my hard drive correctly, so I didn't want to go any further to prevent damage to my system. I ended up installing SuSE, and played with it for 3-4 hours, but I couldn't stand the userland interface... it drove me nuts. So, right now I'm back to Mandrake/Mandriva, which took me 2 hours to re-install after midnight last night. Needless to say, it was a late night. Of course, this is much of the time I spent reading the above book :)

So, now I'm trying to get the system back to where I left it - with a few improvements.

So, I'm going to stay with a 64 bit OS and wait for Macromedia and Sun to step up to the plate and make 64 bit versions of their software.

Right now my to do list is:

My current wish list is:
That's what I need/want right now. I'll keep you posted.
Friday, November 04, 2005
  Living in a hotel
Well, my rotation is over (and has been for the past week) and now I'm on "vacation" to do residency interviews. The good thing is that I don't have to get up really early to go to work. The bad part is that I now have nowhere to live. It sucks. So, my girlfriend and I have spent the past week living in a hotel.

Not the best of situations.

Fortuntately, we are in one of those "Long stay hotels," which is really much more like a small apartment than a hotel. It still isn't home, though.

The good thing is there is free internet access here, which is nice. I recently got a new laptop and I'm still trying to find a linux distro that works well with the hardware and lets me do everything I want. Right now, I'm using Mandriva, but I think I'll be switching pretty soon. Right now, I'm looking at SUSE and Fedora. I'm still toying around with Gentoo and Debian as well. I really like the idea of Debian as a community, but I like the source built power of Gentoo. Anyway, that's for a later day.

Right now, I'm hanging out in the hotel and writing on my blog. I've been pretty neglectful of my blogs lately, but not much is going on right now in my life. I have some info about my interviews to post, but otherwise, I'm just hanging out, doing a lot of reading for fun (in fact, I need to find a book store so I can buy some more books to read), and spending time with my girlfriend.

While I'm enjoying the time "off," I would rather spend the time at home. I hate to say it, but I miss my Xbox :)

How pathetic, huh?
Monday, October 17, 2005
  A weekend off...
As the title states, I had this past weekend off. It was glorious. After a week of daily rains, generalized dreariness and fatigue from working almost every day for 3 weeks straight, I had some time to stretch my legs, relax, and sleep past 530 am. As I said, it was glorious.

So, you ask, what did I do with all my time? Well, Saturday Ashleigh and I took a drive up to the Pocono mountains via the scenic route. We drove down the small highways and byways of northeast Pennsylvania and finally arrived at Tobyhanna state park on the shores of Tobyhanna lake. It was really pretty. We took my camera with us and took lots of pictures. Unfortunately, it started to rain later in the afternoon, we we had to head out a little earlier than we may have wanted to. Afterwards, we drove around some more and finally ended up back here in Bethlehem.

That was the good part. The bad part is that after we returned, I was going to look at the photos, but my laptop would not boot up. I did some percussive therapy (read: beat the laptop up a bit) and was finally able to boot it and get everything important off the hard drive before I finally retire the laptop. So, Saturday night was spent shopping for a new laptop. What fun... 6 hours and 150 miles of driving later, I had a new laptop.

It is a very nice machine - it has an AMD Athlon64 processor at 2.6GHz, 1 gigabyte of RAM, 100 gigabyte hard drive, and the usual other stuff - ATI radeon video card, built-in 54G wireless card, 10/100MB Ethernet card, 15.4 inch widescreen LCD monitor, CD/DVD burner, etc, etc. So, I get this monster home, and it is almost 11pm, so I go to bed because I didn't want to be up all night (well- really I did, but it wouldn't be prudent) playing with it.
The next morning, I woke up early (dammit) and messed with my laptop. Ashleigh was still asleep, so I wasn't worried about playing around for a while. I went down to the basement of the dorm, plugged the laptop into the ethernet port and booted up into (shudder) Windows XP Home. Unfortunately, I had to in order to download the boot disk for my linux of choice. Here I had a dilemma - mepis does not support 64 bit processors right now, but many other distributions of linux do (Mandriva, SuSe, Fedora/RedHat, etc); so the question is this, should I run a 32 bit linux on my machine until 64 bit processors are supported or should I go with another distribution? I decided to install mepis again, since I know and love the layout, etc. So, I downloaded the install disc, burned it to CDR and rebooted my machine.

But the machine would not boot into the LiveCD environment. How devastating... I downloaded another version of the OS (the last one that is rated as "stable) and tried again - with the same result. How depressing. One of the reasons I love mepis so much is because it works so well. The only problem I had with my last laptop while running it was that the sound didn't work unless the external USB speakers were plugged in. So, while away from home, no sound, no music, etc. But everything else worked, even the Winmodem, which didn't even work with Windows 2000 professional, only with WinXP. Wireless, ethernet, everything I threw at it worked flawlessly. And now I can't even get it to boot up on this new machine. Ahhhh.. irony.

So, after that defeat, I decided to look at one of the other distributions I mentioned above. Mandriva is the descendant of Mandrake, Connectiva and Lycoris linux, after mandrake bought the other two and changed names. They (as well as SuSe) have just had new releases that officially support the AMD 64 bit processors. Since I've used Mandrake in the past, and they have a network install (so I don't have to download 4 gigs of CDs before I install), I decided to give their newest release a whirl. Installation was easy. Just click a few buttons, answer a few questions about how I want the hard drive setup (I deleted the windows partition, but left the "Rescue" partition intact, just in case), root password, time zone, user creation, etc and I awaited the needed packages to download and install. All in all, the process took less than an hour. Not too bad for installing over the network. I can't even install windows from a cd in that amount of time. Anyways, reboot the computer and voila, Mandriva 2006 up and running. After a little toying around with the OS to get things the way I want them, I start looking at hardware. First off, I notice the sound doesn't work. A little bit of tinkering reveals that the OS recognizes the sound card is there, but is set to use an external amplifier instead of the internal speakers. A click of a couple of buttons corrects that. Sound works, no problemo. Next up, the internal wireless modem doesn't work. I try a few tricks I've learned over the past few months to no avail. I even try to use ndiswrapper and use the windows drivers (luckily I have them on the "Rescue partition" still, huh?) but ndiswrapper will not compile the driver correctly. I do some internet searching and find that broadcomm (the maker of the modem chip) will not release linux drivers for this particular chip and when contacted by a linux user basically told them to buy an external card and quit whining. Pretty nice, huh? Unfortunately, this is how the big businesses tend to be with *nix users - quite rude. So, for the moment, the internal wireless modem does not work.

I have some questions and ideas as to why - I'm not sure if the version of ndiswrapper or the version of the modem driver is compiled to work with a 64 bit operating system. I'm thinking of switching to the 32 bit version of the OS for now and trying to install the drivers again. I've looked at broadcomm's web site and they have 64 bit drivers for linux for a couple of their "flagship" cards, but not this version. I'm wondering if the 64 bit OS might be the problem. I'm seriously considering trying the 32 bit OS for a change up if before I have a lot invested in the 64 bit version.

Ok, I'm on call and I have to go work now.. I'll add more about my adventures later.
  Happy Birthday to me
Today is my 28th birthday. God I'm old...

And only about six or seven years until I actually can begin working in my "real job."

How depressing
This page will contain general messages - probably completely unrelated to medicine (and also probably totally unrelated to anything else, either). I'm seeing a bunch of random crap about music, computers, and life in general.

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States
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