Monday, February 26, 2007

Obligatory Post on Fleur de Lys


Some of you may have heard that I did celebrate my birthday this past weekend (midterm be damned) by going out to Fleur de Lys, courtesy of my dear aunt, one of the poshest and most renowned restaurants in San Francisco. Though I'm much more of a big, hearty home-cooked meal kind of guy (the more food, the better!), I had a great time sampling some of the restaurant's specialties and pretending I was wealthy enough to eat there on a regular basis (which I'm obviously not).

While I was initially planning on taking pictures of all of my dishes to keep for posterity (or, alternatively, to stare at every now and then to satiate my desire to visit such restaurants) , I decided not to after the maitre d' and some of the other customers shot me looks of shock and disdain as I slowly started pulling out my camera. Since words really can't do justice to the myriad sensations and feelings I experienced while savoring the various dishes, I will provide a list of the menu items I had (you can check out the full details on Fleur de Lys' online menu):

Appetizer: Untraditional Ahi Tuna Tartar

Fish, Crustacean & Mollusk: King Salmon topped with Pistachio, Watercress Coulis

Meat, Poultry & Game: Marinated "Noisettes" of Venison

Dessert: Chocolate Souffle

Needless to say, it was AMAZING. I particularly enjoyed all the little "gifts" (i.e. small samples of various foods) that the waiter frequently gave us between meals to refresh our palate and allow us to explore some of the chef's other offerings.

Home Free.... For Now, At Least

So, yes, I finally wrapped up my barrage of midterms this morning with my third (and, mercifully, last) microbiology and pharmacology exam (which actually wasn't too bad though I'll reserve final judgment until after I receive my scores) and am now looking forward to spending a few days on taking care of random errands I've been putting off for far too long now (yes, my life is THAT much fun).

I can also finally start investing more time and resources in pursuing some of my actual "interests" (microbio and my other coursework has long outlasted that characterization), such as my daily bloviating, reading and the s0-called "journamalism" that I engage in every now and then.

Well, I'd love to say more but seeing as how I'm currently sitting in on my oral radiology lecture, I should really try to focus more on that (much to my chagrin) though I'm sure that just means I'll fall asleep again. Will it ever end?

Monday, February 19, 2007

I Really Shouldn't Be Doing This...

... but I can't help myself. So yes, instead of being a good student and fully focusing on the matter at hand (if you must know, a review session for an upcoming microbiology midterm), I'm tapping away on my laptop to provide you with (what is hopefully) a quality posting on my continuing trials as a dental student.

Taking a quick break from my writing, I perk my ears up enough to hear our professor vaguely mention something about vaccines and the rabies virus (very titillating stuff, I must say) and then, just as quickly, dive back into why exactly Britney Spears decided to shave her head (don't ask). While this probably won't sound surprising to those of you who've been in school for as long as I have (too long IMO), my attention has started seriously waning as of late and I've had increasingly more trouble paying attention to what's been going in class and studying my lectures.

Instead, I've been spending most of my "study" time reading various articles, sending e-mails to people I haven't talked to in what seems like months (probably because it has been that long) and generally just vegetating. Though I'll save you the trouble of having to listen to me vent, let's just say that I've found my experience overall tedious so far and am hoping I enjoy next quarter more.

Happy (Belated) Year of the Pig!


So as I'm sure you must all be aware (this being SF, home to a very large contingent of Asians), this past weekend witnessed city-wide Chinese New Year's festivities that culminated in the ushering of the Year of the Pig. Now, since the Chinese New Year system is based on the zodiac signs, a pig year wouldn't be that uncommon in of itself (happens every few years ). However, this year is different from past pig years in one important respect: it's the Year of the GOLDEN Pig!

While to you and I, laymen, this might not seem like that big of a deal, it appeals tremendously to the superstitious nature of some Chinese families that believe (rightly or wrongly) that giving birth to a child this year will ensure them prosperity and future success. Apparently the golden pig year only comes around every 60 or 600 years (depending on whose mythology you consult) so being able to have a child during such a year brings serious bragging rights.

Which brings me to a related side story. I have an aunt who lives in Fremont (former UCSF pharm student actually) who is pregnant and planning on having her first child (yay!) sometime in early June. Since she has never been the superstitious type, she was as surprised as I was to learn of the implications of birthing her child in the Year of the Golden Pig. After attending a baby shower and having all of her friends enviously compliment her on having her child this year (assuring her she now had all the signs of greatness), she turned to my uncle (a deliciously cynical and sarcastic man, though very kind and giving) to tell him the good news.

He, even more than most of us, has always been suspicious of religion and superstition and has always made it a point to eloquently and convincingly present his views. Him being an economic history professor at Berkeley, I knew his argument would adopt some sort of economic/free market bent. Indeed, his point was that their daughter would actually be born at a bad time because she would end up facing more competition in the job market and when applying to college because so many women were planning on having their babies this year.

All right, so that had nothing to do with dentistry and probably sounded very janked to your ears. Well, no matter, because I found it absolutely priceless.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

And Then There Were Three

I've always had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of time while in school. It seems as though every time I stop and look around, another week or two has zoomed by and, inevitably, once I start getting the hang of things, it's already finals week.

This quarter, even more so than the first one, has practically run right past me as I already find myself at the end of seventh week with only three more to go and still no idea what exactly has happened. Though I now consider this sense of perpetual confusion a fact of life for me, it still scares me sometimes to realize just how lost I feel at different times. Obviously it's never to the point where I have an incidence of amnesia or a feeling of complete and utter loss, but it does get to me.

Oh well, as my classmates will tell me, all that really matters at this point is that I know the dates of my upcoming midterms and test cases which, unfortunately, I am always too aware of. I guess I know where my priorities lie.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Will this Week Ever End?

Wow, it really seems as though I come on to blog every time I want to bitch and moan about something test-related. I swear I'm not always pessimistic (honest!), but frustration/anger over exams, test cases, yadda yadda just seem to fire me up and get me in that "rapid-fire blogging" (patent that expression) state of mind.

Well, since I don't want to come off as a total downer, I do have some good news to report: tomorrow's Friday (I know, I'm sure I've taken you all aback by surprise)! That means a few more hours of sleep every night (something I could REALLY use at this point) and a (little) bit more time to relax and just enjoy reading my usual mix of The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and whatever non-fiction book I happen to be reading at the time (currently Hunter S. Thompson's classic Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail). Also, one of my good friends from UCLA (my undergrad alma mater) is visiting this weekend so I'll have an excuse to go out a bit and take him to some of my favorite restaurants in the area (pretty much any Indian restaurant that's within 5 miles of UCSF).

And, yes, I'll also do my best to start ramping up my posting production as I feel as though I've left my blog to gather dust one too many times over the past few weeks.

Ha, who am I kidding? We'll see how long THAT resolution lasts...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday Is Here!

Well, it's finally arrived and although I haven't been able to closely follow the NFL as much as I would've liked (I wonder why...), I'm looking forward to watching the action (and the undoubtedly whimsical/bizarre ads) this Sunday. While I don't hold a particular preference for either team (I was rooting for the San Diego Chargers), I will most likely be supporting the Bears since they are considered the underdogs and because I'm a fan of their, let's face it, inconsistent quarterback, Rex Grossman.

On the other hand, I do hope that Peyton Manning has a good game and wouldn't be too saddened by a Colt victory since I believe that Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in recent time (second only to Tom Brady), and I would hate to see him become another one of those "great quarterbacks who never won a Super Bowl".

As things stand, the Colts undoubtedly have an edge, and if the Bears aren't capable of mustering their best defense to contain Manning's offensive prowess, it could ugly pretty quickly for "Da Bears". If the Bears do play their best, and if Grossman manages to play a solid game (a big "if" I know), it could become a game for the ages...