Friday, April 24, 2009


Turned in all my Cerner gear today. It's officially over. (though not completely as I still have COBRA and IRA rollover to deal with, but no more work at least).

One funny thing to note is that over the last two weeks, every one and their mother has been telling me about their goals in life, what led them to Cerner, how they plan to get out, etc. It's been interesting and funny. Also got a lot of free meals. I should leave jobs all the time!

Now the grueling but still enjoyable trip back home, and then off to Spain. Yippee-ay-yay.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Candy (and gay marriage, later?)

I was given an interesting piece of candy today by a woman at work. I, unfortunately, have very little self restraint when it comes to sweets if they are offered to me, are laying around my immediate area, or I am bored. Two of those three collided today.

Regardless, back to the point of this post: this piece of candy.

It was a chocolate cross.

Now, not being a Christian (or anything, really), I was a little taken aback for a few reasons:

1) I was surprised that she brought this fairly blatant religious "object" to work
(though I've now learned that the "rules" about bringing religion to the work place are routinely broken if said religion is crucifixion-based)

2) I wondered why she gave this piece of candy to me. As far as I know, I haven't led anyone to believe that I'm a Jesus follower.

3) I am stunned that they make chocolate crosses

4) I am really stunned that they make chocolate crosses!

5) I'm flabbergasted... oh, you get the point

Points 3 and 4 I would like to discuss, however briefly. Why in the world do candy crosses exist?!?! Is the cross not supposed to be a poignant symbol of suffering? Isn't that the reason why it's the symbol of Christianity, to remind the flock of their Saviors hardships?

How could it be turned into a sweet confection? I would not put it past the "creative" dunces (the ones that weren't smart enough to think blue-turning-mountains when a beer can gets cold) to come up with the idea, but I would have thought that maybe, just maybe, there would have been an intelligent marketer that would have spoken up at a meeting: "Uh, maybe this isn't such a good product design. Wouldn't half-intelligent people be offended by this?"

Well, obviously there wasn't such a person. And it's probably better for whoever that might have been, because the market has spoken and that person would have been wrong: people bought the candy!!??

So, the better question is why, oh why, oh why? Why don't the right-eous (get it?) Christians go after these companies, that are, to me at least, making a mockery of the most important Christian symbol? Or if they are going after them, why not spend a little more energy on that quest and a little less trying to convince the world that gay people are just "confused," that they chose to be that way, and that the don't deserve the same rights (yes marriage) as straight people.

Yes, chocolate candy has nothing to do with that last subject, but once I got going, I couldn't stop.

I ate a bit of the chocolate (the top and left arms) but then threw the rest away. Not for Him, but for My Waistline. I have commericials to thank for that last worry.

Making sense of the move to KC

Almost everything is packed, except for my last week of clothes and this computer, obviously. No cable, my DVDs are packed: so I don't really have much to do. Except think.

I go back and forth in my mind when thinking about this excursion. It's tempting, sometimes, to call it a failure, but my mind immediately gets second thoughts which recoil from that judgment.

I was lost, listless, confused, young, naive, and gullible (and probably other things too) when I made the decision to move away from Florida and take a job in corporate America. I guess that it's somewhat ridiculous to chastise myself for the "mistake" of getting a job after college; there are plenty of people that I know that spent months or more living off their parents after graduating. But none-the-less, that is what it feels like.

I do feel incredibly dumb for dropping my med school goal so abruptly during my junior year and then latching on to the first job that came along during my senior year. I feel dumb for leaving Florida for the piece of shit Midwest. Seriously, what was I thinking? Kansas City itself is a nice place, but the surrounding area is a god-awful, boring wasteland, at least to someone raised on a concoction of sunshine, oceans, and palm trees. The people with whom I worked are not "my people." They're nothing like me, a fact which I of course didn't know before arriving.

And I suppose that's the bottom line, really. The only world I'd ever seen was a doctor's world for employment and Florida world for lifestyle. I needed to see something else to have the background to make educated decisions about my future.

I was pre-med as an undergrad without really knowing why. From March 05 to February 06, in falling behind on studying for the MCAT, in letting a break-up (however difficult) affect my life as I did, in wanting to blame the life of a doctor on my father's troubles, and in following a course suggested to me, rather than chosen by me, I showed my immaturity. That immaturity led me here.

Finding maturity led me out.

There is certainly something to be said for failing on one's own. I grew up here and unfortunately growing old, bored, lonely, and slightly out of shape were part of that. The first I can correct only mentally. Attending medical school in Florida will help me correct the middle two. The last one is almost not true anymore, though it's going to be difficult for me to get back in my former peak soccer shape.

Despite those negative things, I believe that I have also gained. In finding out who I am not (someone who can be happy in a large office), what fails to motivate me (no human contact with the people I ostensibly help), where I do not belong (in not Florida), when I will not work (tedious, unpaid overtime), and why I will not like a job (no significance in what I do), I have at least narrowed down potential options to consider.

In truth though, I think it goes beyond that. I will make Medical School work, despite the difficulties I am sure to face. I will find time to have a life, despite the workload. I will enjoy the experience, because this is the path that I chose. I refuse to have any regrets from this point forward.

Those convictions, and my strength to follow through on them, are the most valuable remuneration that I recieved during my time here. I am thankful for that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I've had basically the same haircut throughout my entire life. There have been slight variations in length; there used to be enough to comb to the right, now its just straight and frizzy all the time.

I also hate shaving my face.

I have a desire to go "mountain man" and let my hair go wild. Probably not this summer, as I'll be in hot, steamy Spain, but perhaps the summer afterwards. That will be my last ever "free" summer, as 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year med students don't get summers off.

My dream would be to "drop of the grid," as cliche as that is, and go volunteer in a National Park while not shaving or cutting my hair. I know that's a stupid dream, but whatever, I'll admit that I have it.

I'll give you an idea of what that might look like:

Very nice!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tick tock

Not long left in KC. I put my two weeks notice in next Friday. Almost all of my non-essentials are packed.

The older guy, Mike, that I work with had his third heart attack in a little over a year two weeks ago. That's my only mild regret at the moment, me leaving is going to put him and my other colleague Brent under a lot of stress. I hope it doesn't kill Mike. (Not that me leaving would be the only reason he has a bad heart, he eats terribly and has been smoking his whole life, including after his first two heart attacks.)

Get the double-entendre of post title?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Europa Universalis 3

I've mostly worked myself out of the video-games. At this age, I've created civilizations, taken over the world, colonized the Americas, fought as James Bond, raced tiny cars with Mario characters, etc. etc. Pretty much, I've done it all :) Having spent the better part of two year working in front of a computer, I try to keep away from them as much as possible in my free time. I don't see that changing in the future, really.

However, there is one game that I do find incredibly fascinating and educational: Europa Universalis 3. You basically take control of one of the kingdoms/duchies/city-states/republics that existed in the world on May 30, 1453 and guide them through an alternate history until 1822. The start date is significant in that it is the date that the Ottoman Turks won the seige of Constantinople, effectively ending the last remnant of the Roman Empire, the Byzantines. The end date roughly corresponds to the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

In the second expansion, the game start date is pushed back to 1399, starting at the coronation of Henry IV of England; however, I like the original start date because it truly represents a sea-change in European history.

Through this game, I've learned so much about the geography of Germany, Italy, and France; and discovered nations that I'd never even heard of, like Burgundy. I late read about people, places, and events from game on Wikipedia, later. It's really fascinating.

If you'll humor me, oh interwebs: Burgundy was at one time as large as France and controlled the southeast part of modern day France and all of Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. It was one of the largest territories in all of Europe at it's time. So, how come I'd never heard of it before finding this game?

You'll have to read about it yourself, I'm afraid; it's such a complicated story that I couldn't hope to do it justice. If your lazy, though, the simplistic story is that the Duke of Burgundy petitioned the Holy Roman Emporer to be made a King, thus creating the Kingdom of Burgundy. His petition was denied, and some deal was made between the King of France and the Holy Roman Emperor that, upon the Duke's death, with him not having an heir, the Duchy of Burgundy would be divided between the France and Holy Roman Empire.

This is the reason that Holland and Belguim fell under Spanish control when Charles V of Austria/Carlos I of Spain ruled over Spain and Austria and was also elected as the Holy Roman Emporer.

European history is so complicated and fascinating, but this game has been a sort of catalyst for me to slowly work my way from the fall of Rome, to the Rise of Charlemagne, to the dividing of his Empire at his death (essentially along the present day borders of France and Germany!), through the time of the Crusades, the Renaissance, the colonial period, the consolodation and rise of Russia, the infiltration and absorbotion of the Holy Roman Empire by Prussia, and ultimately ending in the Napoleonic Wars. It's really quite a story, even in broad brush strokes, and I still have huge gaps in my knowledge.

Anyway, it's an addicting game regardless; but I also learn a lot.


King of the Germans
The Holy Roman Empire
Proto-German State