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Just saw that one of Angelina Jolie's aunts has died of breast cancer... sad.

Angelina's recent announcement about being a BRCA carrier hit home a bit, since one branch of my family is also carriers. I am not blood related to that branch and so am not at added risk myself, but several of the older members have had cancer (some dying of it) and the younger ones are facing the tough decision of whether to be tested.

A lot of people thought Angelina seemed to take her mother's death particularly hard - she lost substantial weight, etc. Now I guess we know why. Losing one's mother is hard enough. Adding the thought of leaving one's kids the same way, and knowing there's a substantial risk of just that... man.

Oct. 1st, 2011

Thank you, scammer!

And no, I'm not being facetious. Your rather hamfisted attempt to get my credit card info did prompt me to take a look at my account online and - to my surprise - there was an unauthorized charge yesterday. Account's closed, the charge is disputed, minimal hassle for me.

How you like that?
I went into a local bookstore this evening, as I am almost constitutionally incapable of resisting the call of fresh ink and paper.  Started browsing, and then noticed an endcap display labelled 'Do-It-Yourself Guides'.  The books on the display?  Romance novels, of the bodice-ripper variety.


Dec. 17th, 2010

I just finished reading Michael Pollan's In Defense Of Food, and I'm finding myself a bit torn. 

He defines nutritionism as the idea that food is about providing nutrients, and that getting that right is a complex enough thing to require the involvement of scientists and other such experts.  I'm largely with him on this... I think it is overly reductive to say the health benefits of a particular food come from Vitamin X or mineral Y so we can just add it to highly processed foods and be fine, and I agree with his indictment of the 'eat less fat - no, wait, eat less carbs! - oh, no it's the ____!' craziness of nutrition guidelines.   Just eat real food.

What I can't seem to 'get' is his talk about the pleasures of savoring food, from the time you pick it out of your garden if you're lucky enough.  For me, food is fuel and while I certainly enjoy a tasty meal when I get it I still balk at the lengthy, uniformly tedious (to me) process of cooking the way he'd like.  Is that just how it is with me, I'm food-numb, or do I still need an attitude shift?

I also wish he'd have done more than just acknowledge that not everyone can afford to eat the way he suggests, but that's an issue for another time. 
I am so confused.

James Marsters is on the rerun of Without A Trace I'm watching, and he's NOT playing some over-the-top, drama king character. 

He's doing so well, yet it seems so odd...
I saw multiple people defend the idea that the boycott of Arizona is 'unfair' and that even citizens who voted against the immigration bill are being 'punished' by it.  For that last bit, I'm sorry.  You didn't contribute to the problem, but you are unfortunately getting hit by some of the consequences. 

But - Arizona (and indeed any other state) does not have a right to a certain amount of income or musical and cultural events like concerts coming in from outside.  No one has to buy your products, include your state on their tour, etc.  And, why would you expect them to want to do so when all but the most Whitey McWhiterson of us might wind up getting jailed and perhaps wrongfully deported despite being a legal resident or even *US citizen*?
Just finished reading Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande, MD.  He focuses on medicine and medical examples, but so much of what he's really talking about would be relevant to anyone looking to do better.  The man can tell a story too, and has a healthy humility abut himself and his profession. 

Think this one might well go on my Christmas list, or at least be a repeat borrow from the library.  Ought to read his others, too.
Wow... by the end of the week, I should be done with the content review portion of the MCAT prep course I'm taking. 

From here on in, it's taking practice tests and spending some extra time on my weaker subject areas.   I'm a little torn, to tell the truth - on one hand I'm excited to see how I do and move on to the next steps in the process of applying to medical school, and on the other... there's so much to know!  Still, if however many thousands of people per year can do it, I can too. 

Always having one of my review books in my bag, to sneak in study time while on the bus or eating lunch, has been a good idea and I'll keep it up until test day.

Thankful Thursday

Today, I'm thankful for... Afrin. 

I'm breathing easy for probably the first time this winter.