Monthly Archives: September 2011

Kopi Luwak

Today is national coffee day. Usually, I don’t care about these national days for everything, including your cocker spaniel-zebra mutt. I hope this didn’t generate an illicit image in your head.

It must be noticed that the coffee bean quite possibly should be considered to be at the very top of the bean pyramid. Einstein once noted that, “A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems”.

There are many forms of coffee, the European espresso, plain black coffee (my good-morning-kiss), $7+ latte, mochas, etc. There is also Kopi Luwak.

You might have seen Kopi Luwak on the Bucket List. When I first watched the movie, I didn’t believe that Kopi Luwak actually existed, but it does. Kopi Luwak is a variation of coffee made from coffee beans eaten by the Asian Palm Civet and other related civets, which then pass the bean through its digestive tracts. The beans are afterwords collected, or “farmed”, if you will.

Kopi Luwak Cat

A decadent Asian palm civet producing the Kopi Luwak coffee beans.

Apparently the bean becomes special, or delicious? I don’t know if this coffee is going to take your sweet-tooth on a magical ride to candy land, but the cost of a pound of Kopi Luwak coffee is in the hundreds. You can get a quarter pound for $80 online. Or 100 gram on Amazon for $22 from Sumatra, Indonesia(100gr / 3.5oz) — 30 gram freshly ground coffee are recommended for a 16-ounce cup, which means that 100 gram would yield you about 3 cups. Since this is a luxury item, and Starbucks charges up to $7 for a pimped-up mocha, it doesn’t seem quite as decadent anymore.

Swiss Artist Ursus Wehrli

As NPR noted, there is Tidy. Very Tidy. And then there is Totally Obsessively Deranged Tidy.

For those of you who are OCD, I know you will love this. Swiss Artist, Ursus Wehrli, likes to sort and tidy things. He is probably putting his paperclips all in a row right now and bagging m&m’s by color. That’s what he does, whether it’s alphabet soup, cars, or people.
Is it good to be obsessive to get into medical school? You can argue for or against this. In short, while an obsession can help you to stay on top and get the most out of everything, it can also hinder you to experience freedom and peace about your choice. More freedom could lead to more resourcefulness, creativity, or, slacking. 🙂 Have a good weekend, everyone!

Alphabet, please?



Breaking Ramen

Here’s another recipe, perfect for the busy, hungry student! It is quick and easy, yet nutritious and healthy. I know Ramen Noodles are extremely popular, and they’re quite hard to turn down for just 20 cents a package! I had a brief affair with Ramen during my freshmen year in college. You know, when the cafeteria closes at 7, you need to eat at 6PM. Then, when you study until 1AM, you usually get hit by a hungerbeast at 11PM.

Considering their poor nutritional value and bombastic sodium content, I think one should think twice about allowing Ramen into your pan or even stomach. This is a very simple noodle soup that is delicious and will warm your soul on a chilly winter night :). You can make it in 10 minutes.

Classic noodle soup with delicious bread. A wholesome meal.

Fresh Noodle Soup
1-2 Eggs
2-3 cups of Water
1/4 of a package of noodles
Bullion/Better than Bullion

Depending on how much soup you want, bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil and the boil your favorite noodles accordingly, cooking time is stated on the package and varies. Add the bullion, or better than bullion because it is actually healthier, and stir in the egg(s). Make sure you stir well and cook for an extra minute. Serves 1 person.

And that’s it! Perfect for cold or rainy days, or when you have so much studying to do that you can’t waste a lot of time. If you have more time, you could simply add some chicken, carrots, basil, etc, but it really tastes delicious as is.

What is Medical School Like?

Here is an update on what’s going on with our website and also with my academic life 🙂

For one, I have completed and received my first exam in medical school and my first graded meeting with a standardized patient. I also survived through the East-coast hurricanes, some tornadoes, my car breaking down, and dropping my phone in the toilet. Ordinary life tasks, events, and disasters unfortunately do not stop when you’re in medical school; that hasn’t been easy to accept, but I’m truthfully thoroughly enjoying school.

I am still planning on releasing the podcast on a weekly basis, but last and this week have just been incredibly busy. The rumors are true – in medical school you have to work extremely hard just to be average.

A normal day in medical school is about 7 hours of lectures/lab + an optional meeting of a club/organization of your choice, and then another 5 hours of studying until you feel like you’ve grasped as much information as you possibly can. One of my school’s faculty members recommended studying until you are truly ready to call it quits, then just tack on 15 more minutes of studying. This gives you an edge of about 2 hours per week over people who aren’t using this strategy.

Check out this comical video of what I hope you all will never aspire to be:

Quick and Practical Memory Tips

So many people have said to me, “I have a terrible memory – I just can’t remember anything!” The truth of the matter is that most folks have a fine memory – it’s their attention that is often lacking. We must attend to what we wish to memorize prior to actually memorizing it, and so consciously focusing on our subject of interest is always the first step in memorizing material.

Be sure to study at a time and in a place that is not only conducive to ingesting relevant information, be aware that we can actually remember seven (7) plus or minus two (2) bits of information at a time. “Tricking” your mind by chunking info can go a long way in transferring data from short-term to long-term. Think about the difference between trying to remember “2-5-8-3-9-7-5-8-2” as opposed to chunking the numbers “258”-“397”-“582” as you would typically do with a telephone number-much more effective when your brain thinks of this as only three bits rather than nine.

Rote rehearsal is ineffective. One of the oldest mnemonic (“memory”) techniques known to mankind, however, is the Method of Loci system in which you use imaginary locations of a familiar place as a framework for information retrieval. Simply stroll down memory lane, in your minds’ eye, by storing important facts in visual locations. Whether it’s your body, such as imagining each fact being written on each of your toes; or actually constructing a home in your mind and “seeing” the facts along places in the hallway, the bedroom, the kitchen, etc., this technique can be very useful. It’s amazing how specific details come to you as you “visit” the various locations in your mind. Memory for this typically involves implicit memory-one does not have to make a conscious effort to remember locations-it just happens.

We tend to pay attention and recall events, facts or data that incorporate action and connection of some sort. The imagination is virtually limitless-so don’t hesitate to use it! Construct a chain of related events that could only exist in your wild mind. Do you realize, for example, how easy it is to memorize and recall a series of, say, fifty (50) totally unrelated words simply by constructing bizarre, colorful, totally outlandish scenarios and connections from one to the other? Imagining the words “latex, syringe, stethoscope” as A BRIGHT ORANGE LATEX BUNNY ATTACKING A HUGE PULSATING GREEN SYRINGE THAT VOMITS A STETHOSCOPE; seriously we don’t pay attention to the mundane – it’s outlandish, unusual, dangerous, provocative stuff that makes it into our memory processing system.

The peg system is allied with this but a little more advanced. One pre-memorizes a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent. The objects you choose form the “pegs” of the system; for example: 1-arrow; 2-door; 3-shoe, etc. Visualize the first item being shot like an arrow, the second coming through a door, the third being placed in a shoe. Long lists come easy when you use pegs and it works great! There are many other techniques and systems one can use to enhance the memory process; these simple and effective strategies have proven quite effective. There is no substitute, however, for time, interest…and maybe a little coffee. Don’t CRAM, because regular, planned-out and limited study sessions are the only way to hold on to the data you need for med school!

HSpecial thanks to Dr. Bob DeYoung, who was a licensed Forensic Psychologist for 16 years who now has a part-time counseling practice. As an expert witness on many occasions he was called upon to not only provide testimony, but to critique that of others. He was also consulted to provide Forensic Hypnosis in situations where witnesses repressed facts potentially relevant to crucial cases.