The Secret Life of… Corpses

I’m reading this book right now titled Stiff by Mary Roach. And no you sickos it’s not about male anatomical structures, you think someone really added it to their Amazon Smile cart just based on the titled, only to be surprised when it arrived a Prime-guaranteed two days later, and it turned out to be about dead bodies… really??? Anyway regardless of how I heard about it and how it came into my possession, it’s quite fascinating and also very funny. Roach is not a scientist or a doctor so she is reacting to all these corpses (that she actively seeks out for the book) in much the same way a normal person would. One of the differences being that she is a good writer. She often anthropomorphises the, forgive my irreverence, vacant meat sacks in comical ways, as a person is wont to do when they are not as desensitized to the process of biological decay as are many of the professionals that she encounters.

I could tell you all the stuff I’ve learned from it and all the interesting experiences that she details, but you should just read it yourself. What I do want to say is that reading this book makes me even more excited to start med school. Is that weird? And while I’ve recently been  strongly leaning towards primary care, some of this stuff definitely makes surgery super compelling. There are time I feel like I’m a low-key psychopath for various reasons (e.g. I was the only one who asked to personally pithe one of the frogs in my physiology lab), but I also think that there is a chance I’ll faint when confronted with my first cadaver.



The world is becoming increasingly fast paced. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel like I always need to be doing something (even if that something isn’t super productive). It’s a symptom of the culture we live in and the technology that surrounds us. Arguably its a symptom of being human; technology shapes the culture which feeds off our human tendencies. Filling time with stuff seems necessary, because if I’m not doing, I’m wasting time. At least, this is what I seem to tell myself. But productivity isn’t measured in actions-per-minute. Quantity comes secondary to quality.

The past few days I’ve been trying to take more time to pause and reflect on each day. In the mornings I think about things I want to accomplish, and in the evening I try to recall things I’ve learned and things that I am grateful for that day. This has not only helped me feel better, but also be more productive with my time. It’s important to keep moving forward, but just as important is knowing where you’re going and remembering where you’ve been.


Three things am grateful for today: new friends, music, and group video calls


Ya Cancelled

SNL recently announced three new cast members for the upcoming season including their first (full) Asian cast member, Bowen Yang. Among the trio was Shane Gillis, who recently caught some not-so-positive attention on social media for racist comments he made on a podcast that he co-hosts. Between him and his co-host he was the milder racist, not that it makes it any better. He later made a response to this whole thing by defending his brand of comedy as “risky.” As noted by much of the Twitterverse, the tropes that Gillis plays off of are tired and far from cutting-edge in the comedy world. Popular opinion was against Gillis, and much of the social media world called for his “cancellation.” SNL soon after cut ties with Gillis as is there right, though likely a PR move not a social justice move.

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang (no relation that I’m aware of to the SNL freshman) also condemned the comedian, but also invited Gillis to a discussion regarding his past comments. Many people were upset by this, saying that racists don’t deserve redemption or can’t be reasoned with. I feel like that is a common attitude in this day and age (and has been for a long time), and one that needs to change.

I don’t think racism in any form should be tolerated or condoned, but “cancellation” is not the solution. Everyone one is human, and grew up with different experiences, many genuinely do not know the extent of the impact that their words and actions have. Though even assume the worst intentions by Gillis, cancel-culture is just lazy. It says, I recognize a problem, and I am going to generalize about it, and push it somewhere else (humans are really good at pushing hard to deal with problems out of sight).

Injustice must be dealt with appropriately. Whatever consequences occur, especially in the court of public opinion are deserved. Gillis got what was coming to him, but I don’t think that he should be thought of as beyond redemption. Cancelling is not an effective way to get someone to change, understanding is. Understanding why someone thinks its ok to use certain language, or understanding why some hates Swedish climate activists. This is harder than anything because it feels like you must compromise your beliefs and often has little to show for it. But going to the root is what makes people think, and little by little attitudes and cultures can change. 

Drafts and Tabs

If you saw my computer right now, you might be shocked by the number of tabs and windows I have open right now. Unless of course you are like me. I open links in new tabs usually because I still have unfinished business on the original tab. The tabs are there so I can back to it later, and I usually do….eventually. They are reminders of things I want to revisit. Though they are also often a product of my indecisiveness and perhaps attention-deficiency. I want to read this other article that the article I am currently reading linked to… but wait this article also makes me want to Google search this other tangentially related topic. And so the down the rabbit-hole we go.

Same goes with drafts. I have several different blog post drafts that I have saved that are unpublished because they are incomplete. I’ll start writing something, then think of something else to write that is related enough to take me off track, but not related enough to put in the same post. Now I have two drafts, and one gets published and the other goes incomplete. The thing is no one is telling me they’re incomplete, that is 100% my own determination. So the question is why is it incomplete and what am I waiting for?

The Budget

The other day my mom sat down with my brother and me to show us how she does all the bills and budgeting stuff. All stuff I more or less knew, except for maybe the exact values of our household income and expenses. There are certain things in factored into it that are basically fixed, and there are certain things that can be vary depending on things that we do. Setting up a budget for limited resources is an important thing to do and allows for optimization.

Every day we are given 24 hours to do as we please and it’s up to us how we spend that time. Just like with money there are certain fixed values and certain time “expenses” that must be accounted for. I have 24 hours, but I also have to sleep, eat, work, pee, poop, etc. Those are some hefty expenses. Say I average 7 hours of sleep (for the sake of this discussion let’s say 3.5 hours for the first and last hours of each day). Right now I work about 6 hours per day. Meals ~3 hours per day. Misc. body maintenance (pee, poo, shower, brushing teeth) 1 hour. That totals 17 hours. 17 hours of stuff that can’t really be changed. That means I have 7 hours of free time.

What should I use it for? Exercise? Reading? Video games? Learning Spanish? Playing piano? Staring at my phone? Just like with finances, whatever I put my time into is an investment, and I want to choose investments that will pay the biggest dividends. And I’ll be honest I haven’t exactly been a temporal Warren Buffett. I recently got an app to monitor my phone screen time and found that in the past week I average over 3 hours on my phone per day. Throw in a couple hours or more of video games and that leaves me with less than 2 hours of free time. The dividends of those 5 hours: negligible. It’s kinda like how a lot of people talk about not wanting to look at their bank account because they know it’s not pretty. But facing the truth is the only way to fix things.

Here’s where optimization comes in. I need to change my investment habits to increases my ROI. Using the app I mentioned, I am going to set limits for the usage of certain apps to help combat idle scrolling. At this point I’m trying to bring my phone usage to about 1 hour per day. I’ll also try to block of times during my day dedicated for my high ROI activities. Sounds easy enough, but I anticipate it to be harder than is sounds. Low ROI stuff is so tempting and easy to fall into, but it’s good to get into better habits now because one year from now this budget is gonna drastically change when med school starts. Wish me luck. Words of encouragement or advice are always appreciated.

I want to paint you into my horizon

But I’m scared that’s where you’ll stay

Fixed into the landscape of “what could’ve been”

Suspended in the brushstrokes of “who knows”

A beautiful, ever-distant sunset

I try to capture every detail, no amount of pigment is enough

Yet your brightness shines through my mere impression

The painting hangs in an unmarked corridor that I selfishly hope remains unexplored

But light like this is hard to keep hidden

I just count myself lucky to have experienced the real thing

You Deserve to Be Here

First of all shout-out to Alfred Arizala for kickstarting his podcast. Super proud of you, keep doin’ work. If you want some cool motivational insights check out the In The Pocket Podcast on Spotify, iTunes, or Google Podcasts.

So in one episode, Alfred talks a bit about having had performance anxiety, and how one of his teachers said to him, “You know you deserve to be here.” And for him that phrase really stuck with him and made him think. His behaviors didn’t change overnight, but his mentality started evolving.

I think everyone to some extent want to hear those words, whether it be a literal utterance or through actions.

You deserve to be here.

It says that you are enough, that you belong, that you are worth it. It’s an affirmation of one’s existence.

Anyways, I was about to go to sleep tonight, until I watched my other friend’s, Beau’s Instagram story. She was telling the story of how she stood up to someone who was doing something she thought wasn’t right. She “deserved to be there”, she deserved to be heard.

To tell the truth I think everyone “deserves to be here,” everyone deserves a platform to be heard, even that guy who I agree was in the wrong. I’m tempted to think that “wrong” ideas should not have a platform, but without getting into a whole ‘nother discussion of what is right and what is wrong, the only way we can right wrongs is if all ideas can be brought out into the open. We can fix problems that we don’t know exists.

The guy that Beau stood up to the other night may or may not end change his ways, but I can guarantee you that because she said something he and likely others thought about it. That’s where change happens, at points of tension. So whatever your thing is, whether it’s podcasting, dancing, vlogging, photographing, or just talking, put yourself out there, ’cause you deserve to be here. The world is not gonna change itself.


re·sil·ience (/rəˈzilyəns/)
1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

I think this is probably the public enemy number 1 when it comes to doing meaningful work. Meaningful work usually doesn’t come easy. It means trying and failing… a lot. Failure is demoralizing; it makes you feel like shit and we try to avoid that feeling as much as possible. The ironic thing is that feeling usually means progress.

In biology, the resilience of an ecosystem is highly dependent on the biodiversity of that ecosystem. The more different types of organisms and roles that an ecosystem possesses, the more resistant it is to changes and trauma. If something bad happens to one species, there are others species present to fill in the resulting role-gaps, in some cases giving time for that species to recover or changing the ecosystem profile without changing ecosystem function, preventing systemic collapse.

We can apply a similar logic to our own resilience. If we expose ourselves to diverse experiences and perspectives the more prepared we will be for whatever comes our way. On the other hand, if we go through life with a single point of view, the more likely a singular difficult event will result in personal collapse. And while we’re kind of on the subject we should also try to prevent actual ecosystem collapse. More on that later.

Zombie Tag

Dreams are weird. They can be so vivid and specific about certain details, yet completely blurry on others. Sometimes it feels like someone is trying to tell me something. It’s almost like in old cartoons when you could tell an object was going to be interacted with because it looked slightly different from everything else (often having a bolder outline or more fine details, or both). Anyways, I had a dream last night where I made up this game, I won’t recount all the weird details of the narrative of dream, but the game is tentatively called Zombie Tag:

The game starts off with maybe 5 people at least. Everyone is zombie except one person. It starts off kind of like hide-n-go-seek, except in reverse. The zombies stay put, and the one person goes and hides. After however long, say 30 seconds the zombies go out and try to find the “survivor.” Zombies can only walk forward, no clumping up and walking back to back. If the survivor gets caught and is tagged by just one zombie he’s dead and the game is over. Simple enough right? Here’s the kicker, the survivor has the zombie “cure” and if he can sneak up on a zombie and tag them without getting tagged himself, that zombie is cured and becomes a survivor, AND the original survivor imbues the new survivor with the ability to cure other zombies. HOWEVER, at this point if any survivor is caught by a zombie they are dead and out of the game (cured people can’t get the zombie disease duh). The game continues until everyone left alive is cured or until everyone is dead or undead. Survivors MUST tag without getting tagged themselves. If zombie and a survivor go head-to-head, face-to-face, the zombie wins and the survivor dies. But say a survivor is distracting a zombie and another survivor sneaks up behind and tags her the zombie is cured. So the win conditions are:

  1. Zombies win if all survivors are dead.
  2. Survivors win if all zombies are cured.

This means that the last zombie standing wins when the survivors win. BUT if the only active players are one zombie and one survivor, that zombie is the winner and the survivor dies (no doesn’t become an agility showdown).

Also notice in neither case did I say the dead-dead win. If you were at any point a survivor and you died, you lose.

And that’s it. Make sense? This was all in a dream so I haven’t had a chance to actually play it using real world rules (no flying), but I feel like it could be fun. Though it also may need some balancing. Maybe the cured zombies shouldn’t be able to cure other zombies. Maybe zombies are only allowed to walk. Depending on the size of the group, maybe there should be more than one survivor at the start. Maybe dead survivors are reanimated as zombies after X seconds.

While I don’t I could find enough people to actually play this with it was fun to think about.

The end.

The Jerk

This whole thing with Spider-Man and Sony vs Marvel is relevant to my last post. One of the points I was trying to make is that in social media and on the internet in general we are so eager to give our opinion and be a part of the conversation that we take a stance without really knowing what we’re standing on. Most people are upset with Sony for not making the deal here. Understandable. This recent iteration of Spider-Man was perhaps the most beloved so far, even getting a strong stamp of approval by Stan Lee. And I think most people associated this Spider-Man with Disney more than they did Sony, especially with him being in the Avengers movies, with him being a Marvel character, and with the relationship they developed with RDJ’s Iron Man (RIP). So it can seem like it’s Sony who is ripping this beautiful Spider-Man away from us.

When it comes down to it, this is a battle between two businesses who likely don’t give a damn about what the people want, or if they do it’s not top priority. Here’s the proposed deal: 50/50 stake in Spider-Man, with Kevin Feige (of Marvel/ Disney) at the helm. Disney is a monstrous beast and knew they could strongarm Sony: “Give us control of Spider-Man, or we’ll make the world will hate you.” Sounds quite villainous no? And it worked. Sony didn’t give in, and people starting hating on them.

While Disney owns Marvel and Marvel is Spider-Man’s home (are the movie titles getting some extra meaning now or is it just me?), I also don’t consider Disney-Marvel Spider-Man’s true home. It’s one of the homes that’s made to look like your home, but it’s too perfect, and if you step out of line, shit’s gonna go down. Even Stan Lee’s daughter came out in defense of Sony and saying it’s what her father would have wanted. Sony could have swallowed their pride and say “Fuck it, let’s give the people what they want,” but just like Disney, they are a business, and I don’t think they would part with their most successful franchise that easily. It’s nothing personal to all us fans, it’s just business.

Again I think it’s important to be a part of the conversation and to take sides (especially on issues that ACTUALLY MATTER [stay tuned for my post on that]), but it’s always good to take a second and get informed, or at least be open-minded enough to change your thoughts or your beliefs when you get new information.