Coffee, beer, veggies, wine, dark chocolate. What makes us crave things that objectively leave a bad taste in our mouths? Is it the abstract knowledge (not sure if I’m using this term correctly) that their consumption has some type of desirable property outside of its flavor (i.e. stimulation, intoxication, health benefits, etc.) or is there something about the bitterness itself that we actually crave or is there something about these things that we seek out despite the bitterness and despite the their effects. I supposed it could be, and likely is, multifactorial as almost everything in this life is. Even when we subject ourselves to some form of physical or mental hardship (e.g. exercise, studying) there is both some form of direct and future reward that is motivating us in the form of endorphins and health/ vanity or the elusive flow state (neural mechanisms not well understood) and job prospects. Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to experience all these things as pleasant through and through? C’mon evolution! I guess that would make for a very boring life.

(1) Small, hidden, out of the way watering holes.
(2) Very large doors.
(3) My dad’s parallel parking formula.


The Option

Sometimes I wish my eyesight was just slightly not good so I could have the option to wear glasses. I always thought they looked cool, but I also realize that this is probably a terrible thing to wish for. So I guess I’ll just have to settle for wearing my blue light glasses in the privacy of my home and appreciate a more refined, intelligent looking Niko all by myself.

(1) Vision
(2) DIY YouTube channels
(3) Quilted blankets that aren’t too thick

Surgery – Day 18/19

This is the longest day I’ve had in medicine. I wanted to be on non-trauma today so I could be on the trauma service on Friday when I would expect to see more actual trauma. Today we were nonstop with non-trauma consults pretty much from pass-on (ends around 8:30 AM) through about now (2:00 AM the next day). It’s kind of gone by fast, but now that I have a second to rest the fatigue is catching up with me. I can’t wait to go home and sleep in 7 hours.

(1) Fanny packs.
(2) Surgeons who don’t take themselves too seriously.
(3) Nurses who keep doctors in check.


Today we celebrated my aunt’s 60th birthday. Though we aren’t related by blood she has been a part of my life since I was just a wee lad. I’ve always admired her lively energy and her ability to bring joy and laughter with her wherever she goes. She has been through a lot these past few years, enough that would probably extinguish the spark of any other person, yet she remains a beacon of positivity and hope. Thrive on Auntie Rina ❤ I am very thankful to have you in my life.

Two other things I’m thankful for:
(1) Moments of silence that don’t need to be filled.
(2) Relationships that have reached the point of open vulnerability.


Past couple days of my 10 task challenge have been a little rough. Not because the tasks feel hard, but because there have other things going on in my life unrelated to the tasks; spending time with friends and family, driving homes, Thanksgiving stuff. The things about 10 tasks is that it doesn’t leave a lot of room for flexibility, but maybe thats’s more of an issue of the choice of tasks. I think the exercise is still valuable, but I think part of the practice is practicing self-compassion when you fall a little short on the stuff you set out to do.

Thanksgiving 2022

It’s a kind of wild to think about what Thanksgiving was like just 1 year ago. I have so much in my life to be thankful for, and even though we should be thankful for our good fortunes everyday, I for one am glad that there is a day (any kind of controversy/mythology aside) where people are encouraged to take a pause, perhaps in the mayhem of travel, family drama, and food comas, even if for at least a brief moment, on the things that make life worth living.


Just to build off of yesterday’s reflection, setting very specific and defined tasks work for certain bigger picture, but maybe aren’t so good for others. As an example, part of this months challenge is to play through a piano piece I’ve been working on twice everyday. Going through this process I have been playing the piano more, but I’m not sure if I’ve been getting any better at playing this piece. I still make a lot of mistakes, or I’ll make new mistakes that I hadn’t made since first learning it. I think part of it is I’m not practicing with intention; I’m practicing to get through and over with it. I don’t take the time to work through spots that are giving me trouble and reinforce proper form and stuff.


The one thing that is hard about goals is that sometimes at get so focused on outcomes that I forget what it’s all for. As cheesy as it sounds, it becomes all about the destination, rather than the journey. At the same time if I cut myself too much slack and say I always gotta slow down and enjoy the journey then I may not get where I’m tryna go and that is a potential source of distress in itself. It’s ok to be goal and outcome oriented, but just got to remember that the small things are important too.


Sometimes I just feel very thankful for all the people who have been a part of my life, past and present. Every interaction I’ve had throughout my life big or small, has probably left at least a small mark on who I am today. Every conversation, every exchange of words or of glances is data that get processed and applied into my decision making whether I’m conscious of it or not. At least, it’s kinda romantic to think that that’s the case, I actually have no idea.