Monday, June 23, 2008

"iPhone?" iThink Not!

In Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point (which is excellent, by the way), he details how new trends catch on, describing the key players and various stages. For instance, there are some people who must have the latest innovations; it is often a source of pride for them. They deal with the early kinks and bugs, sacrificing stability for novelty. These are the "early adopters."

I am not an early adopter. In fact I'm not sure I'm even an adopter. I waged a dying war against owning a cellphone until 2006, when I was 23 -- if anyone reading this held out longer than that, I'd love to hear about it. Why the anti-cellphone sentiments, you ask? Three reasons: 1. The thought of people being able to get ahold of me whenever they wanted scared me. 2. I liked spending time by myself just thinking, not talking. 3. I liked telling those hyper-aggressive cellphone salesmen at mall kiosks that I didn't own/want a phone -- the incredulous looks on their faces were priceless.

In 2003, during my first semester back at BYU after my mission, as I walked across campus, some dude handed me a flyer for a bit of newfangled technology. It was for some music player that could hold a bunch of songs, and it had the ridiculous name, iPod. Like something named iPod would ever sell! Silly Apple. "No wonder your company went to the dogs!" I thought. Five years later, I own two of the 170 million of these babies that Apple has sold. Not coincidentally, I decided not to go after an MBA....

Technology isn't the only arena in which I play a little slower than the rest, however. A few months ago, I was in the library studying for an anatomy test with some friends. I don't usually listen to music while studying, but that day, I couldn't help but listen to the Justin Timberlake song I had just downloaded. I leaned over to one of my friends and told her to listen in with one of my earbuds. She listened for about 10 seconds and then said, "Yeah, I listened to that song a lot when it came out a year and half ago." Zing. She just laughed.

Sifting through my memories, I have come to realize that my late-adopter ways began in childhood. When I was in third grade, if you didn't have Girbauds, you were not cool. I didn't even know how to pronounce this, and I certainly didn't own any. A couple years go by, I'm in seventh grade, and I finally decide to "cave" and get some of these hot French jeans. As no doubt all of you know, Girbauds by this time had gone the way of Milli Vanilli and New Kids--if you had Girbauds, you were not cool. Shoot! Luckily for me, fashion is cyclical, and if I could just fit into these again, I'm sure I'd be the man one of these years.

So now here I am about to start my third year of medical school and my first clinical rotations. Many of my classmates are excited about the upcoming release of the 3G iPhone, as they plan to make good use of its no-doubt stellar features on the wards. Me, I don't even know what 3G stands for. Is that how many grand it costs? Is it how I'm supposed to feel if I don't buy one (Grim, Guilty, and Gutless)? Does one of the G's stand for Girbaud?

Until such time as mandated otherwise, I'll be taking notes and looking up drugs the way our forefathers intended--in a book. And I'll be doing it wearing some pleated slacks, which are due for a comeback, because like JT sang that day in the library, what goes around comes back around.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Goatee or just Goaty?

As part of a time-honored tradition of the NHL playoffs, most hockey players grow a playoff beard. You might think it is just another way for hockey players to transform into the smelliest, nastiest human beings on the planet, but it's supposed to bring good luck to those hoping for an extra edge.

I've got to take the board exam next week, and I too am looking for any advantage I can get. I considered wearing my lucky underwear for the month of June. I thought about taking a week off to visit the Blarney stone. Instead, I've decided to grow a savage playoff beard of my own.

And more savage, it could not be. Savage like cro-magnon man was savage. Savage like Tarzan on both the cream and the clear. Plus, besides the intangible luck the beard brings me, it has also provided me with quantifiable extra hours upon hours of study time as I no longer have a wife who allows me in the house.

But the best thing about my "beard" is that it has also given me the ability to read minds. When I pass people in the library or on the street, for instance, I can always tell what they're thinking. Most of the time, it is one of the following:

1. Should I buy him a hot meal?

2. I feel sick

3. Should I tell him?

4. Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiii

Anyway, I'll let you know how the exam goes. In the meantime, if you see Malerie, tell her I will be home, hairless, in a fortnight.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Madeline Marie Weed

Today, my daughter turns five months old. She was born on January 3, and we hadn't really decided on a name for her. During the delivery, everyone--doctors, sonagraphers, janitors--seemed to think she was face down, which is the preferred position. Her birth was a little bit complicated, and when it finally happened, much to everyone's amazement, she was face up. It's like she came out ready to face and take on the world and do things the way she wanted them done. This reminded me of Madeline from the children's books, and we settled on "Madeline" as her name.

Madeline and strength go together in my mind. She's always been physically strong; even in the delivery room they remarked about her muscle tone. She could hold her own head up before she was a month old. She's also strong-willed, and refuses to give up easily, when we try to keep her eyes away from the TV, for instance. Finally, she has been a source of personal strength to me as a father and as a human being trying to do the right thing.

She has brown eyes just like me.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Be Ye Therefore Perfect

I've had two experiences with perfection recently, and today you're going to hear about them.

The first occurred a little over a week ago with Jon Lester on the mound for the Red Sox. Lester was diagnosed with a type of lymphoma two years ago; he fought through the chemo and returned to the Sox last year. He pitched the clinching game of the World Series last year. This year, he has showed better command of his pitches, which is encouraging.

So anyway, I was in the library studying for a final, following Lester and the Sox game on the internet. After four innings, I noticed he had yet to give up a hit, which made me excited because it meant he would be able to go deep into the game and rest the bullpen. After six innings, a no-hitter started to look possible. Lester seemed to be getting stronger as the game wore on -- he was more guys out, and hardly anyone was making good contact off him.

I didn't dare leave my seat for fear of jinxing it, as I am superstitious when it comes to baseball. When my buddy Pete shaved his "playoff beard" last year during the miraculous Red Sox comeback, I admit I was worried. So I texted Malerie, told her to turn on the game on TV, and that I would be a little late for dinner. Yes I realize this is strange.

But Lester did it! For the last out, he reached back for a little extra and threw some 97-mph gas for a strikeout. No-hitters are so rare anyway, and for it to happen to Lester, coming back from cancer, was just awesome. A week later, he revealed that his dad has been diagnosed with cancer, as well. Guy's been through a lot.

So that was experience numero uno. Number two came last week on Friday.
Finals week was over, and I got home while Malerie was out with her family. With the house to myself, the only logical thing to do was to crank up the amp and become a Guitar Hero. I ripped off a face-melting rendition of "Welcome to the Jungle," and followed that up with some tasty licks from Queens of the Stone Age and Poison. My fingers flew like a bluebird over the toy plastic guitar. Just like Lester, on that day, I had my good stuff. Not as good as this guy, but still:

The quest for perfection began as I fired up "My Name is Jonas" by Weezer. 596 perfect notes later, I had done it. Some of those riffs had tripped me up before, but not this time. I was in the zone.

So whose perfection is more impressive, mine or Lester's? I'm voting for yours truly. I mean, Lester's wasn't technically "perfect," since he walked two guys. History will have to decide.