My study companion is a kid named Theo

DONNA TARTT'S doorstopper novel entitled The Goldfinch—a doorstopper because it's thick and might take a lifetime to finish—is a happy addition to my pre-board exam reading. I'm also reading Rushdie's Fury on top of my review materials. As if I need more distractions.

So far, so good, though. A terrorist bombing incident, museums, an intelligent bullied kid, New York, Amsterdam—it has all great ingredients of an engaging story.

Old men around

TO MY left are middle-aged men gathered for a Bible study. Their dicussion is on Paul's phrase "the eternal weight of glory," taken from the apostle's  letter to the Corinthians. CS Lewis wrote a book with the same title. Male human laughter is really one of the best sounds on earth (I must qualify, though, that I cannot tolerate male drunken laughter; I find it obnoxious). And that's what these men do—discuss, then laugh, then drink their coffee, then discuss again.

La vie en rose

MY fascination with pink began a few months ago. I was searching for studying paraphernalia I'd be using consistently for my note-taking, page-marking, and highlighting. I would spend hours roaming around bookstores, killing time trying out pens and notebooks. You're probably guilty of the same obsession.


One day I chanced upon a pink Pilot G-Tec 0.4 mm pen while monitoring at the PACU. When I used it to annotate an Obstetrics book I was carrying, my scribbles jumped out of the page. My notes didn't look obtrusive amidst the surrounding text. They didn't look garish either. "So pink it is," I thought.

Paintings

MY COPY of Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy is open for most of the day, its spine suspended on a wooden bookstand that I carry with me anywhere—in coffee shops, in crowded restaurants, even in libraries.


Leafing through the book reminds me of my first patient, a dead obese lady whom we (my Anatomy groupmates and I) called Big Bertha. My first year in med school was the hardest, and I was most miserable during dissection. It didn't help that she was so huge we had to resort to actual kitchen knives instead of the more sophisticated-looking scalpels. My own copy bears Bertha's juices from five years ago. They no longer smell foul. 

These days I have a newfound appreciation for Dr. Frank Netter, whose illustrations are accurate and elegant. It took me a while to get the hang of the doorstop, but investing in it is worth the time, money, and effort. The atlas is a perfect companion to sleepy pre-board exam days, when the anatomy text doesn't make sense. After all, pictures paint a thousand words—and it's the same thing in Anatomy, I guess.

A. W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God: debunking the secular-sacred dichotomy

A. W. TOZER writes beautifully. I hadn't fully appreciated him when I first read him in 2004 (I was 16). Fortunately my father had one of Tozer's books in his meager collection.

Yesterday morning, I reread parts of Tozer's The Pursuit of God: Human Thirst For the Divine. The final chapter is entitled The Sacrament of Living. He writes, "One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas—the sacred and the secular."

Tatay's farm

I WOKE UP earlier than planned because my brother jolted me from sleep. Then he showed me his phone and said, "I'm on Youngblood!"


He wrote the article, which first appeared on his personal blog, to honor our father today. If you have the time, it's a worthwhile read. As for me and my family members, we're going to find an actual newspaper, cut the article out, and have it framed for posterity.

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Tatay and my brothers. I practically handpicked all of their eyeglasses to fit them right.

Day trip to Dinalupihan, Bataan

I HAD the nerve to leave my board review materials behind for the promise of a relaxing out-of-town trip. I went to the quaint town of Dinalupihan, Bataan, on June 12. With me were Manong Ralph and Kuya John Dasmarinas, whom I haven't seen for more than a year since he had relocated to Singapore for work. The last time I'd been to Bataan was in 2011, during the Holy Week, when Paul Velasco (who had just flown in from New Zealand) and I ransacked Jason Enriquez's home in Balanga.

Dune by Frank Herbert: my favorite fantasy/sci-fi thus far

IN 2006 I asked my friend Juanchi Pablo what book he liked best. His first answer was Dune by Frank Herbert.

I remembered what he said when I started reading the book two weeks ago, in between study breaks (I'm on my medical boards review). I finished Dune yesterday. I can't wait to start on the next novel in the series—maybe after I finish my academic reading backlog. In August.