Friday, December 21, 2007

Birthday in the Hospital

So today is my 30th birthday, and I'm stuck working here in the ER. Thus far the day is going well, but I would rather not be here. I would much rather be someplace like this:

I know that I'm liking this kayak a bit too much especially considering it is a thing, and a thing I don't need at that. Please forgive my selfish materialism over my Christmas present. I pray I'll be better next year.

Well I must go back to work. Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Recent Life

Update on recent life:

[or for the full picture version: click here]

-Our baby continues his/her prenatal progress. We are grateful he/she isn't making Joya so sick these days.

-I just finished my Family Medicine Boards. I'm now back at work. Hopefully I will get good news in 4-6 weeks.

-The yearly joy of hanging out with my old roomates and friends each Thanksgiving took place in McConnells, SC this year.

-Joya's birthday was a lot of fun. We went out to a fancy restaurant in Atlanta and stayed in a cabin with some friends.

-Joya and my folks got me the coolest birthday gift in the world. A kayak. They gave it to me early because it is so nice out here in GA. 77 degrees yesterday-- so we took it out on a lake.

Well that's about it for now.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Baby!

A lot of people already know this, but Joya and I have a kid on the way. We look forward to the arrival a little person made of our genetic material sometime around May. We had held off on announcing in a public place (like a blog) during the early times since that is the risky period for the baby (also Joya was feeling pretty sick).

Joya finds it silly that people post ultrasound pictures, so don't expect to see any ultrasound on this blog. But as someone who has seen the ultrasound I can tell you the kid is healthy and about the cutest inch-long fetus around!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gridbook Blog turns 50!

The Gridbook Blog is now 50 posts old. It was almost a year and half ago when I began this experiment of putting my private thoughts on-line in the form of essays.

I know that 50 posts isn't usually that big a deal in the blog world, but while I am by no means a prolific blogger, these posts really do capture the best of my heart and mind. It really is amazing to look through the archives and realize that this page has become an anthology all my significant thoughts. I doubt anyone has actually read all 50 posts (other than my wife) but it is good to know that I have these essays out there. The site has sort of become a record of my life's work.

With so many posts I have changed up the Table of Contents. I hope it will make it more easier to browse the essays. Let me know if you think the old table of contents was better.

And since I have so intimately tied my online identity to the type of paper I on which used to keep my journals (when googling the word "gridbook" 4 of the top 5 results go to my sites) I have decided to create a homepage: The Gridbook. It is a place I can link all the things I have on the web.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and linking. I'll stop tooting my own horn now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An ER doctor

So it is odd that after 3 years of training for primary care I find myself suddenly an Emergency Room doctor. It certainly isn't exactly where I had expected to be. I had thought I might moonlight in an ER part time, but when I didn't find the right primary care practice to join here I decided to try out full-time in the ER.

I'm working in a little ER not too far from Athens. I'm learning a lot and it always keeps me on my toes. It really is a fascinating process taking care of people in an ER setting. I would say I am well trained for the kind of things I see in a small town ER, but the mindset of ER medicine (what could hurt or kill this person in the next 24 hours?) is a fascinating shift in thinking.

I don't expect to do ER forever, but I am enjoying it now. It is an excellent way to keep up my emergency and critical skills. I expect I will eventually find a primary care job. For right now I am keeping up my primary care skills by working in a free clinic here in town.

More news to come...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pictures from Europe

So I finally got around to putting our best photos from the European Backpacking Adventure on line in a place people can see them.

Here are the albums:






We actually didn't take any interesting photos in Portugal. You'll just have to believe that we really went there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Select a Candidate (or reject them all)

So I found an interesting tool on the internet that asks you to fill out a political questionnaire and then compares your views to the candidates. In some ways this strikes me as informative since it takes out the factor of popularity and personality and just looks at issues.

Click here to take the questionnaire

The problem is that this told me what I already knew: not a single candidate in either party can even come close to representing my politics. I had only 25% agreement with any candidate at all, and my top two candidates with which I even slightly agreed appear to be Sam Brownback and Dennis Kucinich two people on exact opposite sides of the spectrum, both without a snowball's chance in hell of winning. The major candidates of either party faired dismally against my positions.

Am I such an odd person? Or are the national political parties so inbreed with group-think that sets of values that don't fit nicely into Right/Left politics end up ignored all together? Perhaps my own vanity would make me more likely to say the second, but I think I'm not alone in being annoyed with my Republican and Democrat choices. I really don't want any of these people to be president.

It is such miserable list of choices that forced me to vote for Bush twice. (The sad thing is that despite his rather pitiful presidency, he was actually the best choice given the options both years.)

I am seriously thinking about voting for third parties this round. I don't think it would be a wasted vote. It may not win anything this election, but I think that breaking the stranglehold of Republicans and Democrats on this country is in the long run the best way to improve the quagmire of American politics.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

In the ER

So I'm writing right now from the Emergency Department. Typically not much down time here, but I have a moment to post. Quite an exciting job to have. It is quite a change of pace since I have previously worked mostly in large hospitals that had lots of doctors and everything one could need. Here I am the lone doc for 24 hours --lots can happen, but it is rarely dull.

I'm still procrastinating about choosing a long-term job. I'm trying to figure out what to do with myself now that I have this medical license. I suppose I'm fluctuating between the concern I'll do nothing worthwhile with it and the fear I'll do too much with it and never see my family and friends.

I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


So it is interesting that I spent the last decade preparing to be a doctor, and now that I am finally practicing medicine as a licensed MD I have this strange sense of let down. I still like my job and my patients, but I have this constant feeling that it "isn't what I expected," although I'm not exactly sure what it was I expected.

I suppose this isn't uncommon for romantic notions when they collide with reality. I have a great permanent job that has been offered to me. I'm still thinking it over. I wonder if I'm really just stalling because of my hesitancy about practicing medicine in general.

I'm sure this is just a phase I'm going through right now and pretty soon I'll be loving doctoring as much as ever. It is interesting though to realize how phantasmal one's dreams actually are.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Standoff at Covenant

Update on Covenant College Censorship concerns:

The editors of the Bagpipe have chosen to shut it down rather than run a censored student newspaper. You can read about it here. Hats off to the brave editors!

Call or write Covenant and let them know you oppose censorship of student publications.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Covenant College needs help!

If you are unfamiliar with Covenant College you can ignore this post, but if you care at all about the place at all please read:

Covenant has made a grave mistake: the administration has claimed the right to censor all student publications, including "The Bagpipe" the campus newspaper. This document (sent to me by Covenant administration in response to an inquiry) explains the new policy in which faculty "advisors" are now required to act as censors of student publications. All articles must get have permission of the advisor before it is printed, and the advisor can even shut down the publication in order to control "inappropriate" speech.

The stifling effect this could have on free and open discourse would be disastrous for an academic institution. One of Covenant's greatest strengths has been that it has been both seriously and sincerely Christian while encouraging uncensored free thought and discussion on all topics. Now Covenant is in danger of becoming the sort of authoritarian "all Christian students should think the same" type of college that gives Christian education a bad name. Covenant faculty appear to be fighting this as well, but the administration doesn't appear interested in changing. I have Covenant's diploma hanging on my wall. I have always been proud of it, but this raises serious doubts about the direction the college is going.

If you are at all associated with Covenant College as an alumni, a student, or a member of the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) please email Covenant ( and let them know that such an ill-advised policy endangers destroying the environment that has made the school great.

You can also sign the online petition here. Password to edit is "freedom"

(click on image for larger view)

The Integrator was a satirical superhero cartoon that I drew for the Bagpipe from 1998-2000. Feel free to email or copy the image to any Covenant related sites in order to spread the word.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Update on life:

I started a one month job working as a temporary doc in a clinic that is short a doctor about an hour from Athens. I was pretty nervous about my first post-residency work, but I'm really enjoying being back in medicine now. It looks like next month I'll probably be working in an ER which will open up a whole new spectrum of practice.

Otherwise life here goes well. It is a bit stressful doing the never-ending work to get our old house in order. We have loved having many friends and my brother come and visit. It is also nice to live so close to the Drakes and Okies. Rather than losing old friends, we regain them!

Monday, August 6, 2007


We got back on US soil on Thursday night. We were happy to go and happy to return: I suppose that is how traveling should be. I return to the US now able to proudly say, "I've eaten squids boiled in ink." (An enriching experience that can only be found in southern Spain)

So now we are back home in Athens, Georgia, aiming for something like a normal life. I am looking into a job that I might be able to start next week. More on that later...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Heading towards home

So today was our last official day of "seeing what there is to see" here in Europe. We have spent the last several days in Seville, Spain. It is a wonderful, old city in Southern Spain. We went to an incredible Flamenco show the other night. Man those people really do dance with serious passion! The other famous thing to do in Seville is see a bullfight. While the spectical must be fascinating, neither of us are very interested in seeing a bull killed in the ring, so we decided not to do that one. So after our fill of fascinating culture, ancient sights, interesting people, and unpredictable food, it is time to head on home.

Over the next 2 days we are going to gradually work our way to Lisbon where we will fly out on Thursday morning. Our last great adventure will be braving the Spanish train system once more! We really look forward to seeing all of you again. This will likely be the last post from our European adventure. See you soon.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Traveling Spain

So Barcelona was interesting in a weird and wild sort of way. We went to the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, which is one of the most fascinating and beatiful buildings we have ever seen.

Then we tried to travel by train in Spain. The trains that our Eurail passes covers are only slightly more efficient than walking. Yesterday it took us 15 hours on trains and in train stations getting only half as far as we had expected we would. Our latest train yet: 2 hours delayed! So today we broke down and bought a ticket on a high speed train, but decided that we would need to cut down out some travel becuase there is no way that we could reach all the places we thought. Unfortunately we had to scratch Granada off our list, so now we are going to spend the next few days in Seville. Just checked into the hostel, and we are about to head out and explore the city. With any luck we may see some flamenco dancing!

Less than a week left in our trip. The idea of heading home is sounding very nice.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Sorry for no posts for a while. Affordable internet connection is hard to find as a tourist.

Since we left Sienna we have been to Cinqua Terra national park in Italy where we stayed in Vernazza and hiked the coast. Then we went to France in order to be distained by French people. Actually most French were quite nice, but the rude ones certainly know how to leave an impression. We stayed in Arles the town where Van Gogh did a lot of his painting. Really pleasant little city.

Today we arrived in Spain, the last leg of our journey before we head home. After almost 3 weeks of traveling we are really looking forward to home. We just checked in here in Barcelona, a very bustling and crowded city. I think we are finding that the smaller towns are more our favorite places to really experience the different cultures of Europe.

Well, not too long before we are headed home. The comfort of home sounds nice these days.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Not all roads (or trains) lead to Rome

So... we never actually got to Rome.

So we took our first and last night train intending to go to Rome. The affordable sleeper cabin resembled an oven both in temperature and cramped space. The train conductor swore the air conditioner worked, but I am skeptical. So we basically spent the whole night sweating. To make thing worse there was an older German man who snored loudly and was in a pretty foul mood. I am pretty sure I got cussed out in German at around 1 am for moving around (but it was all Greek to me). So when the train stopped in Florence early in the morning we decided to forgo 2 more hours of sleeper train travel and skip Rome.

Florence was nice, and Siena has been a delightful city to explore. Apparently it is still quite similar to how it was in the middle ages. Lots of fun. It is also nice to hear from all the tourists coming from Rome how everything you would want to see is surrounded by sweaty, angry throngs of tourists. Sounds too much like a sleeper cabin to me.

Friday, July 13, 2007


We are finishing up our second day at L'abri. It is a Christian intentional community here in the Swiss Alps. We spent this morning studying and writing in the amazing library and this afternoon working and picking fruit for the others to eat. Some people stay here for years, but we are only able to be here for a few days.

It is nice to stop being a tourist for a while and spend some peaceful days of study and discussion. We like that for now we don't have to sleep in a different place each night. We may leave on Sunday or Monday we aren't sure.

Next we will go back down to Italy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Today I spent 5 hours in the town where my grandfather was born. No one in Ortona, Italy spoke English or recognized the names of my relatives that left there over 90 years ago, but it was a wonderful town with a castle and warm and friendly people. We loved it.

Tomorrow we will be going to L'Abri in Switzerland.

I'm out of internet time and must go. See you later

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Leaving Greece

Yesterday I caught the bus to the ancient city of Mycenae, which was amazing. After that we had another wonderful evening in Nafplion.

Today we take and overnight ferry to Italy. We could only afford passage sleeping on the deck so pray for nice weather.

Probably won't have internet access for a few days, but hope to be back with more news soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


We are now spending 2 days in Nafplion. This is more our speed. It is a beautiful little city on the water. Then tomorrow night we will be taking a ferry to Italy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Athens, Greece

We arived in Athens this am. We spent most of the day walking around the old city. We are both a bit jet lagged. It is fascinating to realize that you are walking in the same placed where Aristotle, Plato, and Paul taught. But right now in my jet lagged state Athens strikes me as a bunch of old monuments surrounded by a polluted and over populated city. Looking forward to getting on the rails tomorrow.

I think Athens, Georgia may be more my kind of city. It wasn't the cradle of western civilization, but it is home.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Backpacking in the Old World

Joya and I have packed our bags and we are off to see the world! Our plane leaves today. We will be backpaking Europe while riding the rails for the next 4 weeks. I'll try to post some updates on where we are and what we are doing on Gridbook Notes when I am able to find affordable internet connections. I expect that the Gridbook Blog will be quiet for the next month, but hopefully afterwards I'll have some interesting musings inspired by different peoples and cultures to post.

Sorry that I didn't get to say goodbye to everyone. Life was a little crazy there with both moving to Georgia and packing for our big adventure. I miss you all.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Sorry for the recent lack of info coming from this direction. I know that The Gridbook Blog has been quite sparse recently. I don't mean to leave it un-updated for so long.

We have some exciting new news. We have a home in Athens, Ga. Hopefully closing next week. It has enough space that we should be able to welcome many of you into our home!

In the mean time we have been living in New Hope B&B here since our house sold. We are paying the monthly rate which is actually not bad. We also love the folks that run this fine home.

A few weekends ago Joya went on her first backpaking trip. She did great. She and I went with Chris, John and Hannah.

Brian and Scharlie couldn't make it because of the exiting arrival of Samuel Jonathan Carlisle.

Well, that is life right now. One month left in residency....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Gridbook Blog Turns 1 Year-Old

I just realized that it has been one year since I sat down to create a blog. I named The Gridbook Blog after the old grid-lined notebooks I used for collecting my thoughts when I was in college. It has been fun and terrifying throwing personal thoughts out into the world to be read by friends and strangers alike. Between the essays on The Gridbook Blog and Gridbook Notes (this personal blog with the various news items from my life) I've sent out almost exactly a post a week over the last year, which is pretty good considering my work schedule.

Thanks to everyone who has read, commented, and corrected. These blogs have been a fascinating interaction. I hope next year goes as well. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Doctor's Day

So yesterday (still "today" for me because I've been in the hospital all night) was Doctor's Day. Some of the nurses gave us cake. I didn't even know doctors got a day.

The irony that Doctor's Day is right after April Fool's day could lead to all sorts of humor.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Switching to a Mac

So this is the first post I'm doing with my new laptop. I've had a few buggy Microsoft machines in the last few years so I thought I would try something different instead of Vista. Linux still seems like a bit too much work for someone with my rather basic computing needs so I decided to give Apple a try. Several friends who have Macs swear they never display those nasty habits of the cranky computers I'm used to.

So here I sit, up way too late playing with my refurbished macbook. Right now I'm working through a few mild frustrations of platform switching, but no major hang-ups. Time will tell if I've become a victim of clever marketing and fashion, or I've discovered the secret to worry-free computing...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

All Things Go (Moving)

Well, we are frantically moving all our belongings into boxes. As of March 22 our favorite place in Kingsport will be someone else's house. This weekend John Drake is coming up to help me load the truck and take everything to Athens. No job yet, but a couple prospects. I'll miss this old house on 310 Union Street. I'm still here in Kingsport for another 3 months finishing up residency while living migrantly.

We got some exciting news yesterday. We had no idea that the Okies are also moving to Athens, Ga. It will be good to see them again.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Anybody need a Family Medicine doctor in Athens?

So finding a Family Medicine job in or around Athens, Georgia is going to be a bit more difficult than I had thought. Being being near a community of friends and family is important so I'm quite certain Athens is where we need to be next year. But it seems that due to having the University of Georgia there they seem to have no shortage of doctors in the area. I suppose I'm spoiled by all the offers I got with excellent practices when we were planning on moving to North Carolina.

So if anyone knows a great Family Physicians group looking for a new partner let me know. I've decided not to fret about a job though. If I don't find the right job I can always moonlight in an ER or hospital job until the right practice shows u

Monday, February 12, 2007

Reading Blogs

Google is doing all the great stuff for the internet these days! If you like to read blogs (like The Gridbook Blog or Gridbook Notes ...hint, hint, nudge, nudge) or other pages that are updated irregularly you really should look into Google Reader. It can help you avoid checking a site 5 times and finding no updates, or forgetting to check for a few months and finding more than you are able to read.

It sends you the update to the web pages you read in a box like your mailbox. In fact, you can stick it to your Google home page right beside you g-mail inbox. Now it is in Google Labs which means it is officially experimental, but I've been using it for several weeks and really like it. If Google keeps improving the ease of internet stuff my parents might have web sites some day.

Yes, I know I've identified myself as a techie nerd, but hey after this much post-graduate education the nerdliness was sort of getting obvious.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Georgia on My Mind

Big news! Change of plans: this time next year Joya and I will be living in Athens, Georgia. Joya is finishing her first year and going to aim for Georgia law schools, so we can be closer to home and a majority of our friends. The one thing that is sad is that we won't get to hang with Mike and Jasmin in Raleigh, but we will be able to see my niece and nephew grow up. Hopefully have some young'uns of our own too!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Selling the House

We put our house up for sale this week. I'm really going to miss this place. Joya and I will probably always look back and think of our first home here in Kingsport.

You can see the house on the web here.

Monday, January 8, 2007

SEC Football!

Just watched the National Championship game. You just have to love SEC football! The SEC team with one loss that narrowly won many other games came in the underdogs. The Big Ten team comes in undefeated and supposedly invincible. People said Florida didn't even have a right to be in the game.

In the end the SEC team absolutely decimated the "invincible" number one team. Surprise! This always happens. Some teams in weaker conferences get immaculate records, while SEC teams rack up losses playing in the world's strongest conference. Head-to-head SEC teams usually win. It's no coincidence every time an SEC team has been put in the BCS championship game they've won.

It's time for the BCS to be replaced with a playoff. Until that happens the only way to legitimately prove a national champ is to put the SEC Champs in the BCS championship game every year. Wouldn't it be great getting to watch the SEC champs dominate some undefeated "invincible" team every January?