Name that sound challenge

Day 99: Monday

Morning, Tim!

I have missed you. I suspect you are holding off writing in order to get the 100th post. While normally I’d be stubborn, I’ll let you have this one I suppose.

Hoping to entice you back, I have a challenge for you.

Name this sound:

Now, to clarify, I don’t mean give it a name. I know your kind.

I mean identify this sound.

Happy to provide hints in the comments for you, so just ask 🙂

Until tomorrow,


Love isn’t onion breath

Day 50: Friday

Morning, Tim!

Yesterday wasn’t my best day. Nothing dreadful happened. Much worse has happened in my life, let alone others’. But it still wasn’t good.

I spent nearly 13 hours in a windowless room. Lunch was catered in, and we worked through it. Breath after eating Middle Eastern food is potent; multiply it by 40, heat it up – not one of my top 5 favorite smells. Following work I went to school, listening to my professor lecture about investments for 2 hours without pause. Good stuff.

Upon arriving home, I nestled in, just thankful for the day to be done. I complained to my wife, who simply listened. I was grateful.

But then it got much better.

For our first anniversary (months ago, now), my wife made me a box of presents. Envelopes to open at different times given the occasion — perhaps a wonderful day, perhaps boredom. All of these envelopes had letters fitting the occasion, a way to make me smile. Many had a present accompanying. One letter was when I needed to feel handsome — a beautiful note of encouragement, a pep talk, and a mirror to show me what she sees.

I had forgotten about these, but am thankful to have stumbled upon them last night. I opened the box, rifled through it a bit, and was thoroughly blessed to find this:IMG_1074.JPG

One was for having a bad day.

In it there was yet another beautiful letter, comforting me. Not knowing one bit about my day the near year ago when it was written, it was just what I needed. It also contained this gem:


which should make anyone smile. Especially me. Puns are the best.

You may have noticed the Gift #2 on the envelope. In case you’re curious, it was a book – Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. So I read it in a silly voice, and felt much better.

It’s great to feel known, cared for, loved.

My day wasn’t so bad after all. I drifted off to sleep, cherishing as always the sound of John Cage’s 4’33’’ as my eyelids slowly came to a close.

Until Monday,


Calm Before the Storm

Day 38: Wednesday

Morning, Tim!

It’s nice to lose track of time. It’s an experience I believe many people share – being on vacation from our typical routine allows us to meld days together, experiencing rather than living by the clock. It’s Wednesday, though – I know because it’s day 38. I like that I learned what day it was by writing it up there.

I’m writing this at the kitchen table, quietly stroking keys as to not wake the masses. I’m visiting family, and the house is (over)filled, with a towering sibling toppled, legs sprawled across couch armrests, while knuckles graze the floor; nephews and nieces snuggled together upstairs on makeshift mattress palaces, dreaming of castles, knights, and cloud princesses. I don’t know their dreams, but I have hopes and dreams about them.

It’s been a reflective visit. Chaos. The scattered, slow-breathing mounds abounding paint the image of yesterday, with exhausted children next to their exhausted relatives who finally seem to have outrun them. Loud. Interspersed between the turn of machines whirring away to clean clothes, cool food, and warm those under covers, it’s the rustling of the few relatives who want a brief moment before the storm. Relative. Considered in relation to something else: it is silent; also, a near complete collection of relatives all together under one roof – rare.  Rare. Laughter and joy, thorough sadness, all at the simplest of interactions (or lack thereof) – I would like to be a child’s understudy for a while. They have a lot to teach.

Morning, everyone.


Until tomorrow,


Volcanos and Good (Women) Doctors

Day 34: Wednesday

Morning, Tim!

Today I defend your cacophony of structuralism with (giant [and well drawn…]) earplugs!! I then attack your base (well played) with a giant bottle of vinegar (I contemplated having a man jumping on the bottle to squirt it out as if it were a water blob, but wasn’t able to accurately portray that…). So yeah…take that.

Day 3: Under siege

Sketches Copy - 8.png

My base is defended by earplugs (alternatively it could be headphones and listening to all about that bass…). Your “base” is being attacked by a spritzing bottle of vinegar. 

While fun to draw on my phone, I may need to print out next time…silly big fingers…

One article that has received a fair amount of attention the past couple days calls out disparities in physicians, most notably a quality of care gap favoring female physicians.

“Salaries for female physicians average some $19,879—eight percent—lower than male physicians. At academic hospitals, male physicians receive more research funding and are more than twice as likely as female physicians to rise to the rank of full professor.”

Justified by something, perhaps quality? Nah…

Female physicians actually tend to provide higher-quality medical care than males, according to research released today. If male physicians were as adept as females, some 32,000 fewer Americans would die every year—among Medicare patients alone.

An interesting find. I’m not a clinician, but were I to pursue that route I’d easily be a part of the higher paid statistic – I’m male. Not a part of this study, but I’m also white and tall, each giving me undeserved advantages, privileges. Something isn’t right about that.

But the interesting piece about the article isn’t just the observation that the pay gap is obviously undeserved. At the end of the day, it’s better for patients – they get better results. What is it that brings this about? Is it a communication style? Perhaps an intelligence level of the subset of women self-selecting into the field? Time spent with the patient? Compassion? Less ego?

It’ll be interesting to learn more as they dig in to this.

Until tomorrow,


Negotiations; A medical pickup line

Day 20: Friday

Morning, Tim!

I appreciated the continuation of thought around ramifications of second languages — not only do they bring about risk-taking and utilitarian morality, but also what level of trust do you put in the second-language words (or third language — unbeknownst to you Jerry speaks fluent German with me, a common language among conures). I’d default to a more Wittgenstein lens that suggests a look at context, but some people just like to joke around so it’s harder to tell. For instance, Jerry’s German is pretty good, but his pun game is the Wurst.

Tim, I’ve compiled a couple of lists recently (so have you!), and I hope you’ve appreciated them. I’m going to go back to the well and try another list, this time on just two things I learned in my course on negotiation.

  • Learning 1: Know your Reservation Price. Don’t guess. Don’t assume it will be easy to figure out.
    • Explanation: Your Reservation Price is the one where a deal is no longer worth it — you’d rather walk away from the table. You understand it by doing a lot of prepwork — what are all the issues at hand, and where do I draw the line. Testing combinations to figure out “Yep — it’s at least this or I walk away” is tough, but preparing ahead of time helps set what you should target, how the negotiation should go, and perhaps help you avoid an emotional swing at the negotiation table
    • Example: Say you are in the market to purchase a home. You find a home you love, but it’s a touch out of your price range, the owners can’t actually complete the sale for a couple months, and there are some things about it you’d like fixed. At what point do you walk away to find a different house? That’s your reservation price. (Also, you probably made a mistake and weren’t looking at the right houses, because you couldn’t walk away from these!)
  • Learning 2: Retain a catalogue or checklist of cognitive biases. Before, during, and after a negotiation, check to see which are likely to play a role.
    • Explanation: We all have cognitive biases. In some ways, this is more stylistic (e.g. a tendency toward passively accepting rather than negotiating a more aggressive solution) while others are more structural (e.g. in taking risks, you are likely to experience loss aversion) and still others are based on our unique past (e.g. My friend has a friend who knew a girl who went on a date and the guy didn’t call but then they ended up together in the end…so i believe this could happen to me too when the guy doesn’t call! [note: this may be a movie plot…)

    • Example: I already gave several  in the explanation above, what more do you expect? Kidding. In buying a car — wait. This is a lot of purchasing in one day. Let’s make it a used car. In buying a used car, you may care about how many miles on the car (often as an indication of just how used it really is). You may look at the miles on one car and say “Wow that’s got below 100k miles!” (say, 48, 672) and look at the next and think “blech. This one already has over 50,000 miles! (say, 50, 112). You’re likely experiencing left digit bias (where the far left number you read over-impacts your perception); this is why you see prices ending in .99 at the supermarket! 

This was probably a less exciting list than one full of puns. Inspired by your title, I’ll end on an awesome pickup line I intend to use to flirt with my wife later today.

Are you my appendix? Because I don’t understand how you work, but this feeling in my stomach makes me want to take you out.

Until Monday,


p.s. My guess on the response to said pick-up line will be some form of “hardy-har. Yet another pun…” with a follow-up helping me understand what the appendix does. 😉

Stop and Enjoy the … Weather?

Day 4: Thursday

Morning, Tim!

Do you carry an umbrella when it rains? I’m picturing something with a wonderfully curved, wooden handle — sleek, black, perhaps “modern chic” (it is Milan after all)? I’m curious just what it means to “kind of like the rain and the clouds.”

I’m not sure if it would do the meteorologically judgmental people any good to point out that, unless they are airplane pilots or astronauts, there’s a pretty good chance they spend most of their lives under the weather.  Like it or not.

My immediate thought was “ahh some wit!” But then, this can’t be right. Even if one is an airplane pilot or astronaut, they live no more under the weather than anyone else; all of us simply live in it (with acknowledgement, my dear brother, that an astronaut may have brief periods of escape).

And this living in is something I’ve enjoyed about life, about weather. We are in it, fully immersed; and, importantly, we are in it together, whether we like it or not. Through good times and bad, we weather what comes our way, and make choices about how to respond, how to move forward.

I get to visit some family today – I’m reminded how blessed I am to have support when weathering what can feel like the rollercoaster of life. That support includes the relationship we get to have, Tim, bantering away, simply sharing in life’s adventures together here on Thily Fin!

Wise old Tom is right – there really is “a lot of weather out there.” And because we get to choose how we respond – perhaps to dance in the park, to kiss in the rain, to learn diligently about others – we should pause and reflect, reflecting on the supports around us, on the response we want to give to the adventure we are on.

Until tomorrow,