Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Too Awesome A Picture Not To be Shared

Just a quick picture share from Brazil: behold the beauty of this Triple BK Stacker & Cheddar fries with a Double Whopper with cheese in the background! As this meal earned me the Foursquare mayorship of the Burger King joint in Guaruja (SP, Brazil), I can safely assume that I am the Burger King Of The World.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Burger Sunday Brazilian Edition

As some of you might have guessed, I currently am on vacation in
Brazil. It already broke my heart last week not to be able to
participate in the usual Sunday Burger challenge, so I had to do
something about it this week. As desperate times call for desperate
measures, I give you this picture taken at a McDonald's joint located
on the Imigrantes highway. I stopped there on my way to Guaruja, a
world famous destination for Burger lovers with its Burger King
restaurant located right on the beach!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prepaid iPhone Plans In Brazil

As I am spending this Holiday season in Brazil, you can only imagine that I did some research in the area of prepaid sim cards with unlimited data. The best thing I came up with was Tim Brasil. They sell prepaid cards for R$ 10 (around US$ 5), and you can buy additional credits in grocery stores by increments of R$ 6. Data connections are charged R$ 0.50 per day for unlimited usage, though speed is capped if you use more than 10 Mb in 24 hours or 300 Mb in 30 days. Voice call prices are kind of hard to understand but basically if you call another Tim number or make a local call to a landline, you will be charged R$ 0.25 per call no matter how long you stay on the line. Calls to other carriers are more expensive and charged by the minute (R$ 1.39 per minute if I got that right).
Using a jailbroken iPhone with MyWi works with the aforementioned plan and there are no APN settings to tweak. Since Tim won't sell microsim cards under that plan, you'd better bring a sim card cutter along if you plan on using an unsimlocked iPhone 4.
You may also want to check the sim card you're buying as some don't allow 3G connectivity. Only Tim owned stores seem to be selling those. Resellers don't (and unfortunately I could not find a Tim owned store where I am located)!
It is a no brainer for me as the 300 Mb that I'm probably gonna use in the next 2 weeks will end up costing me less than R$ 25 (= US$ 12) with some phone calls and text messages included in that price. If you compare this to an estimated charge of € 4000 (€ 13/Mb) by Orange France for the same usage, it looks like the best deal ever!

Please also note that you'll need a CPF number to buy a sim card (so you might ask a Brazilian friend to go to the store with you)!

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment and I'll be happy to help.

Fine Food Up In The Air

As much as I like to criticize France, I must admit that no other airline, in my experience, serves better food in business class than Air France. Admittedly, my French taste buds might be biased but still, any serious frequent flyer should at least give AF a chance! The food almost makes up for the hassle associated with flying AF. Well, that's at least what I told myself up in the air while enjoying my meals, just until I reached my final destination, only to realize that my checked-in bags hadn't made it all the way to Brazil. Fortunately, this came as no surprise to me as I am quite used to this as a top-tier AF frequent flyer!
Anyway, as to the pictures above:
1) Starters: Foie Gras & Salmon with Nicolas Feuillate Blanc de Blancs Champagne: awesome!
2) Entree: Beef Fillet with Bearnaise sauce: the meat was delicious though a bit overcooked.
Cheese: well, you just gotta love it!
3) Dessert: Speculos flavored ice cream & grapes. Coffee. I'm still waiting to be served the Pear Eau-de-Vie that I ordered (and was not offered as it unfortunately is the case too often with AF). I'm confident AF planned to serve it upon the delivery of my bags at my in-laws in 3 to 4 days!
4) 2nd meal: Grisons meat for starters, Beef as main course and Orange for dessert. Once again, a very good meal though my meat was once again a bit overcooked.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Das Unheimliche With A Vengeance

Every once in a while, my mind drifts away and ends up thinking about patients that I haven't seen for a long time, wondering how they are now doing and if I ended up being of any help to them. More often than not, these patients tend to call or show up at my practice in a matter of weeks. I must say that their timely appearance always triggers a feeling that Freud best described as "Unheimliche" or Uncanny in English.

Since seeing again a former patient usually means they are not doing well, I now tend to dread those times when I think about patients.

So, are my thoughts responsible for my former patients not doing well or can their pain somewhat trigger my thoughts? Unfortunately and more realistically, I have to assume it is just a coincidence!

Still, can you believe that a patient I last saw four years ago and thought about last week showed up this morning at my practice?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Burger Sunday Holiday Season Edition: The Best Of Two Worlds

To celebrate the coming Holiday Season, I made a special burger tonight featuring the best of two worlds: the beauty of the Burger from the New World & Gourmet ingredients from the Old World. I must say that this simple looking burger was fabulous. The combination of Pepper Mustard, Foie Gras, Truffles and Meat was just perfect! YOU SHOULD ALL TRY IT.

Of course, I had to have a regular burger to establish a baseline for my comparison. So here's a closer look at my meal:

I wish to thank all my friends that joined the Sunday Burger Challenge tonight. Many thanks to Steph & Typedown in particular!

More to come next week! Stay iTuned!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cheating On Adam Richman With Fast Food Sushi

Many thanks to @Sebastien_Lopez for forwarding this great video to me. I must say my allegiance to the Great Adam Richman & Man Vs Food is now in jeopardy. The concept of mixing fast food with sushi seems, to me, like the greatest idea mankind has ever come up with (way ahead of Quantum Physics, Psychoanalysis & General Relativity). I can't way to get home and try this as it might bring balance to the force of the Sunday Burger Challenge.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Orange France: YOU SUCK

I, candidly, called Orange France Customer Service this morning in order to activate one of their Data Roaming Plans. As usual, the plan I chose ended up being activated right away although I had asked to activate it on a specific date. Upon my second call to fix this, I was promised everything would be taken care of, only to realize later on that the person I talked to had done nothing. My last contact with them resulted in Orange telling that due to the fact that they had made a mistake, my Data Roaming Plan could not and would not be activated at the date that I originally asked. That's it. No apologies and no attempt to fix their original mistake.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Burger Sunday December 2010 Edition

In my ongoing quest to reach Burger Xanadu, I am proud to present to you tonight's attempt at Burger Heaven! These burgers tasted as good as they looked! I used the usual ingredients: Onion, Tomato, Iceberg Lettuce, Bacon, Ground Meat and Hellmann's Mayonnaise. What actually set these burgers apart was the use of Louisiana Gold Horseradish Pepper Sauce and Gouda cheese. I used the latter in an attempt to add a good dose of absurdity to my recipe just because I will soon connect through Amsterdam on my way to Brazil. What better way to memorize a travel itinerary than with the composition of a hamburger? Encoded in the other ingredients are the date and time of travel, seat reservations and the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything.

Who needs a flash drive when they have a burger?

The Viber Effect: Resistance Is Futile

When it comes to VoIP apps on the iPhone, there are many options available. The same can be said for Instant Messaging apps that mimic text messaging without a fee. As a new VoIP app named "Viber" was announced recently, I found myself reluctant to install it as I already had at least five alternatives on my iPhone. And here I am today, talking about this app that I ended up downloading yesterday. When it comes to communication apps, usability and looks aren't necessarily the most important things although that's what would jump in mind if you were asked out of the blue. The thing is that it's all about what your friends use. And when it comes to Viber, it looks like they have a winner app. I, indeed, received so many invites from friends to install it that I ended up doing it!

I must say this app is well executed, fast and efficient. And you gotta love the "à la" Whatsapp no registration needed process as Viber uses your phone number to identify you (and verifies it by sending you a code via a text message).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is Project Magazine The New Wired?

I've just purchased the first issue of Project Magazine on my iPad and must say Me Like It! Granted, it shares a common look and feel with Wired Magazine but it is a bit more aimed at a mainstream audience than Wired. Checking out the cover page animation is absolutely worth the price of the first issue! And you gotta love the idea of an iPad-only magazine!

Dunhill Wants Your Wallet To Go Biometric

Is this just another Luxury Wallet? Well the answer is Yes and No. This beautiful wallet is a luxury item priced at US$ 825 but it sets itself apart from the competition by implementing a nice geek factor: Biometrics. As a matter of fact, only the touch of your fingerprint can open it. In my book, this makes the Dunhill QGK0169 a must have. You can even pair it with your bluetooth phone in order to receive an alarm should this precious piece of technology stray away from your immediate vicinity!

I'm still trying to figure out what Biometroc refers to in the product description though. Maybe something even cooler?

Note: I wish they mentioned how many credit cards this wallet can hold.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Disappointing Nasa Conference In 11 Hours

Nasa recently scheduled a conference on Astrobiology that will take place today at 2pm EST. Rumor has it that despite leaks claiming they will announce evidence of Extra-Terrestrial life, they will merely focus on a discovery that showed that some micro-organisms are capable of using arsenic instead of phosphorus as a means of storing and using energy (think "ATA" instead of "ATP"). This finding is nevertheless very interesting as it paves the way for new approaches in the search for extra-terrestrial life.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Burger King On The Beach In Brazil

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I'm really looking forward to my Christmas trip to Brazil. Among other things, I'll get to spend a week in Guarujá, SP which is a very nice city by the Atlantic Ocean in São Paulo state. It may not be known to tourists but it is a popular destination for Paulistas (São Paulo residents). Guarujá may qualify as heaven on earth as its largest shopping mall "La Plage" located right on the beach is home to a Burger King! Sea, Burger & Sun: The Perfect Holiday combination. Another way to put it would be: A Burger King in a shopping mall with a French name in Brazil!

Stay tuned for more (Burger) pictures when I get there! Until then, feel free to wander the streets of Guarujá on Google street view!

Psychiatry 101: Misconceptions About Psychiatric Disorders

It seems the media and perhaps the collective unconscious carry many misconceptions about psychiatric disorders. As a psychiatrist, it often is very difficult to explain to people that what they believe is absolutely wrong as I've heard so many times that they'd rather believe what they see on TV than a highly trained professional. Notice that I chose to illustrate this post with a picture of Freud who wasn't, contrary to what most people believe, a psychiatrist: he was a neurologist!

So here are a few facts that everyone should know:

- Antidepressant medicines aren't addictive. 90% of them do not have a sedative effect. Anti-anxiety medicines and sleeping pills are, on the contrary, addictive. Antidepressant treatments are long treatments. In most cases, they have to be taken over at least a six-month period and sometimes up to five years or more. This is to prevent relapse and it is very important. More than half of the population will stop taking their treatment when they feel better. This is a mistake and it will lead to relapse.

- Multiple Personality Disorder (or Dissociative Identity Disorder) and Schizophrenia aren't the same thing. As a matter of fact, it seems everyone believes that patients suffering from schizophrenia have multiple personalities. This is wrong. Multiple Personality Disorder is classified amongst dissociative disorders which are considered a form of neurosis whereas schizophrenia is a psychosis. Dissociative Identity Disorder is mostly found in North America, it is a culture-dependent disorder (meaning it will only appear in some cultures as long as people believe it exists... Hollywood certainly played a role in the advent of this disorder in North America).

- Patients suffering from schizophrenia aren't dangerous. Serial killers aren't schizophrenic. They're usually either psychopaths or perverts.

- "My cousin used to take tons of pills. That is why she was sick". Honestly, do you believe that a physician would prescribe a treatment to make their patients ill? Do you believe that such a treatment would be sold in pharmacies? Do you believe that med schools would train students on how to make people ill? What you usually see is the tip of the iceberg: a relative who is not well and takes psychotropic medicine. Believe me, they would be doing far worse if they did not take any treatment. Sometimes treatments aren't 100% effective and some cases are more complicated than others. We, psychiatrists, as any other physician are not almighty and can't cure everyone. Would you say that a diabetic has high blood sugar because they take insulin?

That's it for today! More to come soon! Stay tuned!