packet man

Who Invented Sugar Packets?

The man was Benjamin Eisenstadt. He had worked at a tea bag factory when he was a young immigrant in New York, and as an adult he ran a family diner in Brooklyn. His family was constantly annoyed with their clumpy, coffee-stained sugar bowls. Refilling and unclogging them was a pain. Eisenstadt had a problem, and he came up with a solution: put the sugar in packets.

He went to Domino and offered his unpatented idea to them. They said “no, thanks.” Then a month later Domino was producing sugar in packets. Eisenstadt got the best revenge though. He founded Cumberland Packing which is better known today as the Sweet ‘N Low company. They produce packets of artificial sweetener, specifically saccharin, and Sweet 'N Low successfully competed with Domino, the sugar company that ripped him off. Sweet 'N Low still has their headquarters at the original family diner in Brooklyn.

Logic Where No Logic Goes

Soulmates, Dr. Uchiha Itachi thought warily to himself as he finished printing off the consultation notes, were nothing but a total disaster waiting to happen and a disease to be treated. With a sigh, he wheeled around in his chair, nabbed his white coat from where he had tossed it in the corner of his consultation room, and rushed off to his evening rounds.

To be quite honest, he didn’t need to rush- evening rounds were always the same old cases in psychiatry, considering how they had the same patients on ward day after day. He thought he was going to do some good as a psychiatrist (something that was still a bit of a sort point in family reunions, considering how the Uchiha line is practically a clan of surgeons, of all things), but it took him five full years in psychiatry to realize that in fact, he wasn’t doing anyone any good.

He had always been a smart child, growing up; genetics favored him, and he grew up pointing at colored diagrams in his mother’s old and worn copy of Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy. He spelled out body parts with his alphabet soup and correctly guessed his cousin’s, diagnosis of ADHD five minutes after meeting him for the first time. However, it was only until he began following his father around in the hospital during the summers (well, he had to put something on that résumé) that he realized the truth of the medical world… perhaps more accurately, the world that is general surgery. Dr. Uchiha Fugaku is a renowned hepatobiliary surgeon and nephew to Dr. Uchiha Madara, the chief of service of surgery at Konoha hospital. And Itachi happened to be related to both of them.

Given that medicine is practically in his blood (sooner or later, he’ll have much-coveted “Dr.” stuck to his name), the nurses were quite welcoming to him. The patients, on the other hand… they were miserable.

Confined in their bed, with tubes and drains sticking out of them, their bodies held together with straining stiches and prayers. Itachi was shocked. This wasn’t what he wanted to do. He stood, numb and shocked, as an elderly patient’s wordless screams and went totally ignored on wards- “he’s noncommunicable,” the nurses told him. “Don’t bother- he has dementia.”

Too far gone, they said. Standing at the end of the bed of the wasted old man- perhaps soon to be a dead old man, Uchiha Itachi decided then and there that he would never become a surgeon- no matter what his family said. Cutting open people isn’t what he wanted in his life.

He was more or less hailed as the family genius- “Neurosurgery or Cardiothoracic for sure,” his father had said once with his chest puffed out in pride. It made him look like a particularly deformed pigeon, Itachi thought. Medicine was never but an obligation in his life- the firstborn son of Uchiha Fugaku of the Uchiha line of doctors- there was never a choice for him to make to begin with. The choice was made at his conception, and he had no say in it. What he did have a say in, is which branch of medicine he would go into (small mercies, he thought- the saving grace of it all is that medicine is nothing if not diverse. And he would find something to fit him.)

It was with great pleasure that he broke the news over dinner one day- that he had been accepted in the psychiatry department at Konoha hospital after his internship. His father was apocalyptic, as he had predicted. He swelled like a balloon and made Itachi all the more glad that he was going into psychiatry- perhaps his father needed one to see him. His mother, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, smiled and nodded; she alone knew that he had a far too gentle nature to be a surgeon. He was a thinker, not a doer. Little Sasuke only shrugged and looked on- he was only in his first year of medical school then- specialties were a far way away for him.

It was only until he started working in psychiatry that he started learning about the “Soulmates Disease”. It was barely glanced over in medical school, written down in the smallest of small prints on powerpoints, and it wasn’t mentioned much on wards. It wasn’t common- not that psychiatry had a lot of teaching time in the curriculum to begin with anyways. And apparently, his supervisor, Dr. Hatake Kakashi, specialized in this relatively untaught disease.

Soulmates Disease involves multiple specialties (making it all the more of a headache); every person in the world is born with a soulmate, and usually they don’t know about it. It’s not something that people are consciously aware of, and that’s perfectly okay. It’s when they do know of the existence of soulmates that the problem arises. For the majority of the people, the only clue that they have is that they feel drawn to the person and vice versa. They may be friends, family members (a few selected case reports talked about twins being each others’ soulmates), or more commonly- lovers. However, there is a minority (undoubtedly, glitches in a matrix called humanity… in medicine, glitches were ominous at best) who become consciously aware of their soulmates’ existence. Those people feel it keenly- the existence of their soulmates.

Sometimes they come to the ENT doctors, complaining of a loud drum beating noise that constantly bothers them and steals away their sleep. Some of them go to their cardiologists, telling them that their heart is beating weirdly and that they hear it pounding in their ears. Some of them go to their general practitioners or family physicians with the same problems. And then there’s the select few who just straight up faint. Wherever they go, they inevitably end up in psychiatry after a long and winding road of unnecessary investigations and headaches, at which they get diagnosed with Soulmate Disease.

The pounding sound that bothers them in their sleep? That’s their soulmates’ heartbeat, as Kakashi said once to a particularly distraught patient. And that’s a good thing, he said, until something goes wrong with that very vital heart beat.

Once, Kakashi was a neurosurgeon at Konoha Hospital- and a damn good one at that, for one who flew through the whole curriculum and graduated from med school a full two years early. Then, one day, he suddenly seized in the middle of excising a brain tumor and accidentally cut too deeply into the patient’s brain. The junior doctor assisting with the operation almost had a panic attack on the spot, Itachi thought with some amusement- anyone would, if there were suddenly two patients in the middle of a delicate operation instead of one, and both were unstable. Luckily, Nara Shikaku, the anesthetist  on scene, was able to take control of the situation swiftly. The patient ended up suing the hospital anyways (or at least his relatives did), and the poor junior doctor promptly transferred away into family medicine afterwards.

Kakashi later regained consciousness after a few days, and the first thing he did was cry uncontrollably; the extra heartbeat that he had heard throughout his high school years and beyond was gone.

It was perhaps a bit more than a coincidence that Itachi lost his favorite cousin, Uchiha Obito, to a drunk driving car accident on the same day. Fortunately, his favorite cousin didn’t suffer too much (he had seen one too many people live beyond their expiratory dates) since he was dead on arrival. In the end, Kakashi never found his soulmate, and Itachi never got to know his cousin better.

All in all, Kakashi ended up with an extra helping of depression and transferred to psychiatry (even though none of his previous training hours transferred) after he was deemed fit enough to return to work and ended up as Itachi’s boss.

It was harrowing on the best of days, to work under Kakashi, Itachi thought. Accomplished or not, teaching is not Kakashi’s forte, and if Itachi was any less of a genius, the ex-neurosurgeon would probably just give up teaching altogether. Sometimes, on particularly rainy days, Itachi would see a dark shadow lurking in Kakashi’s eyes- a terrible look of irreplaceable loss and a tunnel without the light at the end of it- and suddenly he would become taciturn and withdrawn, tired and old. On those days, Itachi does the only thing he can: venture down to the canteen and brave though swarms of medical students and patient visitors to grab his superior a coffee.

“Here,” Itachi would say, and set down a steaming cup of coffee in front of Kakashi. He tosses the man two packets of sugar and a small container of creamer. He’d kick back in his office for a brief reprieve and enjoy his coffee black (like his soul, as his younger brother would say).

“Ah, canteen grade coffee- just the right kind of sludge to kick start my day,” Kakashi would give him that damned eye smile- as if closing his eyes to the world altogether would make the pain go away- and a patronizing pat on the head.

“Hn,” Itachi would reply while reminding himself why suing his boss for workplace harassment is not a good idea.

But still, Itachi thought, if soulmates could have such negative impact on each other, perhaps it’s best if he never meet his soulmate altogether. He doesn’t need to- plenty of people live their lives without meeting their soulmates (or not getting their fairytale happy-ever-after in the end). It’s one of the many things he can live without, Itachi concluded.

Thinking back on what seems like the tenth case of Soulmate Disease he has seen this month, he reiterates his statement: he can definitely live without them. Dr. Uchiha Itachi “the eternal bachelor in psychiatry”: a title he can get used to just fine.

He is rounding a case of longstanding schizophrenia (the woman was brought to the hospital ten years ago thinking that the flowers were serenading her and told her husband. What did the husband do? Dump her into psychiatric ward and wash his hands of her entirely) when he overhears a very loud conversation near the nurse station. It was really less of a conversation and more of a broadcast, he thought amusedly.

“I told you Sakura’s going to go into medicine! She took three attachments under Senju Tsunade , the freaking Chief of Service of Medicine! There’s no way she’s not going into medicine- I don’t even know why you’re even surprised to begin with.” An unfamiliar voice half-yelled.

“And I told you that she has the personality of the worst of surgeons, and I freaking grew up in a clan of surgeons! If Sakura’s going into medicine, we might as well petition for a new ward for medicine, because she’ll have at least demolished one ward by the end of her first year on the job!” Ah, that would be Sasuke’s voice, Itachi thinks- more of Sasuke and his Friends ™. It would be a lie to say that nepotism didn’t exist in medicine. Or rather, perhaps it would be better to say that connections make the world go round- it was like running and driving. Both gets you to the same destination, but driving does so in a far more timely and comfortable manner. And in Konoha Hospital, the Uchihas’ various family members have a far bigger leeway than most.

“You know, I’m suddenly very glad that I’m not doing medicine,” Sasuke’s voice sounded just a bit tired to Itachi- to his knowledge, Sasuke wasn’t post call today.

“Hey, don’t look at me- I’m going into pediatrics.”

“That’s practically medicine, just for shrunken adults.” Itachi almost snorted- Sasuke nearly tore his hair out in pediatrics module. His little brother is clearly not meant for kids.

“It is not,” the voice insisted. Itachi’s more inclined to agree with his little brother on this. “There’s a difference!”

“Uh huh.”

“Says the one with a family tree of surgeons, Mr. Future Neurosurgeon!” There was never any doubt that Sasuke would go into neurosurgery- or any surgery for that matter of fact. It would only take a phone call from their father, after all.

“Like you’re the one to talk! Your dad’s the Chief of Service of Pediatrics!” Sasuke insisted, missing the point completely. Sasuke has always been particularly self-conscious of his unfortunate family relations; he was probably overshadowed by them at some point. Itachi paused in his writing. Huh. The Chief of Service of Pediatrics… Namikaze Minato, a natural born genius turned neonatologist, currently married to Uzumaki Kushina, the current Chief of Service of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Two very high achieving individuals. Two very young individuals, he mentally amended.

Itachi vaguely remembered his mother’s best friend, or “Auntie Kushina,” as she insisted. He remembered her vivid mane of red hair and her equally fiery personality- she met his mother in medical school and were roommates all through those tedious years. “Thick as thieves,” Madara had called them, “and just as bad when it comes to causing trouble for everyone else.”

They did their specialty training together, he thinks. He recalls stories though out his pediatric rotation, about how Kushina would more or less bully her fiancé into freeing up beds at NICU after her patients were done giving birth. A total pushover, one nurse said. A damn handsome pushover, another nurse agreed.  

When one becomes the lowest life forms on ward, they tend to get ignored altogether. It’s amazing the things people say when they think they won’t be overheard, Itachi thought at the time. He filed the story away in the back of his mind (though he couldn’t help but suppress a snort when he saw Dr. Namikaze the next day).

He remembers Aunt Kushina well, particularly on her last visit to the Uchiha household. She came flying in, anger lining her every feature, when she heard that her best friend would resign following the birth of her second child. What followed was a conversation that his father still refused to talk about and the cessation of “Auntie Kushina’s” weekly visit to the Uchiha household.

Apparently, the progeny of Uzumaki Kushina and Namikaze Minato inherited the temperament of Kushina rather than Minato. Privately, Itachi thinks that rather than building an extra ward for medicine, they should build one for pediatrics instead. Uzumaki Kushina is a force to be reckoned with, even in a specialty as far removed from obstetrics and gynecology as psychiatry is.

Itachi snapped the folder shut and picks up another as Sasuke and his friend rounded the corner.

“Sasuke,” Itachi chided without turning around. “Do not be so loud in the wards- you’ll disturb the patients here.”

“Sorry, Ni-san,” he says petulantly. Itachi raised an eyebrow. For a newly minted doctor, Sasuke was still very much a child.

“What are you doing here?” he asks and flips through the lab results. To his knowledge, Sasuke was doing his rotation in orthopedics at the moment.

“I got done with my work for the day and wanted to know if you’re up for grabbing dinner with me,” he said casually.

“Hm,” Itachi said absently, “Sure, just let me finish rounding my patients- I’ll meet you at the carpark in half an hour.”

“Alright, you won’t mind if my friend comes along for dinner, yeah?”

Itachi looks up for first time since he started talking to Sasuke… only to see crystalline blue. For a moment, all he could see was perfect crystalline blue and golden blonde strands against tanned skin. His breath caught.

“Uzumaki Naruto-it’s nice to meet you!” Suddenly, the voice which had been a nuisance just two minutes ago wasn’t so bad anymore.

He couldn’t speak, and his chest squeezed, and his heart skipped a beat- it restarted just fine, but suddenly, there were two heartbeats and not one.

Well, fuck, Itachi thought numbly. The folder slipped from his numb fingers and dropped to the floor with a clatter.

Mandy: Short one shot for cywscross for her fandom bingo challenge! This one should hit the “Soulmates AU” and the “Itachi” one. I’m very much inexperienced in all things romance, and it’s my policy not to write things I don’t at least have some experience or knowledge in… and so, when tasked to write a Soulmates AU, I treat it the only way I know how to treat uncharted territory in life- and that’s to think of it as a disease and act accordingly. It’s a pretty amusing idea, that soulmates are diseases to be treated and not a blessing or boon (as most of the soulmate fics tend to treat them as). That led me to the question of who fits into what specialties,  and I had a lot of fun coming up with headcannons for that. Also, sorry if this is a bit dry for readers who aren’t intimately familiar with medicine (I’m not sure what other word to use when literally 99% of my life is pretty much medicine in its various forms- the world of med has its own culture and language that takes a while to learn). I’ll try to go back later and vary the sentence structure a bit or something… But for people who are in the world of med, this is probably kinda funny in a nerdtastic way. Also, note that I’m writing this from Itachi’s POV, and he’s a character that feels things very keenly (sometimes too keenly), so some things may be slightly exaggerated.

Here’s a quick run down of who’s who (note that the amount of clinical work COS’ do varies):

Uchihas: Uchiha Madara- COS (chief of service, aka the top of the pecking order in their department, so to speak) of Surgery, Uchiha Fugaku- Hepatobiliary surgeon, consultant, Uchiha Mikoto- OG (obstetrics and gynecology), associate consultant (retired), Uchiha Itachi- Psychiatrist, specialist, Uchiha Sasuke- Intern

Senjus: Senju Hashirama- Head of Konoha Hospital, Senju Tobirama- Renal Medicine, senior consultant, Senju Tsunade- COS of Internal Medicine

Namikaze family: Namikaze Minato- COS of Pediatrics, Neonatologist, Uzumaki Kushina- COS of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Namikaze Naruto- Intern

Others: Haruno Sakura- Intern, Hatake Kakashi- Psychiatrist, consultant

And the Naras would be anesthetists- all of them, the Yamanakas would be psychiatrists, the Aburame would occupy the pathology department, and the Hyuuga would all be radiologists instead of Hinata who chooses geriatrics instead, and Sai would be the best and the worst reconstructive surgeon ever (he does fantastic work for sure, but he also makes completely inappropriate comments to patients and nurses alike that earns him three complaints and a threatened demotion. He also gets almost-punched by Sakura-the-intern when he calls her “Ugly” for the first time, and no one’s even mad about it).


(If you’re a man, you don’t need to read this. Just skip it. If you’re a girl, these are livesavers)

1. When getting blood out of clothes, if you don’t have detergent, use shampoo. It’s easily found in hotel rooms, and it makes the cloth softer and makes it smell nicer, too :)

2. When you’re taking pads in a bag to a public place, it’s easy to get annoyed by the loud packets, man, are they obvious. What I do is, since I usually take 2 or 3, I just keep the packet mostly open from before. Then, when you take them out, you can slide them out soundlessly! Easy peasy.

3. If you’re an athlete or you engage in activities a little more active than usual, you’re going to need some more protection. You don’t always need to buy big pads. If you have small ones, just put one in front along the crotch and one behind, to cover your butt. Trust me on this. Useful as hell!

4. Again, if you’re very active, or just have a limited number of pads, sometimes you can get nervous even if you don’t have that heavy a flow. If you wear two underwears, both lined with two separate pads, then you get zero side leakages. Trust me on this! If you’re sleeping on a hotel’s white bed, this could be an easy and not-too-uncomfortable (I barely feel anything) solution.

5. If you’re opening a new pad in your home bathroom, sometimes keeping the wrapper is a good idea. Then, when you are done with the pad, you can roll it up, stuff it back in the wrapper, and make the trash much easier and less gross to handle.

6. If you don’t have a pad when you are on your period, and this has happened to me, by the way, and I panicked a lot, then you can make a temporary one with toilet paper. This isn’t a permanent solution and if you’re on a heavy flow, you need to have a plan, but this can help for a while. Cotton balls make it easier, too. Pack a bunch of them in those toilet paper “packs” and you’re going to last a little longer.

7. Menstrual cramps. The pain in the ass. In my country, it’s a little harder to come across pills to help, so I found another method that’s also affective; applying heat. I mostly like using hot water bags. They help more than you thought possible. And hey, if you’re on your laptop right now, you can use the heat from that, can’t you? Just keep it on your stomach!

8. Keep a sweater with you. You don’t need to wear it. If it’s long, wearing it might be a good idea, to cover up potential stains. But if it isn’t, nevermind. You can casually tie it around your waist with the long part covering your butt. Works every time. Even a low backpack works.

9. If someone tells you to quit complaining about the cramps, look them dead in the eye and hiss, “my uterus is literally tearing itself apart. It is bleeding out of me. I can complain all I want.” Because you can. You can. No one can stop you. Also throw in some colourful words to really get them off your back.

Hope these help you in the future my lovelies.

Hang on… Padmé Amidala introduced herself to Anakin as “Padmé” when she was undercover as a handmaiden. And also did the same to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. And then Padmé revealed she was Queen Amidala. Except we know her name is Padmé. So… did the Jedi not know the name of the Queen of Naboo? When they went there to settle a trade dispute, did they not get a briefing packet?

Man, that movie is really dumb.

“I gotta believe!” A  PaRappa Party Mix album review Part 1:

So a couple days ago I received this in the mail:

This is really something amazing that I didn’t even know existed until I was on Ebay one day. I was looking at PaRappa the Rapper collectibles and such when I came across this odd little gem, an official PaRappa  the Rapper Party Mix compilation album released by Tommy Boy Records.

 According to Wiki, it was only released in Japan to promote the PaRappa the Rapper sequel in 2001, which if I remember correctly, the Rap and Hip-Hop aspect of the series was seriously pumped up and heavily promoted in the games marketing, despite it not being a huge element in the actual games.

Just look at this American ad of the game:

Anyway on to the album, there is so much about this that I’m amazed this ever got made and printed for the public, and I got it for a steal! The seller on Ebay only wanted about $2.99 for this incredibly rare item and I was really excited! I sat down, popped this in my CD player, and plugged my headphones in and….wow where do I even begin to talk about this beautiful mess?

Well a little about me, I am actually a big fan of Rap music especially from the 90’s to the early 2000’s and that’s exactly what this album is comprised of. With that said it also features the songs from the game such as “Romantic Love”, “Hair Scare”, “BIG” and so on, as well as De La Soul’s little addition “Say ‘I gotta believe!’”. Sounds pretty harmless, right? Well here’s where it gets interesting,

Along with the songs from the game, you get to hear them mixed with songs like “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground and “Everything’s gonna be alright (Ghetto Bastard)” by Naughty By Nature and many other songs that are great on their own but questionable as to who thought it would be a good idea to associate them with a kid-friendly video game. But that’s not all, here’s the real kicker:

All of these songs are uncensored.

Yes, you get to hear remixed songs of rappers talking about their never-ending hunt for booty, selling drugs on the street, and even one song being completely and blatantly about sex (Packet Man by Digital Underground) along with all of your favorite squeaky-clean songs from the game.

 Yeah as you can probably imagine, I had no idea what to make of this. Personally, I like some of these songs like “Mama gave Birth to the Soul Children” by Queen Latifah and “All Good” by De La Soul, I just wish they picked more songs like them, the silly and novelty rap songs of the early 90’s, instead of the more ‘gangsta’ angry rap that they decided to go with. It’s just such a clashing juxtaposition.  

I can see why the CD never made it outside of Japan and I’m guessing that’s the reason they decided to leave most of these songs unedited because hey, its Japan and not a ton of English-speakers means not having to worry about offending anyone.

Join me in the next review (Part 2) where I’ll give my two cents on all the songs on the album!

Warning Signs:

  • once bought an extra icing packet from a man in a trench coat under a bridge
  • tells you to come over at 7AM for the good stuff
  • suspiciously early to breakfast
  • suspiciously full at breakfast
  • uncontrollable eye twitching when the words gooey or flaky are mentioned
  • you find empty icing packets in the alley behind their house
  • redacted sections of grocery store bill

You know who you are.