Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I pulled a jozjozjoz yesterday...

(With apologies to the jozjozjoz-ster herself)

Ended up doing a 10 hour shift yesterday and didn't get home till 1 am last night (getting time and a half and double b/c of the holiday was a big plus).

Woke up this morning, tried to do some cleaning in preparation for the husband's brother, wife and his kids (aka Devilspawn I and II) coming over today for a few days, then went back to work this afternoon.

At least things are slow so I can blog.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Adventures in medical transcription...

So I haven't really talked about the job I'm doing to pay my bills and rent, medical transcription. For the most part, it's a fairly mindless job, if you have the ear for listening to polysyllabic words 8 hours a day and if you're into learning more about the human body and its anatomy (which is probably going to be a big plus for me once I start taking human physiology next semester and anatomy in the spring).

And most of the time, while some of the stuff is pretty run of the mill, like broken bones, heart attacks, etc., I have had to transcribe some pretty interesting stuff (for obvious reasons relating to HIPAA and all that, I won't be naming names). Interesting as in stomach-churning if you're not into it. Like complications from stomach-shrinking surgery for the morbidly obese. Or draining enough bodily fluids from various body parts to fill 2 liter bottles, and then some. Or doing a colonoscopy to relieve a severe gas problem (yes, it was that bad).

Some things are just downright bizarre, like the doctor who was stupid enough to let her patient try to do his own skin biopsy with a scalpel. Or the guy who wanted to make his balls look bigger, so he injected silicone into his scrotum. Needless to say, the silicone is leaking all throughout his nether regions, and now he has no balls, much less bigger ones. Or the female doctor who consistently yawns every time she has to dictate an ultrasound of the scrotum (at least she didn't do the one of the guy who injected silicone into his balls, but the guy who did have to dictate sounded like he was trying not to gross himself out during the dictation). The funniest part are the names that people use to identify themselves, and for some reason, many of these people use names that often sound like genitalia or sex acts (Too bad HIPAA won't allow me to divulge these names).

Some medical transcriptionists get so into this that many of them end up being doctors themselves.

After doing this for 7 years, I'd rather be a pharmacist, thankyouverymuch.

why did I know this was going to happen?

18 weeks of bio and o-chem while working at least 20-40 hours a week.

The day that I finish my final exams--I have a scratchy throat.

This always frickin' happens.

At least I rocked both of my finals, so I'm happy. :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tagalog podcasting on sfgate.com...

Just noticed that sfgate.com started posting podcasts for the Fil Am community, and saw it had Joey Ayala singing the Star Spangled Banner in Tagalog, and my boy Rex Navarrete talking about doing comedy in the Philippines.

Didn't think that sfgate.com would have stuff so ...relatively progressively Filipino.

Too bad I have an old ass iPod that doesn't really work anymore (and considering I can't find it), otherwise I'd take a listen to it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cal's "Naked Guy" kills himself...

Was just reading this article about how the infamous Cal Naked Guy killed himself in prison yesterday.

I guess it's really sad, but then considering how cold Berkeley gets, it seemed more sense for him to be naked near my school (Riverside is only 30 minutes away from Palm Springs and over 90 degrees most of the year). Was he doing the whole naked thing just to get attention? He didn't seem to be much of a real nudist at the time...

Now I'm actually curious to see what he was doing after he got kicked out of Cal, especially since he had a history of "assaultive behavior".

random thoughts on a friday night/saturday morning while doing laundry...(lots of theory crap)

o Chewing over the responses that people have when I tell them I left my PhD program and applying for pharm school next year. Amused that most of the responses usually begin with, "That's a totally different world..." Is it because of what they've felt about people who usually apply to pharm/med school (apolitical, money making sell outs vs. people who are realizing what their talents are and how best to serve themselves and the community they belong to?) and how I don't really fit into it (supposedly)? Personally, I think I'm a hybrid--a burned-out activist who wants to make lots of money and still find a way to help Asian Americans navigate through this fucked up health care system and advocate for themselves to get what they need to maintain and improve their health since it's the only health care system we've got here.

o Ran into some people that I admire tonight (Esther Lee and Lisa Chun, a fucking amazing Asian dyke couple. I'd like to think that the husband and I are the male equivalents). They've just had a baby, and one of them's going back to school to do biotech. Are we on the same fucking wavelength or what?

o Really happy that the more I get into this whole prepping for pharm school thing, studying and doing other stuff, that I'm enjoying this so much more than I ever did doing sociology.

o Amazed that I don't feel guilt out of watching the other Asians in my classes who are trying to find their way in terms of what they want to do with their lives, and not intervening or giving them unwanted and unneeded advice. Maybe it's because I'm finding my own way as well and realizing that trying to direct people's lives when I'm just now starting to clear my own path is really hypocritical.

o Went to go see some shows as part of the Hip Hop Theater Festival, and trying to figure out what "hip hop" exactly means and its relationship to me. What has hip hop meant to me? A voice from my youth that helped to open my political consciousness? An excuse to dance? Has hip hop gone from underground to mainstream back to underground again?

o Was reading an article about Fil Am performers in sfgate.com and a quote really struck me:

Some academics and activists see the ability to sing and dance to Western music as a legacy of colonialism.

"It's good, because it's a source of survival and livelihood for a lot of people," said Rene Ciria-Cruz, a Bay Area writer. "But if you're a performer, your material is not yours. Because it's so imitative, we have not found our niche yet. How can you develop industry from being a better Elvis? You need to be something completely new.

Was thinking about how true that is for Asian Am performers who are trying to be successful, either in the US or abroad, and how they seem to be copycats and touted as the "Asian American [insert pop star here]" while those who are trying to be "different" get ignored. [Considering that everyone claims to be "different" but having it fall into neat little categories doesn't make things all that different or innovative, IMHO]

Maybe that's why I like comedy and [good] performance art so much by Asian Americans. While it's nice to see that the good comedians and performance artists have material that really reflects Asian America, it also seems to be the easiest way to get those who aren't Asian an accessible taste of all the bullshit we have to go through in being of Asian ancestry here in America. {And it also helps that they can't get away with trying to copy someone else because most people really call them out on their shit quicker than in other forms of popular entertainment.]

o I'm pretty sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but is there such a thing as a "stand-alone" Asian American culture or a truly Asian American identity, and how is that represented and how do we represent it? If all we're doing is copying what white mainstream media does, or what we think other people of color are doing according to mainstream media, or even if we're copying what we think are "authentic" representations of our homelands EVEN if those in the homelands don't do it anymore, does that make what we're doing Asian American? [Trying not to use polysyllabic theory words that no one else really knows, obviously :)

o I guess it's all going to back where I stand, here near San Francisco, CA--a 2nd generation, queer-identified, middle-class, monolingual (English), ..., Filipino American (though I identify more strongly as being Ilocano rather than "Filipino" because of the discourse that dominates over what is "Filipino", but more on that later).

o And I guess that's the funny thing about being a minority here in the US, you're acutely aware that you don't belong in the mainstream (I refuse to use "double" or "multiple" minority because it's too problematic)--but then when you break it down even further, you realize that there's really no one place where you can feel truly comfortable unless you make yourself comfortable. And I'm not sure if that's an American thing--or an individual thing.

Shit, I'm such a fucking sociologist...

Friday, May 19, 2006

more useless trivia...

#938: 92 sentences in Japanese can be made from the same syllabic pattern:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Loungin' kangaroos...

I swear, the husband looks like some of these kangaroos when he's watching tv. Hehe!

(#933: Kangaroos can lie down like a grandpa watching TV.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A (mostly) good day along with a nagging dilemma...

So the whole day was spent with the husband, doing nice couple-y things together, watching a movie (which I can't really talk about yet), going to the SF Ferry Building Farmers' Market, stopping by my mom's grave (drama...), and dealing with random phone calls from the ex (we stopped dating 10+ years ago, but I'll get to that later).

I went to go visit my mom's grave earlier this afternoon--and ran into my sister, who hasn't spoken to me in years, and who still won't tell me why she's not speaking to me. I have been really mad at her, for obvious reasons, but I felt that there must be some cosmic reason why we ended up both being there at the same time. So I tried to talk to her, but was met with being ignored, while her husband said hi to me and the husband. The interesting thing is that the anger that I had towards her went away, and now I just feel sorry for her. I'm not sure why it went away, but there was something about her that...well, suffice it to say that I didn't recognize her at all, that she has become more of an automaton to her grief than functioning as a human being. Even after 3 years since my mom's passing, what struck me was that she was still wearing black, and acting in an obsessive-compulsive way in regards to the way that my mom's grave was being taken care of, which hadn't changed since my mom first passed. I saw her husband, dutifully doing these things with my sister, but with both of us unable to say the things that we wanted to her, ended up having to commiserate in silence. I had spoken with one of her bridesmaids earlier through e-mail, and she hadn't heard from my sister either, nor any of her other friends. I'm going to try to re-establish contact with her, slowly, and if she's not willing to talk, then there's not much I can really do at this point.

It also got me thinking about how my dad and I have come to grips with my mom's passing, and how my dad and I are going on with our lives, while my sister seems stuck. I'm not sure if I can really say how far my dad's gotten in handling her passing, being that the only way I really hear what's going on is through whispered conversations at my relatives' gatherings about both my dad and my sister after they leave those parties. I've stopped going to those gatherings because it feels like I'm caught in the middle of some weird contest--over who misses my mom more, my dad or my sister, and that my relatives seem to revel in all the gossip that they tell me. It makes me realize how lucky I was that I was able to reconcile a lot of my issues with my mom while she was still alive and that when she was in the hospital before that fateful surgery and her eventual passing that we had these deep conversations through body language and silence with very few words being said. I don't think my dad or my sister ever had that opportunity--they were both used to coddling her, while I was able to look at things at a distance, and was able to see my mom for who she really was--an imperfect human being who did the best she could, who also fucked up, but who also lived her life the way that she wanted to.

So while I've been chewing that over in my brain, I've also had to deal with drama from my ex. We dated about 10 years ago and broke it off after 8 months, and I still wanted to maintain my friendship with him because I thought he was a good guy, but I've started to wonder about him. He hasn't dated anyone since me, and while for the most part, I've been able to handle his drama because I've kept him at arm's length emotionally (and a distance of 500+ miles helps too!), I've started seeing how his inability to deal with who he is (sexually, personally, whatever) has also...kept him stuck. He claims to be straight, but is really misogynistic towards women; he has huge issues about homophobia, and doesn't want to date another man because his family wouldn't be able to handle it (supposedly); and he's built himself up to believe that everything's going to fall apart if he's not there to fix everything.

Which in a way, is where I was when I was dating him. I didn't know what I wanted in a relationship--I felt that I was absolutely integral to everything around me, and that no one could survive without me when I was involved in their lives.

Again, thank the goddess for therapy and good friends. I've begun to realize that maybe I've outgrown my friendship for him. I'm at a point where I'm starting to move on with my life, and I'm seeing how all of my other good friends are doing the same thing, taking chances on things that they never believed they could do, and they're really happy. The people who are in a rut are doing something about it (or Fate is pushing the issue). I feel sad because I'm basically having to tell him to fend for himself, but I'm tired of being weighed down. Talking to him used to be fun. Now it's a chore.

Oh well--drama, drama, drama. If it's not happening to me, it's happening to everyone else around me. At least I can just sit back and watch this time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Surprisingly not overwhelmed...

I have a midterm in my o-chem class in about an hour, and I have to write a paper and prepare a short presentation for my bio class tomorrow morning, and I have a performance evaluation for one of my jobs before I go to my bio class.

And I'm not stressed out.

And I'm sober.

If I can find a way to bottle this, I'd be fucking rich.


bugs, bugs and more bugs...

Counting down to final exams in two weeks.

Let's just say thank God I've gotten over my queasiness over bugs. I've handled more insects in the past 5 months than I've ever handled in my entire life. Ladybugs, earthworms, grasshoppers; running experiments, cutting them open. Blech.

At least it'll be over soon.

Oh yeah, wish my luck on my final o-chem midterm tomorrow night.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is everyone hot in Brazil?

Was going through my orkut account and just amazed at how hot everyone from Brazil seems to be, particularly all the Asian guys *swoon*.

There also seem to be a lot of groups on Orkut for Brazilians into Asian men (both men and women). Too bad I don't understand Portuguese at all, otherwise I'd love to know what they're talking about...hee hee!

Monday, May 01, 2006

the one thing I hate about SF...

the summers.

It doesn't help that it was raining until about 2 weeks ago, and now summer is threatening to come on any time soon.

So that means we go from cold and rainy to... cold and foggy.

At least now the weather's decent and I can actually wear short sleeve shirts.

As anyone who's lived in SF for any significant amount of time can tell you, don't ever come to visit SF during the summer--it's miserable. Wait until early fall or late spring, otherwise, bring sweatshirts and long pants.


(if I do get accepted to UHH Pharmacy, maybe I should move there...)

If people were really serious about immigration...

I usually try not to be too political in this blog, but I've been so fed up over how fucking racist, sexist, classist, homophobic etc. this whole immigration debate is that I needed to vent somehow.

So if the government were really serious about immigration...

o they'd close the border not with Mexico, but with Canada. The largest group of undocumented immigrants is not from south of the border, it's from the north. Because the Canadian border is also much more porous than Mexico, many undocumented immigrants are coming in through Canada into the US (though Canada is much more willing to accept immigrants anyway).

o Realize that most undocumented immigrants come from Europe, not South and Central America. More racist shit.

o the government would entice American citizens to work the jobs that the undocumented do now. If they subsidized all the menial jobs in agriculture, services, etc., that no American citizen in their right mind would take because of the low wages, we'd see more white faces out there.

o the government would find a way to keep jobs from being outsourced.

o improve education in the United States and provide opportunities for Americans to hone their skills so they can compete in high tech, biotech, etc.

o find ways to improve the financial situation in the Third World most affected by immigration--stop internal corruption, provide financial and other forms of capital to establish businesses, build top notch universities and create jobs to entice the most highly educated in these countries to stay.

o fix the fucking visa system to allow same-sex partners to stay together, to fix the arbitrary racist policies that happened because of 9/11...

Etc., Etc.

Here in SF, I've noticed that while most of the Latinos have stayed home because of the Day without Immigrants, most of the Asians haven't.

So if immigration activists were really serious about immigration reform...

o They'd engage all groups in this struggle--it pisses me off to no end that many of these groups don't acknowledge the impact of Asian immigration in the US--which would have even farther reaching implications since so many Asians who enter into the US also take both blue collar, but also white collar work. Include Phillip Veracruz in the same breath as Cesar Chavez at least!

o Engage the LGBT community--there are many transnational same-sex couples who must split up every day because they're not given the same protections as het couples do.

o Get those who do have amnesty to become citizens to vote. People of color are potentially the largest voting bloc in the main cities in SF and LA (Asians in SF and Latinos in LA), and fund budding politicans of color so that we can get some influence.

etc., etc.

That's what I get for being versed in ethnic studies and sociology--I'm too cynical to believe that the boycotts will really change anything, but that both the government and immigration reform won't do really enough to fix the immigration problem.