Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008!

Given that I'll probably be celebrating with friends including joz and MusicChyck and hopefully Ernie at around this time, I probably won't be able to blog till tomorrow, so I just wanted to wish the 3 or 4 people who read my blog a happy 2008. :)

I don't have any real resolutions or plans for 2008 except for one thing: to be happy. Whatever that means, whatever that entails, I don't know, but I'm grateful for everything that's happened, good and bad...and that I'm looking for 2008 to be as...interesting as 2007. I don't plan on taking anything for granted, but just to enjoy and learn from things as they come.

Enjoy and be safe.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The latest "huh?"

So in sorting out my mail from when I was in Seattle for Xmas, I ran into two notification letters from two other pharmacy schools I'm applying to (in my shock over making UCSF Pharm for interviews, I had completely ignored the other letters). UOP in Stockton finally considered my application complete and is now finally going over it. I also got a letter from Creighton's online program (yup, a PharmD program completely online) based in Nebraska and I got placed on their alternate list, to be considered for May. May, when all the other schools have already decided. Except for Hawai'i, maybe.

Maybe Creighton didn't like the fact that one of the scholarships I won was from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Guess I'm too fabulous for Nebraska--which isn't a bad thing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Great belated Xmas presents!

It's been a pretty good Christmas so far, the best I've had in a while.

I got to spend Christmas itself with the husband up in Seattle, and I actually experienced my first white Christmas ever with him, as I actually saw snow falling for the first time--yeah, yeah, I'm a California boy, I know.

It's good to see that he loves Seattle, even if he's having some difficulty adjusting (though if anyone from Seattle knows of any good job leads and can pass them on to me, that'd be great).

Aside from that, I got two great belated Xmas presents. The first was getting an A+ in my microbiology class from New College which wasn't too much of a surprise, but I would've been royally irritated if I only got an A, especially since I would've had to score a B on my final to get an A+, and a C to get an A-.

The second was getting a letter indicating that I made the interview round for UCSF School of Pharmacy. I'm extremely excited about making the interview round (especially since they only interview less than 10% of everyone who applies), but I looked at the time and date of my interview, and it's on the 5th anniversary of my mom's passing away, almost down to the exact hour. I am paradoxically not superstitious and also fairly superstitious when it comes to weird coincidences, so we'll see how this works out.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hi from Seattle!

So I'm up here spending Christmas with the husband, and I'm trying to remember how to relax and have fun (given that it's been too damn long since I've actually done something fun...grrr).

I've deliberately made no definite plans while I'm up here, except to hang out with Howard, and a friend from Facebook. So far it's been fun, marveling at the clouds and an amazing full moon while on the flight from San Jose to Seattle, discovering firsthand the horror of Seattle traffic (stuck in the midst of the major shopping district in a cab and going 3 blocks in 15 minutes!), and just enjoying my time with Howard.

I've gotten a chance to check out Capitol Hill for dinner last night, and hopefully we'll get to go to the Space Needle, check out some cool museums, and ride the...South Lake Union Trolley (SLUT), er...South Lake Union Shuttle.

I already got my "Ride the SLUT" t-shirt, so it's been a good holiday already. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Random thought while backing up my tablet...

"How the hell did I get so much porn?!"

That's all. I'm going to bed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Random stuff

o I'm TIRED. Had another 20 hours of class (microbiology) in the past 48 hours. Annoyed that I got a B+ in my midterm when I should've gotten an 100 if I wasn't so damn careless. Kinda annoyed that the lab teacher seems to make it clear that I'm her pet, even though I'm not trying to be--maybe it's because I'm the only one who asks questions that are really relevant, admits to screwing up, and actually follows her instructions.

o Started posting for, which is pretty cool. Everyone there seems pretty smart and on the ball, though I've only been on for a few days, and I've been thinking about other things.

o Got an A- in my psych class. Not bad for not studying at all.

o One more pharm school supplemental to go, though I guess technically I have to get their okay before I submit, even if it is for my last choice.

o Looking forward to seeing the husband in Seattle for Christmas, even if it is only for a few days, but at least I'll see him again in mid-January.

o Preparing for interviews, and hopefully a week-long trip to Hawaii if I get the invite to interview.

o Tried Vosges bacon chocolate bar at Bittersweet. Fucking good, especially with Bittersweet's Spicy Hot Chocolate.

o Gave a bar of that to my two foodie friends, and now we're going to try this recipe for Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies. Considering this is for one of my workplaces' Christmas thing with my coworker, this should be quite interesting, along with James' rum cake recipe, which can be made truly lethal, thanks to the husband's rum glaze, which is basically rum diluted with a lot of sugar.

o I am tired. Did I mention that?

Friday, November 30, 2007

And I thought I lived in a vacuum...

Tonight was a night of ultracoolness, since I got to hang out with both Joz and Ernie, especially since I've never hung out with Ernie at all, much less spoken or even e-mailed him. The husband was really jealous (hehe).

Anyway, it just made me realize how in the loop and how out of the loop I am about things, such as pop culture, Asians/Asian Americans, queer stuff, etc. I think I had a blank stare most of the time Ernie and Joz talked about Asians on reality TV, since I was trying to think the last time I actually watched TV for any significant amount of time. Yet, at the same time, Ernie invited me to be a contributor of so I can write about Asian/Asian American issues specifically for their website. One particular reason that struck me about why he wanted me to contribute was to get varying opinions from different Asians/Asian Americans about different issues, and that he wanted to get different people who wouldn't be able to be in the same room with each other.

It's got me thinking that while I'm totally into being a contributor for the site, it got me thinking about the different Asian/Asian American communities that I've been involved with, and how SF is in its own little bubble and how people who live here have a lack of perspective about the world outside the Bay Area/NorCal, so it's something I'm looking forward to. I think one of the weaknesses of living in the Bay Area is that there's a uniformity of opinion that gets rather stifling--granted it's fairly liberal, but I like the idea of being able to butt heads with people who don't think like me, especially Asians. When I was at UCR, nearly all of my friends were either centrist to conservative, and I was really the only liberal person in the group (as well as queer, ethnic studies major, etc.), and we had heated discussions about things, but we remained friends in spite of and because of our differences. We truly liked each other.

It sometimes feels like that living in the Bay, one can easily lose track of the fact that the vast majority of the US is not like the Bay, and there's a smugness that Bay Area people seem to have (thanks to Ernie for this term). And yet--it seems to be the Bay Area non-natives who have this smugness, and those of us who are Bay Area natives who have a sense of deeper attachment to the Bay Area and what it's stood for, and how it's developed. Unlike a lot of my transplant friends, I do remember the South Bay when it was all farmlands instead of high-tech companies; when I was one of maybe 5 Asians in my classes; when we had no Filipino markets, or meeting places aside from our families; when racist epithets would be yelled at me by white kids in cars. I've seen the transformation of the Bay into one of open acceptance, if only because there were so many of us Asians, queers, etc., that one couldn't afford not to have at least the facade of acceptance and still seem to be a decent person.

But given how my life has changed where I was an attention and media whore, to one where I'm content to living my life on the sidelines, having had my current 15 seconds of fame, I think 8asians will force me to at least look at the world as viewed by fellow Asian folk, and remember how fucked up and how cool it is for us to be in America. I get tired of living under a rock to study, study, study.

Maybe it's that perspective that I'll be bringing to 8asians. Or, maybe it's the fact that I'll be talking about hot gay guys, porn, and Asian bears. And my quest to find a hot Asian leather top/daddy. :)

I do hope Ernie knows what he's getting into. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

You can hate on me...;)

The first single from Jill Scott's new album. Anyone who can have Cornel West on her music video is fucking incredible. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What do I do instead of sleeping?

So I'm recovering from this weird scratchy throat thing, which is even weirder than the colds I usually get. Since I have a fairly decent immune system, I've been used to getting a scratchy throat, then all the symptoms that I usually get within a week are crammed into a day (sore throat, runny nose, stuffed up nose, sinus pressure, mild fever, then breaking of fever), so that by day #3, I'm fine.

This time around, I got the scratchy throat...and that's it. Ended up getting some pho* ga at Turtle Tower on Geary, then a Bittersweet at Bittersweet, then go home.

I expect my cold to get worse, and...nothing happens.

So I proceed to do my laundry, go over some notes, do some stuff for SFGMCI, and finally get around to using my iTunes gift cert that I got from one of my jobs last year, and proceed to spend over half of it in 30 minutes, buying Alicia Keys' new album (even if it does sound like she's croaking through most of it), Jill Scott's new album, and random other stuff (I can't believe I bought a single from fucking Ne-Yo, out of all people).

I also get a friend request on Facebook (which I still blame Joz for getting me addicted to this thing) from a friend from UCR, who Ernie (Mr. littleyellowdifferent himself) knows. Small world.

Then I get e-mails from a friend from high school who's applying to pharmacy school, who ended up running in the same marathon that I did back in '02, and my best friend from Bangkok, who even after having not seen him for over 6 years I still miss and love dearly.

So now that I've thoroughly procrastinated the whole night, I'm off to bed, juiced up with some Nyquil, and hopefully I'll be fine enough to swim tomorrow.

At least I actually did stuff I liked tonight, instead of stuff that I had to do out of obligation.

Monday, November 26, 2007


So after 4 weeks of being on pins and needles about my pharmacy school application, otherwise known as PharmCAS, the application finally finished processing today.

I was most worried about my cumulative science GPA since all the schools required a 2.8 cumulative GPA in order to be considered for admission, and given my less than stellar record as an undergrad in the sciences, I didn't know if I would make it. Turns out I just barely made it with a 2.97, but considering that my GPA for my classes since 2005 has been a 3.7, I should be a pretty serious contender (I hope...)

The weirdest part was seeing how the courses were processed. Some classes were reclassified in ways that I wasn't expecting. The bulk of my ethnic studies classes were classified as social/behavioral science, even though there were some that clearly literature courses, like Asian American People Through Their Literature--classified as a social/behavioral science course. The weirdest was one that I had taken for fun a few years ago called Food and Culture, which was basically a cooking class--was classified as social/behavioral science.

Well, it boosted up my GPA in ways that I wasn't expecting--like my chemistry GPA overall was 3.0, when clearly it was below a 2.5!

Oh well, guess I shouldn't be complaining, I'm just confused about the whole darn thing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

If you're craving bocayo, but can't get to Pangasinan...

Naia Gelato ( has two flavors of gelato, coconut milk and molasses. Combine them together, and you have bocayo-flavored gelato.

Bocayo is a chewy candy made by boiling molasses and coconut together. It's one of the few things I remember when my mom took my sister and me back to her home province in the Philippines, Pangasinan, when we were kids. Apparently Pangasinan is the home of bocayo.

My friend who I go out and eat with on a regular basis stopped by, and he was the one who chose the coconut milk and molasses combination. I ate it, and was immediately brought back to when I was 9 and I remember being in my mom's barrio, and eating bocayo back then, along with a host of other good memories.

If you get a chance, check it out, especially since Naia's taken natural yogurt out of their rotation (*&&%)%$@) bastards....)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

10 hour classes suck.

Second day of my 4 weekend class in microbiology through New College, though they're actually now at Life Chiropractic College West. I'm part of the inaugural class, technically 7 students, though one guy still hasn't really shown up (and got a B in the o-chem class I took last summer--how, I don't know). It's a class for 4 weeks (though we get next weekend off b/c of Thanksgiving), for 10 hours from 8:30 AM to 6 PM.

People are pretty chill, as the o-chem class was, but I'm not sure if I'm being too hard on the other people in the class but...

they're all fucking idiots.

Considering that most microbio classes require at least one or two science classes, I'm just amazed at the questions they're asking, questions that shouldn't be asked if they've taken basic bio before. At least in the o-chem class, there were some people who tried to understand what was going on, but sheesh, I've rolled my eyes so much in the class I'm surprised I can't see the back of my head.

Not that I'm annoyed or anything...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Random stuff...

o Finally starting to get back into swimming again and really loving it. I'm not able to do the yardage that I was doing, but it seems that the workouts are just as intense so it all works out. I'm really happy that I can work out and not have my shoulder in serious pain.

o I finally a swimsuit I like--a drag suit from Speedo, which consists of a mesh outer layer with a regular speedo layer in a square cut, and it looks butch enough to wear with the guys I swim with. :P

o Was hanging out with some swimming friends who introduced me to this interesting stew at Playground, a karaoke/Korean restaurant in SF Japantown. Kimchee broth with hot dogs, Spam, Korean rice cake, and ramen noodles. It actually is a lot better than it sounds, though it did help that we had downed a few shots of strawberry flavored soju beforehand.

o Noticing that my liver is in a lot better shape as I'm realizing that I can hold my alcohol a lot better than before. Not that I drink on a regular basis, but just surprised that alcohol doesn't affect me as it did before.

o Gearing up for my microbiology class this weekend, another 4-week intensive from New College. I hope the teacher is as hot as my O-Chem teacher *sigh*.

o Getting a 96% in my psych class without even trying, and realizing that within a month, I'm going to be done with all my prerequisites for pharm school.

o Got an offer to tutor introductory chem for nursing students...we'll see if that pans out.

o Waiting for PharmCAS to calculate my GPA for my pharm school apps, and so I can finish my last two supplementals for Touro and Hawaii-Hilo.

o Glad that the husband is doing well in Seattle, though I still miss him terribly. But I'm looking forward to spending Xmas with him.

o Discovered that the local Korean market (Kukje in Daly City) carries sweet Korean mochi like at Pinkberry, and that their little restaurant can hold its own against other Korean restaurants in SF.

o Realizing the joys of fried chicken skin (chicharon manok at House of Sisig in Daly City and at Tampopo Ramen House in SF Japantown).

o Trying to figure out whether this one Asian guy in my hip-hop class is the only straight guy in the class. If he's straight, he's really comfortable with himself, given the girlyness of the routines we do. He doesn't trip my gaydar, so it's very curious.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blogging works for me...for now.

I've been noticing that a lot of my friends who were avid bloggers have started to take breaks and question whether blogging is the most appropriate way they want to communicate (in a relatively open forum, I suppose).

There's a weird voyeuristic and exhibitionist pleasure in blogging, where I get to read other people's thoughts, thoughts that can be seemingly private, or at least strangely compelling. A lot of my friends have started to question that, particularly since blogging is, by its very nature, really exhibitionist, since one is allowing to expose his or her thoughts without caring what others think about it.

I'm not really convinced of this argument though, because if anything it seems to highlight what is public and what is private, and how much we really want to post as stuff that's out there isn't so much private as it's stuff that one wants to reveal, but can often times not really be who that person really is. For me, I think it's a way to get rid of thoughts that have been bugging me and stuff that I want to get out there and release. I forgot who said this and I know I'm badly paraphrasing it but, "You've put it out there, let it go," seems to be the theme of my blog.

But I think that just makes the distinction between public and private even more rigid, especially now that so much of our lives out there is for public consumption, and what's considered private is now for others to see, although it seems like that "public" ends up just being random people in their own private worlds, but just thrown all together because we all have to interact with each other. I still feel uncomfortable when people have what I think are private conversations in public, especially if it's by cell phone, but maybe I'm just more old school that way--or we really are so isolated from each other that we don't think anything of putting ourselves out there. Ironic, huh, when the technology that's supposed to draw us closer has just made us more self-centered and withdrawn from the outside world.

It may seem like I reveal a lot in this blog, but at the same time, I think it also shows how much I keep to myself--which is a lot. There's a lot more going on in my life that I'll refuse to share in this blog, because I don't think it's appropriate for this venue--but at the same time, I hope that it gives people incentive to know me offline and figure out who I really am.

I think, for now, I'm going to continue blogging, if anything because I like seeing how I've developed as a person for the past 4+ odd years that I have been blogging, and seeing the trends that have existed in my life.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Now it's over (part 2)..

I hand-delivered my UCSF application this afternoon, and mailing off my UOP application tomorrow afternoon.

And then I'll be done for now--I'll be submitting my Creighton application in a couple weeks when my bank account recovers (it's cost about $400 to submit all my apps so far...), then have to hear from Hawaii and Touro about submitting supplementals/secondaries for them.

The funny thing is that for some reason the essays for my apps weren't making sense, especially since there was a section for each to talk relatively freely about things that should be taken into consideration.

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out why the essays sounded so...fake. To me, every draft until my penultimate and final ones rang very hollow, that I sounded like I wanted to go to pharmacy school, but was really insincere about the whole process.

In order for me to break this writer's block, I started to free write, and the answer showed itself out to me. I started writing about the main reasons why I left grad school in sociology, and then started writing about why I double majored in college, and it boiled down to confronting the abuse that my mom had inflicted on me growing up, and how it affected me academically.

What surprised me was how much all the digs that she had said to me, throughout the years, were so small, so imperceptible, and also the very real and terrifying threats from my mom of physical harm that were never carried out added up to the point that ultimately I believed that she hated me and I was never going to be perfect, and that her love was contingent on me being perfect.

Of course, this was all my perception, but it made me enter sociology because it appeared that I was good at it, and being a PhD is prestigious, and that would make me gain my mom's acceptance and love.

When I left the UCSB program back in '97 after getting my master's, I chalked it up to being burnt out. After all, I had jumped into the program right after a brutal senior year. I didn't pay attention to the thoughts that sociology probably wasn't what I wanted to do--but at the same time I felt like a failure because I didn't do what my mom wanted.

When I entered UCSF's program in '00, which is perceived as a seemingly more prestigious school (but actually lesser ranked sociology program), my mom was extremely happy--she was going to gave a son who was a doctor from UCSF, never mind that it wasn't an MD. I was cruising along fine until all this drama that pushed back by a year when I was supposed to take my 2nd round of quals. At about the same time in '00, my former roommate suggested I go into therapy to work out issues, and I felt it was an appropriate time for me to do so, thinking that I would remove all the blocks to getting my PhD.

If anything, it pointed out even more why I didn't want to finish my PhD, and also pointed out all the repressed anger and emotions I had towards my mom. All the years of emotional and mental abuse had swirled into my brain until I only saw my mom as an inhuman demon, out to destroy any happiness that I had--when really, she was going through her own depression and mental health issues, a woman who was getting old before her time. Gradually, I finally began to see her for who she really was, a woman who was trying to raise her kids in how she saw fit--which was really fucked up. I found myself able to forgive her once I finally realized that I had made peace with everything that had happened.

When she passed away in 2003, that set into motion a lot of my own self-doubts about where my life was headed--I had no motivation to do my PhD, and basically putzed around for about a year until I got involved in FTFA, became its final executive director and found myself in the middle of a very public scandal, and fired as well as left my PhD program. All the things that I wanted to do, that I thought an "activist" should do--done and over with.

Which brings me to 2005, and wondering, maybe I should really look into pharmacy. I did my research, talking to pharmacist friends, did my volunteering, kicked ass in my classes; and checked, double checked, and quadruple checked to make sure that this is what I wanted to do.

When I clicked on submit for my PharmCAS, and dropped off those applications for UCSF and UOP, I realized I finally did it.

Now it's my turn to wait.

I still have 3 more supplementals to finish, but they're all contingent on whether I'm up to snuff.

But the hard part really now is over...I'm excited, freaked out, scared, and relieved.

And life does go on--I had to work another 10 hour day, I'm looking forward to seeing the husband flying down from Seattle tomorrow, and my life is still as jumbled and fucked up as ever. Life's not gonna end now that I submitted my applications, and it will keep rolling on and on and on...

But I'm realizing that I've finally started to move on, and finally made real peace with the memories of my mom.

Tomorrow's another day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's over...

Just submitted my PharmCAS application, and will be submitting my supplementals for UCSF and UOP tomorrow.

I'm relieved and now I'm freaked.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Crazy weekend...

Of course, my PharmCAS and supplementals for UCSF and UOP are due November 1st. I'm just about done but wanted to tweak it and spend the whole weekend fixing it up.

Then I get socked with all these things happening...

last night dinner and tutoring for my former roommate, then party for my hip hop teacher...
friend's son's birthday party...
funeral for the father of one of my favorite cousins...
husband coming down next weekend...
etc., etc., etc.

I REALLY feel like joz now...sheesh!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Newest Alicia Keys video...

For some reason, I'm really feeling the song--even though her singing's not the best, it just hits me hard.

Or maybe it's because I really miss the husband.

I was gonna write this really awesome post about my life right now...

And realized that it was WAY too personal for public consumption. Even for me.

While I don't mind putting my shit out there, it involves other people who...aren't as comfortable with it.

Let's just say that I have an added appreciation for going to a certain *ahem* institution in the South Bay.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A sign I've been doing my job for too long...

So I'm trying to figure out this word that the new doctor (who's this young, kinda cute Asian guy) is using. I'm mumbling the word over and over, "flocculated...flocculated" and finally said, "Flocculated?!"

Suddenly, my coworker asked, "What did you just say?!"

-What? Huh? I was trying to ask you how to spell that word.

"Oh! [spells word] I thought you were saying something random."

-[laughs] Well, "floc" you!

"Yeah, floc u too!"

*sigh* I've been working too long at this job!

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm a dork.

So after getting my PCAT scores a couple weeks ago, I was wondering they hadn't shown up on my application.

I decided to look at the application where it said, "You must submit your scores to PharmCAS."

Oops. I forgot to include it in my score report requests.

I actually just did it now--and not looking forward to the deluge of snail mail spam from pharmacy schools that I'm not interested in because I did so well.

I'm a dork.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fucked up priorities/Desperate Housewives?

So over the past few days, there's been a brouhaha among the Filipino cybercommunity about a racist remark that was said by Teri Hatcher's remark on Desperate Housewives talking shit about Filipino doctors and how they're not up to snuff.

Racist? Yes.

But on a grander scale of things, is it really worth it?

I'd rather much focus on real issues of Filipino doctors in the US, rather than some random off-the-cuff comment on a dying soap opera done by a writer, instead of placing the blame on an actress who is just trained to speak her lines.

If these people were really serious about the offensiveness of these remarks, maybe they should push for Filipino writers on their shows. Or support Filipino artists, actors, singers, etc. Or demand a show that stars a Filipino American (oops, Tia Carrere doesn't count, does she? :P)

One of the prime issues affecting Filipino doctors who are trained in the Philippines are having an extremely difficult time being certified to practice in the United States, and how many (my cousin's wife being a prime example) are forced to go from being a medical doctor to becoming a registered nurse since it's much easier to gain certification as an RN rather than an MD. If I remember correctly, Filipinos comprised the largest segment of immigrant physicians in the United States until recently.

What about real issues affecting the Filipino American community, like the WW2 veteranos getting their due pensions? Or the saving of Filipino historical landmarks in the US?

As my girl Rona said, "Think big, dream big. Think small, dream small."

If the Filipino community but as much effort into actually having real representation in mainstream American media than get worked up over a minor comment, we'd probably get so much farther...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Until there's a frickin' Pinkberry in SF...

I'll just have to make do with Gelateria Naia's natural yogurt gelato.

I did discover a couple of places that have Korean frozen yogurt, like ToBang and Cafe Aroma in Santa Clara, but nothing that compares to Pinkberry/Red Mango.

I swear, the next time I go to Naia and get the yogurt gelato, I'm gonna have to bring some Korean mochi, Cap'n Crunch cereal and some cut up mango and blackberries just to get my fix....grrr!p

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Got my PCAT scores back...

And I did better than I expected.

I scored in the 95th percentile or higher in everything (verbal ability, biology, quantitative ability, and chemistry) except for reading comprehension (86th!!! WTF???), and my composite was in the 99th percentile.

Guess that makes my application for Hawaii and Creighton that much stronger.

*cabbage patch dance*

Woo hoo!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who wants Big Daddy???

Who wants Big Daddy???
Originally uploaded by stkyrice
Ice cream sandwich from Its It, the best ice cream sandwich maker ever.

One of the reasons why I love living in SF.

Monday, September 17, 2007


So I was supposed to hang out with a friend from elementary/junior high last night and her girlfriend after she saw the Native American AIDS Project benefit starring Judy Tenuta and Alec Mapa. I texted her after the performance to see what her plans were (and since she's notorious for being flaky).

I got a call almost immediately.

"Hey, I can't make it tonight..."

-That's fine. What's going on?

(silence) "Oh, God, I feel so gross!"

-What? What's wrong?

"Oh! My period! It started during the performance! I feel so disgusting!"

-That's all right. Really. We'll hang out another time...

(hangs up)


I love her, but did I really need to know that??? None of my other girlfriends feel a need to announce their periods with me...


Saturday, September 15, 2007

More random stuff...

o The husband left for Seattle last Sunday. I'm feeling all right, surprisingly enough. We've been in contact (through phone calls and texts) every single day. I miss him terribly, but at the same time, it's helped to clarify a lot of my own personal issues about life that had nothing to do with him. It's a very good thing, actually. It's also made me realize that I am very happy that I am not a drama queen and I'm not making shit up to cause drama between us when there really isn't much at all.

o The biggest issue I've been dealing with is my own issues regarding being abandoned by people who love me, when that's really not the case. It's also made me realize how comfortable I am being by myself, when before it would drive me crazy.

o Realizing that I have a lot of good friends out there helps a lot.

o The biggest adjustment is truly realizing how I don't have to worry about (almost) anybody while making personal decisions.

Less serious shit---

o My best friend from college is getting married next week down in San Diego and I'm looking forward to seeing her as well as some friends like MusicChyckand the GirlFriend.

o Almost done with pharmacy school applications! I've written so many drafts of the supplementals for UCSF and UOP that it's driving me nuts.

o I've gotten into Facebook. Damn you, Joz!

o I'm frickin' tired--having to do all these overtime shifts has been a pain in the ass!

Ok, off to bed...:)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Family Guy - Herbert sings

So creepy in so many ways...:)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The quest for bibingka

So one of the dishes that my mom knew how to make well (she was a better baker than a cook) was bibingka, or a dessert made from sweet rice flour. When my mom was still alive, she made it quite often, but trying to get the recipe out of her was almost impossible. She had given me a recipe, but it had turned out so horribly that I figured she just did everything by hand and eyeballed the ingredients. I figured that since she passed away back in '03 that I wouldn't be able to figure out how to make it.

Last week, though, my coworker shared me her bibingka recipe, and surprisingly enough, it was about as close as I could find to how my mom made it. She gave me the recipe and I made it for some friends over the weekend. It was so disgustingly easy to make I couldn't believe that it took me this long to do it.

Anyway, here's the recipe, if you're so inclined--btw, it's definitely high carb and greasy as hell, but definitely worth it.


1 cup glutinous rice flour (My mom used Mochiko, but make sure that the flour is glutinous, otherwise it won't work)

2/3 to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want it--I made it with 2/3 cup and it wasn't sweet enough)

1 cup cow's or coconut milk (I prefer coconut milk, though cow's milk will work just as well)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

pinch salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

Grated coconut

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until incorporated. Place mixture in a greased cookie sheet or baking pan, preferably a wide shallow baking pan to make it more chewy and crispy. Top with coconut. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown and center is clean (about 20-30 minutes).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Joz can be happy with me now...

I scored an A+ in my organic chemistry lecture.

Now just waiting for the lab grade (which hopefully I'll get an A+ in too).

Does this count, Joz? :P

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The PCAT's over!

Just finished the PCAT two hours ago.

Frankly, I was expecting it to be a lot worse than I was expecting, though the math threw me for a loop (Calculus! ACK!).

I finished everything a lot quicker than I expected, particularly the chemistry portion, which I thought was going to be hard--but luckily, taking organic chem 2nd semester so soon really saved my ass.

Considering that I'm prohibited from really talking about the test material (which is to be expected), there was one incident which I took a really guilty pleasure in seeing, even if it may have been totally mean/rude/whatever.

When the chemistry portion was completed, the proctor had called time, everyone had completed the exam except for one Asian woman, who kept on writing, despite repeated demands from the proctor to stop and a number of her assistants telling her to stop. She was dismissed from the exam, but not before watching her scream, taking her exam, beg and plead ("I'm going to die if you won't let me take the exam!") to let her continue, and left, after everyone in the exam room was looking at her, when she realized she wasn't getting her way.

Frankly, I don't feel bad about it because I've seen this happen way too many times and these Asian women have gotten away with it (it may just be a West Coast thing, but I've seen this in high school, in college--some girls have even tried it in the classes where I was teaching, and I was harsh with them). It isn't fair for the rest of us, especially since 95% of the people taking the test were Asian, to see one girl get an advantage over the rest of us. I'm glad that the proctor stuck to her guns and kicked her out, and called security.

I don't understand why these women think that this strategy actually works, and if anything, annoys and irritates everyone else around them. And I certainly wouldn't want her to be my pharmacist.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Off to bed (before midnight, no less!)...

Have my PCAT tomorrow morning. I took a practice exam and I did really well, so hopefully tomorrow shouldn't be too bad.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A sign that my body knows the stressing out is almost over...

I have another 24 hour sickness thing. Scratchy throat yesterday, now runny nose. I just need to crash tonight when I get home, and I'll be fine when I wake up tomorrow morning.

Blah. I guess that's the good thing about having a decent immune system, I know what's going to happen.

Just as I have my final in about 2 hours, and my PCAT Saturday morning.

I just need to collapse for about a week, and I'll be fine...too bad that's not going to happen.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

O-Chem is almost over!

So my o-chem lecture final's over and I just got back my two midterms, with only the final to go.

My first exam I scored 136/150, where the mean was a 96, and on the second exam I scored a 141/150 with the mean being a 113.

Considering that the (hot) professor said that a mean was a solid B, which is 70%, with the curve being as it is, I have a soild A+ going into the final.

Which means just a bit more studying the next couple days, and then going over my other stuff for the PCAT on Saturday.

I am SO celebrating Saturday night. :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thoughts in my head...

o Last weekend of organic chemistry is this weekend. It's made me realize a number of different things, the scariest of which is that I actually like studying this, and that's not even pointing to the fact that my professor is hot.

o I'm feeling really confident that pharmacy is where I'm headed. Partly because of this class, but it's weird how naturally this is all coming to me. It really makes me wonder what was so hard for me to deal with 15 years ago that I couldn't get my shit together to do this before. Of course, this is looking back with 20/20 hindvision. I remember how alone I felt when I was 18, coming out in the early 90s, and scared shitless that I thought people would dis me after I came out to them, and the amount of emotional stress that I had to deal with. It makes me realize that I actually did have the personal strength just to get the double and finish both chemistry and ethnic studies, when other people probably would've dropped out. I knew for me that wasn't an option. Maybe I just knew back then that there was reason why I had to do this damn chem degree.

o Howard's leaving for Seattle in 3 weeks, and although I'll see him at least once or twice by the end of the year, I'm hoping to visit Seattle in October. Part of me is bracing for that inevitable emotional roller coaster that I'll be going through when he does leave, and I'm actually relieved that I won't be doing any classes until the end of September so I can try to recover somewhat from it.

o If anything, his moving is forcing me to do things on my own--stuff that I'm used to doing, but realizing that the only person I'll have to really think about is myself. It's a really weird feeling since I've had to think about Howard and/or other people for the past 10 years. I've started to re-establish contacts with friends, make contacts with new people, and getting people to know me as "Efren" instead of as "Howard and Efren". It's disconcerting, and strangely liberating at the same time. The weird thing is thinking about hooking up with other guys and saying I'm "single", especially since so many guys wouldn't hook up with me because I was taken. I wonder how that'll change...

o It's weird how telling people about my changing relationship with Howard is akin to coming out--again. It's also made me realize the resentment I've had towards people who've looked to us as role models b/c they're too damn lazy to find partners on their own and who want to live vicariously through us. It's weird because even though Howard and I have always expressed our individuality even as we have been a couple, it seems like very few people actually believed it. I've always looked to Howard as his own separate person, and that's what I find attractive, and annoying at the same time. I can be with him, and yet we're not so codependent on each other that we can't distinguish ourselves from each other. Which would probably be hard to do anyway, given how different we are. :)

o I wonder whether staying in SF is worth it--or if moving to Hawai'i is worth it. Obviously, both have their positives and negatives, and if UCSF rejects me, then it's a moot point. It's just weird for me to realize that I've lived here in the Bay Area for about 10 years, and part of me is getting the itch to travel, even though my heart will always be here. Will I have the balls to make the decision that I need to? Who knows?

Monday, August 13, 2007

At least spell my name right!

Originally uploaded by AiYahh
The husband found this on a sidewalk in the City...I wonder who this "Effran" guy is...interesting!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Brain. Imploding. Must stop.

So I'm in the midst of taking this 4 week intensive course in 2nd semester organic chemistry, which means my weekends have been fucked. I'm also really exhausted from a lack of sleep since I basically get no real days off until August 25, since I have my final exam on August 22, and the PCAT on August 25.

I've been taking this course over at New College, over at their Science Institute, where all the major 18-week science courses (general chem, organic chem, physics, bio, microbio, and anatomy and physiology) are condensed into neat 4 week blocks. I was a bit hesitant because I didn't know what to expect and how the coursework would be.

Midway through the course, I think it's the best decision I've ever made. I'm used to o-chem being such a horribly cutthroat and overall bad experience because it's a typical weeder course. There's a sense of camaraderie since we all know that we're there to pass the course, and it won't do us any good to be rude to anybody in the class. I'm used to being a lone duck while taking these courses, so it's pretty cool to feel like there's a sense of people really wanting to help each other out.

It also helps that the instructor is really hot. Hot Latino guy, pretty boy, but very easy on the eyes, and a good professor. And I think I scored a perfect on the first midterm, so hopefully I can get an A+ in the class (compared to the C I got the first time around back in 1993 *sigh*)

It's also interesting to see the decidedly leftist political bent of the course--what with the professor talking about the evils of plastics, and that we're making biodiesel fuel in lab, all the while enjoying all the Bush-bashing that's been taking place. I've never seen so much politics in a science course, so I have to admit I'm really enjoying it.

The main shock and talk of the session is a major scandal that's been evolving at the school, since we got word the Monday after classes started that New College was in danger of losing their accreditation because of a lack of transparency and accountability for leadership and financial issues. Of course, most of us were shitting bricks, but after we got word that the earliest accreditation would be revoked (if it got to that stage) was October 2008, we were all safe. The president of the school, who's been at the center of the controversy, just tendered his resignation, so that should be a sign of good faith and that New College will be able to keep its accreditation.

Overall, though, I wish I had known about this sooner. I'm probably going to take microbiology through New College, even though it means schlepping my ass to Hayward for four weekends, but I'd rather have the inconvenience of that instead of 18 weeks of driving back and forth and having to rearrange my work schedule again, plus taking an online psych class so I can minimize the amount of time I have to commute to take classes.

Then I'm free from coursework until I get accepted for pharmacy school.

Ok, back to being a hermit. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Classes starting already! *sigh*

So aside from all the craziness with the husband leaving for Seattle in about a month and a half (Thanks to people who sent me e-mails, btw), what's stressing me out isn't that, surprisingly enough.

Starting this Saturday, I'm going to be a virtual (both online and otherwise) hermit.

I'm taking this 4 week intensive course on organic chemistry through New College of California's Science Institute, where 18 weeks of material is compressed into 4 Saturdays/Sundays with the expectation of studying at least 3 hours a night in between.

If I didn't have a life before, I really don't have one now.

The good (or bad) thing about this is that I take the PCAT the weekend after the class is over on the 25th, so everything will be fresh in my head. And I get to see Avenue Q with the husband and some good friends of ours too that night.

The bad part is that my regular school starts on the 22nd of August (microbiology and a televised course on general psych)--and that night I have my o-chem final. At least I'm taking the last of my required classes this semester. And I want to finish all my pharm school applications by the end of August so I just have to worry about supplementals and interviewing.

My brain will be completely fried after this.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How to even start this?

Well, as the husband's mentioned on his blog, he's moving to Seattle in a couple of months.

For the most part, I wasn't sure how to bring this up since I had so much to process on my own before I felt comfortable "coming out" about it even though Howard's already done it for the past few months. To say it's been interesting has been an understatement, and if anything it's helped spur our relationship so that we've become even closer, even with his impending departure physically.

It's been to our credit that our relationship and the both of us have always been extremely unconventional--neither of us have ever really been that enamored about traditional relationships, and we've allowed ourselves a lot of freedom as we've gone through this relationship.

It's made me realized how much we've grown--grown apart, grown together, just grown. It hasn't been easy, especially since it means saying goodbye to a part of our relationship that has been my mainstay since I was 23. We've discussed this, fought over this, cried over it, and it's actually meant stripping away a lot of our conceptions that have grown and covered up our relationship, forcing us to see what our relationship really is: as two people who really love each other. The great (and incredibly annoying, depending on how you look at it) part is realizing that I do have someone that I love for life; the sad part right now is that in order for us to grow, we have to be apart. We've both felt stuck with how we've dealt with things, and both Howard and I realize that things have to change in order to make them better.

It would've been easier for me if I were really able to push him away and move on, but we both realize that it's something that we can't do, and we're not sure why, but we'll see how this works out. It's been interesting for us to talk like we'll get back together, and to actually mean it. Call it intuition, or wishful thinking, but things have always happened so that we've been together.

At the same time, it's also meant realizing that options that have been previously closed are open, particularly in terms of pharmacy school and where I want to go--it still doesn't mean that I'm planning on leaving the area (unless I get into Hawaii, then all bets are off :). It also means that I'm "single", though honestly that's really one of the furthest things on my mind.

I still love Howard, and I always will. I guess it's going to be interesting to see how the next few months (and years) will work themselves out.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'm on SFGate!

Well, my ribbon is.

I marched with the Billy DeFrank Center from San Jose, and I ended up holding a 20 yard purple ribbon down the parade route as part of a huge rainbow flag.

Fucking hardest march I've ever done to date, especially since there were windtunnels and the bitch who was holding her end decided to do handstands without telling me, leaving me wondering why the fuck the ribbon was so hard to pull.

Anyway, here's the picture.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm here. Really.

And to think that I'd actually have some time to relax during my time off between classes.

Nope--just a lot of work and working out and nursing a bum right shoulder. Oh yeah, and doing my pharm school applications.

The bum right shoulder is bugging me so much that I've decided to hold off on doing the Rough Water swim in Honolulu until next year since I can barely swim more than an hour without my shoulder screaming at me.
Trying to do any sort of weight lifting over my head hurts like hell, so can't do that either. Fucking sucks. Thankfully my shoulders are at a size that I like so I don't have to worry too much about working them out anyway. I'm planning on doing PT to see if that'll help.

The applications for pharm school are going pretty well--I'm almost done with the national application and then have to worry about the supplementals. It also helps that I've been talking with people who are pharmacists and pharmacy students, and it's helping cement that this is what I really wanna do. I remember having nagging doubts that would escalate to loud screams when I was doing graduate school, and with pharm school, none of that's happening. Kinda weird not to have that, but very cool anyway.

SF Pride's coming up, but I'm just marching in the parade on Sunday this year with the husband with the Billy DeFrank Center, where I would hang out when I was first coming out in the early 90s. We also gave a talk there after we got married in '04. We also scored tickets for a VIP party at City Hall that day too, so that should be interesting.

Both of these have helped me realize how much my identity's evolved and reacted to my sexual identity--from having my queerness trump everything (and the personal drama that happened which contributed to my barely passing a lot of my classes in college), to just having it be an integrated part of who I am that's simply that--just part of who I am (and the lack of drama in that respect helped me do fabulously in all those classes I'm taking now and has helped me maintain a focus that I haven't really had in a long time).

I also got some minicards from, which makes me realize that I need to keep taking pictures and updating my Flickr photoblog.

So I'm here--just not as much as I used to be. But I'm enjoying having somewhat of a life--at least until the end of July. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How fast does a tuna fish go down a bobsled track? (No, really.)

How many tissues are needed to stop a bullet?

How do I measure my life?

So the national application for pharmacy school opened up on the 1st, and in the midst of getting that done along with waiting for supplementals from other schools, I came across a question that was asked by UOP to account for each year of my life since my senior year in high school in terms of school and work experience. As I started filling out that application (and needed an extra page), it came as a shock that it's been 16-17 years since my senior year in high school, and it got me thinking. How would I measure my life? What are the things that are important to me?

Would it be my coming out process? The three romantic relationships I've had and the countless one night stands? My awards? My jobs? My friends? My family? My slowly receding hairline? My decreasing blood pressure?

It's such a weird thing, trying to distill these experiences onto a few sheets of paper into a package that's appropriate and suitable, and being forced to leave out things that personally are important vs. things that are important in terms of my application, but not personally.

I'm not sure how I would chronicle my life--especially since there are so many signifiers out there especially online that I can look at, like my posts on Usenet groups, pictures on my Flickr, my friends on MySpace, Friendster, etc.

It's a shock to realize how easy it is to sneak a look at my past online and see what I was thinking, and how I've changed from being the green, newbie idealist to the
cautious skeptic. I didn't think that I'd be growing up, and yet, here I am, covering my mouth in horror when the words, "When I was your age" start spilling out to my friends 10-15 years younger than me...

I'd like to think that my life so far has been pretty mundane, but then again, many of the things I've done have been mostly pretty banal to a few earth-shattering, literally history-making moments (like getting married to the husband) that it really does make me wonder what else is going to happen--all the incredible, crazy, scary things that will happen.

Life is such a crazy thing sometimes.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

iPods and i-Pots....

A little video from YouTube...:P

Talk about cutting it close.

I got an A in my anatomy class.

By 0.1%.

I'm fucking ecstatic now. :)

Have a good Memorial Day everyone. :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What the hell is up with the crazy Asian people?

First, the Virginia tech shooter. No explanation needed.

Now, the Korean American woman who was able to pretend that she was a student at Stanford for nearly a year before she got caught. (Full story from here)

And a second Asian woman, Japanese American, is being banned from Stanford Physics for doing the same thing. (Click here for the article)

I don't particularly understand why people aren't noticing the fact that these people are crazy, especially if the first Stanford woman is "distraught and hysterical" for getting caught, and some people are actually calling for her to stay at Stanford to get her degree.

Personally, if she were to take some meds and do some real therapy, maybe, but otherwise, no way in frickin' hell would I want a biologist or physicist with that kind of mental fuckups to be doing any work.

At least in sociology, it's a given that you're at least some kind of sociopath to get into that line of work. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Class is over!

So I finished my anatomy class final yesterday, and I'm feeling really good (even though I was only 0.3% away from a frickin' A coming into the final), and hopefully I'll get an A (I hope).

It feels that a psychological weight's been lifted after passing the class--since this was the one course I was dreading about taking for my prep for pharm school, especially given my past history of doing so badly the first time around. Then again, it actually helped that I actually studied for the class and was motivated this time, unlike the first time I took the class.

Spending all that time studying cadavers also wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and had refused (for the most part) to eat any animal parts that had bones attached to them for the whole entire class. But I did find myself eating fried chicken on the bone last night for dinner and I realized that I had almost completely forgotten about the lab for anatomy. I ate the chicken anyway.

I was debating over whether to take some classes over the summer before my compressed accelerated organic chemistry class starting at the end of July, and I realized that I want to enjoy this summer until then, so I'll just hold off until fall to take these classes. This chemistry class is the last class that I have to repeat, but it's going to be a bitch--18 weeks of classes compressed into 4 weekends, studying 3 hours a day, every day in between. I'm actually looking forward to it, because it'll be like running the gauntlet, and I'm ready for it now.

For now, I'm going to enjoy these next two months. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No more clitorises (what IS the plural of that word)!

Just took my lab final for my anatomy class and for the most part I did well (I think). At least I was able to identify the clitoris. And I didn't have to know it all that well.

I'm comfortable with it just being its acquaintance anyway.

Now I have to worry about the final.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Spend some time with the clitoris!

So I'm frantically headed towards the end of my anatomy class, which means that we're doing the final part of the lab, the genitourinary system. So we start with the female reproductive system.

The prof is showing us all the various structures in cadavers and plastic models, and as he ends his lecture, he says, "I want all of you to spend some time with the clitoris and get to know it better."

Excuse me? Spend time with the clitoris?

It sounds like it was some ad campaign for this new destination.

"Spend some time with the clitoris! Wish you were here!"

The husband thought of a great line:

"My grandma went to the clitoris, and all I got this was this T-shirt!"

I can't wait for this class to be over--even if I am getting an A.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The problem with taking so many science classes...

Not enough cute guys! (sigh)

I've noticed that in practically all the classes that I've taken since '05 in prepping for pharm school apps is that there's at least a majority of the class is women. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there just seems to be a dearth of good looking guys doing science. I guess it doesn't help that I also am a good 10-15 years older than most of these guys so there's no one worth really looking at.

The funny thing is that most of the guys who are in my classes tend to be queer, since most of the classes I've been taking are also prereqs for nursing, so it's not that much of a stretch. Too bad I don't find them too attractive.

My anatomy prof is kinda good looking--for an older white guy, until I saw him on Wednesday wearing an ill-fitting shirt and pants that made him look like a white MC Hammer.


On that note, I was swimming yesterday when my coach (who is 13 years younger than me) decided to bring in the kids he coaches from a local high school. The girl who I was swimming asked me, "Don't you think they're hot?"

I looked at her in horror. It just depressed me to realize that I'm about twice their age, and instead of thinking they're attractive, my maternal instincts came up. I did notice that these boys tended to be a lot more muscular than the boys I knew in high school, but otherwise they didn't do anything at all for me.

I guess I'm just one of those guys who likes guys around his age--for me, I think there's too much potential for a weird power differential to happen or some weird daddy-son thing going on that gives me the creeps. My roommate in LA was this older Chinese guy (if I remember correctly, late 40s) who happened to like younger Asian men (around my age at the time which was 22-23--thankfully we never did anything). He happened to date this guy who was just a couple years older than me, and I walked in on them kissing. For some reason it creeped me out, because it did look a lot like father-son to me. Now I have respect for people in relationships where there's a huge age differential and they can make it work, but it's not for me.

Speaking of which, now that I'm over 30, and because of my build, I've suddenly become desirable to younger Asian guys who want a big brother/father (!!!) type, and I turn them down--because I'm really, really not into that.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


So I'm in the middle of my anatomy class today (3 weeks before the final--ack!) and taking notes and trying to cram for my anatomy lab quiz to happen immediately afterwards.

In the middle of my taking notes, I put my hand on my face and notice something wet, and notice blood on my fingers. For some reason, I was bleeding from some unknown cut on my face which was freaking me out. It was a minor cut and it wasn't bleeding that much but it was still weird.

At least the cut finally healed in time for my quiz. Blech.

I also just got my pathology report of the cyst that was removed--totally normal. Now just gotta wait for these damn Steri-Strips to fall off.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Goings on the past few days...

o Had a great time celebrating the husband's 35th birthday at Cote Sud in the Castro with some great friends. The husband stressed out because a few too many people showed up, but it was a great time anyway.

o Getting excited about applying for pharmacy school--apps open up in a month. Ack! Getting my letters of recommendation ready and honing my writing skills--wish me luck. :)

o Celebrated the 10th anniversary (wow) with the husband on Thursday (even though it was technically on Tuesday) by doing Dining Out for Life at Chenery Park in Glen Park in SF. We both shared some lobster ravioli, then the husband had panko-breaded catfish with French fries and I had this too-soupy gumbo. For dessert, he had a chocolate angel food cake with a Cabernet-blackberry sorbet while I had a bread pudding with hard bourbon sauce. I still can't believe it's been 10 years with him!

o The husband had a minor fracture of his left 3rd toe a couple weeks ago, which is healing nicely.

o I had the cyst on my right buttock removed (the one that caused me so much grief a couple months ago) on Wednesday. It's healing just fine, and thankfully there was no play-by-play by the doctor like the nurse who drained my abscess did months ago. He didn't use enough local anesthetic, so it hurt when I felt the doctor cauterizing the cyst and it was gross smelling my own burning flesh...

o And now we're going to eat. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

An article about Asian Americans and the Virgina Technique shootings

She hit it right on the mark--I'm just bracing for the backlash.

What May Come: Asian Americans and the Virginia Tech Shootings
Tamara K. Nopper
April 17, 2007
Like many, I was glued to the television news yesterday, keeping updated about the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech University. I was trying to deal with my own disgust and sadness, especially since my professional life as a graduate student and college instructor is tied to universities. And then the other shoe dropped. I found out from a friend that the news channel she was watching had reported the shooter as Asian. It has now been reported, after much confusion, that the shooter is Cho Seung-Hui, a South Korean immigrant and Virginia Tech student.
As an Asian American woman, I am keenly aware that Asians are about to become a popular media topic if not the victims of physical backlash. Rarely have we gotten as much attention in the past ten years, except, perhaps, during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Since then Asians are seldom seen in the media except when one of us wins a golfing match, Woody Allen has sex, or Angelina Jolie adopts a kid.
I am not looking forward to the onslaught of media attention. If history truly does have clues about what will come, there may be several different ways we as Asian Americans will be talked about.
One, we will watch white media pundits and perhaps even sociologists explain what they understand as an "Asian" way of being. They will talk about how Asian males presumably have fragile "egos" and therefore are culturally prone to engage in kamikaze style violence. These statements will be embedded with racist tropes about Japanese military fighters during WWII or the Viet Cong—the crazy, calculating, and hidden Asian man who will fight to the death over presumably nothing.
In the process, the white media might actually ask Asian Americans our perspectives for a change. We will probably be expected to apologize in some way for the behavior of another Asian—something whites never have to collectively do when one of theirs engages in (mass) violence, which is often. And then some of us might succumb to the Orientalist logic of the media by eagerly promoting Asian Americans as real Americans and therefore unlike Asians overseas who presumably engage in culturally reprehensible behavior. In other words, if we get to talk at all, Asian Americans will be expected to interpret, explain, and distance themselves from other Asians just to get airtime.
Or perhaps the media will take the color-blind approach instead of a strictly eugenic one. The media might try to whitewash the situation and treat Cho as just another alienated middle-class suburban kid. In some ways this is already happening—hence the constant referrals to
the proximity of the shootings to the 8th anniversary of the Columbine killings. The media will repeat over and over words from a letter that Cho left behind speaking of "rich kids," and "deceitful charlatans." They will ask what's going on in middle-class communities that encourage this type of violence. In the process they may never talk about the dirty little secret about middle-class assimilation: for non-whites, it does not always prevent racial alienation, rage, or depression. This may be surprising given that we are bombarded with constant images suggesting that racial harmony will exist once we are all middle-class. But for many of us who have achieved middle-class life, even if we may not openly admit it, alienation does not stop if you are not white.
But the white media, being as tricky as it is, may probably talk about Cho in ways that reflect a combination of both traditional eugenic and colorblind approaches. They will emphasize Cho's ethnicity and economic background by wondering what would set off a hard-working, quiet, South Korean immigrant from a middle-class dry-cleaner- owning family. They will wonder why Cho would commit such acts of violence, which we expect from Middle Easterners and Muslims and those crazy Asians from overseas, but not from hard-working South Korean immigrants. They will promote Cho as "the model minority" who suddenly, for no reason, went crazy. Whereas eugenic approaches depicting Asians as crazy kamikazes or Viet Cong mercenaries emphasize Asian violence, the eugenic aspect of the model minority myth suggests that there is something about Asian Americans that makes them less prone to expressions of anger, rage, violence, or criminality. Indeed, we are not even seen as having
legitimate reasons to have anger, let alone rage, hence the need to figure out what made this "quiet" student "snap."
Given that the model minority myth is a white racist invention that elevates Asians over minority groups, Cho will be dissected as an anomaly among South Koreans who "are not prone" to violence—unlike Blacks who are racistly viewed as inherently violent or South Asians, Middle Easterners and Muslims who are viewed as potential terrorists. He will be talked about as acting "out of character" from the other "good South Koreans" who come here and quietly and dutifully work towards the American dream. Operating behind the scenes of course is a diplomatic relationship between the US and South Korea forged through bombs and military zones during the Korean War and expressed through the new free trade agreement negotiations between the countries. Indeed, even as South Korean diplomats express concern about racial backlash against Asians, they are quick to disown Cho in order to maintain the image of the respectable South Korean.
Whatever happens, Cho will become whoever the white media wants him to be and for whatever political platform it and legislators want to push. In the process, Asian Americans will, like other non-whites, be picked apart, dissected, and theorized by whites. As such, this is no different than any other day for Asian Americans. Only this time an Asian face will be on every television screen, internet search engine, and newspaper.
Tamara K. Nopper is an educator, writer, and activist living in Philadelphia. She can be reached at tnopper@yahoo. com.

Thoughts about the Virginia Tech shootings...

So I'm still reeling about hearing about the Virginia Tech shootings today where 32 people were killed by an Asian man who then committed suicide.

I'm also waiting to hear about the inevitable backlash against Asians as a result of this, the discussions of Asian families and the inevitable unrealistic expectations of Asians in colleges by their families and parents, the discussions about child abuse among Asian Americans; the shame that the gunman's family will now have to endure. There probably won't be a suicide note--from all the anecdotes that I've heard of friends and acquaintances who are Asian men who've killed themselves, they've left no record, no signs that they were planning to do something like this until it's too late. Maybe there'll be something on the guy's computer, but he's probably too meticulous to leave such damning evidence.

I think about the worlds that 20-somethings inhabit, too old to be considered teenagers, but too green to realize that everything they go through will pass and that the events that are going on are just really small parts of our lives. I remember thinking that all the drama I was going through in my early 20s meant that my life was always going to suck, and I can look back now and see how childish I was.

I also think about how insensitive many of us have become to violence, and that personally, to see someone like myself, instead of some crazy white supremacist or a fundamentalist religious zealot, being able to pull a trigger and cause so much destruction and to not care, is shocking and disturbing.

I'm hoping on one level that this will finally begin a real discussion on Asians in American society, and I'm oddly fascinated to see how this will play into how Asians, particularly Asian men, will be seen as a result. Given that Asian men are probably one of the most invisible groups in American society, it'll make people stop and think. Will this, in a very, very twisted way, prove our masculinity? Or just show that we can be as fucking crazy as everybody else?

I also think about what would cause someone to snap and how this guy became so desperate and crazy enough to kill so many people, especially since this isn't the first time that an Asian man was at the center of such an incident (namely the Filipino American guy who almost caused a similar tragedy in De Anza College near my hometown). What would drive someone to act with such callous disregard?

Is this going to cause some Asian American families to re-evalaute how they treat their kids? I hope so. I really hope so. I've just heard too many stories by other Asian Americans and the insane amount of pressure we get by our parents and families to succeed and do well, to get married, to be an upstanding (and silent) part of American society--and how this causes a lot of us to seek therapy--or to act out in self-destructive means.

Will this change American perceptions of Asian men? Undoubtedly. How, I don't know. I'm kinda scared to find out, honestly.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sunset at Pismo Beach, Highway 101

Originally uploaded by AiYahh.
The husband took this when I was driving along the 101, right before we had dinner in this place at Avila Beach. Sometimes I'm shocked that I actually used to live so close to this area.

Stkyrice in Kushi Tsuru

Stkyrice in Kushi Tsuru
Originally uploaded by AiYahh.
Me at Kushi Tsuru in SF J-Town on my 33rd birthday. Just noticing how different angles make me look 10 pounds lighter--or 20 pounds heavier! Ack!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What a guy might not want to hear when two girls are talking about him...

"So was he really moist when you found him?"

"Yeah, way moist."

--From a conversation between my two lab partners in anatomy class, talking about the new cadaver in our lab.

Yes, you can barf now, Joz.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Thoughts on a Sunday (when I should be studying...)

o Just saw two movies from the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival this weekend, the singalong Flower Drum Song, and King and the Clown.

o I think I can now appreciate Flower Drum Song now for what it represents in terms of Asian American history and culture, even though it's not a really good musical for Rogers and Hammerstein. Kinda funny how much I've mellowed out from my old pseudo-militant days in college and how much I can really appreciate things for what they are, and not looking at them through the know-it-all eyes of a 20-something. It also helps that James Shigeta was really hot in the late 50s and early 60s. Here he is in Flower Drum Song and here he is in the Crimson Flower, which featured the first ever interracial kiss between an Asian man and a white woman in American movies.

o King and the Clown (click here for a synopsis) was an incredibly well done movie, and the subtitles were really well done (a lot of it done as Shakespearean-style English). Considering how restrained the movie was (except for the last few minutes where it really got into typical Korean soap opera drama) and how nuanced the homosexuality was (and maybe the first-ever kiss between two men in Korean cinema?), it pulled at me a lot more than I was expecting. I found the king pretty attractive too...

o While I was waiting in line for King and the Clown, a guy was getting Asians to sign petitions as part of Asian Equality , a group that's part of Organization of Chinese Americans. When I mentioned to the guy that the husband and I were on their website, he started telling me that I was "a hero" and that he liked "my work." After the conversation, I thought, "What work have I done?" Compared to the work that a lot of my other activist friends have done on a daily basis, like Rona Fernandez and Trinity Ordona, I feel more like a bystander. I try to show my support and activism in different ways, and still feeling burned after the fiasco of FTFA, I feel like that my heart's more in doing general Asian American and gay stuff, and not necessarily gay Asian American stuff. I guess I'm really frustrated about what little activism there is among queer Asian American men, and how I'm tired of being the guy who always seems to put the torch out here in SF. Maybe it's also my own preference to stay on the sidelines, to keep doing my work, but always maintaining a sense of separateness to keep myself in check.

o I've also been trying to rediscover parts of myself that, for one reason or another, I realized I've ignored. Most of it is sexual--and if you're really that curious, send me an e-mail. :P

Sunday, March 11, 2007

SF Int'l Asian American Film Festival--what I'm seeing and might see...

here are some movies that I plan on seeing for the SF International Asian American Film Festival. They don't have a queer shorts program this year...which is probably a good thing since most of them suck.

Singalong (!!!) Flower Drum Song

Add this to your blog or myspace


King and the Clown

Add this to your blog or myspace


Ang Pamana (The Inheritance)

Add this to your blog or myspace

Koryo Saram -- The Unreliable People

Add this to your blog or myspace

The Mistress of Spices

Add this to your blog or myspace

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cool stuff from an alum of my high school...

Just saw this in SJ Merc about the director of a movie about Gwen Araujo, the transgender Latina who was killed by three men after she was found to be physically male. Found out that the director graduated from Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, which is where I graduated in 1991. I wasn't out at all in high school though I did have a boyfriend at the time, though I have heard now that Wilcox has a Gay-Straight Alliance.

Filmmaker tells transgender's tale, identifies with teen's suffering - By Lisa Fernandez
Mercury News

Finally, everyone wants to hear the story Shelly Prevost has to tell. The South Bay filmmaker's documentary "Trained in the Ways of Men" has San Jose's Cinequest Film Festival abuzz. View Full Story


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Happy birthday to me...

Well, I'm 33.

Hmm, feels the same as 32.

Well, not really.

I already know this year's going to be a very interesting one for me, what with pharmacy school applications looming in the summer, not to mention doing at least the Rough Water Swim in Honolulu and maybe even the Honolulu Marathon if I'm crazy/stupid enough to do both.

Lots of other cool and scary things are going to happen me this year, and I'll talk about them more when I'm up to talking about them.

Did I mention to buy me something from my Amazon Wish List? :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chianti and fava beans anyone?

So we're really getting into the cadaver prosections for my anatomy class, and learning about the gastrointestinal tract and all the other organs and other things associated with it.

Our teacher (who's pretty cute for a middle aged white guy) recommended that we throw on an old shirt that we're not interested in keeping after the class since the preservative chemicals have a tendency to stay on the clothing even after repeated washings.

So one of the people in my lab group (who got the highest grade in our practical--I was #2 apparently) reaches into her bag...

And pulls out a chef's uniform coat.

The other people in my group are a little stunned, and just as she says, "what?", we start laughing. Later we find out that she owns a restaurant with her husband and it was an old chef's uniform that she was getting rid of.

Considering that we were studying the liver in detail today, the uniform coat was just abso-fucking-brilliant. :)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More random stuff...

o I have a solid A in my anatomy class after blasting through my lab practical, and hoping to get at least an A in my lecture exam. Also started looking at cadaver prosections, and surprisingly, I wasn't as disturbed about it as I thought I was. Except for the smell for formalin, which I can't stand. Thank god for Vicks!

o Speaking of Vicks, I saw a couple of videos from the woman who runs, a series of hilarious vidoes about life seen through a Filipina American's eyes. Here's Peelings below....

o In anatomy, one of the things that we were able to look at was a hemisected head in a bucket. Hmm. Head in a bucket. Maybe later.

o For some reason, I'm mildly trippin' that I'll be 33 next Wednesday. And did I mention to buy me something off my Amazon Wish List?

o This woman that I knew from junior high school asked me to add her on MySpace. Considering she was one of the people who was really responsible for making my life miserable in junior high, and that she's never apologized for what she did to me, it took me a while to figure out how to respond.

I told her off. In a nice way, of course (no mentioning of fucking herself with a large saguaro cactus since she lives in Arizona, though I really, really wanted to), and to stop bugging me.

A couple things shocked me about this--that I had held such a grudge against her and the group of people that she represented (rich privilged clueless white teenagers who have no idea how cruel they can be and their followers), and the fact that I only felt a little twinge of guilt after I sent it off and blocked her ass.

Then I got over it.

o My ass is feeling much better. And I get my sebaceous cyst removed tomorrow morning. I was reading some stuff online about how these cysts can be removed and came across this article where it said:

Vigorous expression of the cyst contents can cause material to literally fly across the room.


I guess this is one case where splattering against the wall would not be something to be proud of.

o And with that, I'm going to bed.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Buy me something, dammit.

It's my birthday on March 7. And I'm turning 33. :)

Should be good for something right? Check out my Amazon wish list in the sidebar. :)

The DDR Supernova machine would be really nice...

Friday, February 23, 2007

More than I EVER wanted to know about my body...

The past few days I had been suffering from a painful spot...on my butt. I begged my doctor to schedule me to see him, since it basically hurt to do anything involving my legs or my backside, but I couldn't see someone until this morning, where I was seen by one of the nurse practitioners on staff.

Sure enough, she told me it was an abscess and told me that she would have to open it. Which is fine, and I tolerated the shots of anesthetic so I wouldn't even feel her cutting the sore open, even if it did feel like a large insect was stabbing me in the butt.

What was probably most disgusting was that she decided to give me a play-by-play detail of everything that she was doing...

"Yup, the blood's coming out...Ooh! I can see the pus coming out! Wow, it's really smelly!"

"Wow, it is really deep in there." (this was said while she was squeezing my buttocks to get more of the abscess out)

"Ooh, it looks like cottage cheese!" And she then proceeds to show me a bloody lump of cheesy material.

Like I REALLY needed to see that, especially since it's coming from my backside. And as if I needed any more incentive not to eat cottage cheese. Blech.

At least I feel a lot better and I can walk without screaming in pain.

Next week, I get to see a surgeon so that he can remove the original thing that was causing me all this grief in the first place--a sebaceous cyst, which apparently can grow not only sebum (the stuff in pimples), but hair and teeth.

I just hope HE doesn't give me a play-by-play of what comes out of my backside.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

me @ Pinkberry, Larchmont, Los Angeles

Originally uploaded by AiYahh.
Me eating a plain yogurt with blackberries, mango, Korean mochi and Cap'n Crunch. Yup, it's good :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Inihaw na liempo & tuna sisig, Tribu Grill, South San Francisco

Lunch after my anatomy midterm. At least there weren't any animal parts that resembled anything that I had to study for. :)

Inihaw na liempo is grilled pork belly and served with a vinegar and garlic sauce, while tuna sisig was grilled then chopped tuna served with a chili mayo sauce. There's also bagoong fried rice and deep fried tilapia with a mango salsa too. Yum!

Wish me luck tomorrow!

So I'm taking an anatomy class right now and I have my first major exam tomorrow morning (a lab practical identifying bones and muscles), and it's a bit of a turning point for me.

About 15 years ago (good Lord, has it been THAT long?!), I was enrolled in UC Riverside's Biomedical Sciences program, which at the time was a highly structured, highly competitive premed program where 15 applicants (out of 400) would start their 1st year of medical school in conjunction with UCLA during their 4th year of college at UCR.

At the time, I was going through a lot of shit--dealing with more personal issues, the major ones being religion and sexuality, and my growing political consciousness, and the realization that I really didn't care about science at the time. It also didn't help that the lab portion of the anatomy class was cat dissections, and I didn't realize that I was extremely allergic to cats until after I took the class.

Subsequently, I got a D, and because of that (along with a C in organic chemistry and a B in physics), I dropped out of the program, knowing that there was no way in hell that I'd make it into the 4th year.

Looking back, it's now an absolute shock to me that I was able to complete my degree in chemistry along with ethnic studies in 4 years, and I have no idea how the hell I did it.

Fifteen years later, I've resolved most of those issues, and taking these classes again (anatomy, organic chemistry, bio, etc.) is actually very enjoyable to me. I'm really interested in the material and I'm learning a lot. I'm in a totally different space emotionally and mentally, and I can focus on getting my shit done.

And did I mention that I have the highest grade in the class coming into this practical?

Anyway, wish me luck tomorrow. Even though I've been studying my ass off the past couple weeks for this (and really needed the minitrip to LA last weekend), it wouldn't help to have a few good wishes coming into this.

And is it strange to be excited about looking at cadaver prosections next week?

Update (4:49 PM, 2/21/07): The exam was actually a lot easier than I expected. I got everything right until the last question, when I got confused about a hole in the temporal bone and totally named it wrong. Argh! I know I got at least 2 others wrong, but I got all the extra credit right, so hopefully I'll be over 100%. Yippee!

Monday, February 19, 2007

If you like Filipino food, eat at Tribu Grill...

Just took my friend to Tribu Grill in South San Francisco, easily the best Filipino restaurant in South City/Daly City, if not the Bay Area.

I'm usually hesitant to try Filipino restaurants because most of the food is not much better than what I can cook at home, the presentation is usually nonexistent, and the service leaves a lot to be desired. With Tribu Grill, there were a number of things going for it, even before our food arrived. It was refreshingly unpretentious, with bright pale yellows and oranges dominating the eating area, with warmly lacquered tables, chairs and benches for people to sit. The tablecloths were just butcher paper, but accompanying each table were crayons for kids (or anyone else, for that matter) to draw and doodle. The food I saw on the tables looked like the chefs were paying attention to the presentation, and the smell of barbecue and the lull of conversation readily gave it a down to earth feel that never stooped to being ghetto.

As I was taking out a friend who was recently laid off, and also because I had worked out really hard this morning, we ordered 4 things: ribeye salpicao, fried ribeye steak with garlic garnished with more fried crispy garlic on top; sizzling bangus belly (which was recommended from a friend who had gone there earlier); bagoong fried rice; and my friend ordered a plate lunch of chicken and pork adobo. I also ordered a calamansi slush to drink, while the friend ordered the water.

The drinks were probably the only misstep of the entire meal--the calamansi slush had too much ice/water and not enough calamansi syrup which watered down quickly, and my friend waited till nearly the end of his meal to get his water.

The food, however, came out quickly. First came the bangus belly, sizzling on a hot sizzling plate with soy sauce, onions, and lemon. The smell alone got us going. Next came the bagoong fried rice, a huge bowl of rice fried with bagoong, and four different kinds of toppings on top, slightly ripe mango, diced Roma tomatoes, scrambled eggs, and pork adobo. The presentation was the most stunning with the rice bowl, bright mango and tomato dice nestled next to the pork adobo and soft scrambled eggs. Finally, the ribeye salpico with fried garlic.

All four of the dishes were incredible. The bangus belly was nicely well done with a few bones still around the fins of the fish, and the stomach itself was wonderfuly creamy. The adobo was not too fatty, which can be a problem with pork adobo and the vegetable condiments that came along with it, diced tomato and onions, along with carrots, was a fresh counterpoint to the adobo. The ribeye was well done and juicy, with the garlic lending some sweet and deep notes to the meat. The bagoong fried rice was the best surprise, with the mango and tomatoes complimenting the saltiness and fish flavors of the fried rice, and the pork and eggs lending a lot of depth as well.

When we finished the meal, we were surprised to find that we weren't bloated. The freshness of the ingredients made the meal a lot lighter than expected.

This was such a welcome surprise to how I've perceived Filipino restaurants that I hope people start franchising (hint hint). Again, this is easily the best Filipino restaurant in the Bay Area, and I will definitely be coming back. Pictures of my lunch are also in my Flickr.