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 8asians.com 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

Huh?

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 (http://www.gelaterianaia.com) 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.