Monday, May 26, 2008

Halcyon Days

This post is actually kind of two posts merged into one - I meant to write one yesterday but never got to it . . .
From the moment I left my apartment, I knew it was going to be a good day. As I stepped out from the stairwell into the open sun, I could feel its warmth basking my skin. It was still a bit cool out - in the mid-60s Fahrenheit - but I was excited that the days were finally getting warmer. I walked towards the diag, the central heart of campus.

I feel the spring days slowly rolling into summer. Everywhere people were out, but the density had dwindled significantly compared to the academic year. As I walked closer to the diag, I could feel the pulse of a campus still very much alive, content on living out the next few months in a lazy dream.

People sat at nearly every bench or on blankets on the grass. I walk under the shade of the trees for but a moment, and yet I could still perceive the cool shadows on my skin - still a bit too cool for me to actively seek its company. I close my eyes for a moment and I could smell the green grass, the maples and pines, the sunbaked concrete, the distance fragrance of flowers. I could feel the gentle breeze flow by me, brushing across the small hairs on my arms, encompassing parts of my fingers while leaving other parts of my hand untouched. It's as if the wind were trying to hold my hands as it moved by, as if trying to put a secret message in my hands.

I reach an unoccupied concrete bench. I could feel the warmth left by the sun on the concrete as I sat down. I could once again feel the sun's embrace once again as it beamed down from a sky with few clouds. I put down my backpack, took out a book, and began to read. Occasionally I would see a family with young children pass by. Sometimes they stopped at the fountain a little ways in front of me, playing by the sides. At one point two dads jogged by and talking, their toddler sons half-asleep in their strollers. Every now and then I would see a couple kissing, holding hands, and though normally I would feel lonely at this sight, I did not mind it much today. Nothing was going to get between me and my book. I welcomed the solitude.

Hours passed, I could feel the sun wanting to set. It was time for dinner anyway.
The above was an attempt at prose-like writing, just something different to describe how I felt. Whether or not I achieved that depends on the reader.

Anyway, my Sunday was quite amusing. First I went to do laundry. Now, this in itself isn't remarkable. But first some quick background: my apartment uses laundry card keys rather than being coin operated or whatnot. I had $3 on my card, and I needed $4.50 to do 2 washes and 1 drying. So I debated whether or not to just wash and dry half my laundry, or wash half my laundry while hand-washing the other half and then drying both, or just washing both and air-drying all. I decided to take the last option. I took every cloth hanger I had and hung my wet shirts and jeans on them. I found a length of twine in my drawer, with which I made a drying line by tying one end on the frame of our bunk bed and the other to inside my closet. I was successful! I had my socks arranged in a neat ring on the sides of my laundry basket, and my towel occupied its own rack in the bathroom. Only time would tell . . . and now more than half a day later, I can say most of my clothes are dry (but it's way too late at night for me to fold them). So that was my silly laundry idea. Hey, if my parents could air-dry all their laundry back in their day, surely I can survive one day without a dryer.

By now it was about 1:30pm. I still hadn't eaten anything all day. I didn't feel as hungry as I probably should've been. I debated making eggs and toast, then French toast, then pancakes, then biscuits with nutella (except I don't have any nutella), and then to brownies (didn't have any brownie mix either - and I wasn't actually considering that an option). I kept going back and forth on these ideas. Finally I just decided to go out to a sandwich place to get a sandwich and a malt. That was a strong call.

I read some more outside somewhere on campus. I relocated myself a couple times as there are some very large bees residing in the area. It makes me nervous when they constantly fly near me for more than a few minutes. About an hour later, I get a call from SC-F asking to play baseball. I readily agreed, and 10-15 minutes later I was ready to go. I met her, JW-M and their friends for a game of baseball. Bear in mind I haven't touched a baseball glove nor a bat in just over 6 years. I didn't even have a glove of my own and had to borrow one of theirs. That didn't work out optimally as I'm left-handed and the only left-handed person there. That felt awkward . . . But all things considered, I did pretty well.

I ran/walked along the railroad tracks partway back to my apartment. There were "No trespassing" signs everywhere with severe warnings - I kept kind of thinking someone would shoot me. But I got back in one piece and rehearsed trio music with SR-F (violinist) and EA-F (violist). My apartment's rather dim, so I turned on several lights including some Christmas lights I had been too lazy to take down. I have a special place in my heart for Christmas lights.

Later, we went to go see the new Indiana Jones movie. It was alright, it was certainly different from the previous movies in many ways. But in some ways, it was exactly the same. Also something else I noticed: when did Shia LaBeouf become cute or - dare I say it - even kind of hot? My fellow blogger at Minding the Heart maintains it was Tranformers when he became attractive. Whatever the reason, I'm just a bit envious how he turned from that once-dorky/nerdy kid into someone quite attractive. Sometimes I wish I could undergo such a transformation with as much grace.

All in all, it was a pretty good and relaxing weekend. Though I still have laundry to fold . . . I'll do that in the morning. And I didn't finish my book, though I've only about 25 pages left to go. Yet another thing to finish tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

22nd Birthday

Most of my birthdays have been rather underwhelming. For the last 4 years it's been after school has already ended and I'm already home for the summer. There aren't many people in my hometown that I'm particularly close to, so my birthdays tend to be celebrated at home with just my family . . . which is okay.

This year, however, I was still on campus for my birthday (now yesterday on 5-21). This was nice, as a few of my friends did stay in town for a while. So I had lunch with some and dinner with another group. That was fun. I had more dessert (mostly ice cream) than I've ever had in a single day. But hey, it was free! Now I need to work out hardcore, lol.

The highlight of my day was going to Borders and buying several books for my "someday shelf." My aunt gave me a $50 gift card to Borders last August when we visited them in California. I used up almost all that was left on that gift card today.

So I bought The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, all 4 books in a box set for $7.99. That's ridiculously cheap for 4 books!! I then later bought (at another Borders) Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide by Orson Scott Card for $7.99 each. Both Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide are sequels to Ender's Game that I finished reading earlier this week. My friend, JW-M, recommended that first book to me. I bought it, read it, and really liked it. So I bought its 2 sequels as well. There's a 4th book that I may/may not get, we'll see about that.

Right now I have like $2.39 left on that gift card. Since I participated in one of my university's studies by submitting a term paper, I got another $10 gift card to Borders. So I have a total of $12.39 left that I could spend at Borders. Not bad.

Lastly, I think some of my friends are getting sucked back into WoW. Sigh, and after they've denounced that game for years for its addictive nature. And I watch them play that game again as they alternately try to convince me to also start up again (with them) and telling me I shouldn't. I must resist. Besides, I have books to read!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


On Monday I went to take my brother to visit my old lab, where he'll pretty be replacing me there. I've worked in that lab for the last 4-5 summers and have many fond (and some not-so-fond) memories there.

The boss of the lab took all of us (consisting of 3 undergrad students, 2 grad students, 1 post-doc, me, and him) to lunch at a local Thai place. It was pretty decent. Like many places, their "spicy" was totally not spicy. It was above mild, but not spicy. Everyone but me got mild or "no spice" (aka, bland).

So I was talking to one of the summer undergrads working there this summer, and suddenly she was like, "Are you 'Aek'?" I was like, "Umm, yeah, why? . . ." Apparently, she's working on one of the projects I was working on last year - the one on hypertension that was also a collaboration between my lab (in pharmacology) and a lab in physiology. She's been reading my notes and replicating my experiments to get more data. So she knows all about my work, haha! So far her results are consistent with mine, which is a good sign that I did things right the first time! Anyway, I was just amused that someone actually read my experimental notes and are putting them to use, rather than having them sit on the corner of a shelf collecting dust.

In my current lab, I've been doing things that makes me feel like my B.S. in Biology was actually being put to use. I've created an oligonucleotide with several sticky-end restriction sites in there, and I was good enough to even overlap some of the sites to conserve base pairs. I also re-designed 3 of my primers for PCR. Now I just need to wait for all my DNA to be shipped to me from some bio-tech company. That shouldn't take too long. I know this paragraph means little to nothing for non-biology majors and such, but the point is: it's good to know at least a portion of my undergrad knowledge is being put to use.

That's all, not a terribly exciting post.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Alright, enough bated breaths, I finally told him. I finally came out to JW-M. Why did it take me so long? Why are those words so hard to say? Especially when I know the outcome?

We went to the gym. I wanted to tell him on the way. I chickened out. We went back to his apartment after the gym. I wanted to him then. But I chickened out. Inside his apartment, I basically became his shadow for the better part of an hour, following him around not saying anything, working up my courage (or something).

Then as he left for work, I followed him down the stairs. No one was outside (thank God) and I just blurted it out, pretty much as one long run-on sentence: "Hey, that thing I wanted to tell you last week well I'm going to tell you now I think I'm bi."

He stopped partway down the stairs and was about to turn around, saying "Okay, I'm not going to work." I couldn't let him do that, so I protested. We reached the bottom of the stairs. He apologized for being "insensitive" as I had been following him around as his shadow for the better part of an hour (which is rather creepy, as I never do this). I asked him to wait 2 minutes as I went to my apartment and changed out of my gym clothes, then I'd walk with him to work and we could talk along the way.

I could feel the twinge of tears coming, but those were swiftly suppressed. Along the way to his work he asked how long I'd known. I said probably since freshman year of university, but also that I threw myself into my work and academics to get my mind off things - make myself as busy as possible (and I don't even have a med school acceptance to show for it, sigh). And it's true, I've been throwing myself at things, doing things, keeping my mind occupied and distracted, so I didn't have to think about such matters.

He was like, "And here I was thinking you were depressed because some girl moved away." Well, that was kind of true and I told him that. I also told him how confused and awkward I felt, and of course he understood - I knew he would. He said he didn't want to pry, though a part of me wish he did. He was like, "I know I can be a dick sometimes, but I'm your friend and you know that. I'm here." And of course he'd respect my privacy in this matter, as I was clearly not comfortable having this be general knowledge (unlike his roommate for the summer, bi SC-F).

The whole conversation - of which parts are now blurry in my memory - only lasted about 10 minutes before we diverged off-topic to something more "normal." In any case, it's good to have it out there to him. I think I'll write an email to him thanking him.

A Weekend of Goodbyes

It's been a while since I last blogged. It's been a rather crazy several days, and not everything I set out to do was accomplished. But soon, very soon . . .
On Friday, some friends and I went to my house about an hour away from the university to basically hang out for a couple hours. I didn't really want to go and all, but my parents insisted that I invite some friends over and whatnot. I was just like, "Fine." So JW-M, SC-F, SN-F, RZ-F, SR-F, and SP-M came over. Oh, and DC-M also unexpectedly showed up because RZ-F was running late and he gave her a ride.

It was actually kind of fun. We hung out, had a great time, my parents made way too much food. SP-M and his little brother who tagged along left early because they had to do something with his family (he lives a couple streets down from me, and was in town anyway). We were so stuffed when we all left. My parents also made me take most of the leftovers, of which there is still some . . .

After we went back to campus, RZ-F and SN-F wanted to go out to drink. They invited SC-F and me along. SC-F initially didn't want to go, but upon hearing that RZ-F could out-drink her, she couldn't refuse. I'm never drinking with SC-F ever again. She's too hardcore. Before we even left for the bar I had already drank like 7-8 shots. I didn't feel all that until about an hour later, but still. Oh yeah, SC-F's bi. Forgot to tell RZ-F that, and SC-F was hitting on RZ-F the whole time while inebriated, trying to kiss her and all. This freaked RZ-F out a bit.

We went to the bar. We got beer. I drank maybe one glass and stopped because I knew I had reached my limit. And reach my limit I did - it took so much effort to just walk straight and talk without slurring. I thought I had controlled myself pretty well all night, even though I felt a little sick and a little like throwing up. And just as we left, just as I was going to declare myself triumphant, I threw up a little in a bowl on our table and it overflowed. Just then the waitress came over. I was so embarrassed (or would be, if I were sober). I made it home, showered, and went to bed. I was a little hungover when I woke up but nothing serious. I didn't feel bad really, just my head felt a bit weird.

RZ-F was leaving today. I woke up, felt a little hungover, did laundry. By the time my laundry finished I was fine. RZ-F, SN-F, and AG-F came over with half of my leftovers and together we ate most of them.

I then went to JW-M's apartment to hang out a little until RZ-F called. I went to her apartment to say goodbye and all. We took some last pictures, had some last bubble tea, etc. Her other roommate (other than SN-F), CM-F, wasn't going to say goodbye in person because she was at her mom's not too far away. Seriously?! It was RZ-F's last day before she flies back to California and you can't stop by to say goodbye because you're at your mom's, which isn't even that far away?! What kind of friend and roommate are you?! Anyway, RZ-F cried over that. And she cried when she said goodbye to SN-F - they both cried.

I went with her all the way to the airport. All the way there I felt like I was on the edge of crying, but couldn't quite get the tears out. It was kind of anti-climatic when we hugged and said our goodbyes. I felt emotionally distant inside - I felt like I should cry but couldn't. The whole way back I just had some emotionless expression on my face.

Little did I know, I was actually a bit depressed at her leaving. There were things we left unsaid, things that I had wondered "what if." It wasn't until I met up with JW-M and some others that he mentioned I looked rather down for some reason. This must've been it. Anyway, JW-M, others, and I went to watch Iron Man. It was a good movie - after I got over the fact that he had something in his chest where his sternum and his heart really should be. But whatever, as far as superhero movies go, it was pretty good and I really liked it. I recommend watching it.

Nothing much happened. I said goodbye to SN-F, which was also sad but less so than with RZ-F. It was a rainy day, and colder than the last several days. I got a slight headache which felt like a pressure in my head - must've been the change in pressure. So I didn't feel that great for most of the day.

Then I went to practice trio music with SR-F and CB-F. I've never sightread so much music in my life as I did on Sunday. I went back to my apartment and sulked a little more.

Why this Monday was so busy is beyond me. I woke up, filled out some work forms (most of them anyway), ate some breakfast, and called MCW to find out where I was on their alternate list. I had my cell phone in my hand for like 5 minutes as I kept checking and double-checking the phone number I had for MCW. It was kind of nerve-wracking even though it really shouldn't be. I did well on the interview, how could I not be in the top quarter of the list? I finally called, and indeed I was in the top quarter of the list. Yay! Provided enough people drop their admission to MCW, I stand to have a really good chance to get in. Now, to write that letter of intent . . .

I went to research to turn in my work forms. Okay, so it's been a long while since I last filled out such forms and tax forms. I wasn't entirely sure what to write on them. I consulted AG-F, my friend who was also filling the forms with me, and together we figured out pretty much the whole thing. It took a while to get everything we needed and such, but in the end we both turned in our work forms. Now we're going to get paid for our time in the lab doing research! Yay!!

After I left, I went back to my apartment to send some emails. Then I went to the gym. Then more emails and some phone calls. Then I practiced my cello for about half an hour. Then I went to dinner with AG-F and AG-F (oh . . . there's 2 AG-F's . . . hmm, well let's denote one of them as AG-Fi for Indian). So I had dinner with AG-F and AG-Fi. After that we had some ice cream, and AG-F and I went to look for The Magic School Bus books in French and Chinese to give our respective researchers as gifts for their kids. It's actually quite difficult to find those books in foreign languages! And the Chinese is really hard to navigate because, clearly, my reading comprehension in Chinese is severely lacking.

Then I went to the library to send more emails. Do you see a pattern in my day? I've been coordinating between a lot of people. Really, I should be an administrator or something some day. Well, did that, watched last week's House MD on my computer, then went to JW-M's to hang out a little. Sent another email while I was there too.

Alright, today. JW-M and I were supposed to go to Border's to get our gift cards for participating in a study, and then have lunch around 11am. This was the opportunity I was looking for, the opportunity to have "the talk." Well that didn't happen. He wasn't awake. I went to his apartment, knocked on his door not opening in case his roommate was a asleep, and called him 3 times. I then proceeded to just go to where we were going to have lunch, but he wasn't there. I had lunch by myself and went to lab, feeling all down.

At lab I could barely function. Must've been because I'd been feeling down from earlier. I was trudging along, barely awake, feeling like I was walking in a haze. I left a bit early to go to Starbucks to get a caramel frappuccino. It took me forever to get there too. A couple times I felt like stopping to take nap, or something. Well I got my coffee, drank it, and was ready for my other job. I then proceeded to help people learn genetics for their exam this Thursday for 4 hours. It was pretty intense, as I just didn't stop. Kind of crashed afterwards.

I went to JW-M's apartment, as he apologized earlier for oversleeping (sometimes his alarm has this habit of being set but not going off). We decided to go to Border's when I got off work. So we went, the opportunity sort of presented itself but I didn't take advantage. Apparently Border's out of the gift cards we were going to get, but I got a book instead: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. JW-M recommended to me and urged me to buy it and read it. We then went to dinner, where the opportunity didn't present itself at all as anyone could overhear us.

Then we went back to his apartment. On the way, one of his roommates calls him telling him about the douche bag-y thing my roommate, DvF-M, did. Apparently, DvF-M walked into their apartment, sat down for a little bit, opened his laptop, started a download on Bittorrent, and left without saying anything. Seriously?! That's being a real douche bag right there. JW-M's roommates got pissed at this - since the download sucks up all the bandwidth - and locked their door. When JW-M and I got to his apartment, JW-M did a special funny knock to be let in.

Several times during the night DvF-M came by attempting to retrieve his laptop. He would turn the doorknob, find the door locked, and leave. He never bothered to knock. I should preface this by saying JW-M's apartment door is pretty much always unlocked as long as there's someone awake in their apartment. The fact that it's locked either means no one's there, no one's awake, or someone in that apartment doesn't want to be distracted (unless you knock, then it's usually okay). Well, that was amusing. DvF-M was downloading and streaming tons of anime, by the way. DvF-M never did get his laptop back this evening. He's asleep now.

There was a period of time this evening where the opportunity for "the talk" with JW-M presented itself. It was almost as perfect as it gets. Both of his roommates were in their respective rooms with the doors closed, we were downstairs, no one could overhear us unless we shouted, etc. Then JW-M started talking about World of Warcraft (WoW) and I got sucked into it. I think a part of me allowed myself to get distracted and sucked in. Sigh. And I haven't even played this game in over 2 years!
So yeah, in the end I didn't end up talking to him about it. Sigh. And I keep meaning to, and I had a couple opportunities that I just blew. Why's it so hard? I know what his responses could be, and none of them negative. Still, why's it so hard for me to get into the right frame of mind to tell him? Why am I being weak at this?

I WILL tell him by the end of this week, somehow. I'll keep you guys updated . . .

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Foiled Again

Sigh. It didn't happen. Things didn't go according to plan. There were too many friends in one place who could overhear us easily.

However, JW-M still remembers that I had something to tell him, and (clearly) still wants to know. So this is "still on" until I do tell him. But only when the time, and place, are right. Soon, very soon . . .

Yes, it is THE talk. So many scenarios running in my head . . .

Leading Him On

It's not what you think, actually. I went to JW-M's apartment tonight around midnight. I was so tired for some reason, but I stopped by to talk for a couple minutes. After about 20 minutes of just sitting around, I got up to leave (he was working on his thesis anyway).

I mentioned that I had something to tell him, but that I'd tell him tomorrow. He was instantly piqued and wanted to know, but really I was tired and wanted to go back to my apartment. He protested and really wanted to know, saying that he'd be up till about 4am anyway. At this point I was out his door and he dashed after me.

He was like, "Will it make me sad?" No. "Will it make me happy?" Not really? I hated to do this to him, leading him on, but I did want to rest a bit.

So tomorrow (well, now today since I tend to blog so late at night) I will tell him what I've wanted to tell him for almost a year now. I've bound myself to this and I've made escape nigh-impossible. I don't know why, but it's kind of nerve-wracking when it really shouldn't be, because I'm confident of his response.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Deus ex Machina?

Today was a Monday like no other.

I woke up in a very annoyed mood and had a slight headache for half the day. I was not expecting good things to result from this day. Typical Monday, haha.

Then I got an email from the coordinator who coordinates volunteer musicians at the hospitals. SR-F (on violin), CB-F (on viola), and I (on cello) had intended to volunteer some of our time once a week or so to play in the hospital lobby for waiting patients and their families. What we didn't realize is the insane hoops they were going to have us jump through. We had to through the department that dealt with scheduling the musicians, then the department that handles the hospital volunteers. We had to fill out a 10-page volunteer form and have documentation of our MMR vaccination, a negative TB test, 2 reference checks, and a criminal background check. And for the last week I've been trying to coordinate things between 3 contact people. Not fun.

Last night, SR-F, CB-F, and I convened at the local bubble tea place (haha) and decided to abort the whole endeavor. It was way too much effort for us to go through since we're only going to be able to volunteer for 2 months, but for CB-F only a couple more weeks. Anyway, today, the coordinator emails me and basically tells me that we no longer had to go through any of the hoops. We more or less just have to show up, sign in, and play. Now at this point I hadn't told her we were deciding not to play, and I would've felt really bad had I sent that email after hers. So we decided that, now that our biggest obstacle had been removed, to give this a shot again.

I also went into research today, not knowing what to do or how to proceed. Just as I was finishing, the PI (principal investigator - head of the lab) comes by and asks to talk to me. We sit and talk (she is SO nice).

It began with her asking me what my "long-term career goals" were. I was caught off-guard a little, so I said I wasn't too sure since I had only sampled a limited amount of the vastness that is medicine and public health. But I told her of my current interests in endocrinology, diabetes, and hospital-acquired infections. I also told her about my acceptance into public health and what that might entail.

She then said that she just wanted to do what was best for me and my career. At this point I was like "Crap! I'm not going to get paid!" But then she brought up several points. She mentioned how she felt "We had done wrong by you" in the lab as they "neglected" my research. My research requires a very experienced person to work with me for it to work if there are problems (and currently, there are lots of problems). She didn't want me to leave the lab frustrated and pissed off, and she didn't want me to do research because I felt guilty and "owed it to the lab" to have results (which I have almost none).

So she proposed 2 things. She would help me find a physician mentor to doctor shadow, and she agreed to pay me for my time in the lab. Part of the stipulation of the latter is that I should probably work with other people to learn new techniques, since I have all the basics of my research mastered. So she wrote down a list of doctors that she knew and would contact on my behalf, at least for that first contact to "get my foot in the door."

In my mind my jaw dropped. These weren't "just any" doctors. These were head of their labs, or head of their departments. They are distinguished. Their names are recognized in their fields. And I would be directly under them for the next month and a half. They ranged from endocrinology to pediatric endocrinology to cancer, etc. And that she would personally email them and give them a direct recommendation on my behalf was just wow. I had been having trouble contacting doctors to shadow for the past half week (since doctors don't answer emails much, understandably since they're so busy).

Yeah, so that was my amazing day . . .
1.) Hospital volunteering doesn't seem quite so difficult to do now.
2.) I'm going to get paid for my time in the lab! (about 15 hours/week).
3.) My PI is going to help me secure a doctor shadowing!

When I finished for the day, I just couldn't believe my luck. Such things so rarely happens for me.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sexual Fantasy

This is kind of embarrassing to post, but it's been stuck in my head when I wake up in the mornings for several days now. It also warrants, I think, a preface. I will first preface by saying I don't consider myself a very sexual person. Sex isn't something I crave or long for most of the time. Even so, a "less sexual" person like me does have his sexual fantasies. Well in my case, a singular sexual fantasy. I think maybe it's a bit more sensual/erotic than sexual, but you be the judge.

Now, a preface on the content . . . Sleeping in the nude is very comfortable under the conditions of: 1.) once you've gotten used to it, and 2.) when it's warm enough to sleep nude without freezing. And lastly, "morning woods" can be quite annoying. On to the fantasy . . . it's kind of "gender neutral" as sometimes the fantasy is a guy and other times it's a girl. It's not exactly 50/50 but it's kind of close. It's also somewhat detailed and involved, maybe that's why I only have one.

The fantasy begins with the two of us in bed, sleeping in the nude, spooning or whatever. We just feel each other's body, nothing but warm skin and the blanket. And then it's morning. My morning wood is evident. He/she turns over to face me, eyes still closed. A hand (not mine) is placed on my hard penis, holding it idly and gently. We feel it pulse steadily in the hand. He/she begins to stroke it slowly, moving the foreskin back and forth across the head, alternately exposing it and hiding it. Then he/she takes the foreskin and pulls it all the way forward so the head's completely covered. With just the thumb and two fingers, he/she lightly pinches the end and sticks one of his/her fingers inside, pinching the outside and inside together and lightly rubbing in small circles. He/she then pulls the foreskin all the way back, exposing the head completely and begins to rub the head itself, even stroking the frenulum a little. Of course it's all quite sensitive at this point, maybe even to the far edges of pain, but whatever - it feels great. I'm probably squirming around and quietly moaning a little at this point.

Suddenly he/she stops, gets up and out of bed, leaving me hanging and wanting more. It was all just a tease and ends with a smile that tells me to follow if I want it to be finished somewhere else.

Well, that's about it as it ends there. Leaves me hanging in the morning when I get up, haha.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Musings on a Rainy Day

It has been raining and thunderstorming pretty much all day. Ever since I graduated a week ago I've had a lot of time - time to do nothing, time to sit around, time to waste, and time to think. This weekend especially as most of my friends have gone home for the weekend (I went home the weekend of graduation instead). Needless to say, I didn't know what to do with myself. Rather pathetic.

So I called up SP-M to hang out for a bit. Sat around in his apartment talking about random stuff for about an hour. Then we went to get some bubble tea. There we ran into CC-F and ML-F. So we joined them. SP-M left because he was tired and wanted to sleep. CC-F and ML-F are some of the funniest Asians (or people in general) that I know. Their hilarity feeds each other, so it's a never-ending cycle. CC-F in particular makes me laugh, she says the most random things. And she's kind of clueless about it a lot. She's a ditsy Asian if I ever saw one, but she's pretty smart underneath. ES-M walked in a bit later with several of his Malaysian friends. He looks like he's lost a lot of weight - a bit too skinny now. I worry a tiny bit for his health. I'm not as attracted to him as I used to be . . .

Anyway, at one point the "real world" popped up. I suddenly realize how unprepared for this real world I am. Here I am, almost 22, graduated from one of the best public universities in the US, and there's still so much I don't know - things that I would need to learn in order to survive in today's society. It's a rather sobering thought. That, and how right now I don't make nearly enough money to be worth me staying in the city for May and June. I need my lab to pay me, pretty badly. I also need to secure hospital volunteering and doctor shadowing. And I need to update med schools about what's been going on with my life. And I need to have all this pretty much settled by Monday. Sigh.

But one other thought has been on my mind since Thursday night. RZ-F left Thursday night for NYC to visit JW-F for about 4-5 days. Just before she left, I had dinner with her, KM-F (her roommate), and DC-M. At one point DC-M mentioned how I will probably work for an HMO and how medicine is heading that way now. He also said something along the lines of how I need to find a way to make lots of money as a doctor because it's "realistic and practical."

I countered by saying how medicine is not for the money, it's to help people. Also how the branches of medicine I'm interested in are the lowest paid. At this point, RZ-F said something to the effect of, "Right now we say that as arrogant undergrad graduates. I'm sure you'll change, we all will, by the end of med school with $200K+ debt." DC-M only solidified his argument. Well, I don't want to work for an HMO or any health insurance company. They restrict the drugs you're allowed to prescribe and they have other restrictions too. I want the ability to prescribe the best drug for a patient - whether it's the most effective one out there or one that's cheap but does essentially the same thing. I don't want some overarching insurance company dictating to me what I can and cannot do.

I don't know, so I ask you (whoever's reading this): am I too optimistic, too idealistic? Will med school change me? Will the system mold me into just another doctor, some of which are honestly doing it for the money. Right now I just want to become whatever doctor I want, specialize in whatever branch of medicine I want without looking at the monetary value, and hope to make the greatest impact where I feel I'm capable. But how many of you think I'll change in the next 5-10 years?

I know it's near-impossible for a new doctor these days to open a private practice. That had been my dream: to open my own practice with some friends, and other friends working as nurses and pharmacists. Now that's just a fool's hope. I had considered becoming the head of a department, but that's too ambitious and I doubt I'd enjoy that. Perhaps I'll go into academic medicine where I'll have my clinical practice and teach courses at the med school. I think I'd enjoy imparting knowledge onto future generations of physicians, in hopes of making them first better human beings and second better doctors. But right now, I just don't know. When that day comes, it comes. Until then, I think I'll hold onto my optimism and idealistic notions.

Friday, May 2, 2008

What's in a Name?

Sometimes I'm wont to think about random things that really don't apply to my life right now. For example, the names I'd give my kids if/when I have kids. Now, this is actually something I've thought about in some detail. I have 3 "rules" when it eventually comes to naming my kids:

1. The name can't be in the top 10 most popular/common names.

2. The name can't be the name of someone I personally know fairly well.

3. The name can't be too obscure/weird.

The purpose of Rule #1 is to avoid the most common names. For me, there isn't anything particularly fun/exciting about a name that millions of other kids are named as well. The purpose of Rule #2 is to avoid naming kids after people I know; I don't want whenever I call my kids' names to think of my friends by those names too. The point of Rule #3 is to prevent me from getting carried away in the opposite extreme.

Some male names I'm partial to: Spencer, Tyler, Vincent, Jason, Philip, Marcus/Mark, Everett, Douglas, Nicholas, Austin, Brent, Hugh, Travis, and Keith.

Some female names I'm partial to: Chloe, Evelyn, Hailey, Marissa, Vanessa, and Amelia.

Now, I've also given some thought to Chinese names as well. I feel that Chinese names are constructed with a lot more meaning in them than English names might. For example - and I'm about to give away some very personal and incriminating info here - my Chinese name is 周启邦 (pronounced: zhou1 qi3 bang1 - the numbers correspond to the tones of each character). "周" is simply my surname. "启" means "to open, to start." And "邦" means "country, state, or nation." So my name means something along the lines of "a beginning in a new country." Rather apt, as I'm the first person in my family to be born in the US. The second character "启" can also be used as a generational indicator, so both my younger brothers and I share that character.

So after thinking about this for some time, if I had a son, I'd name him 周俐杰 (zhou1 li4 jie2). "俐" means "clever or sharp." And "杰" means "hero or heroic." The meaning of the name at this level is a bit Odysseus-like, haha. But there's more to this name than just the raw meanings of the characters. "俐" sounds like "力" which means "power or strength," thus punning on that a bit. And "杰" is part of JW-M's Chinese name (吴杰 - wu2 jie2) given to him in his first Chinese class. That character, in part, honors my friendship with him. Also, the pronunciation of "俐杰" sounds a little like "理解" (li3 jie3) which means "to comprehend or understand," thus kind of punning on it as well.

Now if I had a daughter, the naming gets a little harder for me. I want the second character to sound the same as if I had a son (a bending in the generational character "rule"). So I came up of the name 周丽清 (zhou1 li4 qing1). "丽" means "beautiful." And "清" means "clear, pure, or peaceful." The character "清" sounds like the characters "青" or "轻" meaning "green, or youthful" and "light, gentle, or soft" respectively.

So yeah, that's that. I've given way too much thought to this, again as I'm wont to do from time to time.

Today I met JW-M's grandmother. She was so so sweet, as most grandmothers tend to be. Apparently she's heard a lot about me and was excited to finally meet me. I guess JW-M's spoken highly of me (or something . . .), for the most part. That makes me feel good inside.

And she's turning 90 soon. She looks amazing for her age! If you met her, you'd think she's in her late 70s or early 80s. She's got some good genes. Some people are so blessed. Can you believe she's also self-sufficient, living in a house all by herself?! She was about to weed dandelions when we left. "Wow" is all I have to say. What an epic woman.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Graduation and Saying Bye

Wow, so many things have happened since I last blogged. There are so many things in my head, now that I have the time. They will be blogged about, all in due time. I graduated on Saturday with my B.S. in biology. Graduation day was rather cold, but at least it didn't rain. There were so many graduates! It was pretty cool to see just how big my graduating class was, with everyone wearing the tassels of their corresponding school or field. I was a golden science tassel surrounded in a sea of white fine arts tassels.

Despite being happy at graduating, excited about "being done," and completely addled by the sheerness of it all, it wasn't all too thrilling. I must say, when one of the people addressing us said "You're done with studying," I turned to my friend next to me and said "Well, really it's only a temporary break from more studying for many of us." I didn't much like the student speaker and the guest speaker too much. I must admit, being a science major, a small corner of my heart was bitter. Both speakers mentioned things like Dance Marathon, Alternative Spring Break, various volunteering and community service, but didn't say a word about student research. And there's a lot of research going on in all fields. For some reason, I feel like all the countless hours I spent researching various things was being downplayed. I had a hand in (albeit, very small) hypertension, breast cancer, neurofibromatosis, and human genetic deafness research. It feels strange that some other groups get such publicity and praise, whereas I (or shall I say "we") get little/no recognition at large.

For this reason, I also couldn't much relate to neither the student nor the guest speaker. The student speaker was some fine arts major and the guest speaker was a journalist - who apparently practically got blown up in Iraq, was expected to die, went into a coma, and now made a full recovery. He talked a lot about the Iraq war - something I could hardly relate to. I feel so distanced and removed from it, so tired of it, so annoyed that it gets the attention it does. But no more of that here. That's discussion for another time. All in all, graduation was more successful than I expected, considering it was in a location that graduation had never taken place at before.

On Tuesday, I said my goodbyes to JW-F. It only hit me afterwards that I actually said bye and that I may very well not see her again, or for a really long time. Just before our goodbyes, we had to have bubble tea together for the last time. And of course, we reminisced all the way back to freshman year . . .

How we met is still such a great story. I was in my dorm room playing my cello. JW-F, who then lived on the same floor as me, walked by my room to get her laundry (which was right next to my room). She stopped at the closed door and just listened for a while. She was too shy to knock. So, she went on to facebook and looked me up by the room number I listed. At the time, facebook was still brand new. I was wondering who the heck this person was. Upon seeing it was a fellow cellist, I responded. The next day, she stopped by and said "hi." And we talked about the cello for a while. We sometimes waved to each other down the hall.

I remember one other time when practically everyone in the hall had gone to a football game. At the time, neither of us had tickets and neither of us had TVs. So we had really no means of watching the game anyway, even if we had wanted to. So, I took my cello and went to her room. For about 2 hours or so, we played cello duet music.

We also reminisced about our time with other friends in the dorms, how we got to know them, and each other's peculiarities. There are some memories that I'm almost surprised I remember still even after all these years. For example, I knew the first names of every guy who lived in my immediate hall and which rooms they were in. A fairly impressive feat I think.

It's hard to think that I, too, will soon leave this city. Fortunately, I still have a little bit of time yet.