Friday, December 31, 2010

2010, What a Year!

Here it is at the end of 2010, minutes until 2011 (yeah, I'm blogging now since I've nothing better to do). I must say though, 2010 was full of ups and downs, and I welcome the new year with mixed emotions. On one hand, I can't wait for 2010 to be over, on the other, I'll miss it. It's been one heck of a year looking back!

Early in the year, I had met a guy online and met him for a coffee date of sorts. Alas, it wasn't meant to be and ended almost as fast as it started.

I shadowed Dr. P in ID (infectious disease) for the first time, and that was a great (albeit, somewhat nervous) experience. I'm going to make it a point to shadow him again in the next month or so, now that I know some more!

I visited some of my friends in DC over Spring Break. It was one of the best Spring Breaks ever, and I sooo needed it.

I became the president for 2 student groups, APAMSA and LGBTPM; and co-chair for 2 student-run programs. It's been A LOT of work, but somehow everything happened more or less as planned.

To begin the summer, my roommate and a friend took a weekend trip to Chicago.

I spent 8 weeks over the summer on a pediatric externship. First in peds ID, then in primary care peds, then in peds rheumatology. It was one of the most meaningful learning experiences in my life to date.

To top off my summer before heading back to school, I visited 2 of my friends in NYC, another amazing (albeit too short) trip!

In September, Dr. P helped pay for all but my plane ticket to San Diego for the GLMA Conference. It was a pretty eye-opening experience and a great one to meet so many diverse people. Also met blogger Mike of Random Thoughts In My Life while I was there!! :-)

And lastly, my friend's starting up a non-profit in 2011, and he's asked me if I'm willing to sit on his board of directors. So it'll definitely be one heck of a way to kick-off 2011!

With that, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :-)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Step Into the Light


If you haven't noticed by now, my blog layout has changed (rather dramatically). In the past, the color scheme has always been within the darker palettes. In some way, that conscious decision to keep this blog with the darker color palettes has reflected something within me.

And now I feel like it's time for a change. It's time to step into the light. Things have shifted around a bit, but the core content hasn't changed. Only the blog title panel designed for me by a blogger who blogs no more remains as a relic of the past.

I'm not yet sure how this change in the blog layout will reflect the direction of this blog going into the new year, and its fifth year. Wow, have I been blogging that long?! Anyway, to those who've been following for a while now, step into the light and walk with me for the fifth year. Let this change represent a rebirth of sorts, let it refresh within me the reason(s) why I blog and within you why you choose to follow.

Lastly, I came across the following while passing through some blogs:

Greyson Chance - Waiting Outside the Lines


You never enjoy your life
living inside the box.
You're so afraid of taking chances,
how you gonna reach the top?
Rules and regulations
force you to play it safe.
Get rid of all the hesitation,
It's time for you to seize the day.

---TANGENT---
If you haven't been over to Ron's blog at I'm Keeping Score, do so NOW. He's having a tough time (as you can read from his last few posts) and can really use the support right now. Many of his greatest fears have materialized and we need to help him through this dark time.

Send him lots of hugs and show him the true light of support and love that we all are able to provide.
---END TANGENT---

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Agent of Change


Have you ever had the feeling that you're on a journey to seek out your purpose in life? That there's something you can do to change the world, in whatever small way you can? That something out there needs to change?

It's a feeling that's been growing in me recently. I read articles about things like the Embrace baby warmer for premature infants, designed by a group of engineering students at Stanford, or about the gay teen in AZ changing things for LGBT youths posted over at You Could Have It So Much Better, and I kinda wonder what I've been up to these last few years. Sometimes I feel like I should've accomplished more by now.

But then I realize that I should step back and take things into perspective. What is the kind of difference and change I want to make? What have I done? What can I do? What might the future hold? Time, energy, and effort are all limited resources. So with some perspective, a few things come to mind.

First, short-term are the various things I'm doing through student organizations. Patient Education was on the verge of being axed from the free clinic. T_T However, since we changed the flow of the program 3-4 weeks ago, the managers have agreed to let the program survive another year. Phew! Hopefully we'll be able to reach out to more uninsured patients at more than one free clinic in the city, and educate them on how to take control of their own health. Also, basically reviving the LGBT group to a semblance of a group from practically nothing is no simple feat.

Second, in the near future, my friend - who I've known since kindergarten - is starting a non-profit. He has asked me to be one of his board members. The central idea of his non-profit is simple (aren't all great ideas simple?): to provide kids with someone who will move with the kid through grades 1-5 and provide guidance, encouragement, and help. I'm incredibly proud and honored to be considered to help him with this endeavor! I could go on and on about the merits of his idea, but perhaps in another post.

Third, in the far(ther) future, my friend AG-F and I will make our video game project a reality. Over a year ago, we had drafted the concept of a video game to educate kids (and adults) on genetics. Now AG-F works practically across the hall from the professor for whose class we wrote the project for. Evidently we made a big impression as he keeps talking about it now! So yes, we promised each other that one day we will finish what we started as just a class assignment.

And so, I think in each of our own small (or big) ways, we can become agents of change. For the better or for the worse, that's up to us to decide. As Gandhi said:
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

---TANGENT---
In case you haven't heard the news (as if it's possible miss something this big), DADT was repealed!! About time. A lot of human resources were wasted in the military as a result of this silly legislation. Listen to one soldier's account here, it almost moved me to tears. I don't think when that was recorded months ago, that he thought a repeal would happen within the year.
---END TANGENT---

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lost in Conversations

Well, no comments on my last post. Whatever, no answers for you. :-P
-----
Anyway, a couple days ago I called my best friend from undergrad to wish him a belated birthday and to just catch up. We've both been quite busy, what with me in med school and him in grad school halfway across the country. Now I'm not normally the kind of person who likes chatting on the phone for hours, but we chatted for almost 2 hours!

I could chat with him for hours. I always appreciate his perspective on things and he's probably one of the like five people who I can let my guard down and be completely open with. And that's saying something. After being surrounded by med students day and night, constantly discussing and whining about classes, it's refreshing to talk to someone whose background is just so radically different (he's doing his PhD in political science). We talked about anything from arsenic-eating bacteria to parasite-carrying flies in Africa (to which he suggests a genocide of all the flies) to Liu Xiaobo to the idiocy of certain Midwest governors for refusing federal dollars for constructing an interstate high-speed rail system.

I also found out that his fiance doesn't have texting. People without texting unite! Lol.
-----
On another note, remember Online Guy 2 (Drew)? Well, we've been chatting here and there online for almost a year now. And I still haven't met him in person. :-/ He doesn't have a car and doesn't particularly care to travel halfway anywhere to meet up. Or should I say, didn't?

I had previously discounted a possible relationship with Drew for a variety of barriers. The least of which is the 30 minutes or so that separate us (rough estimate). But he had been having some very rocky months with his ex-boyfriend and almost every time I chatted with him he wasn't in a good place. Recently things have been looking up though since they broke up for good.

Last night we chatted online for a few hours. We first talked about our desire to travel and such. And then he wrote, "Maybe we should finally meet in person, get to know each other, and do something like that [camping]." Apparently he likes camping and I've never really gone. That sounds fun (though certainly not in these winter months here), and thankfully the only real thing I have to worry about is Lyme disease, lol.

So progress? Hmm, we'll see where this goes (if anywhere). It'd be nice if he'd want to meet up somewhere for a coffee date or something (except I can't remember if he said he liked coffee or not). Our conversation then became quite sexual, which it never had in the past. I guess we were both kinda horny. It was kind of fun making him even hornier online, hehe.

---TANGENT---
So I recently came across this:

It Gets Better by Chris Salvatore

He's really attractive and has a great voice. Though, he makes some rather over-exaggerated facial expressions when he sings, haha. He's also not afraid to bare it all either!

There are some parts of this song that's quite cheesy. However, I like the following refrain:

We will make it, we're stronger,
for all the pain they put us through.
Words won't hurt us, no longer,
our dreams will be what get us through.
And when it feels like your whole world is ending,
remember me and all the other ones saying,
"It gets better, believe me."
---END TANGENT---

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Power to the End

- Health Fair: check
It's good to finally be done with the Health Fair. That event took more effort to organize than I expected! It also takes a lot of people to make the event a success. Alas, the snow thwarted even the best in planning; as a result, not as many people as anticipated showed up, but it was still fairly sizable. I'm in the process of writing a manual of sorts for next year's students, such that it can be even more successful (despite any potential snow).

- Autopsy viewing: check
This morning my group finally got called to go in to see an autopsy. We had been on call for a week now, and it was annoying having to get up earlier than necessary just to wait for that page. I must say, viewing an autopsy is rather gruesome. And all the coroners have rather dark humor. That first cut into a freshly dead body smelled worse than the preserved cadavers we worked with in anatomy lab last year (and I thought that smelled bad!).

- OKCupid profile: deleted & re-made
So last night, my friend asks me about my OKCupid profile. I had never revealed that I had such a thing to her or anyone else in my class. But someone in our class had come across my profile and forwarded it to her. Naturally I freaked out a little inside. I have some personal info on there that I don't want anyone in my class to gossip about. Hence, I promptly deleted my profile and created a new one that's still in the process of being fleshed out. This time, I'll be more cautious, especially with pics.

- Exams: next week
So final exams are next week. Ugh. Cumulative microbio final won't be fun. But, just gotta power through to the end. Can't wait until they're over. Also, I should probably register for the USMLE boards this week . . .

---TANGENT---
So, a few days ago, a friend of mine here in med school linked me to the following (her friend is the lead singer):

Muse - Resistance (A Capella by Uni. of Chicago)

The original is here.
Is our secret safe tonight?
And are we out of sight?
Or will our world come tumbling down?
Will they find our hiding place?
Is this our last embrace?
Will the walls start caving in?

I love that first stanza. Something about those words just echoed with me. Maybe it's the loneliness talking, who knows. There's something romantic about it.

Anyway, I realized like a month ago that I now have 101 followers! :-) Thanks for following! I think for my next post I'll do something special. Hmm. So I pose this request: comment in this post and ask any 5 questions you want, and I'll answer them (to the "reasonable" questions). So go! You've only got a couple days, as I'll get sick of studying for finals at some point and will need a break anyhow.
---END TANGENT---

Monday, November 29, 2010

By Starlight


A few days ago, I managed to catch up with an old friend who I had known since kindergarten. We were next door neighbors for years until my family moved to a different part of town just before 8th grade. We had drifted apart - it being in the years before cellphones and high-speed internet (I almost can't believe that!).

I had told him how, upon returning to town, I looked up at the clear night sky and for the first time in perhaps years, I saw the stars. I saw the constellation Orion, clearer than I had ever seen it before from home. In response, he told me how a while ago, while backpacking with friends up north, he looked up to the clear moonless night and saw only the stars. There was so much starlight that everything around had a soft glow. And not just your typical stars, but stars of different colors - reds, oranges, yellows, blues - that you'd normally never see. It was later under this same starlight that he proposed to his fiance. Words could not describe how beautiful the world looks under nothing but starlight.

And I thought to myself, when was the last time I had that sense of amazement? Or any sense of amazement, really. I remember looking up at the stars as a kid and reading about every constellation, every star, every nebula, that I could look up. I wondered, when was this sense of awe and amazement quenched? When does growing up suffocate the curiosity and wonder of childhood? Becoming an adult is a perilous thing to the capacity of kids to dream.

Recently, I had a brief moment of amazement (granted, a somewhat twisted version). You see, viruses amount to nothing more than RNA or DNA, some proteins, and perhaps less than a dozen genes. And yet, without consciousness, without cognitive intent, viruses naturally just infiltrate our bodies and subvert our own cells to serve their own ends. How curious that we all share the same building blocks of life, the same atoms, and yet we must be so antagonistic. And on a loosely related note, how all thought and sensations are but the products atoms interacting. There's nothing of substance to our thinking, and yet like magic we make real what's only illusion - we materialize it in words, sounds, writing, actions, etc. To think that an orgasm or love are just chemicals interacting with each other at the right time and place, now there's some awe in that.

You may not think so, you may not agree, you may not even care or are thinking "wtf." But when was the last time you took a moment to take in something and think deeply about it - to reduce it to it's simplest elements and marvel how something so complex and, indeed, miraculous came about?

Anyway, enough of my rambling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving, Finally

Hey all,

Still alive . . . somehow.

Micro virology exam: check.
Laundry folded: check.
Things packed: check (mostly).
In bed before 12:30am: evidently not.

Anyway, this is perhaps the last chance I'll get to blog until I get back from Thanksgiving break. Not much to say, really. Did alright in my micro exam. I didn't do as well as I wanted, but not bad either. The class average better not be higher than my grade (of 86%)!!

I finally finished watching Top Chef: Just Desserts. Not as good as the original Top Chef, but entertaining nonetheless. I must admit, I partly watch it because of Yigit Pura. God, his desserts on that show are as delicious-looking as he is! Okay, that just sounds weird, but whatever.
Here are some links to more pics of (several shirtless :-P) and info on him: Project Q, Bravo TV, The Advocate.

And here's his YouTube blurb for the It Gets Better Project:


Lastly, for anyone who's ever played the game Pokemon, listen to this. You will be blown away.

Alright, that's all for now. Kind of a random post. Happy Thanksgiving!! :-D

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Life is a Boat

Rie Fu - Life is a Boat


Nobody knows who I really am
I never felt this empty before
And if I ever need someone to come along
Who's gonna comfort me, and keep me strong?

We all are rowing the boat of fate
The waves keep on coming and we can't escape
But if we ever get lost on our way
The waves would guide you through another day

(Japanese)
Far away, I'm breathing, as if I'm transparent
It would seem I'm in the dark, but I was only blindfolded
I give a prayer as I wait for the new day
Shining vividly up to the edge of that sea

Nobody knows who I really am
Maybe they just don't give a damn
But if I ever need someone to come along
I know you would follow me, and keep me strong

(Japanese)
People's hearts change and sneak away from them
The moon in its new cycle leads the boat again

And every time I see your face
The ocean heaves up to my heart
You make me want to strain against the oars
And soon I can see the shore

Oh, I can see the shore
When will I ever see the shore?

I want you to know who I really am
I never thought I'd feel this way towards you
And if you ever need someone to come along
I will follow you, and keep you strong

(Japanese)
And the journey continues on quiet days as well
The moon in its new cycle shines on the boat again
I give a prayer as I wait for the new day
Shining vividly up to the edge of the sea

And every time I see your face
The oceans heave up to my heart
And make me wanna strain at the oars
And soon I can see the shore

(Japanese)
We are all rowing a boat of fate
but the waves keep attacking us
But isn't this that still a wonderful journey?
They are all wonderful journeys

Translation found here. Sometimes certain songs just resonate, you know? I wish I could be beyond the 3rd stanza of this song, oh well. Anyway, I first heard this song as the ending theme to the anime, Bleach.

Here's a vid of it:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I'll Let You Take the Lead

Well, I don't know. Still here. Still stressed. Still sending out a ridiculously high volume of emails. Still just pushing on through. Nothing really new to update.





The above two have been stuck in my head for the last 2 weeks or so. I actually printed the sheet music for the cello part to the first piece, though I haven't had a chance to sight-read through all of it. The second song my friend described as, "I'm sorry but this is so the kind of stuff when I went to gay clubs back in LA." I was amused.

This is all.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Catharsis

Now that this round of exams is done, the "what I learned at the GLMA Conference" post, as promised.

I just talked to Dr. P about it earlier today and how to move forward with the info we (I) learned. I've basically grouped it into 3 categories: immediately useful/actionable info, good to know info, and personal.

1. Immediately useful/actionable info
Students. 29% of LGB students aren't out, mainly because it's: nobody's business (fair enough), fear of discrimination, and fears of not getting into a residency of choice. About 60% of transgender med students aren't out. Few med students feel that med school curriculum has adequately prepared them to serve LGBT patients. Students want more clinical exposure, more cases, lectures, and supportive faculty that they can turn to. On average, med schools in the US and Canada spend about 5 hours over 4 years on LGBT health issues (not including HIV).

Med schools. Deans of med schools have a different view on things. Most (68%) have LGBT content interspersed throughout the 4 years. It should be noted that 79% of med schools have no LGBT clerkship rotation sites. Transgender health issues are rarely taught. The good news is that 52% of deans are willing to improve curriculum; but, they aren't too keen on developing new stuff (because it's time-consuming and hard).

Allies. The barriers to being an effective ally must be addressed. This might be: a desire to avoid controversy, afraid to be called gay/associated, and not asked to speak up. Some strategies to help remedy this include: getting educated about the issues, talking about it, have some symbol of support (like, a small rainbow pin or something), learn the "language," ask the right questions, assume nothing, and discuss confidentiality upfront.

Some of things that can be done here right now include: working with the Office of Student Diversity, working with the Admissions Office, working with the new curriculum committee, safe spaces/ally training, and just continue general awareness. Incidentally, I somehow ended up on the student diversity committee. I just happened to attend the one meeting - a case of being at the right place at the right time I guess.

2. Good to know info
I didn't learn much about LGBT issues and health care reform, though I went to a couple sessions. I did attend a few transgender health sessions though, and they were actually really interesting.

Transgender kids. Toddlers start developing gender identity around age 3-4. This process evolves until the kid's about 7. This process appears intrinsic. That said, some kids are "just in a phase" or gender-fluid. Thus follow-up and just observation over the years are important. These kids tend to get distressed between age 2-5 and again at puberty. To treat these kids, one gives them hormone blockers to delay puberty until they're old enough to make a decision about transitioning or not. Apparently only about 10% of "gender variant" kids do end up transitioning. The point is, that up to 33% of transgender youths attempt suicide. But by showing acceptance, support, and delaying puberty until age 15 or so, it greatly reduces the rates of suicide and depression. Furthermore, the medical home concept is quite apropos for these kids.

Transgender care. Holy crap it's complicated! Someone's got to do it but I do NOT want to be among them. When to give hormones, how much to give, how to pay for them - it's all so overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I like endocrinology and all that, but this is like endocrinology on steroids (lol, pardon that pun).

Also, HPV can apparently survive under the fingernails for a while (apparently that's how straight guys can get anal cancer, who knew?). I need to remember to buy Purell . . . Don't know if on that random off chance I'll get HPV from shaking someone's hand.

3. Personal
So Dr. P asked me if the Conference did anything for me personally. I suppose it did. It was nice to just be away from the Midwest and meet new people and not talk about classes and such. Yeah, still surrounded by medicine and such, but at least it's not worrying for this exam or complaining about that lecturer or something comparatively petty like that. He did concede that in hindsight it was perhaps a bit too overwhelming for me to experience that all at once, lol.

But then it was also incredibly cathartic. I disclosed more about my personal life/struggle to him than I had anticipated or expected. I suppose I wanted some kind of answer from him, but I didn't get what I was looking for (whatever that was). There were moments of long silences - of him staring at me and me staring back, of him staring at me and me staring off in the distance to avoid his gaze. Words just abandoned me and the silence doesn't force him to say anything to break it.

It felt like the more he subtly pressed against my walls, the more I wanted to crumble. He didn't tell me anything new or anything I didn't already know about myself. Other than perhaps suggesting that going to a therapist might be good (though how I'd pay is questionable). In a way I guess he forced me to realize just how uncomfortable I still am with all of this and how lost I still feel.

This catharsis was paralyzing and deafening. I've clearly still got some work to do. It never ends. :-/

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It Gets Better

I came across the It Gets Better Project yesterday. It was started by Dan Savage in the wake of the much-publicized recent LGBT youth suicides, and it basically collects video stories from people on YouTube telling LGBT teens that "it gets better."

Although I don't have a message to share, per se, there are a few I'd like to share (and I've quoted some of the lines they said that I could relate to). The first 2 are from the It Gets Better Project and the last one is a very emotional and moving vid.


"It gets better . . . well to be honest, I still have to believe that in myself. But I think it's gonna get better. And sometimes it feels like you're the absolute only person left in the world to care for yourself and even then you don't want to care for yourself. But, something you've gotta remember is that somebody out there needs you as much as you need somebody."


"I struggled a lot in high school with mostly myself, I suppose; I didn't have a lot of problem getting picked on, but I knew it wasn't acceptable or really smiled upon. So I struggled with feelings of guilt and shame and all that stuff that is very unpleasant and hard when you feel alone . . . and it's rough."

"My favorite memory is watching the sun rise on a mountaintop with this boy I was in love with and it was amazing, and if I didn't make it through high school I wouldn't've been able to do that. . . . Thank God that I'm human and able to experience this." Something about this bit really got to me.



So this post is for any of you readers out there who're having a difficult time. This is for you bloggers/ex-bloggers. This is for me. This is for us.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That Which Resonates

Earlier today, I organized a lunch panel discussion. Or rather, I emailed Dr. P months ago asking him if he'd be willing to give a lunch lecture on coming out. He said yes. Then he recruited one other physician to co-talk with him, and then about 2-3 weeks ago he decided to turn it into a panel.

Although I can't say with certainty why he decided to go the route he did, I suspect that he did it partly for me (and any others "like" me in the audience). There were 5 physicians and 1 bio-ethicist who was the moderator. The physicians included: 3 gays, 1 bi woman, and 1 lesbian. Many of the issues they talked about were in some way directed at me - whether they knew it or not.

They each gave their own personal coming out experiences in med school and beyond, if/when applicable. The one gay ED (emergency department) doc's story really resonated with me. He wasn't out in med school except to a few friends. He dated in med school but kept his private life separate from his professional/med school life. In residency he was out to a few more friends and co-residents, but still didn't make a huge thing of it. After residency he still didn't talk about it much, even though he had a partner, because it never really came up. Only when he was moving and told his boss why did he really come out. And since then he didn't look back.

The primary reasons why he didn't come out sooner was because: 1.) he wasn't fully comfortable with himself yet, 2.) it was no one's business, 3.) he had no pressing reason to, 4.) no one asked. It wasn't that the environment around him was anti-gay or not accepting, it was simply for those reasons listed.

And I think that's where I am with all this. It just hit me that that could be me. That that is me (minus dating and a partner). Some people know and do something about it. Others need more time. I think I've come a fair way since beginning this blog years ago. But I still have a ways to go. I won't pretend to say that I'm not scared, or that I don't know what to do, or how to do it, or what's next.

---TANGENT---
So, a cursory look at the blogs on the sidebar here seems to indicate that many of them are no longer active, as their authors haven't made a post in months. Where has everyone gone? I guess I may have to do some "cleaning up" with my blog roll. There are new blogs I came across and meant to start reading, but alas too busy. Also, I sometimes wonder if some are worth starting since they may end in the near future. Who knows.
---END TANGENT---

Sunday, October 10, 2010

GLMA Conference

Okay, now or never. The long-awaited post on the GLMA Conference.

So if you recall, a few weeks ago I flew halfway across the US to San Diego, CA, for the GLMA Conference (9-22 to 9-25). I still haven't found the words to describe the experience. I'll do a separate post on what I learned there, rather than make this already lengthy post even longer.

Thursday, 9-23-10
Because of an obligation Wednesday night, I had to leave the morning of the 2nd day of the Conference. It was not a particularly good day. About 8 hours before my flight left (at about 6am), my roommate decided he was too tired from playing Settlers of Catan with some friends and didn't want to take me to the airport. Instead, he told a mutual friend to take me and that he'd pay $10 and I'd also have to pay $10 for this favor. He told me all this via another mutual friend on gchat.

Stressed as I was, I exploded. I was furious. First, my roommate decides he was too tired from playing a board game. Second, he decides to tell me this less than 24 hours before my flight leaves. Third, he gets me a ride from another friend who I'd have to pay (and he called it a win-win for everyone). Fourth, he didn't tell me any of this in person. Yeah, I was pissed.

I got another friend to agree to take me. So I woke up around 4am, checked that I had packed everything, and got ready to leave. I hear my roommate running down the hallway and enter our apartment just as I was finishing up. Evidently he "felt bad" and decided that he'd take me to the airport after all. I was still pissed. The whole ride there he kept saying how unfair it was that I was angry at him and that I shouldn't be expressing my frustrations towards him. -_-

Anyway, I got to the airport, got on my flight, and arrived in San Diego in one piece. I was tired from the flight and hadn't slept much at all. I keep forgetting how beautiful California is.

I call Dr. P soon after arriving and again once I got to the hotel. He came down to meet me and paid for my room (I still have to give him the hotel receipt so he can get reimbursed). I must've looked like shit. I register (Dr. P pays again), went to one session, then took a nap instead of getting lunch. I then attended whatever sessions interested me for the rest of the day.

The highlight of Thursday was meeting 2 people. The first was someone I took Spanish with in undergrad. She goes to med school where we both did undergrad. I'll call her "Lindsey" for this post. Anyway, it was good running into each other near the elevators; we exchanged numbers and went our separate ways that day.

The second person I ran into is "Keith." Keith is an Asian 3rd-year infectious disease (ID) fellow. He was apparently looking for me since Dr. P told him to say hi to me. He was really nice. It's possible that I could become Keith in 10 years, except he's way cuter and is a great dancer (more on that later). Perhaps that's why Dr. P sent him my way.

The rest of the day was uneventful. I didn't meet many other people, except a few friends of Keith who just finished residency. I was so tired that I decided not to go out with everyone. I just went to bed, and also I hadn't eaten anything all day.

Friday, 9-24-10
I woke up actually feeling pretty good, for once. I went down to get breakfast before the first plenary session. I ran into Dr. P and Lindsey there. Lindsey introduces me to the other 6 students from her med school there. I go into the first plenary session and sit with Dr. P and his physician friends. All of them had their iPhones and/or iPads out, and were typing on them or playing a game intermittently throughout the session. This included Dr. P at one point. I was amused.

As the session ended, Dr. P told me to find him around noon for lunch. We went our separate ways to different sessions. It just so happened that the session before noon was one that both Dr. P and I attended, so we sat near each other. Afterwards I just followed him out. We met up with his friends (and one of their med students in tow), and walked down the street for lunch.

The people in attendance at lunch were: Sports Med doc (from NY), Internal Med doc (from NY), Med-Peds doc (from OH), Dr. P, Dr. P's partner (a nurse), and another med student (also from NY). They were all great, and it was awesome listening to their stories and about their lives. Sports Med doc talked about his experiences with Latino patients, Internal Med doc talked about his practice in the LGBT community, and Med-Peds doc talked about starting up a clinic for LGBT patients in OH. They were pretty hilarious - especially Sports Med doc. He goes to the Sports Med conferences and he always wonders where all the gay guys are, but "at least there's a lot of eye candy there."

Then Dr. P mentions that I don't have texting. Instantly they all gasped and were like, "What do you mean you don't have texting?! You're just weird!" That was a bit embarrassing, lol. It was (apparently) inconceivable to them that any LGBT person wouldn't have texting. As Sports Med doc left, he told his med student to text him. ::facepalm::

I ran into Lindsey again after lunch and we went to one of the sessions together. A trans-woman M4 (Kelly) comes and chats with us. Apparently her mom, also a trans-woman, is the current president of GLMA (but I didn't figure that out till later).

In the evening, I hang out with Lindsey for a bit at a lesbian reception thing. Keith was there and introduced me to some residents. After the reception, Lindsey, a lesbian med student from IL, and I met up with other students to share a taxi to Urban MO's where the students' reception was being held. I'm not a huge fan of bars/clubs, but whatever - in a different city, an experience I'll likely only have once, so why not? Besides, Dr. P more or less "ordered" me to go, and he was going to stop by later to say hi.

We get there, wander a bit looking for other students, and finally find them towards the back of the bar near the dance floor. The Conference had opened and paid towards a bar tab, so the first x number of drinks we got were free. Lindsey was tipsy/drunk after her first drink. I get my second drink and gave just a bit to her to taste. I think each drink had to be equivalent to 2 shots - they just added so much alcohol in there! By the time I finished my second drink, I could finally feel the alcohol hit . . . and with that, the music and dancing. It seems I need about 4 shots to get me on the dance floor, lol. And even then I'm still aware of my incredible awkwardness, but I just seem to care less.

After a while, I saw the residents, fellows, and some physicians filter in. I saw this one anesthesiologist on the dance floor who had given a talk the day before. And then I spotted Keith. He had changed clothes in the interim and - maybe it's the alcohol or something - he was way attractive there on the dance floor dancing. I make my way over and ask if Dr. P was around, and soon after Dr. P comes up and says hi. Alas, I didn't see him drunk or dancing. He actually left for a different bar pretty soon after with other physicians. I dance with Keith for a little bit.

More dancing and I was feeling the alcohol wear off. I make my way to the bar and another med student (from OH) gets me a rum and coke. He was pretty drunk by then . . . I worried for him later that evening, but he somehow made it back to the hotel okay. As the night wore down, Lindsey and IL lesbian were getting quite into each other. I gave them their space and left with 2 med students and the Conference photographer (who's also an anesthesiologist). We chat in one of the hotel lobbies for a bit before retiring for the night.

Saturday, 9-25-10
The last day of the Conference! The sessions weren't as interesting as they were the previous days, but still pretty good. I met up with a med student (Frank) who I'd been chatting with for a few months since he came across this blog. It was good to finally meet him in person, though we didn't get much of a chance to hang out or talk at length.

At lunch, I went down to the pier and snapped a few pics. Here are some of them:

Later in the afternoon, I meet up with blogger Mike for a late lunch/early dinner somewhere in Hillcrest. We walked around and chatted, then had Thai. It was nice to meet in person after chatting online for years. He's pretty much exactly as I had pictured him. :-P

When I got back, it was time to head over to the Gala Banquet. I went with Kelly since she had her car there. We got lost for a little bit but finally found our way. It was a nice event, though I felt uncomfortably out of place. I sat at a table with this really attractive Australian lesbian (I assume she's a lesbian anyhow). There was more dancing, and this time many of the older people were on the dance floor. Imagine your mom or dad grinding on the dance floor. Yeah . . . I have a couple pics, but I won't post them here.

Sunday, 9-26-10
Since Frank and I had the same flight, we decided to ride to the airport together. I chose to get some sleep while he decided to go out (and didn't sleep). I set my alarm on my phone but I didn't wake up to it! So when he knocked on my door I literally shouted "Shit!" and leapt out of bed. We did make it to the airport shuttle on time. Phew! If he hadn't knocked on my door I would've sooo missed my flight.

Alas we sat at opposite ends of the plane. The guy sitting to my left was rather large and his arm overlapped onto me. Ugh. This is why I like aisle seats (or window seats).

And that's the GLMA Conference in summary.

Monday, October 4, 2010

OCPD

OCPD = Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (not to be confused with OCD)

- Become so preoccupied with details and rules that the major point of an activity is lost.
- Display perfectionism that interferes with task completion.
- Have inflexible values and are overly conscientious.
- Unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects.
- Reluctant to delegate tasks.
- Miserly spending style.
- Display rigidity and stubbornness.
- Excessively devoted to work.

Taken directly from my psych notes (exam tomorrow morning). Hmm, kinda sounds like I might meet some of the criteria for this. o_O Anywho, it's been over a week since I returned from the GLMA Conference. I should probably blog on that soon before I forget stuff . . .

Monday, September 27, 2010

Secrets & Fears

So I'm back from the GLMA Conference. I feel better though not 100%. Perhaps 60-70%, which is still much better than most of last week. This post will serve 2 purposes: to answer A Wandering Pom's questions in his comment on my last post and to prep you all when I do talk about the GLMA Conference in my next post.
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1. Secrets & Fears
All you had to do is ask. Many of my secrets you all know pretty intimately. Many of my fears I've already shared here, as they're often related to the secrets.

That I'm bi/gay is no surprise here. But I don't know which (if either or somewhere in between) I am. I fear that, busy as I am, I won't get the opportunity to face that fear and answer it. And so I may be left to wander in confusion. I can't "attach" myself to a particular identity, or perhaps I won't allow myself to be.

That I've never had a romantic/sexual relationship also shouldn't be a surprise. Correspondingly I'm a virgin in every sense but oral sex. I fear that I'll always be alone in this regard - to never really know what it's like to cuddle/be cuddled, to kiss/be kissed, to feel someone else's body intimately (in a non-clinical way), to have sex.

I also fear that I may not be able to open up and let myself become vulnerable. I may not recognize love; I might not be able to truly loosen up and relax, not be able to completely trust someone. I fear that I can't let this go - can I ever let someone get that close? It goes against everything I've done in my life; there's always some defense, some wall, some checkpoint, some guard - usually with very good reasons. I'm afraid to even try, as every time before has been met by some barrier that I learn about the moment I get close enough.

I feel frozen, stuck in the routines of my life but not knowing which way to go, which direction to walk in. I feel life passing me by as I advance in a single straight line. I fear that perhaps 10 years from now, when I am a doctor, I'll look back and regret the things I didn't do . . . the things I wasn't able to do for any of the reasons above. I fear that perhaps I try so hard to validate something, to prove something to someone who isn't even there.

I want someone to pull me out of this and away from this.
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2. "Prep"
So, GLMA is a largely medical organization. As such, most of the people there were med students, residents, and physicians (there were some nurses, social workers, advocates, etc). And to understand the nuances of what I may say in my next post, one should perhaps understand the hierarchy of medicine.

Med students
M1 - first year med student
M2 - second year med student
M3 - third year med student, aka "junior med student" (JMS)
M4 - fourth year med student, aka "senior med student" (SMS)

Residents
PGY1 - first year resident, aka "intern"
PGY2 - second year resident
PGY3 - third year resident (and so on)

So after med school, one moves on to residency. Most residencies are 3-5 years. The first year of residency is the intern year. After residency, one may specialize in something like "infectious diseases." When one does their specialty training, they become a Fellow. Many/most fellowships usually last 3 years. Finally, after that one becomes an Attending (if one goes into academic medicine).

I should come up with some name or key for all the people I met at the Conference, but that'll have to wait till later. I'm heading to bed now.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mask of Smiles

It seems I'm within arm's reach of that wall - that glass wall that easily cracks with the slightest touch and the gentlest breath. I thought I had survived, that I can trudge through this last stretch. But now I'm not so sure. And yet, I'll smile.

So many things depend on me to move forward. Decisions to be made, emails to be sent, things to delegate, people to coordinate, people to talk to, people to smile at. But I'm slowly crumbling inside. And yet, I smile.

I say I'm tired, that I'm exhausted, that I'm stressed. You agree and say "What a long week it's been or going to be." But I can see that you don't really share my frustrations. You don't share the same burdens of responsibility or whatever it is with me. You certainly must think "Oh, it can't be that bad." Because I smile, because I'm smiling. And you can't see past that. Deep down perhaps you don't believe me. It's okay, no one really hears what I say when it matters.

Right now I wish I were the patient and you are the doctor who comes and heals me, fixes me, mends my cracks. Someone to hold my hand and say "It's okay" and walk me through this step-by-step. Someone to give me a hug or at least a reassuring hand on the shoulder. Someone who knows what's to come and will be there with me. Someone who sees past the mask of smiles and asks those questions to open the box of answers that I cannot freely give to just anyone - perhaps not even to myself. Ask me for my innermost secrets and darkest fears. And show me, not just tell me, what I'm supposed to do.

Until then, I'll keep up this Mask of Smiles. Because at least then it's only I who suffer. Because at least then I can pretend that I'm not so close to that breaking and crumbling wall. And because it's a test that you must pass to let me know that you truly know and care without me having to say it first.

And because you read this, you've already failed. These false smiles shall persist yet.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Knew You'd Ask

It's going to be a LONG week ahead for me. Thankfully, the second of several events between now and next Sunday has passed. The turn-out was rather good, considering it was the first time we put on this event. Anyway, it's over now. Phew! Next one tomorrow, then Monday (plus an exam on Monday), then Tuesday, then Wednesday, then GLMA Conference Thursday through Saturday. o_O

After the event tonight, Dr. P (who graciously volunteered) and I were chatting privately in the halls. And he asked: "So, are you gay?"

I had to laugh and said, "I knew you were going to ask that! You've always given me this look." Then I answered him something to the effect of that I'm bi but not quite sure. That took another moment to explain but I think he understood where I was coming from and was satisfied.

He's all excited about this Conference and I think he almost sees it (in some way) as a vacation of sorts that he's giving me. It's kind of amusing to hear a physician tell me to just enjoy it, have fun, and forget about coursework for a few days. Things will probably still linger in the back of my mind, but I will try my best. :-P

So yeah, I'm out to Dr. P now. Happy now?

Anyway, I'm freaking out less now. I think I've exhausted most of my "freaking out-ness."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This Really IS Happening

Wow. This really IS happening. o_O

All of this feels surreal still. Tomorrow, Friday, next Monday, next Wednesday, and next Thursday through next Saturday. Things will be okay, they'll work out.

It seems I've bought a ticket to San Diego, CA, for the GLMA Conference next week. And it seems that Dr. P is paying for everything but the plane ticket. I'm not sure how this is all going to work out, but I need to tell myself that things will be okay and they'll work out.

I should be grateful, and I am. More so than anything. I should be ecstatic. But I'm not - why do I feel unworthy of this extreme generosity? Why do I feel so nervous? Why do I feel like crawling under a rock?

It's okay, it's not like any of you will see the above on my face. Like an oncologist delivering bad news, we in the medical field out of necessity develop great masks to hide our own feelings outwardly. I just hope mine doesn't crack.

And I'm still waiting for that one thing that'll bring me back to normal. But if I told you it wouldn't happen. And so I wait.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Method to My Madness

I'd like to take a moment away from studying for my immunology exam (on Monday) to address the comments in my last 2 posts.

First, I Blame the Wine
Where to start. Understand that I've erected several mental walls throughout the years, often without realizing it until I find myself running and banging my head against them. It takes effort to break them and it takes time to reduce them to rubble. It's taken a number of years to get comfortable enough with public speaking, something I'm still not 100% comfortable with at all times. It's only in the last few years that I've found a way to put on a mask of sociability when in large social situations. And it's also only in the last few years that the thought of coming out even existed in my mind.

There are things that come easy to people, and there are things that don't. The above are all things that don't (or didn't) come easily to me. They required a significant amount of active energy. There's this sense of dread that washes over me - increased heartbeat (tachycardia, if you will), a shakiness, a rush of panic afterwards. It's uncomfortable and not a natural feeling. It's oddly similar to guilt.

Is there a good reason for this reaction? Probably not. The human mind is irrational about many things, no matter how we would condition ourselves. That I'll come out to Dr. P at some point is practically an inevitability. The question is simply when and under what situation.

Second, In This Regard, I'm Quite Lucky
Yes, I've been under overwhelming stress being the president/co-president of 2 student organizations and the co-chair of 2 student-run programs. Pardon me for caring. Pardon me for re-vamping a program with my co-chair to better serve uninsured patients (and med students) at a free clinic. Pardon me for wanting to promote health education/awareness in a community that's difficult for people outside the community to access. Pardon me for trying to organize a health fair in the inner city. I can do all this because, amongst the other presidents, I have a skill for systematizing how I organize things down to practically a protocol with a series of flexible deadlines.

I'm well aware that the USMLE Step 1 is paramount. I need no reminding. I refuse to freak out about it like many of my peers (many of whom are aiming for the more lucrative fields of medicine). Overwhelmed and stressed as I seem, I do have a plan. In fact, my plan is manifold. As they say, there's a method to my madness. You see, dear commenters, the vast majority of the events I'm heading occurs this semester. By January I'll only have 2-3 more events to organize/run. By April I'll have already transitioned my position to M1s. I'll have a pretty solid 2.5 months to focus on nothing but the Step 1 (well, not counting class exams).

So as my involvement in extracurriculars winds down as the months wear on, my effort towards studying for the Step 1 will be ramping up. Also, I've decided to participate in my school's Step 1 Review program with 2 of my friends; and that program will probably start in October or so. As you can see, I have things currently under control. And besides, I don't need a high score to place into a pediatrics residency. Though, of course I've no intention of settling for just passing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

In This Regard, I'm Quite Lucky

I'm going to take a brief pause in whining about my overloaded life, though even this post is related to that life. :-/

So yesterday, I was discussing with my friend, Michelle, over the program we've basically re-vamped, sorting things out and whatnot. Michelle is in the process of finding and contacting physicians to be mentors in a unique program through AMSA (American Medical Student Association) that focuses on cultural sensitivity in clinical practice. She's been having difficulty identifying the right physicians to contact.

By happenstance, I knew of several physicians who might be useful for her to contact. These include:

Dr. P = infectious disease - HIV/AIDS patients
Dr. Pi = family medicine - LGBT patients
Dr. S = pediatrics - inner city (most African-American) peds patients
Dr. H = peds infectious disease - HIV/AIDS peds patients
Dr. C = peds infectious disease - internationally adopted peds patients
Dr. L = family medicine - Hmong patients

So right there, 6 physicians who deal with "special populations" in a sense. I've had the pleasure of meeting 5 of the 6 and the privilege of interacting with 4 of the 6 in clinic/on the wards. There are many other med students who can't say the same thing. And so in this regard, I'm quite lucky.

While my interests laid the groundwork, luck played its part in my encounter with each of them. Had I not been interested in pediatrics, infectious diseases, and a diverse patient population, I probably wouldn't have met most of them. And several of them have had a part in shaping what I might want to end up doing.

And so you see, I have this grand ideal career I'd love to have, but I have no expectation whatsoever of ever getting there. To get where I want to end up would require more luck than should be allowed in that I need to be at the right place at the right time and meet the right people and say the right things.

Because you see, what I want do involves the following:
- Clinic 3 days a week, with one of the days being at a clinic in a Chinatown somewhere
- Teach a class 2 days a week
- Be the director of a program (probably public health in nature)

Sounds simple, but it's not. I wonder what the future brings and where it'll take me (hopefully away from here).

---TANGENT---
P.S. People have brought up interesting points in their comments to my last post. Perhaps I'll devote a post to answering or at least giving my thoughts on the topic. We'll see . . .
---END TANGENT---

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Blame the Wine

So, 2 days ago, we hosted an opening social for the LGBT group at a physician's house. Dr. P was there helping the physician set up and all. Kat and I arrived early to help out, though we didn't end up doing much. (Kat has been surprisingly upbeat these last couple weeks, I hope it stays that way.)

The turnout was actually really good, considering that pathology tutoring for M2s was the same night and the anatomy tutors moved the mock anatomy practical for M1s from Thursday to Tuesday this year (which sucked, since this meant that no M1s would be attending). Surprisingly, one M1 did make it! Our other faculty advisor came with her partner. I must say, they make a really attractive lesbian couple. o_O For a while, there were almost the same number of physicians as med students . . . awkward. But then more med students started filing in, which was good.

Halfway through the social, Kat wanted me to make an announcement to thank Dr. P and the physician whose house we were at. I drank some more wine. I'm no orator. I can be terribly awkward in such situations. I can be quite awkward in social situations, but I somehow managed to talk to almost everyone in attendance, which was no simple feat for me! Thankfully the wine helped. All 6-8 glasses of it (granted, the glasses were small-ish).

Also, I don't know if it's the wine or not (but I blame it anyway), but I had a mini-crush on Dr. P that night. o_O I mean, him + polo shirt + shorts = swoon (also, he's only in his mid- to late-30s). He has really nice arms and legs; well, he's just really nice overall. But, he has a partner, and it'd be a very bad idea to let this get any further considering our respective positions. Partway through the social, he leaned in close and whispered in my ear, "I know this isn't politically correct, but are there any gay M1s or M2s?" I answered, "I honestly don't know because I didn't make it a policy to ask."

I must admit, it made me a tad uneasy. Every time he asks me a similar question, I feel like he's looking into me for answers or a confession or something. I've wanted to come out to him so badly, but I just can't seem to. How odd. I just want to chat with him about life and let myself vent and ask him for guidance, or something. But I don't think that's going to happen in the near future. What's holding me back?

When Kat and I left (we carpooled), we talked about Dr. P's whispered comment to me. There's a reason why there are so few openly LGBT students. If you come out, you are the gay student. You are the gay person that everyone looks to and you have to be the "model" gay med student. You become the reference. It's not a burden most would want to carry.
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Anyway, my thoughts feel very disjointed. I'm beyond overwhelmed with things right now. Something just doesn't seem quite right inside at the moment. :-/

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hanging in There

Man, it's been a crazy week. And it's only just become Tuesday! Already it's been full of ups and downs.

Down: So, the anatomy tutors brilliantly scheduled their anatomy practice lab practical the same evening as we scheduled the LGBT opening social event. This means that practically no M1s will be attending. Grrr. The same thing happened last year, so we tried to avoid that situation this year. But the tutors decided to (conveniently) move the event. -_-

There was much swearing and cursing on my part (in my head anyhow) and on the part of my treasurer (verbally).

Up: Because we needed to generate M1 involvement for the LGBT group, I've decided to schedule an "ad hoc" general meeting if you will next week. Thankfully I was able to reserve a room at a decent time. Now I just have to hope someone, anyone, shows up.

At least APAMSA is a group I don't have to worry about. So many M1s showed up! And not only that, so many of them volunteered to be on the various committees!! Last year I remembered the then-M2s were practically pulling teeth trying to get our class to volunteer for stuff. This year, totally different situation. Also, there are about twice the number of M1s on committees as M2s. Crazy!!
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Classes are going okay. Today, for the first time, I sat through immunology and was totally lost while still being awake. :-/ At least pathology is easy for now because the topic is largely review for me (inflammation, cancer, cancer genetics).

I need more sleep. Tomorrow and the day after are going to be LONG days, bleh.

Thus concludes this update. Still hanging in there!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rant: Frustrations

Blargh. Day 2 of classes and already I'm stressing out hardcore, but not over classes. Oh no, classes wouldn't stress me out quite as much as some of the people and drama around me.
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1. I don't know why, but I've been really snappy and short at my roommate. Little things he does seem to set me off in a corner of my mind. He doesn't understand that my family is quite strapped financially this year, and he even suggested that my brother or I get a part-time job. But we're med students . . . there's precious little time for adequate decompressing, much less a job.

Also, he keeps stating how talking about psychiatry and medical ethics are worthless unless we're immediately faced with those dilemmas. I vehemently disagree, as I believe that understanding how people think and how to reason through even hypothetical ethical conundrums are useful. He argues that because we're reasonable people with common sense, that those qualities alone are generally sufficient. Well, if they were truly sufficient we wouldn't have a need for ethics committees. I could go on and on, but I don't want to sound like I'm foaming at the mouth.

I've decided that I can't discuss such matters with him. He never accepts anything I say as valid and tries to "light-heartedly" discount my points, and I just get frustrated. I'm putting my foot down: I'm not discussing this with him from now on.
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2. There's tension between one of my friends, her roommate (my treasurer for one of the student groups I'm in), and me. Let's say my friend is M and her roommate is K.

So K sent both of us a rather bitchy email earlier telling us that she doesn't like how we've been talking about her to each other. M gets furious at this email. And I must admit, it did cast a dark cloud over my head for several hours.

I reply to K's email and tactfully apologize. She is pacified by this. Then M sends me a message on gchat asking me why I bothered apologizing. I replied that it was a tactical decision, not a personal one. I needed to be on good terms with K because we still need to work together, and if she's mad at me then things I've worked really hard on over the summer will fall apart. M isn't satisfied by this and is furious at K.

Then later I send an email to one of the deans, K, and M concerning a program that M told me about. Apparently, I had misinterpreted the reason that M brought the program to my attention in the first place, and she would've rathered that I hadn't sent the email before consulting her. Argh. Clearly, in my good intentions some grief has backlashed onto me.

Well, I had to apologize to M, of course, and explain that the intent wasn't to usurp her student group's program, but rather to bring it up as an example/model to develop an elective curriculum on. After my apologies and explanations, M seemed more or less pacified. She at least understands the good intent with which I sent that email.

Why are women so hard to deal with?!?! With guys, decisions tend to come quickly and easily with no feelings hurt (usually). With women, one must take into account their MOODS.
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At least with small-ish issues, I can resolve things pretty quickly and have people forgive me fairly easily. It's the larger issues that tend to linger and dwell on my mind for way too long.

It's only the 2nd day of classes, and already I'm at wit's end standing dangerously near the precipice of sanity looking over the chasm of insanity.

Friday, August 20, 2010

NYC: In Pictures

This post will be long enough without my usual text, so I present (in pictures) my 2.5-day trip to NYC to visit a couple friends there one weekend.
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Day 1 - Flushing

World's Fair grounds in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Hotpot for dinner!

Flushing's Chinatown at night
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Day 2 - NYC (Manhattan)

Times Square

M&M Factory

Columbus Circle

Central Park


Washington Square Park

(Cute) pianist and contortionist street performers

Tic & Tac - twin performers


(What's left of) Little Italy
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Day 3 - Brooklyn


Green-Wood Cemetery - Statue of Minerva (looking at Statue of Liberty)

Green-Wood Cemetery - Leonard Bernstein's grave


Brooklyn Bridge

Ikea ferry + Statue of Liberty (viewed from Red Hook)

Red Hook street food vendor (where we got pupusas)


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It was a whirlwind of 2.5 days, but it was well worth it. :-D

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Les Jours Tristes

I've found a new theme song! :-D
The title of the song translates to "The Sad Days" (according to my friend who took French) and it's from his album, L'Absente (2001), and the instrumental of this song was featured in the French movie, Amelie (great movie, go watch it if you haven't!).

I feel like the lyrics of this song perfectly fits my life right about now, considering all the recent events and dramas. Things have settled down a bit now, at least in my head. So that's good. There's a lot of things to update, but I've been having spotty internet at home due to a "feud" between my youngest brother and my dad. So I have to be umbilical cord-ed to the ethernet cord when I can manage.

---TANGENT---
So, I have a Yahoo! email account. Nowadays when I see the log-in screen, they have various backgrounds including this one:
I must say, that's one attractive guy. :-P Alright, that's all. Hopefully I'll be able to update on some of the things that happened in the last 2-3 weeks.
---END TANGENT---

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Can't Outrun These Clouds

Can't Outrun These Clouds

Run, faster faster, no respite
no time to relax
no time to stop.

These clouds approach again,
but the umbra of their gloom
has already taken me.

Beat beat beat, my heart drums
as I can't outrun these clouds.
I thought I had escaped
I thought I could relax
I thought I could sleep.

No.
The clouds linger
and follow me still
even as I leave,
even as I'm gone.

I am weary and nearly broken.
I have toiled under this gloom -
under these clouds
too long, way too long.

I long for the sun
I long for the clarity of sky
I long for a chance to stop
I long for escape -
to get away, far away,
from it all.

But these clouds haunt me
even while I'm away.
I just can't seem
to outrun these clouds.
Soon they will overtake me
again . . .

Should I give up?
Just let these clouds
engulf my sky?
I just . . .
can't outrun these clouds.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Am Done With This

So in my last post, G, the girl who parks next to my spot, has continued to harass me. In fact, she has caused me to lose sleep over this incident. I probably didn't fall asleep last night until past 2am and woke up at around 6:30am. I have had enough. I am done with this. Here are more of our exchanges below:
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Her reply:
A,

You have parked poorly about 90% of the time when you parked next to me, giving me dangeously enough room for my small car. The night of the accident you knowingly did not give me enough room. You even stated "I was hoping you wouldn't arrive until after 6" which is a sorry exuse. I noticed my spot was tight, and I was very careful, and once the nose of the car and the SIDE VIEW MIRROR made it clear, I figured I had just enough room so I continued. And then the scratch happened. As you did not give me the curtisy of straightening out your car when you were parking, you are at least 50% resposible for the scratches, as you were the one illegally parked. Another important point: YOU COULD HAVE PARKED IN YOUR OWN PARKING SPOT!!!!!! You CHOICE not to, and you have to deal with the consequences of your actions.

I agree I was the one driving, so I think a very resonable compromise would be splitting the cost 50/50. That would mean both of us pay $198.

My answer:
Hi G,

I appreciate your response and I would like to address your concerns.

First, if you contend that I parked poorly about 90% of the time (which I disagree with), it should've been all the more pressing that you preemptively ask me to move my car. As I said before, I would've gladly complied. I should also state that the car parked to the left of my spot routinely parks very poorly and sometimes even a little into my spot, which was the sole reason for my parking that night. I would still like to point out that even that night I was always within the lines of my spot. Thus I don't see how I could've been illegally parked.

Second, you yourself said that you figured you had just enough room to continue, which contrasts against your claim that I "did not give [you] enough room." It was, unfortunately, an error in judgment that resulted in your scratch. Third, while it's true that I typically park in a spot farther away, there is no rule (that I'm aware of) that restricts me to one of the two spots allotted per apartment - as who parks where is between my roommate and I. And so, out of courtesy, I shall refrain from parking next to you in the future unless absolutely necessary.

In deference to my first point, if you would like me to notify the car that's parked to the left of my spot, such that you could work out an arrangement with him/her, let me know and I shall do so. I still do not believe it to be fair for me to pay for scratches that you incurred on your car.

A

Her reply:
A,
You were definitely, without a doubt, over the line that day. And you frequently were parking ON the line before. I have a small car, so while it was inconvenient for me, I decided not to bother you until this incident. Further more, I have NEVER EVER had this problem with your roommate. He either knows how to park properly on his first attempt, or he is curteous enough to straighten out. And once again, as you were using two spots at the time, and you see that you are infringing on my spot (as you were, I did not actually measure but a conservitive guess would be at least 6 inches into my spot) then you should have used the other spot, as no one else was using it. Your car being partly in my spot is the reason why the rear passenger door scraped the pole. You even admitted at the time that you were partly in my spot, so I do not know why you are lying now. We have a difficult parking garage, and I was so used to you on the line that I assumed this would be another tight sqeeze, and was perhaps more confident in the size of my parking spot than I should have been. I am accepting part of the blame and that I am partly responsible. I talked with R the manager, and he agrees that you are partly responsible for my car getting scratched given the circumstances. Out of being a good responsible human being I would appreciate your taking responsibility for your actions and helping me pay for fixing my car.

G

My answer:
G,

I've tried to be civil but I have only been met with accusations and insults. I do not appreciate you accusing me of lying. I did not change my story. Although I might have once expressed regret that I was close to/on the line, I have never said I was over it. I have consulted with many people, including a lawyer, and they all agree that I was not at fault and that I owe you nothing. I also talked to R earlier today and he contradicted the last message you sent me. I ask that from now on we both leave R out of all this as it's not his job to arbitrate. I understand that you are upset, but I am well within my rights and it was completely unreasonable for you to ask me to pay 100% or even 50% of the damages for an accident you caused. I am done with this. In the name of common decency, please let it rest.

A
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I should add that my final reply was proofed by up to 5 friends and my friend's lawyer dad. For at least a few days, I shall ignore her. I've altered my Facebook settings to specifically prevent her from viewing certain content on my Facebook page as well as restrict/disable her ability to comment on my wall and such. Finally, I've altered my Facebook settings such that I won't even get notifications of messages being sent to me; thus, unless I specifically check Facebook, I won't know if she replies or not. She's pretty passive-aggressive and hasn't stopped by my apartment to confront me in person (other than the moment right after the incident), so I'm counting on that she won't.

I need to obtain a few more pictures of the "scene." While the pictures won't be as informative as they would've on the day of the incident, they may still prove helpful in the future. Thank God for comparative negligence laws being on my side (at least, they seem like they definitely would be in this situation).