Shaken Not Stirred

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Buy Me A Plane Ticket

I saw the strangest fundraiser signs a few days ago. On my way to the gym, there were two girls holding up signs that said "Help Me Get to England". They were holding up these signs on a busy street along with donation buckets. I didn't stop to ask them what organization they were raising money for, or even if they were a part of one. If they wanted to get a person's attention, those kiwi-green neon signs did the trick. Since the road was busy and I really wanted to get to the gym before someone stole my favorite treadmill, I passed without donating or investigating.

It made me think of a time during high school when I wanted to go to Europe. My friends and I all planned to visit a city, any city, as long as it was in Europe. We had all heard of how fun it would be to travel abroad, especially over there where there was practically no drinking age. Two of us took Spanish, another one took French and the oddball of the group took Latin (not sure where she would have used it). During homeroom and study hall we tried to map out where we would go. We could never decide on a city. But it was fun talking about it.

The brainstorming is as far as it went. None of our parents agreed to let four fifteen year olds go to Europe unchaperoned. My father wisely told me, "Visit the Philippines first and then I will buy you a plane ticket to go anywhere else". He wanted me to learn a bit about the Filipino heritage, see the places where he and my mother had grown-up. I politely declined (well most likely threw a spoiled tantrum) and then discussed with my friends how "unfair" our parents were being.

As the years passed, we stopped talking about Europe and focused more on going to college. While in college, I joined a group called F.A.S.A. (Filipino American Student Association).I connected with other Filipinos who like me had spent their whole lives in the U.S. They even had a tutor to teach the language (I gave up after a couple lessons. Tagalog was much more difficult than Spanish).

After I graduated from undergrad with a biology degree, I opted to go the Philippines for medical school (yes I didn't get accepted at any of my schools of choice), rather than go to a Carribean school. I felt I could meet some of the relatives I hadn't met and it would also be an experience for me. And it was just that, an experience. I learned a lot about myself and also their culture. I feel I'm a better person for having gone there.

Anyway, I completely digressed. I'm in favor of travel, especially for the college/high school folk. But I wasn't sure about just giving money to those students. If they were part of a school organization, I would gladly have given them a couple bucks--maybe even more than I would have wanted to. Every person should take the opportunity to vist another county. I just was wary cause they weren't wearing uniforms and their signs didn't indicated membership to any club.

Again, back to the topic! I think travel abroad gives a person perspective. It certainly gave me an appreciatiton of all I have and everything I've taken forgranted. It helped to open my eyes to certain rights and priveledges. Most of all, it helped me to realize the grass will be the greenest in almost heaven West Virginia!

P.S. I hope I didn't make anyone dizzy with all these tangents. It's way passed my bedtime, but I couldn't sleep so I blogged.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Blog That Speaks To You

Recently, well actually a few months ago, a friend of mine made the comment that he could hear me speaking when he read my blog. He said he could hear my characteristic intonation as he read through the posts. He likened it to having a phone conversation with me or listening to me rant in udergrad during the commercial break of NBC's Thursday Night "Friends", "Frazier" and "E.R." line-up. Something about the pattern and flow of the post reminded him of my speaking manner. The only quality missing he said was the occasional southern drawl.

However, when he shows the posts to his co-workers, they often point out mistakes or ask about missing sentences, and grammatical errors. He tries to defend me by saying "He once wrote for West Virginia University's school paper, 'The Daily Athenaeum' and was even part of the team when they were one of the top ten university papers". But their only replies have been, "does he not have an editor anymore".

I can see how these strangers can see the mistakes. When I wrote for our school's paper, I was more eloquent, used 10 dollar words and utilized spell check. The words which flowed from my mind then underwent major scrutiny, not only mine, but the watchful eyes of my perfectionist editor. I was chosen to publish stories about student government, mainly the board of governors, therefore I was a little more careful about how my stories were presented.

My buddy informed me that if he hadn't known me and stumbled across my blog by accident, he might not get it either. He the writing didn't show the expressive journalist he knows is in me. I told him that I wasn't writing as a journalist anymore, but writing as me, in a diary format. I had started this blog to keep in touch with my friends--rather than writing long emails out to many people. A little secret about me...I keep in touch with almost all of my friends. If we met and clicked, rest assured you would hear from me for the rest of your natural life. Christmas cards, birthday cards, presents for your children and spouses (I learn their birthdays too) are constantly being sent out from my home. My whole philosophy is, if you've somehow made an impression on me, changed my life (doesn't have to drastically altering either), then you are worth keeping as a friend. And I highly value each person I consider a friend. I didn't get tired of writing to my friends--I could sit at a computer all day and write email upon email to them. It became time consuming and I realized that for the most part I was repeating myself to many of them. I got the idea from a friend of a friend and started blogging. Through blogger I could reach the majority of them with one letter. I have encouraged them to write comments, but they save their comments for phone calls and emails. Plus many of them have already heard the post topic before I post it and have commented accordingly.

I don't feel like I have to punctuate in all the right places, nor use grown-up words in my posts. I write the way my brain throws out the thoughts, haphazardly and coming at you 1000 miles a minute. This may explain the simplicity of my posts and why at times it doesn't make a lot of sense. When I converse with my friends I get excited and babble incessantly and nonsensically.

I thank many of you for reading my blog. I've made so many new acquaintances through blogger. I want to thank you for your patience with my writing style. I hope you continue to read. I also hope you continue to post in your own blogs, so I can continue to learn about you too. We are all building a sort of on-line friendship that I've become quite attached to.

P.S. Although the conversation between my buddy and I took place months ago, it was recently dredged up from my vast wasteland of knowledge by a post from David Amulet. It his last post, he was re-evaluating his blog.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Shows To Rest Your Mind

Last night after some grueling neuro-anatomy, I turned on the boob-tube. Literally, the first show I happened upon was for boobs.

The show was for the best inventions. Really, what are some people thinking? How did this show make it past the cutting room. How'd it make it past brainstorming? Some of the inventions included lingerie that wrapped around someone like a ribbon, this table ball game where you used your elbows and a doll that reassured the owner that everything was going to be alright (minus the Bob Marley music). This show was so ridiculous, I had to restudy everything I had previously reviewed yesterday because my brain went into complete meltdown.

The other show I watched this week was a reality show about people being locked underground in some bunker. These people had to decide who deserved 1.5 million dollars. Let's face it, they are going to be down there for 10 seasons, cause no one is going to just give that money away. Like the bunker, this show should have remained buried.

It reminds me of another brain fart. That show with the guy Mark (he's owner of something, I think it's a sports team) who was going to give away 1 million of his dollars to the person who did the most tricks for him (not prostitution, but little tasks that he thought would bring out their real character). It's much like The Apprentice, but without style, character, or creativity.

Why have I written about television shows without content? Because I have nothing else to write about. Have a good weekend.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Boiling Points

I got the strangest phone call on my cell today! Here's how it went down:

Me- "Hello"
Strange Person-- "Hi, may I speak to Mark?"
Me--"You've got the wrong number"
Strange Person--"Are you sure?"
Me--"Pretty sure. This is my cell phone."
Strange Person--"This is ***-***-****"
Me--"Yeah, but there is no Mark here"
Strange Person--"Huh, are you sure this isn't Mark's number"
Me--"Am I on MTV's Boiling Points cause I don't want the money. I want to study"
Strange Person--"I was pretty sure this was Mark's number"

I can't believe I carried the conversation that far. What an idiot!!! What did he mean, am I sure? Hell yeah I'm sure, it's my friggin phone. It's been my number since 2003. Either someone faked numbered him or this number belonged to Mark at one time. But you'd think if they were friends, Mark would have notified him of a number change.

Can you believe the idiot things people will say? Can you believe I carried the coversation beyond "you've got the wrong number buddy"? After that, no explanation need be given. When I've dialed the wrong number and was told so, I apologized and hung up.

This will teach me not to answer strange looking numbers again, or to put my phone on silent while I study.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Blinded By The Light

I think Armaedes (a.k.a. Dirk the Feeble)complained about the elderly taking over the gym in one of his posts. I'm going to complain about proper gym attire for the said elderly.

After joining the gym, I decided I needed to get actively involved if I wanted to whip myself into shape. An hour on the treadmill and sit-ups were not going to help tone by themselves. So, I signed up for a kick-boxing class. I know it's just a more aggressive form of jazzercise or aerobics, but it would get the cardiovascular system going and would stretch some muscles that have been atrophied from disuse.

I walked into the class on Monday and was suprised to see how full it was. A good mix (I wouldn't be the only male there) of males and females. Great! One of the chicks starts talking to me. Better--a social atmosphere as well. She tells me how her thighs are firmer because of this class and even strikes her abdomen a few times to demonstrate what it's done for the pouch that once bothered her so much. Everyone is stretching like ballerinas before Swan Lake. I never understood the stretching thing, so I just walk around, admiring myself in the wall to wall mirror, and pretend to dab sweat off my face with my towel.

The instructor then walked in. He is an elderly male (probably in his early sixties. He greets everyone and then says "let's stretch". We go through certain motions. I'm twisting and turning, reaching my arms upwards, then backwards, now touching the floor. And all of the sudden, I look up from my floor position, trying to get a glimpse of what position we are suppose to be in. It was not a pretty site. My instructor was wearing extremely clingy bicycle shorts. These shorts were so tight, you could see his manhood smashed against his inner thigh. If I had been closer, I could have counted the ruggae on his scrotom.

Seriously, what are people thinking? Dude, turn around and check your look in the mirror. The guy beside me must have noticed too cause I heard him utter "holy sh--t. Cover yourself up!". I turned and he looked at me like WTF? But no one else in the class seemed to mind that grandpa was sporting his jewels like Tammy Faye sports eyeshadow.

So aside from being impotent because of Mr. Shife's comment about seeing the nudity in Basic Instinct 2, I'm blind because of this man's shining jewels.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Meet Me At The Flagpole

A few years ago, I lost one of my best friends. I may have done something to instigate it and could have done something to prevent it from happening. To this day, I wonder how he is doing.

My buddy started dating a pretty snobby girl. She was pretty popular on campus, many people knew who she was and liked her. I didn't have any problems with her and in fact got along with her also. I knew she was pretty overbearing with my buddy, but what girlfriend didn't tell their boyfriends when to eat, what to eat and how to eat it? Just a part of making sure the boat didn't rock, isn't it?

One day, I took a joke too far. I can't remember exactly what the joke was, how it started and what I said. All I remember was she got pretty ticked at me. She ended up yelling and I'm sure crying. I tried to apologize but she told me to "go to hell". Her friends told me to let her cool down and everything would be alright in an hour.

A couple hours later I was walking across campus when I saw my buddy and his girlfriend walking my way. They looked like they were arguing. She was yelling and he was cowering. When they got to where I was, my buddy started yelling at me. He told me that I was way out of line and to apologize. I apologized again and offered a hug, which was refused and then a handshake, which was smacked. She started yelling at my buddy again to "do something"!!!

He then, in an old west fashion put up his dukes. He put up his dukes! By this time her shrill voice and his superhero stance had attracted some attention. He never swung, just stood there. I think he was waiting for my move. I was too shocked to move, so I didn't. My buddy eventually put down his dukes and sat on the ground. His girlfriend called him a shit and walked away. Another buddy (who had witnessed the argument from the teasing of the girl to the dukes), took me by the arm and said something about leaving the pathetic asshole alone.

My buddy eventually apologized. I sort of accepted, but saw him in a different light. Slowly, he stopped coming to our parties and even outings. And then a year later he asked my roommate if he could use our apartment to talk to everyone. He and his girlfriend had broken up and he needed to vent.

When he came to my apartment and everyone had a beer in hand, he started to talk. He apologized for his past behavior (shunning us, forgetting birthdays, never-ever coming around)and said something about being glad to have friends. No one said anything. Most of our friends were uncomfortable by his tears and either watched ESPN or played with the chips/dip. When his sobbing became unbearable, he left the room. No one followed him. Someone uttered WTF? Someone else suggested I go and get him since I was his friend to begin with. I stayed in my seat and played with the foam in my beer.

My buddy again slowly removed himself from our group. No one asked him to come out with us, unless they had bumped into him on campus. The others asked me how he was doing and I would shrug my shoulders. To this day, I do wonder how he's doing. He was one of the people I was duped into joining to find. That's a whole different post--the fiasco.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Rolling Stone, Gathers No Moss

Kidney stones are probably the worst pain I've ever felt. Nothing like getting your heart ripped in two by a cold hearted bitch (well she wasn't so cold hearted as she was moving into a different phase in her life and chose the guy who was willing to make the ultimate committment), but painful none-the-less.

I experienced both of these events. One during my early years of medical school and the other a little more recently. Since I'm over the heartache (the bitch and I are actually friends now. She sent me pictures of her new baby--which I think would have been cuter had he had my eyes) I'll post about the pain of a kidney stone.

I had read that they could be painful. The pain was caused by the smooth muscle closing in around the stone and trying to push it down and out. I not only thought that mine was being pushed out, but the stone was doing cardio-aerobics in there as well. Doggone this pain hurt. I could actually feel the muscle contract around the stone. It felt like nothing I've ever felt before and I don't ever want to feel it again.

One of the first lessons I learned in medical school and this came directly out of the dean's mouth "doctors make the worse patients". He said this to point out that we should be more sympathetic to patients, since we oursevles can't deal with pain, needles, and laying around in a bed. I proved his theory correct. I hate needles and I cried louder than the four year old getting sutures in the emergency room. She got a lollipop, I stuck my tongue out at the nurse who inserted my I.V.

My doctor decided on a lithotripsy. Nothing invasive. He would just use sonic blasts to destroy the stone and then I could pee the shattered remnants out. This sounded like the best alternative to me. No stitches, no scars and no scalpels.

After the procedure, I spent four days peeing out pink sand. Yes, it was pretty, but felt funny coming out. On the fifth day, my urine was basically clear again. Oh thank God.

The advice given? Keep myself hydrated. Keep everything flowing and not give the stones a chance to build up again. Some further tests will be done later (after my kidney rests) to try and pinpoint why this happpened. Until then I'm just suppose to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Did I Do That?

I consider myself a pretty good wing man. I've always helped my buddies get a girl. Once they've gotten the girl, I've always provided them with alibies or even reminded them of special days (birthdays, anniversaries, chick got her haircut TODAY). Once I even wrote a dear john letter for my buddy. So I was quite shocked when I was accussed of the most heinous of crimes: cockblocking.

At the gym the other day, I was on the treadmill, minding my own business. I'm usually minding my own business so as not to draw attention to the ring around my waist known as a pot belly. It's not an ordinary pot belly because it doesn't stop at my front side, it goes all the way around. Since I had forgotten my iPod (damn my failing memory) I couldn't tune out most of the conversations around me. There are a couple treadmills side by side and then a row of stair steppper machines at the end of the row.

Guy on stair stepper to girl on last treadmill (one over from me): "Hi, blah, blah blah new here. Blah blah blah".

Girl: "Hi, blah, blah, blah".

Guy: "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah"

Girl: "Blah"

This was follwed by some golden silence.

Guy on stair stepper: "Blah, blah, blah, blah television show. American Idol"

Girl on treadmill: "Blah, Friends reruns"

Guy on stair stepper: "Blah, blah, blah, blah"

Girl: "Blah"

The guy on the stair stepper loudly clears his throat. He then cleared it so much I thought he was choking so I looked up.

I thought he gave me this "say something look". Maybe I am just dyslexic about the male facial expression. Guys usually don't have to read one another's expression. In fact we don't like to make eye contact--in places like the gym, bathroom or locker room.But I was pretty sure the plea on his face said "help".

The last thing I thought I heard her say was "Friends" so I opened up with "So what do you watch on Thursday nights now?"

Girl on treadmill: "I still watch 'Will and Grace' and of course 'Earl'. I do miss that old Thursday night line up though".

Me: "I don't watch that much at all. What did you think of the 'Friends' ending?" I then looked at the guy to jump back into the conversation.

Girl: "Blah, blah,blah...." She went on for quite awhile. I had sort of tuned her out. But She basically turned the 'Friends' finale into a Brangelina conversation.
Guy on stair stepper: "Do you watch 'Seinfeld'?"

Girl: "Blah".

Me: "I think Brad is in the wrong"

Girl: "OMG!! He is so in the wrong. Can you believe it? 15 year crush soooooooooo OVER! I do believe he smells. You know someone said he rarely takes baths? He smells cause he's so full of shit......." and she rambled a little more.

Guy on stair stepper: "I thought Angelina was good in 'Beyond Borders'".
Girl: "Blah".

I stepped off the treadmill, my time having been done and walked towards the water fountain. I took my sip and turned around so quickly that I almost bumped into stair stepping man. He then asked me why I was cock-blocking him. I explained to him that I wasn't, that I was trying to get the conversation going. He then told me that he just wanted me to get her to talk so that he could get her to talk (his explanation made me dizzy). I apologized and told him I didn't mean anything by it. He walked away saying somemthing like "some guys" under his breath.

Really? Cock-blocking?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Dryer Graveyard

Seriously, where do they go? I'm talking about the socks in the dryer. Where the 'f' do they go? There is no possible exit for them short of becoming lint.
The first time this happened to me, I thought that maybe the sock got lost in the shuffle of a roommate taking my clothes out of the dryer and throwing them into my laundry basket. I searched the laundry room floor, the short trail for there to my bedroom, even to my roommate's room. No sign of the sock. We lifted the dryer up, even the washer. No sign of it. It couldn't have been left behind, because I don't separate my clothes, everything goes in all at once. This is the reason for a few mishaps, but for the most part I'm too lazy to separate. So everything gets thrown in at once. I know not to wash any of my cashmere or merino wool sweaters. I know not to wash anything dark red with my clothes either. Other than that, it's all good, it gets tossed into the bunch.
I took the loss--it was just a sock. It was a nice sock--because I've suddenly had this fetish for buying nice socks. Not that anyone would ever see them under my pant cuff. But what the hey, I decided to buy some good socks. My philosophy has always been you pay what you get for, so I've been buying pretty good quality clothes lately. It doesn't matter if you have fewer clothes as long as they are good quality. So I lost a pretty decently priced sock, by one of my favorite designers. I didn't think anything of it, it was gone to wherever socks go when they disappear.
Just this week, it happened to me again. I opened the dryer, folded the clothes one by one. I do the socks last cause it's annoying ball them up. Anyway, since I've been wearing the Birkenstocks lately, I've only worn socks a few times. So there were five pairs of socks in the dryer. One by one I paired them. Only four pairs and one solitary grey one. WTF? I opened the washer, maybe I had left it in there by mistake. There have been times during the spin cycle, it was thrown up higher and stuck. Nope. Not there. I looked inside the dryer again. Nothing. I closed the dryer door, opened it once more. Nothing! I stuck my head all the way in and looked again. Nothing! I looked inside the washer once more. NOTHING! I was beginning to freak. Where the heck was this thing? My bedroom showed no sign of the sock. Under my bed, under my shoe stool (I call it that cause that's where I sit when I put on my shoes), desk and closet showed no sign of the sock. It had completely vanished. I even examined the lint catcher. There was some grey in it. HMMM. Could it have been cruelly mashed into lint?
I turned most of the clothes that were in the same wash inside out. Maybe it had gotten stuck to the inside of a pant leg or in shirt sleeve. Nothing.
The next morning I check the dryer one more time. Maybe I overlooked it. There was nothing, just the scent of freshner. It was gone.
Do they go where elephants go when it's time? It wasn't time for my sock. It was only a few months old.
I'm going to stop. I need to get a life. Or maybe reading too much biochemistry has screwed sanity.
Seriously though, where do they go? I can tell you where molecules of sugar go as it cycles through your body. I can't tell you where the heck my sock is though.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Musical Interview

I wanted to post, but didn't have any experiences on this quiet Sunday to talk about, so I decided to borrow something from Greg. He posted this game in which you pick a favorite artist, and you answer questions using the artist's songs.
Since one of my favorite singers is Tim McGraw, I used his songs to answer these questions:

1. Name of band/artist: Tim McGraw
2. Are you male or female?: Angel Boy
3. Describe yourself: Real Good Man
4. How do you feel about yourself?:Open Season on My Heart
5. Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend: She's My Kind of Rain
6. Describe current girlfriend/boyfriend: Something's Broken
7. Describe where you want to be: Where the Green Grass Grows
8. Describe how you live: Live Like You Were Dying
9. Describe how you love: I Know How To Love You Well
10. What would you ask for if you had just one wish?: My Next Thirty Years
11. Share a few words of Wisdom: Drugs or Jesus
12. Now say goodbye: Take Me Away From Here

I don't normally tag anyone, but I think that Ben Heller, my favorite music expert should play along. You don't have to, if you don't want to.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Just An Observation

I did some grocery shopping today. Here is a list of things I bought:

4 Totino's Cheese Pizzas--they were four for $5. Who doesn't like a bargain?
12 packs of Ramen Noodles--six for ninety cents--bargain!!!
2 packs of ready to serve Rice Pilaf
2 packs of ready to serve Jambalaya rice
12 pack of Cornona light
a Lean cuisine cheese pizza (to undo the bad of the four Totino's pizzas)
2 Lean Gourmet Shrimp with Pasta
1 Lean Cuisine 3 Cheese stuffed rigatoni
1 Lasagna Alfredo
1 Mac and Cheese
1 Fetuccini alfredo
A Brita dispenser--cause my fridge water has been tasting funny lately
A pack of Reach floss thingamajigs for my Reach floss handle thing
2 packs of rainforest scented incense
A Cross pen refill

Anyway, at the check-out counter, the check-out chick kept smiling under her breath. When she finished swiping everything, she smiled again at me with what appeared to be a knowing smirk. I smiled back and asked if I had food in my teeth or pen/highlighter marks on my face (spent a day in front of my review books).

She replied, "No, I just like the way bachelor's shop".

I gave her a look which prompted this response from her, "Just an observation. Aren't you?".

I told her for the time being I was and then made a comment about Mulan coming to visit and that I would be eating better when she came. Why I was covering for myself I don't know. Truth be told, I like being alone during this stressful time in my life.

I then had to bite my tongue to keep from saying my own observations. I wanted to say "You really need to stop Supersizing your value meals". Just an observation because she couldn't tie the back of her apron together.But I'm not mean spirited like that.I don't even know why I thought something so rude. I smiled and told her to have a good night.

She said, "See you when you run out of pizzas. Have a good night".

In retrospect, I don't think it was the food items that told her I spend my nights alone. It was probably the floss and incense.

Dammit! Coronas and no limes. Maybe my neighbors will have limes. They provided the Coronas last time and they had more than a few limes. I knew I forgot something.