Friday, June 29, 2007

New kid in town

My blog needs to be updated. A lot of the personal info here are already passé. To start with, I am no longer in Japan (Darn, I terribly miss a lot of things there). I have already finished my PhD there and I am currently doing my postdoc in the US. Still in the period of adjustment, but I am doing fine.

Besides putting aside my profession as a dentist, I am also going a little off-track with the lifestyle that I am used to. Here in the place where I live now, life is a little boring. In Japan, I worked hard but I could also unwind in a café or in a fine restaurant with my friends after a day's work . Shopping was also great and it was easier, I think, to fly to some of the hottest beaches in the Philippines or in Thailand. Public services were also fast, efficient and relatively safer.

But in fairness to the place where I live now, many things here are new to me and I find them amusing. There are a few dining or entertainment places that I like, but hey, the scenery is beautiful. Talk about picturesque farms, endless white picket fences along roads lined with the canopy of towering trees, horses, nice rivers and lakes.

Just like in Japan, I also work my butt off here and I am learning a lot of new stuff like closely looking into individual cells using confocal microscope. How cool can that be? Now I can take pictures of cells, not just of macroscopic things. This morning, a cool and very smart-looking associate from Olympus microscopes came to recommend some upgrades for the scope, so I am more excited about the microscopic things I could look into in the future.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Welcome back, ENTOURAGE!

It was such a warm (35 degrees) and boring day yesterday. Good thing, I upgraded my cable TV subscription to premium, so I can now watch HBO-On Demand and other great channels. Now don't be thinking that I have to cough out big bucks for the premium channels. It's just an additional $12.00 per month, which actually will add an extra buck to my pocket money because when I upgraded, I also gave up all the cartoon and music video channels, giving me $13.00 bonus a month. Isn't that a good move? More movies for the big boys, less of those precocious caricatures yelling out nasty stuff for every child to absorb, or those dumb chicks gyrating to the sarcasm of the sound they call rap.

What I am most excited about is my being able to watch Entourage again, an HBO original series about an up and coming Hollywood actor and his entourage of three from Queens, NY. I have never missed an episode of this great series since it first aired two years ago. It gives me a glimpse of the colorful life in Tinseltown, with so many twists and turns.

Entourage is different from Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewises. The two latter shows may have different plots, but ultimately, they have one common dilemma: how to fornicate with each and every character in the series. This is why I have lost interest in both of these shows. McDreamy bangs Meredith, who at one point, bones George who shags both Isobel and Callie who pumps McSteamy who screws Addison, the former legal sexmate of McDreamy. What a sickening circus! And don’t get me started with Desperate Housewives!

With Entourage, you can see how Vincent Chase, a talented young man chases his dreams in a cruel yet rewarding world. Yes, he sleeps around with most of the willing bitches, but he also turns down a $6-million sex-first-before-movie offer because it is not his thing to sell his talent to the swine. I also like a lot Ari’s (the talent manager) quotable quote which goes, “Yes, we have a lot of whores in this agency but we ain’t pimps here!”, referring to a disgusting pig who will not sign a multimillion project unless Ari’s assistant jumps into bed with him (the pig) first.

Watch the episodes from the beginning if you have time. It is currently in its fourth season on HBO.

Famous guests appearing as themselves on the show include James Cameron (Titanic director), U2, Jessica Alba, Stephen Gaghan (wrote Traffic and Syriana), Scarlett Johansson, Brooke Shields, Ralph Macchio (it was good to see him again, now matured and less famous years after the Karate Kid), Sarah Silverman and others.

Trivia: Do you know that the producer of Entourage is Mark Wahlberg? The former rapper known as Marky Mark (Good Vibrations). I really admire him for coming up with a great series in a big network like HBO!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

funny teenagers

I was a little awkward when I was a teenager. I lacked self-confidence, I was skinny and I sucked at clothes. I hated my body and my facial profile that I thought was like that of a horse. Looking back, however, I think that I had a happy childhood and teenage life. I was very well loved and protected by all the members of my large clan. It's natural for teenagers to undergo a phase that is ever dynamic. It's a physiological response to all those hormones pumping altogether at all-time highs.

I am amazed at how teens could really be so creative and funny these days. Maybe it's the amount of information they could get from endless sources that are so accessible anytime, anywhere. One of my all-time favorite home-made funny videos on the internet was created by a group of Asian-american teens. Their video is crude and amateurish, but their creativity and sense of humor are just outstanding. I laughed my heart out until the end of the video, so I thought of sharing it with you.

Here is the
link to the video by Eric Liang. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

what lies ahead?

to reflect is to purify the soul
Originally uploaded by don2g.
Everyone around is congratulating me. I see their honest smiles, feel their gentle tap on my shoulders, and hear their well wishes for a foreigner who has tried so hard to blend in and has strived patiently to come up with a successful four years of postgraduate studies. I am moved, my heart is consumed with joy . There is nothing I could utter but my gratitude to God, my family and friends as my ears are filled by the clapping of their hands. I am blessed, truly blessed.

It has been a long day. The meeting is now over and I am heading home. I walk down the stairs, staring blankly at the steps leading to the back exit door. It's almost half past six. My back aches and my eyes are sore. I realize that I am not wearing my eyeglasses. Yes, my eyes have gone bad. Maybe I have abused them over the years of working with minute materials or with hours of staring at the computer, bleeding for words to write on my paper. I wish I took better care of the windows to my soul.

I step out of the building and the cool early summer wind greets me. What a relief! I close my eyes and raise my face up to take a deep breath, and as I slowly open them as I breath out, I see the deep orange hue overwhelming the sky. I remember my little hometown of San Andres where I would stare at the setting sun until it disappeared behind the island of MIna de Oro, right across the rugged sea. Life was simple yet much happier then.

Now, another chapter of my life is closing soon. I have mixed emotions about everything. My studies here in Japan has been successful, yet the my future in my own country is so full of uncertainties. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night just to ponder and to pray for the right decisions. There will truly be much more opportunities on the other side of the fence, but I am thinking about my family, especially my parents.

My Papa is already past 60, and my Mama is soon to retire. God knows how much I miss them since I left my hometown many years ago to study in Manila. I was so occupied with my studies and with other things so that when I looked back, I saw how things have changed. My sisters have bloomed into young ladies and my brother has grown into a principled man. The years that have ticked away became obvious on my parents faces. I became what they wanted me to be, but the time that I have spent away from them will never be recovered back. I always went home during school breaks, but I knew it would have been a lot different if we spent more years living together as a family every single day.

It surely will be a tough decision to make, but I am certain that whatever the future holds for me, it is God's will. My parents and siblings will always be there for me no matter what, so I am not afraid to take steps and dip my toes in the water. What's the use of my reputation as the most aggressive member of the family if I won't have the guts to zealously move forward? So, I have to brush my cares off and just do my best, one day at a time.

It is Monday tommorrow so maybe that is why I am a little depressed tonight and started writing about reminiscences and reflection. Do not worry, I am as resilient as can be. After I have posted this in my blog, I'll watch the latest episode of "Grey's Anatomy" and be mesmerized again by the great story and cast. It's a damn good show, isn't it?

Friday, April 07, 2006

bye dentistry, hello medicine.

I could still vividly remember how I would deeply think why I had no control over my heartbeat, or why my father snored all night. My mind was full of questions and I always tried to look for answers. One time, I tried not to breath for minutes to see what would happen to me. But after less than thirty seconds, I found myself gasping for air, with my intercostal muscles automatically going back to work. This happened many years ago, when life was much simpler and my mother was wrinkle-free. Well, mama is still the most beautiful woman in my eyes in spite of the years that have passed.

Now, I am back exploring a wide range of possibilities. Last year, I was offered to work in the Molecular Genetics department of my university here in Japan. Of course, I said "Yes!" with a big, gummy smile knowing that It would be all to my advantage. In these times of stiff competition, learning has never been more important.

From this month, I am affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine. My research will now include animals, mostly mouse, as models of gene damage and carcinogenesis. I myself is an advocate of animal rights and welfare, but after our orientation, I knew that a lot of strict protocols and meticulous checks are followed before, during and after the use of these animals. They are not sacrificed for nothing.

I do wish that this new chapter in my career would rake in more opportunities for me in the future. I also hope that I could very well share everything that I would learn here to all who also strive hard to prosper in their careers. Good luck ang God bless to me and thank you to all who pray for me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I heart you

Originally uploaded by unstuckpilgrim.
No, don't get me wrong! I did not post this "You suck" picture because I dread Valentine's day. I just found it cute.

It's February and I am so looking forward to spring. I had lots of snowy experience already this winter and I feel that I had enough! Today, the sun appeared and it was a bit warmer than usual, so I was upbeat the whole day.

My studies here in Japan is ending soon. More than four years here! Darn, where did time go? I am still in the crossroads of my postdoctoral plans but I hope that I'd be on the rigth track. I'll just do my best and as what most people say, "God will do the rest".

I welcome opportunities to do postdoctoral fellowship in the US or Europe, but I am also looking forward to going home to the Philippines. I miss my life there already! After work, there are a lot of fun things to do with family and friends. Manila is booming with excitement, and the provinces are teeming with world-class natural beauty where one could spend a quiet and pleasant vacation. Add to that the manangs and manongs in the house who make life easier for us.

September is still seven months to go so I still have time to finish my work and requirements for graduation, and visit the rest of the marvelous places here in Japan especially Kyoto, Nara and Kamakura.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

australian holiday

flinders street
Originally uploaded by don2g.
"No worries, mate!" the customs officer replied when I said thanks. I realized I was not dreaming anymore. I have set my feet in the land down under! I was just so excited.

I had a very nice trip by Qantas from Tokyo. The seats were wider and more comfortable than Japan Airlines, and the food was much better. There was no personal TV on each seat, but I didn't care. I just wanted to sleep during the entire 10 hour flight. I was so tired because that day, I flew from Manila to Tokyo then to Melbourne. I had to make a side trip to Manila before going to Australia. While waiting for the Qantas flight at Narita, I took the chance to take naps.

It was almost summer in Melbourne. Federation square was booming with life, but a short walk from there would take you to various parks where you can unwind, or where you can hop on to one of the ferry cruises to see the great sights of the city from the Yarra river. I also went with some friends to see the 12 apostles. It was a long drive from Melbourne, so we would stop along the way to refresh with a cup of coffee or take pictures. It was fantastic.

There were plenty of immigrants too. A lot of times, I could not hear English in the train or bus. Surprisingly, I never heard anybody talk in Filipino. In my trips to other big cities like London, Munich, Rome, Washington DC or even in Tokyo and Nagoya, I would hear some people talk in Filipino. Maybe, Filipinos in Australia are concentrated in Sydney.

The food was to die for too. So may choices! Delicious choices. Meat, cheese, wine, salads, desserts - all pleasant to the eyes and to the palate. It was also there that I saw different kinds of milk! Skinny milk, rev milk, regular milk, condensed milk, name it!

I really enjoyed my trip there. I'd like to return in the near future but that time, maybe I'd stay longer, like 2 months to be able to explore more places like Sydney, Cairns and Brisbane.