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Schedule
Spring Semester 2010:

* Teaching: Fundamentals of Microbiology - MW 12:00-2:40p
Medical Microbiology - TR 2:00-3:15p
Colloquium in Cell and Molecular Biology - R 3:30-4:30p
Thesis Research - Identification of T Cell Subsets and Immune Response in Colon Cancer Using Immunofluorescence - FOREVER AND EVER
Old Journal Entries
Or rather, entries from the old journal, as it were...

- An open letter to the College. (August 27, 2006)
- Untitled. (July 16, 2006)
- Haunted (Part One) (May 29, 2006)
- Are we growing up, or just going down? (May 3, 2006)
- I had a dream... (March 19, 2006)
- ... (March 14, 2006)
- Enjoy it while it lasts. (September 12, 2005)
- Scene: 3:27 AM. (September 3, 2005)
- Untitled. (July 26, 2005)

Psst... if you're looking for the academic writings I used to have here, head to my Reading Room.
Rented DVDs
Netflix

- The Rage in Placid Lake (2003)
- Son of Rambow (2007)
- 大紅燈籠高高掛 / Dà Hóng Dēnglóng Gāogāo Guà [Raise the Red Lantern] (1991)
- Au revoir, les enfants (1987)
- Chalk (2006)
- Le Samouraï (1967)
- Empire Records (1995)
- The Bank Job (2008)
- Le Quatre cents coups [The 400 Blows] (1959)
- Love and Other Disasters (2006)
- Friends and Family (2001)
- Sugar [unrated] (2004)
- The Curiosity of Chance (2006)
- Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)
- Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)
- Death Note [anime] (2006)
- Battle Royale (2000)
- Le scaphandre et le papillon [The Diving Bell and the Butterfly] (2007)
- Extras, Series 2 (2005)
- Extras, Series 1 (2005)
- Shelter (2007)
- Metropolis (1927)
- Cashback (2006)
- Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay [Unrated] (2008)
- The Catherine Tate Show, Series 2 (2005)
- The Catherine Tate Show, Series 1 (2004)



Blockbuster

- Tokyo monogatari [Tokyo Story] (1953)
- Akira (1988)
- Habuah [The Bubble] (2006)
- Prime Suspect 4, including:
    - The Lost Child (1995)
    - Inner Circles (1995)
    - Scent of Darkness (1995)
- Like Minds [USA: Murderous Intent] (2006)
- La Strada (1954)
- Black Orpheus (1959)
- Le Notti di Cabiria [Nights of Cabiria] (1957)
- Cleo de cinq a sept [Cleo from 5 to 7] (1962)
- Det Sjunde Inseglet [The Seventh Seal] (1957)
- Prime Suspect 3 (1994)
- Funny Face (1957)
- Lalechet Al Ha'mayim [Walk on Water] (2004)
- Charade (1963)
- Yossi & Jagger (2002)
- Mists of Avalon (2001)
- Blow Up (1966)
The *New* Reading List
Since June 2006...

- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
- Travesties by Tom Stoppard
- The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner
- The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
- Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
- The History Boys by Alan Bennett
- The Dark Child by Camara Laye
- Movie-Made America by Robert Sklar
- Diary by Chuck Palahniuk
- Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk
- Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
- The Dead Emcee Scrolls by Saul Williams [61.3%]
- Atonement by Ian McEwan
- Junk Science: An Overdue Indictment of Government, Industry, and Faith Groups that Twist Science for Their Own Gain by Dan Agin, Ph.D. [64.4%]
- So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield
- Lucky Wander Boy by D.B. Weiss
- The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
- Doctor Who: The Key to Time: A Year-by-Year Record by Peter Haining
- Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Rhonda Wilcox
- When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- 1984 by George Orwell [18.8%]
- Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
- Intuition by Allegra Goodman
- V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (Yes, I realize it's a graphic novel but it still fucking counts!)
ClustrMap
So THAT'S where all the people reading this come from...
A post for posting's sake.
Sunday, January 14, 2007 @ 7:45 pm
My cousin is staying the night, which means that I can expect to hear the sounds of fighting between my sister and him many, MANY times throughout the rest of the night and tomorrow morning.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

And I do not know where he is sleeping tonight, but it isn't going to be my room because he has a tendency to wake up earlier than I care for and I do not want to be up that early on a holiday. Dr. King would be downright pissed, I'm sure.

In other news, America's litigious nature is really pissing me off. Today, near Sacramento, the family of a woman who entered a water-drinking contest (who can drink the most water without peeing) to win a Nintendo Wii is considering suing the radio station who held the contest because she died from drinking too much water.

Reasons why I'm pissed:

1) Common sense should tell you that what goes into your body must go somewhere. If it doesn't go out your urethra, it's going to go to every single tissue in your body, and SOMETHING is going to swell and possibly burst.
2) The woman entered this contest WILLINGLY and regardless of the outcome should be held accountable for her own actions. She sought personal gain from the contest, and whether the radio station explicitly stated the risks (if they even knew them in the first place), she should have stopped when her body told her to stop.
3) It's tragic, yes. But that does not mean that the family deserves to be paid off by the radio station in a wrongful death lawsuit. Again, her actions were hers alone; nobody forced her to drink more water than she could handle, and if she both listened to her body AND fully thought through the common sense consequences of her actions, this tragedy could have been averted. Then again, maybe not.

I'm basically tired of people blaming everyone else but their own stupidity for the consequences that befall them. All I'm asking for is a little common sense and a little responsibility. Is that too much to ask?

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My mother's crusade.
Sunday, January 14, 2007 @ 10:23 am
She didn't have to say "We'll include you in our prayers" in such a condescending, holier-than-thou, guilt-inspiring tone.

I refuse to be guilted into attending a service I want no part of. She can pray for me all she wants--I'm glad she loves me enough to do so--but I will not go to mass to pay hollow-sounding half-hearted lip-service to something I don't personally believe in.

Does that make me a bad person?

I don't think so.

EDIT: It's possible to believe in the message, not in the messenger, isn't it? Because I believe all the messengers delivered the same basic message, but our own cultures have twisted it so that only one messenger could be the "true" one. It's such a human thing to do.

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Numismatics.
Saturday, January 13, 2007 @ 9:29 pm
Leaving a comment for Zanzibar provided the impetus for this entry.

When I was little, I frequently went to my grandparents' house after school since it was so much closer to my school than my own house was. (My school was over 15 miles away from my house.) Also, both of my parents worked until around 5:00, so picking me up from school was out of the question. That responsibility fell to my grandparents, who were more like a second set of parents to me than what most people would associate with grandparents.

One fall afternoon when I was in the third grade, I had finished my homework relatively early. Finding the television to be a bit of a bore for once, and not finding any appeal in going to the backyard only to have the old plum tree drop its shriveling, overripe fruit on my head, I walked into my grandparents room. On a whim, I decided to go into the closet and explore. (I had just finished reading The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe so closets and the sort were highly intriguing to my active imagination.) Upon reaching the back of the closet, I found no snow-covered magical lands of wonder. Much to my disappointment, there was just a wall in the back of the closet, with several purses hanging from hooks.

Feeling a bit mischievous, I decided to reach into each of the purses. Maybe there would be some candy? Gum? A dollar with which to buy ice cream when the ice cream man came around later that day (Ice cream sandwich, here I come!)? All I came across, however, was more disappointment: lint, a hairbrush, crumpled up gum wrappers (OH, so close!) and other assorted paper wastes... nothing exciting. I came to the end of the line of purses--oh PLEASE let me find something worthwhile!--and as I opened the last purse, I will admit I was feeling more than a little pessimistic. What would I find this time? Used toothpick? Old lipstick? Melted cough drop?

My fingers desperately explored the interior of the bag, feeling along the silky lining for anything that would make this little foray into women's accessories the least bit rewarding. Just as I was about to give up hope, I felt something cold. Metallic. A quarter? No, it was too big for a quarter. A Filipino coin, I bet. 20 pesos to the dollar? That wouldn't be worth it.

Curiousity got the better of me, so I pulled it out of the purse and left the closet behind. Under the light, I began to make out what the coin was. It was a little strange, unlike anything I'd ever seen. On the obverse face was a woman in a long, flowing robe, holding up a shield. On the reverse, an eagle. An eagle? Does that mean it's American? Well, it does say "United States of America" on it. But I'd never seen this coin before. Is it even real? I began to search for a date on the coin.

1843.

1843?!

I ran out of the room, through the hallway, and into the poorly lit kitchen. My grandmother was chopping up tomatoes. She didn't look at me as I entered; she continued to focus on preparing dinner.

I started to talk in a hushed, yet hurriedly excited voice. "Mama? I found this coin in your purse and it's really old! Can I have it?" I knew it was a longshot, but it never hurts to ask.

She looked up from the cutting board and took one look at the coin. I thought she was going to chew me out for going through her stuff, but she surprised me. She said yes.

I looked at the coin in my hands and smiled. It was my treasure. Mine. And my grandmother--she gave it to me.

A few years later, a coin convention came into town, so I decided to get my dad to take me. We bought A Guide Book of United States Coins, which listed all the coins ever minted in the U.S. and their approximate values. I flipped through the pages eagerly to see what my treasure was worth.

$35.

To be honest, I was expecting a bit more. At least three digits, if not four. I mean, I knew my coin wasn't in perfect condition, but it was old. And old stuff is always expensive, right?

But I began to think about the coin some more, and realized it was worth so much more than I was even hoping for. This coin--my treasure, my precious, my secret and private silver Narnia--was worth the love of my grandmother. And more than that, I began to wonder about the coin. How did my grandmother end up with it anyway if she came to the states in the 1970s? Whose hands did it pass through? What sorts of transactions was this coin involved in? And for the first time in my life, I felt small. I felt humbled by the history of this particular artifact. I felt myself becoming aware of the vastness and interconnectedness of the world. And even though I felt tiny and insignificant, I knew I wasn't.

Lately, I've been taking the coin out of its hiding place and looking at it. I hold it in the palm of my hand and it is smaller than I remember it, but just as cold and just as surprisingly heavy. Every time I see it, I am reminded that we are all very small, but very important. Every time I see it, I am reminded that in this increasingly globalized and impersonal economy, the basic human currency is still love and understanding. It changes hands every day and makes its way around this large world--across huge expanses of land and vast undulating oceans. It passes through the pockets and purses of people who feel just as small as we do.

But the next time you have some of this currency coming your way, take a moment to let it sink in. When your grandmother gives you a present, or when your cousin sends you a birthday card, or when your best friend gives you a hug--let it steep. Let it become a part of you, and then tell me:

How incredibly big does it make you feel?

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I can't decide if it's a blessing or a curse...
Friday, January 12, 2007 @ 6:02 pm
The good news is that according to this quarter's collective syllabi, my exams/presentations/papers are spread out evenly throughout the quarter at about 1 per week.

The bad news is that according to this quarter's collective syllabi, my exams/presentations/papers are spread out evenly throughout the quarter at about 1 per week.

I'm leaning towards the whole "blessing" thing. But we'll see how I'll feel when I sign up for the molecular biology grad seminar at SJSU on the 24th.

In other news, my sister is back from science camp. Of course the first thing that happens when we get home is that my mom and my sister start yelling at each other. I swear to god, my mom has the funniest way of expressing her love for my sister. Especially since the entire week she's been mildly depressed/worried/bored. Well, that's just how my mom is. We both know she loves us, but that does not preclude her from driving us up the fucking wall.

That's about all I have to report. It's Friday, so I hope everyone's going out or otherwise having fun. As for me? Well, this quarter, the key to success will be being extremely disciplined. So I'll be finishing up some work ahead of time while I actually have the luxury of otherwise having no major projects to worry about. It's all about cultivating good habits, folks. Maybe a little late, but still better than never.

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I miss you.
Thursday, January 11, 2007 @ 7:14 am
I have a picture frame on my desk filled with pictures of people that I love and every time I look at it, I get this odd combination of feelings, where in the pit of my stomach I feel like I'm freefalling, and where I feel a fuzzy buzz of happiness all over my skin.










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Three things.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 @ 8:04 pm
Straight men:
1) It is not contagious.
2) When I talk to you, it does not mean that I want to sleep with you.
3) Just because we are both drunk does not mean I will try to seduce you or otherwise trick you into bed (no matter how horny you or I may be).

Straight women:
1) I am not a charity case.
2) When I talk to you, accept the fact that I generally do not know all that much about the season's hottest trends, etc. It's nice to have normal conversations of the non-Sex-and-the-City type.
3) Just because we are both drunk does not mean that you will be able to seduce me or otherwise trick me into bed (no matter how horny you or I may be).

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EXTREME COLD FRONT!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 @ 10:57 am
Extreme is a relative term. I'm sure for the Bay Area, this cold front will represent all that is unholy in the world, but in comparison to, say, Alaska, this is nothing.

Still, there's nothing wrong with calling it an extreme cold front. One of the things that irks me the most is when people in colder climes say (with a colder-than-thou attitude) "You call THAT cold?" Why, yes. Yes, I do. And you would, too, if you were enjoying 70 degree weather for the last couple of days. The fact that you're used to subfreezing temperatures doesn't make my suffering any less.

Even so, it's still fun to rub the fact that your days are much more mild right in their frozen faces. Although, I must say: I rather liked the cold weather when I went to the East Coast last year for interviews. In this Eurocentric culture, there seems to be something fundamentally wrong with a snow-less winter. Makes me feel a tiny bit left out that absolutely none of my Christmases (a.k.a. birthdays) have been white.

One thing I do not mind about not having snow: the fact that I never have to shovel the sidewalks. Or whatever it is you do when it snows. I only have the secondhand experiences of what they show on TV; that's all I'm going on here. I wouldn't mind it, I guess, if I had to do it. But I'm sure that if I were a kid that sort of crap wouldn't have gone over well with me. I think I'm at a point in my life, though, where I can go ahead and embrace new experiences. Even if it means giving up wearing shorts and flip-flops in the middle of January.

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I'm bloody and beaten and in need of being taken to L'Hopital.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007 @ 9:00 pm
So I started my multivariable calculus class. No one in that class has had more than a year between the time they last took calculus and this class. Oh yeah, except for me. And it's been way more than a year: try four.

At first it wasn't so bad. There were something completely new things that I was able to pick up on fairly quickly, but anything that tied back to earlier calculus courses, like, say, something as simple as L'Hopital's rule--pfft! I barely remember how to do the trickier derivatives and integrals, and substitution is going to be a mess.

Something tells me that I am going to loathe Tuesday and Thursday nights. And every minute in between as I struggle to quickly review a year's worth of single variable calculus in what limited time I have.

Le fucking sigh.

Time to find my AP calculus notes... it's going to be a long quarter.

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